First we are asked to “start by exploring the range of marks and shapes that can be made with you brushes”.

I have painted before this course, but it was mainly playing and attempting to use watercolour.  I have a limited amount of brushes at the moment that are suitable for acrylic and the medium itself is fairly new to me.

I played on sheets of A2 and made a note alongside the daubs as to which type of brush I used. It quickly became apparent that acrylic behaves very differently, according to how much water is involved in mixing the paint and brush strokes are very visible – which could be both and advantage and a disadvantage depending on the look one is going for.

The next part of the exercise asks us to “from memory, paint a small and simple landscape (about A4).  As a daily walker, I am outside a lot, but sitting down to paint from memory was harder than I expected.  I painted two pictures of familiar dog walks.


My first attempt. I struggled at first with no reference to work from, but as I realised acrylic can be painted over constantly, I relaxed a little.

Conclusions from this painting

  • you can see every brush stroke
  • mixing colours is going to take practice
  • This only really came to life when I added the shadows
  • I think I am going to want to work larger, acrylic feels like an expressive medium that would work better if one doesn’t tighten up.
  • I will need to load the brushes better – this is very scratchy as if i’m afraid of using the paint.
  • Acrylic dries really fast!

I tried another……


Conclusions from this one…..

  • I can successfully paint over ….but better after it dries.
  • Again…colour mixing 😦
  • There are a few more brush uses in this one
  • Both pictures, better viewed from distance….take a step back regularly.

“Paint a piece of fruit”


Working in my sketchbook this time, I thought I would use only three colours, noticing my my mixing wasn’t so good last time, I thought this would be an opportunity to try other ways to achieve colour.  In this first page I used Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Red and Black.

  • The first attempt is a watercolour like approach, but this paint dries so fast it was tricky.
  • Second i used a bolder approach using a firm, square headed flatter brush, less water, more paint – better for the medium I think.
  • Third started with a rough brush and then finished with a soft one for more definition.


Page two.

Trying two different colours, Cadmium Yellow and Crimson (and black).

  • The first attempt here has the most successful stalk! 🙂 I took more time and layers, usting the fact that I could correct as I go with acrylic.  Brush marks show and colours mixed on the paper.
  • Second attempt – I tried again with lots of water – more successfully this time I think and the shadow in a colour – I like.


NB (for me)

Need a sheet of paper to test colours and water content.

Keep Kitchen roll handy and several jars of water to keep brushes really clean, if this dries your brushes are ruined.