Back to Painting: Part 3

In Back to Painting: Part 2, you finalized your drawing and transferred the image onto your canvas. Your next goal is to choose and mix your colors and paint the first layer of the background.

Step 1: Prepare your wet palette with a large dab of white and small dabs of your chosen colors.

Step 2: Mix your colors so you have a range of values from light to dark.

For more information on the values of colors, refer to this free lesson:


Step 3: Choose a dominant light source and plan the arrangement of your values/colors accordingly.

Parts of your critter that are closer to the light source need to be lighter in value than sections farther away and/or in shadow. A dark background is best behind light sections of the critter and a lighter background accentuates darker sections.

Step 4: Use slightly thinned paints to cover the background.

Paint over the outer edges of your critter. When the background is finished, the colors of the critter will extend slightly into the background.

This under-painting enables you to see how your colors work together. Keep in mind that acrylic paints become darker as they dry.


Back to Painting: Part 2

In Back to Painting: Part 1, you designed and sketched a symmetrical critter. Your next goal is to refine your drawing and transfer the image to a canvas.

Step 1: Use pencil and paper to sketch a composition for your painting with the critter’s face as the focal point.

The size and shape should be the same as your stretched canvas (or canvas board). My critter fits nicely on an 8 by 10 in (20.3 by 25.4 cm) canvas.

Step 2: Erase and redraw sections of your critter until your drawing makes you smile.


Step 3: Transfer your drawing to your canvas and spray its surface with a fixative.

Use the same process discussed in this free lesson:

The planned paint colors for my critter are the three primary colors (Cerulean Blue, Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow) as well as White, and Raw Umber.


Back to Painting: Part 1

Growing old is not fun. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been almost blind in my left eye. Supposedly, I have limited depth perception – however, this means nothing to me because I don’t know how people with two good eyes see. :o)

Up until two weeks ago, the vision in my right eye was 20/20 (with glasses). Today, the vision in this eye is not only cloudy, but a big fuzzy blob has taken up residence in the center of my line of vision. Even more annoying, a flashing neon-light-show happens frequently in the corner of this eye. A plethora of medical appointments have become my new social life.

So, what now? Well, I’ve decided to get back to painting and share my step-by-step process with anyone who is interested. My first subject only exists in my imagination, but you are welcome to paint alongside me as I bring this bird-like creature into reality.

To get started, you need only a pencil and sheet of paper.

Step 1: Draw a close-up view of a symmetrical face. You can draw my critter or dig around in your imagination and find your own. The painting process is identical for any critter. If you’re also blind in one eye, chances are you’re not good at drawing a symmetrical face. No problem!

Here’s a free drawing lesson to help you!

Here’s the preliminary design of my critter – perfectly symmetrical! :o)


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