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Majestic Sunset, A step-by-step acrylic exercise with William F, Powell

This acrylic painting exercise is one that I have presented in one-day, paint-along acrylic workshops with both beginning and advanced artists. All have completed the exercise with great success. It can , of course be accomplished in oils as well. I hope you enjoy it.

Size: 14"x18" but of course, you can paint this scene any size you wish.

Brushes: Two soft "Bright stuyled brushes about 1/2" and 5/8"-3/4"at the metal ferrule. One soft round brush with a fine point.


Palette and Colors:  

Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Yellow Light, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber, Acra Magenta, Titanium white.
I use an enameled "butcher tray" and strong paper towels to manage my acrylic palette. As shown at right, the main tube colors are placed on a wet towel along the top of the palette. I then divide the lower portion of the tray into thirds and place two, square folded, wet paper towels in the two right areas. At the extreme right is one that I use for brush mixing cool colors. The middle one I use to brush mix warm color on. These wet towels work very well to keep the colors workable. The lower left third is left as clear enameled tray and can be easily wiped clean with a wet paper towel. Quick mixes and fine brush molding can be performed on this area.
There are wet palettes available on the commercial market and they work very well. I have been using my enameled tray method for so many years that is just seems to work well for me. Also, with this enameled tray, I can keep the paints wet and moist for days if called away. By placing plastic wrap securely over the tray and making certain the edges are tight, a type of humidor is created and there have been times when I returned after three days to resume painting and the paints were fine. Try it...I hope you like it.

Let's begin the painting exercise... Step 1. follows:

 Step 1: Use the larger flat-styled "bright" brush and begin blocking in the sky using a mixture of white and ultramarine blue. gray the mixture slightly with a speck of cadmium red light. Mix your colors with a brush, as you go, to obtain a variation in the values and tints. Use loose non-directional strokes to create an atmospheric feeling to the color blends.




Step 2: Continue painting the sky using value and tint change. Add a speck of white plus a speck of yellow ochre to the middle light blue sky area for a light gray-green. then mix peach colors using white plus a speck of cadmium red light and a speck of yellow ochre. Add the peach colors more strongly on the lower left area using white, a speck of cad red light, and a speck of cadmium yellow light.

Proceed to Step 3