30 Mar Plans for (Acrylic) April, tutorial streams, and more art
We’ve somehow almost made it through March (it feels about like the wait for George R R Martin to finished that series he’s supposed to be writing), and another interminable month is on the horizon. This time, we’re looking at the whole month instead of half like we had in March. We have to get through it somehow!
Of course, I propose ART. It’s good for you, your kids, and the rest of the world. It’s good for me, too, because I’m best off occupied. SO my Grand Plan is to paint every day in April and post to the #AcrylicApril hashtag created by the Art Sherpa last year. (If you don’t know about The Art Sherpa, go check out her YouTube channel. She’ll teach you how to paint. That’s how I learned.) Pretty much the only rules are that it has to be small (to be sustainable), and it has to be made with acrylic paint. Hence the name.
Since I’m not a huge fan of acrylic paint (and most of my good tubes aren’t at my house and I’m not buying more), I’ll be using acrylic gouache, which is a little better. Regular gouache is essentially opaque, highly pigmented watercolor. You end up with a lovely matte finish, kind of like if you were using ultra super duper high quality craft paint. Like watercolor, you can reactivate it with water, so you can put it in pans and just rewet it. You can also rewet it on paper or panel or whatever you’re painting on. There’s also acrylic gouache, which I’ll be using. It pretty much behaves like regular gouache except that it dries (mostly) waterproof, and so it can’t be reactivated with water. Once it dries, it’s done. That also means that you can’t store it in pans. One plus, though, is that if you paint on panel or canvas (which you can with a small modification to your gesso), you can varnish it after. Things get more complicated with regular gouache.
Personally, I’m a fan of paints that you can reactivate (like watercolor and regular gouache) or at least keep usable for a few days (oils) because one-time-use blobs of paint seems wasteful. The good news is that, for whatever reason, I have a huge collection of Turner Acrylic Gouache (you can buy a set pretty inexpensively here if you’re interested), so I’m prepared for thirty days.
Speaking of thirty days, completing a painting on every one of them is going to be difficult. I tried last year and got through 8 or 10 days before I gave up. This year, I’m tackling my forthcoming exhaustion with organization: an Airtable. I’ve chosen a reference photo a day so I don’t have to search for something to paint. Hopefully that will be enough to keep me going.
If you want to see the photos I’ve chosen, you can click here for a (read-only) link to my Airtable. All of the photos either I took myself or got from Unsplash or Pexels. If you want to try painting any of my photos, you’re welcome to, and that includes selling the results, etc. I would like to see your painting, though!
The plan is either to livestream my painting process (it won’t be tutorial-style) or at least to make time-lapses to post to YouTube. Staying occupied will (hopefully) keep me sane while I stay at home for months.
What, you might ask, does this mean for the weekly watercolor tutorials? Nothing. I’m going to do both. On Tuesdays, the tutorials are my priority because that’s my best way of helping out during this crazy extended quarantine. Bonus for those who’ve made it this far: we’re learning to draw (and paint) Van Gogh’s bedroom next week!
Another goal of mine is to get this site up and running properly. That includes (gasp!) the shop. I need to move some of these paintings out into the world! I only have one listed now, but more are on the way, starting with the redbud painting, which I varnished yesterday. Hopefully the weather will behave long enough for me to get out my good camera and take some proper shop-style photos not only of gouache paintings, but also of the oils that have been languishing around my house for months. Even that is a proper ordeal, though, because there’s photo processing, mockup-making, shop-listing, etc, etc. Good thing I have so much time on my hands.
Most of this extracurricular production will stop, of course, when I have to go back to work, as the vast majority of my creative energy is channeled into the library. It’s not looking like it’ll be before the end of April, so I’m planning a whole month of this stuff. I’m interested to see how I do.