Recently, I wanted to try out a more vibrant style of acrylic painting. This is where the sketchbook comes in very useful. Whatever stage you are at, the sketchbook is a terrific starting point. It’s not just about drawing, it’s a resource for you; your ideas, your likes/dislikes, colour swatches, shapes, magazine images, photos and when you’ve been doing it a while, they become memories i.e. of a walk, a visit, day trips, holidays.

So, as you can imagine I have a few sketchbooks to look through for ideas. These two little ink sketches captured my attention and the memories came flooding back. Italy! The heat of summer, the vibrant fruits, buildings and in this instance, buildings built on and within the imposing rock face overlooking the Bay of Naples. It certainly captured my imagination.

Starting with charcoal I sketched a simplified version from the original ink drawing. Charcoal is good for loosening up your sketches and working larger. My sketchbook is A5 and the charcoal sketch is A3. Best not to take too long for the sketching. After all, for me it was an experiment with the goal of using vibrant acrylics.

Once familiar with the shapes and form I sketched it out onto acrylic paper (could use card etc) and began playing with colour. For me the focus was on using colour so to stop me procrastinating I used a flat headed brush and gave myself less than an hour to complete.IMG_3187

The image to the left is painted on a 30cm square canvas with charcoal sketching to denote sky and building, then straight in with bold yellow.

After the paint was applied, I used charcoal on top. It’s not quite what I hoped but now I have something to develop.

I did discover that I really liked the way the red, green and orange worked with charcoal in the foreground against the blues and lilac. See below.


From an idea in a sketchbook to the beginning of a new painting – now, your turn.

With one step at a time you will get there.  Su


One Comment Add yours

  1. Aradhana says:

    I like the way the trees have taken on more life.


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