Above: A beautiful example of multi-layered blending by Sharon Kingston
The most common way to kill the vitality in a painting, blending is a smooth transition between two colors, painted when wet. This is difficult to do with acrylic because it dries so danged fast, so using a slow drying paint like Golden OPEN Acrylics might help.
3 Blending Techniques
- 1) THE STITCH: The most commonly taught blending technique is to apply a patch of one color, a patch of a second color, and use a clean brush to stitch the first and second together with criss-crossing X strokes to make the in-between colors. This blending technique is one of the most commonly taught, and also one of the most common ways to kill the vitality in a painting.
- 2) THE CLEAN PULL: A related blending technique is to move the light into the dark only with a limited number of strokes – light into dark only – not blending the dark into the light. This helps avoid mud.
- 3) THE FLUFFER: Once colors are close, a quick pass with a soft clean brush can diffuse any unwanted edges. This effect an easily be overused, but can be effective for thin areas of paint like sky.
(Blogger’s warning: “Clean Pull and Fluffer” are totally made up terms, and if you use them in conversation you will look silly)
Many artists (including me) avoid blending, believing the more you touch your canvas without adding specific paint colors, the more lifeless it becomes. Instead of blending two colors together, they mix and apply the third color with a brush stroke.
“It cannot be too often insisted upon that the canvas should be touched by the brush as seldom as possible in oil painting. The more often paint is touched, the less vital the impression.”
– Harold Speed, Oil Painting Techniques and Materials.
In this video Florent Farges demonstrates blending and brushwork. Farges illustrates how you can create beautiful color transitions in your painting without loosing the vitality of your colors.
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