Gallery: Art Connections Gallery 123 N. Main Street on the Square in La Grange, Texas.
979-206-2222 http://www.artconnectionsgallery.com/

See additional work on my website

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Acrylic Painting, Desert Cactuses

I painted this a couple of weeks ago. I intended to put it up as a WIP, work in progress, and didn't so now it is a demo of sorts. This is in acrylics which I don't use very often, but I am starting to like them more. Pastels are my favorite medium, but sometimes I just want to use a brush.

Some pluses for acrylics:
  • Clean up with water.
  • Dry quickly
  • Frame without glass when used on board or canvas.
  • Easy to correct.
  • You can glaze and use like watercolor.
Some things I don't like about acrylics:
  • They dry quickly. Not able to blend as easily. (I have not tried the new interactive acrylics.)
  • Lack of texture unless you add medium or pumice, etc.
  • They dry darker than I put them on.

The first step on the canvas was to sketch in my plan with a watered down blue. I had sketched and rearranged the cactus in my mind from a photo reference of a scene in New Mexico.

In a landscape I start with the sky and the distant hills. I usually have a background, middle ground and foreground.

Next I worked in the cactus with the blooms and began developing the middle ground.

Then I filled in the whole bottom with dark ground clutter and began to work in some detail there. I did not get a photo, I was too interested in what I was doing. Here is a closeup of the details.

Desert Cactuses
Acrylic on canvas, 16 x 20 inches

This is the finish. There is a bright and dark area on the left around the prickly pear cactus hoping to be of interest and direct the eye around the painting.

It looks like my theme for my show in New Mexico in July will center around cactus and local scenery doesn't it? I called this Desert Cactuses in place of Desert Cacti, both are correct in the dictionary. Do you have a better name? Thanks.


Rose Welty said...

Very nice Jo, well done.

Jo Castillo said...

Hi Rose, Happy Easter! Thank you.

Bag Blog said...

Thanks for showing the step by step process. Very nice.

I have a pastel on art spectrum sanded paper. If I wanted to rid myself of the whole pastel, and save the paper, how would I do that?

Jo Castillo said...

bag blog, Thanks for the good words.

If the pastel doesn't have any fixative on it you can brush it off with a paint brush, then wipe with a soft cloth. You probably can't remove all of it. You could wipe it with a damp cloth or paper towel and remove most of the pastel. You will be left with an under painting and you can paint pastel right over it again after it dries.

If you just want to remove a small area for a correction, you can brush and then remove the color with a kneaded eraser. Just press and lift.

Hope this helps. You can send me an e-mail through my profile at the bottom of my blog.

Bag Blog said...

Thanks Jo, I have removed small parts with a brush and eraser, but never the whole painting.

Jo Castillo said...

bag blog, Good luck. That should work. I do that quite a bit. You can wash Pastelbord, but it still leaves a shadow or faded image. As long as you haven't scratched the surface, you can use it again.

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About Me

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Bastrop, Texas, United States
I Grew up in a small town , Magdalena, New Mexico. I enjoy art and the pleasure other people get from my work. I always donate some of my sales and art to charities, especially for children. That started in Bolivia with Para los NiƱos. (Link on sidebar) "I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns." -- Winston Churchill


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