Diary of a large acrylic painting – Part 4

Step 9 – My Excitement is mounting as I reach for my wider colour palette from amongst my box of tricks. The moment I have been waiting for…it’s time to bring Salvatore to life!

How to tempt a good looking Italian chef into the kitchen I wonder, a light Valpolicella or a cheeky Chiantio Classico? Surely a couple of bottles of red will coax him out and for the sake of artistic integrity (research is always important) I just know I will have to test at least one of the bottles from the still life I have set up in my studio to help with my composition. Oh dear, I need to paint a glass of wine…it seems that time is now!

Close up of Wine bottle, glass and tomatoes

Salvatore’s cooking ingredients – good enough to eat!

It’s been a long time since I have sat and truly exercised my powers of observation, but the wine glasses in my large acrylic painting have quietly troubled me since I was asked “so, how do you paint something that’s see through?”

I hadn’t really thought about how I would tackle them until now, but as the saying goes “necessity is the mother of invention”, my response: paint what you see!


Step 10 – A good helping of flake white aded to my stay wet palette I’m ready for…

Close up of Salvatore chef  from the painting

“Salvatore” arrives – Cheers!

…a touch of Cadmium Red (light), followed by a little yellow ochre, (sip)

…gently darkened in places with a little burnt sienna

…a smidgeon of Alizirin Crimson…

…blues eyes or brown?

Decisions, decisions, let’s go hazel…

Well, hello there Salvatore!!

I don’t mind if I do…Cheers!

My very large acrylic painting is nearly finished – add olive oil, green and chilli peppers, large orange cat in top hat (yes, that does say “large orange cat in top hat”), signature and a frame and we’re ready to go. OK, so there’s some time involved, weeks in fact but…

Step 11 – Hang! Welcome to your new home Salvatore!

That used to be that “really big empty wall in our kitchen” – turned out quite nicely, judging by the smile on my face! You can check out this and other large acrylic paintings (and some smaller ones) in my KL Art Gallery

"Salvatore Cooks For..." Photograph of finished painting

“Salvatore Cooks For…” home at last

Diary of a large acrylic painting – Part 3

Step 7 – large acrylic painting taking shape and texture (and just a little colour?)

Ok, so the floor’s finished and I must now find a way to create the various shades and textures of black that appear in other areas of the kitchen.

“Salvatore, I’d like to introduce you to Glaze Medium and pearlescent paint, as well as the colours I’ll be adding to separate my blue black gloss-painted kitchen door from the fluorspar flecked charcoal grey black of the worktops and the metallic shiny black of the oven…..” (Yes, I have also developed the rather odd habit of talking to my painting throughout the course of my working day).

A bit experimental, but I’m using a pearlescent medium, combined with a very pale grey paint to under-paint the kitchen work tops and create the fluorspar flecks in the granite.

Salvatore painting with painted kitchen walls and worktops

“Salvatore’s” temporarily spotty kitchen worktops

These will disappear later as I overpaint with darker glazes and dance as they catch the light in the finished painting, but in the meantime it does look rather strange and I have to trust the experiment will work at the time of painting!

The kitchen cupboards prove easier to assemble than an Ikea flat pack and it’s quite nice to have laid some colour on the walls too!

Step 8 – My approach has worked even better than expected so far…

"Salvatore" receives his kitchen appliances

Salvatore takes delivery of his kitchen appliances

and I’m getting quite excited as I add more features to the room, including the appliances and a hint of colour behind the the frosted windows in the door.

The reflected light of the cooker hood is achieved with a dry brush technique over a glazed black wall.

Each completed piece of background brings me closer to the fun stuff in the foreground (why do I always feel like this like this when I’m painting?).

Salvatore is starting to adopt a slightly ivory attitude now too and I’ve reached the point where the picture now makes it’s own argument for the addition of at least a small amount of subtle colour so it’s time to call in my pals for another discussion about our colour palette…

Fortunately, my pals agree with me……..woohoo!!!! Now, where did I put those paints?

You can see the finished colours in all their glory in the KL Art Gallery.

Diary of a large acrylic painting – Part 2

Step 5 – Design approved, I’m ready to eat my elephant – here comes the very large acrylic painting…

Large canvas fixed firmly to my easel and gesso primed (I always like to be sure by adding a couple of layers of my own gesso primer, even if they come factory primed) I will scale up my outline sketch from A4 (ish) to A0 size.  That’s increasing the size by at least 4-ish times the original.

I remember how, as a child, I would copy pictures in colouring books from one page to another by copying one square at a time from the grid that had been superimposed on the original (with mixed success in the early days and some improvement later on).

Salvatore outline on canvas

Salvatore outline on canvas

Adopting the same methodology, scaling up by a factor of 4 as I go, the sketch is relatively easily transferred to my large canvas using a blue acrylic painted outline.

I selected blue, not simply because it’s my favourite colour, but also because it will provide a good contrast beneath/alongside the layers of neutrals tones I will be painting with very soon.

The picture looks great on its new support, though it’s also strangely daunting now I realise just how much I have to paint to deliver the original design. I hope I have enough paint…this really is a large acrylic painting!!

Step 6  – Breathe deeply and start painting!

My excitement about dealing with the chef and some of the things he is going to cook has to be put aside for now. That’s where I’m allowed the introduction of a small amount of colour, and everything will start to come to life, but for now though, like all good paintings, this one will start with the background.

Salvatore painting with floor painted

“Salvatore” finds his feet – tiled floor emerging

Starting with the background helps to create the impression that everything is sitting in the right place. I’m going to paint items as though I was building the room, so floor first should ensure that everything else sits properly on top of it and supports the correct sense of perspective. This should mean my chef will “stand” in the middle of the painting in due course both composition and perspective-wise.

Now then, who decided on a checkerboard tiled floor for goodness sake!?

If you’re just too excited to wait for the next instalment you can check out the finished painting in my KL Art Gallery.