St Ives School of Painting

Introduction to Acrylics, August 2016

Having clung to my HB pencil for too long I signed up to a beginner’s workshop to help overcome my fear of paint and colour.

The course focused on experimenting with paint, rather than specific techniques – it encouraged us to find our own way with paint. We rarely used paint brushes – but cardboard, rags, sticks, sponges and knives.

Sketching rocks outside and coming inside to use just black and white acrylic to capture their essence.

Sketching the ‘island’ of St Ives on black paper with black and white crayons, followed by a ‘5-line’ exercise – to draw the scene with five lines only. Our first step in using acrylics had been to make a series of marks – just experimenting and messing about with the paint on paper. We cut this paper up to form the 5-line image.

Working over the collage with paint and adding a third colour – ochre. Cropping to create abstract images. Creating a further abstract of the ‘island’ with collage only.

Colour theory – and getting used to applying paint. Mark-making using cardboard, sponge, stick, rag, knives, forks and spoons!

Experimenting with composition, colour, application of paint, collage.

Things that surprised me:

  • From just three colours plus white, I can pretty much make every colour I want
  • I prefer using a piece of cardboard to a brush
  • I had an awful time with collage in the last project of Foundations Drawing, but here I began to understand and enjoy it more
  • There’s no point in being timid with paint – it can always be worked over (or thrown away!)



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