The sgraffito technique is quite simple to do. All you have to do is to paint one layer of paint on to a canvas, let it dry, then paint another layer of a different colour on top of it. The top layer that you’re scratching through should still be wet. You can use any sort of object for sgraffito so long as it’s capable of scratching through the paint: the ‘wrong end’ of a paintbrush is quite good for this technique, for example. Artists also use palette knives or even their fingernails to do the scratching.
You don’t have to use two layers of paint with this technique. You could simply apply one layer of paint to the canvas, then scratch through that to reveal the canvas beneath it. Some artists even apply three layers of paint – each a different colour – then scratch through to reveal the colour of the middle and bottom layers.
With sgraffito you need to have good hand-eye coordination so you don’t make mistakes. The good thing is that there is a way you can practice to build up your skills. Use oil pastels for the first layer, then for the top layer use …
If acrylics can be used like watercolours, why do artists not just use watercolours instead of acrylics? There are a few reasons why artists sometimes prefer to use acrylics like watercolours, rather than using watercolours themselves. Watercolours tend to be less forgiving, so if you make a mistake, it’s a lot harder to go back and correct it. Mistakes done in watercolours can’t be covered up that easily. Watercolours by their very nature can become quite muddy very easily and certain colours don’t blend well together. When painting with watercolours you run the risk of putting too much water on to the canvas. This can result in the canvas softening and being more likely to tear.
Another good thing about using acrylics like watercolours is that you can layer them. With watercolour paints, you can’t really layer them that well. This is because they tend to become muddy very quickly and intermingle; you also run the risk of washing off a pre-existing layer. Rather than there being separate layers, the paint could all mix together and produce something you probably didn’t want. Acrylics, on the other hand, can be very easily layered on top of each other, even when diluted.…
Artists using chiaroscuro think carefully about what parts of the painting they want to be in the shade and what parts they want to be in the light. This technique is all about giving certain things in the painting prominence by having them in the light, and obscuring other parts by having them in the shade. A good example of a chiaroscuro painting is where the central figure is in the light, yet all around that figure there’s deep darkness. The effect of this is similar to a scene in a play where the stage is darkened and there’s a spotlight thrown on to the key actor. Chiaroscuro paintings create a great example of contrast and can make particular parts of the painting look as if they’re three-dimensional. Sometimes the source of light is actually in the painting itself – many of the classic chiaroscuro paintings, for example, feature a candle.
Two of the most famous artists to have used chiaroscuro are Leonardo da Vinci and Caravaggio. Leonardo da Vinci popularised this technique during the late 15th century, using it to give features of his paintings a vivid three-dimensional effect. Lots of other painters started using this technique to provide …
His first recorded horse painting in oils was of a picador dressed in yellow, mounted on a horse and it was painted when he was only 9.
- Boy Leading a Horse
An early work from 1906, the horse stance is taken from a famous painting by Mantegna and the horse has a symbolic role, much interpreted by art critics. The boy is leading the horse but there are no reins, just the hand position. The naked boy represents Picasso himself. The painting can be seen in the New York Museum of Modern Art.
- Harlequin On Horseback
Picasso used the image of the harlequin or jester throughout his career as his alter ego. Here the harlequin is dressed in bright red and mounted on a black horse. It is a very still image, almost sad with the harlequin looking off in one direction and the horse in the other. 1905
- Curtain for the ballet ‘Parade” – shows a winged pegasus and foal on stage 1917. Picasso was involved in no less than eight ballet and drama productions between 1914 and 1924. The most important of these was the ballet Parade written by Jean Cocteau with a futuristic concept blending theatre,
Heavy-body acrylic paint
This type of paint is quite similar to oil paint in that it’s really thick. This is a really good type of paint to use if you like your paintings to have lots of texture. With heavy-body paint, you can easily use the impasto technique, where dramatic brush strokes and thick applications are used to create the impression that the paint is coming out of the canvas. Oil paints are usually suggested for this particular technique, though heavy-body acrylics have the advantage of a faster drying time. This type of acrylic paint is also really good for blending and mixing colours together: with heavy-body acrylics you can create loads of rich colours that you can’t create as easily with standard acrylics.
Slow-drying acrylic paint
One of the key properties of acrylics is that they dry really fast. Lots of artists prefer to use acrylics over watercolours and oils because the fast drying time means they can get their painting done quickly. With slow-drying acrylic paint, also known as open acrylic paint, you get all the benefits of acrylics, plus more time to work with the paint. Slow-drying acrylics can take anywhere from a day to even a …