Acrylic painting techniques and tutorial with Lyn Olsen I Colour In Your Life

Acrylic painting techniques and tutorial with Lyn Olsen I Colour In Your Life

G’day viewers, my name is Graeme Stevenson and I’d like to invite you to come on
a journey of creativity and learning and adventure through the
series Colour In Your Life. There’s an artist in every
family throughout the world, and lots of times there’s an artist
deep down inside all of us as well. So grab your kids, your
brothers, your sisters, your aunties, uncles and mums and dads, and come and see how some of
the best artists in Australia do what they do. The team would like to thank Dave and
Sara from West Coast Motorcycle Hire. (GRAEME) Well g’day viewers and
welcome back to Colour In Your Life. Well we’re in Western
Australia, fantastic state. And we’re in an area called Mandurah and I’m with a very
talented lady – Lyn Olsen. Welcome to the show. – (LYN) Thank you Graeme.
– (GRAEME) Great to be here. . Lyn is a fantastic artist
when it comes to painting coral reefs and the oceans. She
does some absolutely beautiful work. Very well travelled, you’ve been
around a lot everywhere haven’t you? Exhibiting overseas and your journey. Tell me a bit about
your own personal journey and getting to where you are now. (LYN) When I started my career, I didn’t start until 2001,
because leading up to then, I was getting married,
working, bringing up children. I had a serious illness, which laid me up for quite
a while and my husband brought me a few cheap paints
and said ‘start painting’. And so I did and I was hopeless. (GRAEME) So therapy turned into a career? (LYN) It did, absolutely it did. (GRAEME) That’s fantastic. So what about your love of
the underwater? I mean, I know you’re from Queensland and you’ve
moved over to Western Australia. But it’s obviously been in Queensland, the influence of the Great Barrier Reef, that’s brought you on this journey anyway. (LYN) Well that’s right. In Queensland we
hear about the Great Barrier Reef all the time because it’s endangered and it’s
one of the great Wonders of the World and my love of oceans, I
just, through travelling around, visiting Australians
go to the coast mostly, so we’re surrounded by water. I used to surf in my younger days, so – it just came about like that.
– (GRAEME) A natural occurrence. – (LYN) Exactly.
– (GRAEME) Fantastic. . Well we’re going to actually do a reef
scene with you today. There are a lot of different things you
do to get to the process of actually producing your beautiful works. So what we’re going to
do is set the canvas up, and then I’m going to ask Lyn a whole
bunch of other questions as we go through, and extract some more information
about this young woman. And then start on our magnificent
piece of the Barrier Reef so let’s go ahead and do that. – (LYN) Sounds great.
– (GRAEME) Wonderful. (GRAEME) Okay Lyn, well we’re going to
do a couple of different stages today so we can take folks through
the process of how you put one of your pieces together. But you’ve got a blank canvas there. Terrifying. (LYN) Terrifying to some people. I love a blank canvas because I don’t know
where it’s going to go. And it excites me it really does. People get intimidated totally
by a blank canvas but with me, it’s the start of creation
and I really love it. (GRAEME) That’s fantastic, so
you’ve got some modelling paste there. And you sort of really do this by
feel and intuition with your work? (LYN) I do. I haven’t got a drawing or – a sketch already done or anything like that.
– (GRAEME) That’s fantastic. (LYN) I let it take me
wherever I want to go. (GRAEME) The true artist, without a doubt. – (LYN) Thank you.
– (GRAEME) Fantastic. Alright, so how do we put
theses modelling paste down then? (LYN) Right, well to start with, I’ll use a palette knife. I’ve got a bit of an idea
where I want these corals. Which will develop as we go along. And this will take a little while to dry. (GRAEME) So generally how long does
it take the modelling paste to dry? – (LYN) Probably about an hour.
– (GRAEME) Okay. (LYN) And it adds all
the texture in the world. We have hard and soft corals, which I’ll be demonstrating today. The modelling paste I’m putting on here will become the hard coral and then I’ll
use softer techniques with inks. (GRAEME) You’re actually
sort of moulding certain areas of the modelling
paste to give you an effect? (LYN) That’s right. It’s for an effect – and you just dab it on.
– (GRAEME) Look at that. – (LYN) And the coral will appear before your eyes.
– (GRAEME) There you go. And the actual shape of the spatula is helping to create that for you as well. (LYN) Yes, I like a very wide spatula. It seems to… particularly when
I’m working on really big works, it’s really good. I use
the smaller one sometimes, but the wider the better.
The biggest you can get. – Really works for me.
– (GRAEME) That’s fantastic. So you were saying to me before hand that you spent a lot of time in the
water when you were younger. So the love of the coral and
the oceans goes back a long way? (LYN) It does. When I was a
teenager I used to surf a lot. I actually used to draw a
lot. I loved going to the beach in the winter and
this was in South Australia. You could sketch stormy seas and seagulls and things like that. I’ve always been drawn
to the ocean. We’ve lived near the ocean in a lot
of places around Australia. (GRAEME) So how did you come about this
particular style and technique in your work? You’ve obviously been influenced
by other workshops and artists. (LYN) Generally it’s my own
thing. I haven’t seen a lot of – coral paintings at all.
– (GRAEME) Okay. (LYN) I took a few lessons
when I first started painting and I found them too structured. And the teachers always wanted me to do it their way and I wanted to just create. – (GRAEME) Okay.
– (LYN) It’s taken quite a few years but I’ve gradually got to
this way and I enjoy it now. (GRAEME) Yeah. Absolutely. Well your work is bright and
colourful and it’s a joy to look at. Well, because you’re actually wonderfully organised, which is fantastic, is that we do have one that is dry, that we can start directly
on putting some of those inks and colour down and those techniques. So let’s take that one away. So
you’re obviously finished with that? (LYN) That’s finished now. (GRAEME) Okay well we’ll take
one away and let that dry, and we’ll put the other
one up that Lyn’s prepared. That way we can continue
to move through this process so we get the best results in the end. (LYN) Sounds good. (LYN) In this stage the modelling paste is dry and we’re going to put some
Derivan Matisse inks I use. – (GRAEME) They look fantastic.
– (LYN) And they’re great, they’re are very light-fast
and they spread beautifully. I’ll be using a couple of
techniques when I get started. So I’ll get started now and
I use a spray bottle first. Just spray a few spots and away we go. – These things have a mind of their own.
– (GRAEME) Do they? They look beautiful don’t they? – (LYN) They look great.
– (GRAEME) The colours are glorious. (LYN) Some of my art works are just inks which I love. But for this demonstration
I’m going to be painting – as well as using ink.
– (GRAEME) Sure. (LYN) Enough for the moment. (GRAEME) Using that spray bottle. (LYN) Using that spay bottle. I don’t mind if it splashes
up into the background at all. Because it’s all going to… (GRAEME) This is just to sort of help to – manoeuvre, to give the paint a vehicle to move through.
– (LYN) That’s right. And it’s wonderful for corals. Because I started off painting corals very precise, every coral was all
exactly the same. I thought, “there’s got to be a better
way” and I’ve discovered this way – and it makes it far more contemporary.
– (GRAEME) Yes. – (LYN) So now I’m going to use a straw.
– (GRAEME) Going to use a straw? – (LYN) Yeah.
– (GRAEME) One with a bend in it as well. (LYN) A bendy straw. – And I’m just going to spread it around.
– (GRAEME) Okay. (GRAEME) It’s just a fun
exercise as it is anyway. (LYN) That’s right. It makes a terrific contemporary
painting just with the inks… (LYN) A lot of people
like it like this actually. I’m using a bit of white. (GRAEME) I’ve always found that the
white tends to be really dominant as it moves through the inks. It
tends to have a mind of it’s own. (LYN) It does that. And then the purple
will turn into a lovely lilac shade. (GRAEME) A little bit of green. We’ve got
the colours of the rainbow going on today. (LYN) That’s right. – Back to the straw.
– (GRAEME) Back to the straw. (LYN) A lot of paintings I
just have on a white background. I don’t do the ocean. They look great. As you can see it really stands
out when you don’t have ocean and that takes it in to a contemporary stage. (GRAEME) Yeah. And at the moment
you’ve actually got a show going on in Miami in America with some fantastic pieces. Now, Coral Madness, does it speak for itself? – (LYN) Yes it does.
– (GRAEME) Okay. (LYN) ‘Coral Madness’; that was just
a crazy painting that I loved doing. – (GRAEME) Yeah.
– (LYN) And technique after technique was used on that. (GRAEME) I mean how long does
that ink normally take to dry? (LYN) A good hour probably before
I can start putting paint over it. (GRAEME) But it’s going to be fun
to watch all these little techniques develop as we go through, so
I think this will be great. (GRAEME) Okay Lyn, now we put
the other one up on the easel. This is the easel section of
your particular demonstration. Where are you going to go from here? (LYN) I’ve got to put the
water on it as a background. But I want to really
demonstrate how the corals go on. So I’m going to start putting some colour on the shapes of the corals that
I’ve created with the modelling paste. – (GRAEME) Yeah.
– (LYN) This one’s actually a bit of a clamshell. (GRAEME) It’s still very loose
in the way you approach the work. I think that is what gives
it its vibrancy as well. (LYN) That’s right. (GRAEME) I can see that there are some lovely patterns that come up in between all of that modelling paste and the colours. There are beautiful effects that come out. (LYN) That’s right. The
inks will tell me what to do, and I just really put colour
on and see what happens and I can control it right at the end. If I leave the paint
for any length of time, particularly with Atelier,
I can come back and spritz it – and move it around again.
– (GRAEME) Okay. So what about artist’s
that have influenced you? (LYN) The works of Jackson Pollock. With all the drip techniques, and colour going everywhere. I just love that and I put that in a lot of
my work to a certain degree. Margaret Olley, although
she didn’t influence me, she inspired me with her
age and painting right into… (GRAEME) Eighty-six she was I think. – (LYN) I think she was.
– (GRAEME) When she passed. Yeah. And you are also in a number of magazines and international
art books as well. You’re in International
Contemporary Masters, which is wonderful. It’s a book full of really
amazing top artists of the world. And then Art Tour International
magazine which is also about very leading contemporary
artists across the planet, so you’re definitely getting some
fantastic publicity for your work. (LYN) I’ve got a lot of commissions
through being in those two books. And I’m quite honoured that I
was asked to go in them actually. (GRAEME) Okay, that’s fantastic isn’t it? (LYN) These colours here are
really blending with these pinks into the blues. I really like that colour. I put the paintbrush down and
now I’m going to use my fingers. (GRAEME) So the fingers get
pretty expressive too doesn’t it? The reason all the colours pop
out because they’re all pure. (LYN) That’s right. – In some paintings I don’t use a brush at all.
– (GRAEME) You just use your fingers? – (LYN) Just fingers.
– (GRAEME) Get out of here. – It’s like being back at school.
– (LYN) That’s why I don’t get manicures. Yeah, a lot of people say that it’s
just like finger painting at school. (GRAEME) Yeah. (LYN) But I didn’t do
finger painting at school so I don’t really know what that’s like. (GRAEME) So you’re making
up for lost time right now? (LYN) I must be. It’s a lot softer than using a brush.
You get very structured, this way I find it more creative and I like it. Put a few white patches in to give the eye a bit of a
rest somewhere in the painting. (GRAEME) Now with these
designs that you’ve developed, and you can’t tell me, I’ve
tried to squeeze it out of you… One of your designs out of a number
of them has actually been chosen to go on the tail plane of
a whole bunch of airplanes. But you can’t say anything
at the moment can you? – (LYN) I can’t at the moment.
– (GRAEME) Oh, god. (LYN) But I was asked to
design a logo for a company to start with, just for company paperwork and then I was told it was
going on the tail of an airplane. So I spent three months solidly designing with a Queensland theme, this tail. And I drew many, many airplanes. I’m quite good at drawing
airplanes now, airplane tails. And it should be sometime this year it should be flying around our skies. So I really can’t wait for that. (GRAEME) That’s pretty cool isn’t it? – (LYN) It is.
– (GRAEME) That’s fantastic. It’s like every time
you go past an airport. – (LYN) That’s right.
– (GRAEME) There’s my work. – (LYN) That’s right.
– (GRAEME) That’s great. Very well done, very well done. Okay Lyn, as part of your
social conscience as well, which I think is very
important in the art world, you really do give a lot back
to the community as well by giving your works for raffles and fundraising events for charities. I think that’s just
wonderful that you do that. What’s your motivation for doing that? (LYN) Well it’s exactly what you said. It’s for giving back to the community. I really like doing that because
the charities are for children and under privileged people
and all that to raise money and anything I can do to help
raise money for charities. And they generate quite
a bit of money actually. (GRAEME) That’s good. (LYN) And whoever wins the prize
absolutely loves it. Every time. (GRAEME) That’s fantastic. Really,
really good. It’s just part of what we need to do, to give
back to our communities. (LYN) I have to start
really building some of these corals out now too. Backgrounds all done and these
are going to come forward now. (GRAEME) So you’ve really got just
layers and layers of colour on. (LYN) That’s right. (GRAEME) I’ve always found that
when I paint scenes like this, or even the landscapes or sky-scapes, sunsets. You always
seem to drift into the picture yourself. (LYN) That’s right. I immerse myself
totally in the painting when I’m painting. And like a lot of artists
I just have music on. Shut out all your worries. Don’t think about anything except what
I’m doing and what I’m going to do next. And stand back and the whole
day is gone just like that. – (GRAEME) Yeah.
– (LYN) I don’t even know. I think ‘oh gee, I haven’t even
finished’. And then at night I put it down in front of the
TV. I’ll continue to look at it. I’ll even take it out into the studio and put a bit more on and take
it back to the TV again. – It’s ongoing all the time.
– (GRAEME) Yeah. (LYN) I just really
live, eat and breathe art. I’m not happy unless I’ve
got a paintbrush in my hand. – (GRAEME) Fantastic.
– (LYN) Or dirty hands. – (GRAEME) Or just paint all over you.
– (LYN) Paint all over me. Paint all over everybody. (GRAEME) Well no, it’s very true. And that’s the beauty about creativity, is it can take you to another place and you don’t even have to leave the room. (LYN) That’s right. And
having the time to do it. It’s a lot to do when you’re… (GRAEME) Oh it’s a luxury. (LYN) …when you’re younger
and you bring up family, and I played so much sport. I was on every committee
that was known to man. I had no time to paint but
it was always buried inside. Even at school my books looked beautiful but I didn’t study art or
anything like that. It was sport, boys, and then I worked in the corporate world when I left school. For a long time I was fairly top level
in the corporate world. And then in mining over
here in Western Australia, where I met my husband. That was lovely. And still didn’t have time. I was working twelve hours a
day. Six weeks on, one week off. And it wasn’t, as I said
before, until I got sick, that I had to retire and I had
all this time on my hands. And now, I don’t want to go back to work. I just want to do this forever. (GRAEME) That’s great. It’s hugely encouraging for people that want to get to a place where you are now. (LYN) Well it’s not work is it? They always say if you can do something you love and make money with it, it’s not a job. – (GRAEME) No.
– (LYN) It’s just wonderful. . And pass on your skills
to other people too. I think it’s very important. (GRAEME) Yeah, very, very true. (LYN) I’ll go to the softer fan brush now. This part of the painting is
when I’m getting near the end and putting all the finishing touches on. – (GRAEME) The bling.
– (LYN) All the bling, yes. (LYN) It’s knowing when to stop though. Because the reef just seems
to evolve all the time. (GRAEME) There you go, so
you can see how that fan brush literally only picks up
certain areas, and then has that real feathered effect all over it. (LYN) It gives it a lot of movement. There’s another technique I use, what do you call it? – (GRAEME) Skewer?
– Skewer. I like the old Aboriginal dot paintings. It’s quite therapeutic, just – dotting away. Sitting here.
– (GRAEME) Just dotting away. (LYN) I don’t use it a lot.
Just as a final bit of bling. Right now I’m going to
paint some fish, Graeme. (GRAEME) Excellent. (LYN) I love painting these
fish. They’re simple fish and don’t ask me what they
are because they’re from here. So I just go for it and see what comes out. (GRAEME) And it’s just really a
flick and a movement of the brush. (LYN) I’ve painted a lot of fish, really colourful ones. But this is a coral painting and I don’t want the fish to be the hero, the coral is the hero of this painting. So hence they’ll be a
little bit more subdued. (GRAEME) And once again it’s just a
suggestion. You know they’re fish but… (LYN) It’s a bit of movement in there. (GRAEME) It’s the impression isn’t it? (LYN) They get smaller as they go up. They might be swimming from there down. And here they’re heading
down to the reef for a feed. So I think I’m at the stage were I’d like to lay it flat again and show
you how I put in the soft corals. (GRAEME) Sounds great.
Let’s go and do that. (LYN) Okay, so the next
technique I’m going to use is house paint, and I’m
going to dribble it on and hopefully it’s going
to go where I want it to. And if it doesn’t, I’ll make
it go where I want it to. It’s got a mind of it’s own
but it’s a terrific technique. I’m sure you’ll love it. (GRAEME) Excellent. Look at that. (LYN) This creates some soft flowing corals that float out into the ocean. (GRAEME) I suppose once it’s dry there’s
a bit of depth in the paint as well. (LYN) Yeah, sometimes
I’ll put a colour over it, I’ll put ink over it if
I want it to be covered. But often it just stays white and it adds to what’s
going on in the painting. A lot of my students are a little
bit scared of this technique, but they master it. As we say in
the art world, there’s no mistakes, just happy accidents. And you just have to go
with it and be confident. So these are those nice lovely soft corals that really just want to
flow and ebb in the water. The movement of the tides and the wind. Right now I’m going to
go back into here again and go back to inks and
see what we can create. (GRAEME) So you’re just
sort of dripping down there? Beautiful. (LYN) I don’t do anything
special with them. (GRAEME) Oh look at that. Oh,
there you go with the finger again. (LYN) This will take it back
into contemporary again. well. Straight away it was just
a few dots there before, and now it’s being something
a little bit different. And this techniques can be carried over which I have done into
landscapes and whatever. You can make beautiful landscapes with the inks rolling across your canvas, turns out really, really well. (GRAEME) So how much more work would
you have on this piece to finish it? (LYN) I’ll bring out these colours
some more that I’ve actually put on. I’ve only really got
ink on them and 1 coat. I’ll go into them with paint and make them a lot
thicker so it looks a lot glossier and thicker. More painterly. And over here I’ve got a lot of work to do with the pinks and I’ll put
a bit more on there as well and then it’ll be finished. (GRAEME) So viewers with
the beauty of television as you can see, we’re screening up
the finished piece that Lyn has done. That’s a really beautiful
piece and extremely well done. Fantastic day, that was wonderful. Beautiful, beautiful it really was. Thanks so much for being on the show. (LYN) Thanks so much for
letting me come on the show. (GRAEME) Oh it’s great.
Now we’re in Mandurah in Western Australia with Lyn Olsen and Lyn paints these fantastic pictures of the Great Barrier Reef
and underwater scenes. And obviously she’s doing
so well overseas as well. It’s just fantastic and thank
you for having us in your studio. Now you’ve got workshops as well. You travel all around the country
doing these workshops as well. So if somebody wants to get in
touch with you in the website, what’s your website? (LYN) (GRAEME) Doesn’t get any easier does it? You can come in and see Lyn’s
work in our store as well, we’ve got tons and tons
of people in these days. It’s really fantastic what’s going on. And that’s at And also on our Facebook page as well. Once you make your way into
our YouTube channel as well. We have literally thousands of subscribers coming in there from all over the world to see what’s going on
with these fantastically talented Australian artists. So until we meet again
guys, remember always, make sure you Put Some Colour I Your Life. – See you next time. Bye.
– (LYN) Bye.


  • Andrea Batten says:

    Really interesting demo, love the vibrant colours and the way the layers built up. Thank you for sharing šŸ™‚

  • Lyn Olsen says:

    Thanks Graeme, Sophia and the team at CIYL for the fantastic experience filming this episode. It was good to reflect on my Art journey so far, and I look forward to the next phase of my career. Thank you once again.
    Yours in Art,

  • Debbie Buckland says:

    Very inspiring. Love her techques

  • Kolijo River says:

    Shared on Google+ Fantastic, bright and vibrant and inspiring. Lyn's love of the ocean and the Great Barrier Reef shines through in her words, and her art! Love it.

  • Shedz Channel says:


  • Lake Splashes says:

    Really, very nice! Love this lady's techniques. Hello Lynn from Canada.

  • LindaSew says:

    Beautiful work! I would love to know how she did the background. I learn so much watching your show. Thank you for doing this.

  • Khadija Amergui says:

    Cest magnifique!!!

  • Larry Nelson says:

    Great artist, great video, thanks.

  • Carol Johnson says:

    Truly enjoy your style….Do you share a list a of materials and brands of paints?
    I use golden acrylics, but am experimenting with inks…what types of Inks do you use?….watercolor, acrylic, etc?Ā  LOvely work.

  • Dieter Wilhelm says:

    Great, warm and very hearty brillant colours. Thank for sharing*****

  • Jackie Wimberly says:

    I loved meeting both of you by viewing the video. I love Lyn's paintings!

  • Judith A Rowland says:

    Graeme, Can you tell us the brand of acrylics……and the brand of inks that Lyn Olsen uses? I really admire her work and would like to try using materials that allow you to step back for a bit and then go back to the piece. She mentioned that her paints stay open for a while, including her inks. Anything that stays open for an hour sounds great to me. Again many thanks for this video. I live in the state of Washington, on the West Coast of the US. And I too love the ocean. Do you know if these products available here?

  • Celeste Pater says:

    Inspiring work . I've always wanted to do ocean painting but never known how to start thanks for sharing xx

  • Pam Stefanik says:

    Can you tell me how the background color for water was put on so well that it is right up to the other parts at the bottom — it looks like it was painted on first but wasn't according to the demo'sĀ Ā Ā Ā Ā  (confused)

  • Pam Stefanik says:

    what kind of paint does she "dripple" over for the soft coral – white lines?Ā Ā  sounds like she said house paint?

  • Diane Adamo says:

    Great….this is how I create with colour and movement.

  • Teresa Blue eyes says:

    I absolutely love your work its so vibrant and colorful
    thank you so much xx

  • Lyn Olsen says:

    Thank you for your lovely comments. I am filming a how to paint a soft ocean background at the moment, for those of you who have enquired. It will be shared shortly. Cheers Lyn

  • AzRavnGrl says:

    Nice!! I'd love to see more self-taught artists on here!

  • angela maxwell says:

    Absolutely love your work so colorful and Happy!

  • judy thompson says:

    I stumbled across this video quite by accident… OMG! I'm in love with this artist's work!

  • Lucille Rox says:

    I love the colors and techniques. Beautiful!

  • Gizele Gionet says:

    I wish that I could paint like you. You work is so colourful and alive. You have a beautiful spirit .

  • Patricia Burke says:

    Love your colors! Can modeling paste be used with oil paints? Thanks for sharing.

  • Michelle B says:

    I love her paintings but more so, she is a lovely person. Would love to just spend the day with her cuteness!

  • Maysoon AlDooriaines says:

    Thank you for an inspiring video and story. I love your techniques , very innovative and more so your attitude. You do give hope to those who had tho change career due to circumstances. I wish you continued success.

  • Ryn Shell: Artist, Novelist & Vlogger says:

    Lovely to watch you working, Lyn Olsen. Your contemporary artwork is beautiful.

  • Catherine Goggin says:

    love love love

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