Acrylic Painting Techniques from Mark Waller | Colour In your Life

Acrylic Painting Techniques from Mark Waller | 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 Auntie’s, Uncles’ and Mum’s and Dad’s and come and see how some the best artist in Australia do what they do. (Music Plays) Well g’day viewers and welcome
back to Colour In Your Life. A very special day today and actually with a very good
friend of mine, a gentleman called Mr. Mark Waller. Graeme. Thanks for being on the show. Thank you, Buddy. It’s going to be a great day.
A very talented man. Mark and I have a history.
We actually did a show in New York 2003. Yes. And it was really designed to pay it forward, in a sense, which is really what Colour In Your Life is about;
education, helping other people out. And we literally gave all the paintings and money
away that we raised to various charities, even in Australia and throughout America.
So, just designed to help people out, which is really what this is about today.
Mark, I would think, is probably one of the best teachers in Australia as far as using acrylics. So with Chroma Interactive, he really is a
master of the acrylic medium. And we’re going to spend the day with Mark
working on a number of different pieces, and then seeing the techniques that he does,
particularly with water. You’re really well renown for your water painting? Yes. And water’s an extremely difficult thing to do.
You got reflections, refraction, a whole bunch of other shadow involved as well. Absolutely. But Mark is going to take us through that
using the Chroma Interactive paints and you’ll be able to see the quality of these paints.
Plus the Free Flow as well. Absolutely essential Which is. A new discovery for me Yeah, a new discovery. Amazing properties. As we go through, you can actually talk about the
properties of those as we start to do the work. Yes. Because this is cutting edge science involved in paint,
so really extraordinary stuff. Oh, it makes my job so much easier. Oh, it’s incredible. So lets go with Mark for the ride today
and you’ll see some pretty amazing things. Lets go for it. Alright, now with Mark’s work you’re
going to see some pretty dynamic gymnastics involved in this today as well. So fire away.
What are you going to do with this? This is our first one out of the ones we’re going to be doing.
Just explain to us. I’m pretty much known for painting pandanus trees.
So what I’m going to do is paint the head of a pandanus tree here, a bit of light reflection. But this is the roughing in process.
So for me this is like a warm up. Every time an elite athlete or anything like that,
of course drawing the analogy here, does any sort of activity, they warm up.
And so for me, this is the warm up. I’m just going to give myself roughly a frame to work in and
then my pandanus trees going to happen in there. Okay Now because I work with acrylics all the time and you
develop a process over years and years and years, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experiment.
And I’ve come across this stuff and it’s fantastic. I’ve actually found for blocking in and setting
up your paintings it’s excellent. I mean the colour goes for miles.
You squeeze a little bit into a jar and it goes forever. Okay It’s great for roughing in everything. And it dries matte
and you can work straight over the top of it. So that’s what I’ll do.
I’ll set it all up using this stuff. Okay. And that’s the Free Flow? Yeah. That’s the Free Flow. And that will be my warm up. And then I’ll put that to the side and we’ll go to another painting and use the Interactive
where I need to blend more. Okay. Well let’s get into it then. So I’ve got my red now. Going to get my photo
reference and just throwing some lines down. So I want the head of the Pandanus tree to be kind
of there and that will be the branch coming there like that. People think that I have an unhealthy obsession
with Pandanus trees and I kinda do, but it’s more about the opportunities for creating
the illusion of death. They’re so layered. You know there’s branches going in all different
directions and leaves in font of one another and so there’s so many opportunities there for you to,
you know create branches disappearing off in different angles.
So roughly all I’m doing now is setting the thing up. You’re really just mapping the
whole thing in aren’t you? Absolutely. Yes and it’s great
doing it with that red. Because these pieces of red, little flashes
of red will show through later on. So that’s a rough idea at this point.
And that kind of gives me an idea of, you know, colours or shapes anyway. For me,
a painting too, when you mark up a painting, you draw in your lines and it has
composition from that point of view. But then when you start adding tone and colour the composition
can change. A dark area can counter balance a light area etc, etc. So I like to get all of the darks
blocked in right from the word go, and that way I know whether the whole painting balances.
I really don’t feel I can know that until the whole canvas is covered with a close
approximation of what I’m going to put there. Sure. They’re all just foundation washes. Absolutely. Yes, it’s literally like building a house.
You put your frames up. You can’t put architraves on until the
frames and every thing’s up. So I’m just going to come back with my
green here now. And check this out, I’m literally just sticking this brush in here,
and look how well that’s covering. It’s just fantastic. Beautiful.
It’s like pushing satin around. It just fills the space doesn’t it? Completely. And at this stage
I’m using kind of dull colours, so it kinda doesn’t maybe have the impact that
it will when I start putting the bright colours on. So you can see I’m just leaving some white bits
here and there because there’s a couple of leaves I want to go in front of the others.
So if I just leave a little bit of colour. It’s really just to mark a piece. Just to remind me. Yes. That’s kind of roughly in there now.
I’m just going to block in the trunk here. I’m just putting a little bit of
Burnt Umber on my palette. I don’t really need much. I don’t need a container
full because as I said, this stuff goes for miles. But I’m actually looking at your palette there. This is my patented invention here.
When you’re working with paint all the time, the last thing you want to do is dish
out paint and have it go dry on you. Especially when it’s reasonably expensive.
So what I do is, I’ve got, this is, just a piece of ply and a piece of board,
with a towel and a bit of shower curtain wrapped around it. So I put my paints in here, dampen the towel,
throw that over the top when I’m done. And then at the end of the day… You just wrap it up. Roll the whole lot up and shove it in the cupboard. It’ll stay like that for days.
The paint will stay mobile for days. Particularly with acrylics because
they do have a tendency to dry out. They do. That’s just fabulous. The trick with it is though, make sure you use
a plastic that’s got a little bit of texture on it that the paint will stick to. If it’s too smooth
the paint will skim and you’ll end up pulling up paint. Alright. Where do we go from here with that burnt umber? So now what we do is, I just block in
my pandanus tree branch there like that. Again, I’m not taking too much care with it,
and you’ll notice that I’ve actually thinned that out quite a lot. Burnt umber has this lovely kind of red gold quality to it. But when it gets dark and you put it on
really solidly it gets a bit dull and dead. So I’ve left a bit of that thin so the red shows through. And I think I want to put a branch through here. Yes. Doing things like that really is experience on composition isn’t it? Yes. Absolutely and it’s just a matter of looking at
your painting and seeing if there’s any holes in it. So now what I’m going to do is, I’m setting myself
up to make it a little bit easier for myself later. So I’m going to make it deeper water receding
off into the distance and shallower water. So I’ll do a gradation of colour with that. And that’s actually one of the things that this
Free Flow does surprising well. It blends really nicely. Okay I think just that it’s so mobile. Yes. I think the thing with acrylics
sometimes is that they just dry, and the thing with these guys is you can
continue to maneuver them around. Absolutely and see while I can get a reasonably
good gradation of colour with this Free Flow, I know I can get a fantastic graduation
of colour with the Interactive. And even if does get away from me a little bit,
a little bit of the unlocking formula, bang. I’m pretty sure, I don’t think there’s any
paint in the world that will do that. So I’m going to try something that’s
never been done before. What I’m actually going to do is I’ve got this
lovely thalo green, which looks fantastic, and I’m going to mix it with a little bit of the Interactive
because apparently all of these paints work together. So I’m just going to see what happens.
I want a lovely sort of sea greeny kind of colour. So I’m going to mix something up and see what happens.
Ooooooh… You want to eat it. Laughs Now normally what I do is I mix up my darker
colour and work my way down, but I’m in love with this.
I’m not letting this go anywhere. So I’m going to put this right kind of here,
where I want it to go. Yes, that’s a great looking colour. Oh isn’t it fantastic? Yeah, it really is. So if you don’t paint and you look at this colour,
you’ll want to paint. [Laughs] It’s addictive, isn’t it? It really is! There we go. Now I want to make that
a little bit shallower so I’m just going to steal a bit of this Interactive… and add that to it.
Don’t do this at home. Oh okay I’m always saying don’t stick your pots
in there but this ones nearly empty so… Oh, that’s okay then. I can get away with it. And this just lightens it up a little further does it? Warms it up a little bit to create the illusion of coming
forward into shallow water and negative sand. Okay. Painting to me is not… It’s a philosophy.
It’s a life philosophy, and one of the things people say is ‘oh,
when you teach you’re really, really generous. It’s not that I’m generous, it’s just that
I am so excited about being able to do this, I can’t not share it with people. And the other
thing too is that one of the beautiful things about painting is when you share painting skills with
people it teaches them to look at the world in a different way. And I cannot think of a greater gift, than to give
someone the ability to find magic in the world. And that’s, in saying that,
a lot of the comments we get back are from people saying exactly that all over the world.
Just going ‘oh, it’s just so great’. I mean the world is full of magic and colour and light and spectacular things, and we get caught in the, and I do it myself,
I get caught in my mortgage or worrying about stuff, but truly when you open your eyes
there’s miracles everywhere. One of the things about painting…
well pretty much anything really, but particularly pandanus trees, is understanding
a little bit of nuance about light. But what I’m going to do now is just using some
Ultra Marine Blue, which is quite a warm blue. And I use that specifically because I want to
create the illusion of it being a really warm summers day. See this leaf here,
I want that leaf to roll over like that. And then this leaf here looks to me like
that’s going to roll in there, like that. Again this is all very rudimentary, but what’s going
to happen too is that lights going to hit that water underneath and bounce back up underneath. So I’m going to put all these wonderful golds and
things on the underside of the branches and stuff. Oka.y It’s amazing how, like the more you look,
the more light you find, you know? And I can create the illusion of that branch moving away from me. So that’s pretty much the painting roughed in. Blocked in. Most of the framework is where it needs
to be and I’ll put that away and let it dry. So we move on to the next one. So what I want to do is when I’m building the painting,
painting water there’s a real art to it. There are so many layers and levels, so one of the
things I want to do is create that lovely reflection, refraction on the underside.
So this is kind of my little technique, and I’m not worried too much about going over
these pandanus tree leaves again, they’re just there, so that I
can come back to them later on. But you can see that pattern,
it’s like that pattern there… You’re just rolling the brush across the top? Rolling the brush and… That’s amazing. …doing that at the same time, and my approach
to painting water is very much a four part process. There’s fundamentally four elements that you need
to understand to be able to paint water really reasonably well. And the first one is the sub-straight or
the sand or whatever the water’s sitting on. The second thing is water, because it
has a colour. So the colour of water itself. And then the third thing and the fourth thing are
two items that are sort of very interrelated. It’s the surface of the water.
Now the surface of the water will do two things. It will allow you to see beneath the water,
and what’s reflected above the water. So the surface of the water is
actually really, really important. But when you understand how all of those four elements;
the sub-straight, the colour of the water, the surface of the water and the light,
how they all work together, you can pretty much paint water any time,
anywhere, any circumstances… because you understand how
all the elements work together. So I’m going to intensify that wave a little bit. And just by pushing up that Burnt Umber in there… Yes. …that will create the shape and the
illusion of this being shallower and steeper at this point than out there for example. Yes, okay. So this is a little trick.
Water’s highly reflective. So I want to create the impression of light reflecting
under the surface of the water there. And I’m really only going to drag a few dry brushes across. Oh yes. Beautiful. Now and again this is still all blocking in. I’m going to actually start pushing
that white wash in there like that. But again, water is highly reflective. Stroking down. So I bring the stroke down to create the
illusion of that light being reflected down, and then drag the brush across like this, to start
creating the illusion of the surface of the water. And because this white’s quite strong, you can actually
make the reflections right here in the water incredibly strong. Really bump them up. So I’ll just repeat this process
over and over and over again building this up. This is a little trick that I use in just about
all my paintings of the beach. Alright so we’ll move on to the next one. We’ll get rid of this one. The next techniques… One after the other. Well that’s the beauty about today, but look at that.
Isn’t that beautiful? My goodness. So what I’ve done here is,
I’m pretty happy with the water, but you know, that’s not to say I wont come back.
What I’m going to do is, as I said before, light bounces around everywhere. So what I want to do here is create the illusion of light hitting the sand and bouncing back
up on the underside of the tree. Yes I also want to create the illusion of light
striking certain leaves here and there, but also filtering through and hitting parts
of the branches. So each stage, in every painting that I do,
I break it down into three stages. There’s the roughing in stage.
Then there’s the intermediate stage. Then there’s the final stage,
which is all bits and pieces of detail. But even in the intermediate stage
there’s areas that are roughed in. So for example what I’m going to do now is, as you can see I’ve very loosely roughed in
areas here and I’ve made this golder on the underside of this branch here to bring it forward.
And the branches that are further away I’ve put blue on to push them away,
to create the illusion of light. But I can put a warm blue on here to
create the illusion of light coming from here, and a cool blue to create the illusion of light coming from here.
So there’s so many different layers. But what I’ll do now is I’ll go through and just
rough in all of the shapes and my Pandanus tree so I know where and when
to put my highlights and things. I’m just going to go through actually now and
just put a couple of highlights on my tree trunks because I want the light filtering through there. So I’m mixing up sort of a goldeny yellow colour,
for want of a better term. It’s really important when you paint not to get
kind of tied up in detail and get carried way with all the fine stuff. So I actually trick myself
and tell myself the whole time that I’m blocking in things, so even if these marks do seem a little extreme, I know that I can still come back later on and you know,
change them or soften them, or whatever. Or even if I can’t kind of convince
myself that I can so that I’m painting freely instead of you know, worrying. That’s probably
one of the things that effects your painting more than anything is being sort of
stilted and kind of trying too hard. A Zen principle. Effortless effort. The fact is that you can see that sun coming
through and it’s a couple of dry brush strokes… Yep. You don’t have to labor over it… No. It’s the impression isn’t it? It is and look, to be honest, I will come back later on
and make them more convincing and more compelling. But at this stage this is all just me still,
you know, moving things around, playing with colour and light and just kind of,
stand back and have a look. I can live with that. It’s lightened up some of that
darker area and obviously there’s a lot more work goes over that. So now I’m just going to imagine that this leaf here
is lit from up above and there’s a little bit of light coming through there and I’m just going
to pretend that’s hitting the inside edge of that leaf. I want that lovely kind of scalloped shape that
Pandanus leaves have. I do that there like that. You can see just with those orbs of light that you’ve got in there that the whole picture starts to… Starts to pop out, doesn’t it? Three dimensional, yeah. Yes. I never get sick of that; it’s so exciting.
Now the other thing too is some of these leaves are going to be hit by light, which is on the other side of the leaf. So they’re going to be backlit.
So what I want to do is, and this is a really nice way of adding a
little bit of interest to your painting, . is to pretend you’ve got some of
these leafs here being back lite. So I’m going to mix up my Ultramarine Blue and we’re
going to pretend that the light is coming in, a little bit of that sky light is coming in.
So I want this here, where a pandanus leaf hits the tree, is beautiful.
It’s got this lovely kind of curved kind of sculptured shape. So what I’m going to do here, we’ll pretend this is a leaf.
Can you see that there? There’s a leaf there. But now as this leaf comes around here,
it’s going to start reflecting light from underneath. So I want to get a little bit of light bouncing up from
underneath there and I’m not worrying too much about the colour; at this point it’s all being more sculptural than anything.
So I’m going to bring that down like that and I think I’m going to put
this leaf in front of that one. So now this leaf here is going to have light bouncing
up and hitting the under side of it like this. Because it’s a scalloped shape it’s
going to fade out as it comes to here. I’m starting to create the impression of
light bouncing up from the under side, and again I’m still just scrubbing it in.
There’s no point in me getting too worked up about detail and of course later on if I want to
blend this, I get my unlocking formula, spray it on, mix it in, spread it out. This stuff,
the unlocking formula really is, it’s like having a get out of jail free card. It really is Okay. You can see the depth
of field coming in to it now. Yes. Hopefully it should be starting to show
a little bit of depth and dimensions. A bit of light bouncing up off
the underside in there. And this is still… this is actually using
the Interactives now isn’t it? This is using the Interactives. The Interactive
I find is absolutely unparalleled for blending as far as acrylics are concerned. To me, as someone who
paints professionally, I want to use the products that work the best. If you want to make
paintings you can make paintings but use the best paint you possibly can.
Alright so there’s hours more work involved in this. I’m going to leave it now. It will end up eventually
looking something like that. Sensational. I mean, with the beauty of television we
can obviously see that we have screened the finished piece in, and it looks absolutely magnificent as all of your work does. Thanks Graeme very much. Thank you very much for being on the show bud. My pleasure buddy. It’s been great, fantastic. As I said, Mark is of the best, as far as I know,
one of the best acrylic teachers in the country. He also has a number of his own DVD’s out that you can actually buy, which go through a number of different types of
fundamentals as far as art work is concerned with acrylics. Okay, and your website is for these? Explore-acrylic-painting dot com.
Lots and lots of free tips and tutorials, youtube footage; it’s your one stop shop
for learning to paint with acrylics. Sensational and a great day. I’d really like to thank Chroma. Chroma was a big part of actually
getting Mark to us as well. Absolutely. You work very closely with them. I do and I only work with the best. I mean,
I do this for a living, I want to use the best. Thank you very much to Chroma and
all our other sponsors as well. Thank you so much bud,
it’s been an absolute pleasure. We’ll move on again; we’re in beautiful Lennox Head
so we’re going to head back up the coast again. But till we meet again guys, remember,
make sure you Put Some Colour In Your Life. Put Some Colour In Your Life. Bye guys. See you later.

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