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Acrylics Anonymous, Issue #034 -- The Simple Things In Life Are Often The Simple Things In Life
January 01, 2015

1st January 2015, issue 034

Welcome aboard to the New Year! We hope 2015 is filled with smiles and hugs and more painting wins than fails!

Passionate about painting with acrylics? Need a monthly fix chock full of inspiration? Need some help to take the pain out of your painting process? It's all here for you. Acrylics Anonymous. Zero elitism. Dive in.

If you enjoy Acrylics Anonymous, and you know someone who might also enjoy it, you can share by forwarding it to your friends!

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Subscribers only…..shhhhhh…sealed section just for you!

Tip of the month


Artist In Focus

Links we like

Works in progress… us your paintings!

Every month, we will produce a Subscribers Only "sealed section". It could be a painting technique, a short video tip, or anything we can think of that we reckon you might enjoy.

Please let us know what you think, we love your feedback! To leave comments, click here.

Over Mark's Shoulder Studio Shots

It’s been a while since we’ve shot any tips from Mark’s studio! We’re planning on focussing more on video tutorials in 2015.

And in the meantime, here’s a short clip to help you create vibrant shadows on sand.

Click here to access!

Simplicity is Underrated

Just sit for 5 minutes in the simplicity of the world. See if you can find a simple, compelling image just by sitting still and observing.

Bonus: watch your blood pressure come down while you’re at it!

Free Painting Lesson!

A while ago we wrote this free painting lesson on a beachscape with swing.

For some reason it’s been exploding on Pinterest of late, so thought you might like to jump back on the bandwagon too :)

Click here for more info...

Kagata Village News

If you’re interested in how Mark went with his recent school building project in the Solomon Islands, click through for all the info in his blog.

Click here for more info...

Oh So Many Workshops!

Our Central Coast January and WA March workshops still have a couple of spots each. And Fiji is back in August! Join Mark for some awesome learning and painting fun.

Click here for more info...

Welcome to our new segment! Every month, we will choose an Artist from our forum to showcase.

You can even nominate someone if you like. (Or yourself!). To do this, check out the forum and then send us an email! It’s that easy.

This month we’re focussing on artist Kathryn Saunders and her work “My First Beach Scene Ever!” Congratulations Kathryn!

*I gotta say, Mark and I are always surprised and moved by how positive, supportive and uplifting this forum community is. If you want some more feel-good energy in your life (and let’s face it, who doesn’t need that) just spend 10 minutes having a look at people’s work and comments. The smiles will just end up all over your face.

Anyway, enough of the goodvibes, time to read all about Kathryn’s first beach scene!

Simplicity hey! Somehow a search for simple, dynamic paintings brought me to the fantastic eyeball sweetness of Patrica Van Lubeck, Dutch born, New Zealand residing artist.

Her work has been described as “neo-surrealism” and it is outrageously, contagiously fantastic!

Patricia’s landscapes are sweetly surreal and utterly mesmerising.

Like abstract art? Want to create your own? Well! Artist Peter Dranitsin, has some serious tutorials at your disposal. Sign up to his (free) mailing list for your free video course!

Check out Peter’s abstract art lessons here.

If you have a link you like, please share it with us! You can contact us to let us know. Thank you!

This is the section where you can "get your name in lights!" (well at least out there in the internet world!).

If you have works in progress you would love to show off, or finished pieces you are particularly proud of, we would love to see them!

We especially like to hear about the story behind the creation.

Lynda Dinneen is our fantastically educating contributor this month. Lynda is continuing on from Lorraine’s trend last month, and doing things a little differently - her fascinating story is below. So, you know the drill by now. Go get a cuppa, wait til you have 10 minutes spare, and take the time to enjoy this!

Still Life Painting and the History of Vanitas
by Lynda Dinneen

"From the earliest days of fine art, the Flemish and Dutch Masters used still life paintings to convey a message to the viewer. With a language rich in symbolism, a full conversation from the artist to the viewer was possible, and even expected.

Called “Vanitas”, there is much to discover about this venerable style, and thankfully the web is full of information to Google regarding this subject.. Yay for the internet!

When looking at a Dutch Vanitas (or Vanity) still life painting it is important to remember that this art form is often a lesson in morals, social comment, religious themes, or ethics. A blog of sorts.

Like any language, it has a definite meaning. For example, in my painting of Flask On A Corner Table, you will notice a bowl of lemons and a lime, plus a cut lemon with various pieces. Here is the meaning of that fruit when it appears in a Vanitas: The lemons are lovely to look at, but bitter to the are being reminded that temptation appears sweet, but usually winds up bitter in the end.

Each fruit in an old Dutch Masters painting has a meaning and if you know what that meaning is, you know what the artist is fun is that! Let's try another one. Notice the empty quadrant of the painting. The entire upper right ¼ is really empty...that is critical. It is reminding the viewer that the unseen things in life, the spiritual, are as (or more) important than the visual things our eyes see every day.

Vanitas are “stop and think” paintings for sure! When my client requested a painting that spoke to her deep religious faith it was a natural for me to go back to the example set by the masters. I started with a physical set up of the items I was going to use to tell the story, and then I did several color sketches to get the feel of the composition.

When my client was satisfied, I did a full tonal sketch in pencil to guide me while I worked. Then did the final compositional drawing on the linen board that was gessoed and ready for work.

The next step was to do a tonal underpainting using raw umber and burnt sienna with titanium white. (The swatch on the underpainting is a sample of the client’s wall color in her home.) From here it is a process of laying in color, being careful to over-paint the edges so that the items sit in the space and do not look like they were cut out and pasted on to the panel. Then, do it again, and again, and again!

Now I will tell you the story of this Vanitas. The purple cloth that winds throughout the painting represents death, (you already know about the lemons and the space above). In the midst of life and death, the green flask, (and yes the color is important) represents God, the source of life.

The center of interest is the glass, the supply, and it is rising out of the cloth which partly covers the base of the goblet. Can you guess from what you now know about the client and the Vanitas that the glass represents Jesus Christ?

The knife represents the word of God, and the color tone is more somber and better suited to quiet reflection.

I am not a fast painter, and this took about 4 weeks maybe a bit more to complete. It is finished with 5 isolation coats, but no varnish, and thankfully, the client was thrilled.

On the easel now, is another allegory. It is about a young mother that I know whose sons got caught up in the use of drugs, shattering their is about hopes and dreams, how fragile we are, and yet how resilient we are too.

It is really just about life!

Thank you! Happy Painting Everyone!"

Thank you Linda for enlightening us in more ways than one!

Hope you enjoyed this issue of Acrylics Anonymous! If you have any suggestions, comments or feedback for the ezine or our site, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Until next time, make sure you chuck some paint around!

Cheers from Frankie & Mark :)

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