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Acrylics Anonymous, Issue #091 -- Your Isolation Edition. Read It By Yourself
April 01, 2020

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!

If you are receiving this because a friend has forwarded this to you, and you would like to subscribe, click here!

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, contact us here.

Time to Learn Something New - For Less!
20% off all our downloadable and streamable
V-Logs especially for you
Use the code: COVID20 at checkout

Click here to go to the shop for 20% off all V-Logs.

Cultivate Gratitude

Without harping on about the Coronavirus too much - just consider what a gift it is that we have this wonderful affliction called painting. Cultivate your gratitude during these strange times in the world, and just about everything will be easier to bear and manage.

Tips For Self Isolation

We are all affected, so let's see how we can stay relatively sane! Some tips to help you out here.

Click here to read the article.

Whale Fun!

If you've been following our Youtube stories you will have seen Mark painting some details on his huge whale painting which was bound for Canberra last week. Check out the edit below. There's some really beautiful zen music behind this one so settle in for a calm journey under the sea with these majestic creatures.

Click here for the whale video on Youtube.

One-on-Ones Via Video Link?

If you're interested in learning direct from Mark via 21st century technology of a video link using WhatsApp, Messenger or Facetime, we are considering offering some one-one-one tutorials for half an hour or forty-five minutes at a time during the month of April.

Please contact us via the link below to register your interest in this idea!

Click here to register your interest.

Every month, we 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 featuring the inspirational Don Shaw, with his piece "My Most Popular Abstract". Thank you so much for sharing Don! We are so happy you are finding success and motivation with your painting.

Click here for more information on Don's piece "My Most Popular Abstract"

You need to see this guy's artwork. He creates pictures from old denim! Honestly, I feel like I say this every month but.....just when you think you've seen everything....there is this amazingness!

Check out Ian Berry's amazing denim artworks right here.

We know you love watching a process as much as we do! Check out this clip from Faber Castell on how they make pencils :)

Float away on some pencil-making goodness for a while.

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.

This month's submission comes from an incredibly inspiring artist named John David Taylor (known as David Taylor - not the watercolourist from NZ however). David has shared the story of his first painting which is an epic that spans many years, and the wisdom came upon over those years.

From David:

"OK, here’s a part of my story.  It’s about the completion of a dream which took almost 40 years to realise. 

My interest in art goes back to early childhood as my grandfather designed and built boats and my aunt was an “artist”.  At that time I became infatuated with the idea that these were possible pathways in life to consider along with the other dreams that were developing in my mind.  Although I’ve never had any formal art instruction or education, like many of my skills, I’m self-taught.

I must admit also that throughout my schooling, I did a lot of ”doodling” instead of paying attention to the lessons.  Since my area of interest is “Maritime Painting”, I must disclose that although I haven’t had any formal art/painting instruction, I spent years on a drawing board as a Yacht Designer (first career). This may explain my “tight, detailed, accurate approach“ to my paintings.

Hopefully, this is a lesson in not only knowing the subject, but also in having a passion for the topics you wish to portray. There are two bits of advice I can pass along, first nothing happens without a dream, and second one must have a fearless persistence to satisfy yourself.  A painting will wait patiently for your imagination and skills to catch up. Also, from 40 years in rehabilitation medicine, (second career, not self-taught), I’ve learned that “The people that do the best, are those that keep moving”. This also relates to those that keep painting.

Creativity is like telling a story.  I want the viewer to be drawn into the painting, to feel the elements.  Honestly, I get more satisfaction than anyone in that it becomes part of a story that is 100% mine and proof that you can accomplish what you dream.

The story of “Rocket Ship” began as a young yacht designer enamored with a photo in a sailing magazine.  I must disclose that years later, as the painting was evolving, I reached out to the photographer Daniel Forester and received permission to do a representative painting utilizing his creativity.  Remember, this was the first painting I had ever attempted and didn’t appreciate the respect of copyright. I have since begun developing my own compositions and creativity.

In the beginning I thought, I’m good at drawing, I’ll just get a poster board and some India ink (water based) and make a painting.

I made valiant effort, but didn’t have the skills or understanding of materials to have the success I desired.  So, it was shelved for many years as the other responsibilities of life (family and careers) became the priorities.  But, there were elements of that original effort that convinced me that I could do it as I visioned in my mind.

I painted that painting in my head for 30 years waiting for the time to be right.  That was a BIG mistake in that with the wisdom of age, you come to realize that it is never ”just right” and you have to dive in and do it. I eventually came to a transition point in my life and I finally decided it was my turn.  I got rid of some bad habits and began a process to re-invent myself. This included that I was going to fulfill my dream of becoming a “Marine Artist”.

Well, I started by buying all kinds of art supplies and studying YouTube and the Internet for lessons and understanding.  I also must add that I was a student of marine paintings/artists on the internet for a decade before I began to paint.

I learned what I liked, what I didn’t like. I began to follow artists that I wanted to emulate or at least strive to learn their skills. Soon, I understood that I had a lot to learn!  At first, I tried drawing it, to mechanical, I tried watercolors, wasn’t loose enough for that media, tried pastels and oil pastels, didn’t allow myself time or experience to understand how to control either, and I was intimidated by the seeming complexity of oils so I didn’t try.

Well, I was getting defeated but I continued to study and became convinced that acrylic paints were the way to go.  I also made a critical choice that has been fundamental to the success in my style (tight) of painting. This was the use of cradled wooden panels.  (Note: I also do the woodwork for the frames as well as the panels).

Wooden panels became part of the learning process.  You don’t know how many times I was disappointed with the effort and took my electric sander and began to remove an area.  But then, magic sometimes happened and I stopped, saw a pattern liked, and that persistence kicked in and I continued. I began to understand and with more mistakes I became fearless.  I was no longer intimidated by acrylics!

You can view the sequence in the development of “Rocket Ship” above.  Certainly, I left out a number of steps and techniques I developed along the way.  It was an education that taught me a lot about myself.

What you can’t see is the time (years) of starts and stops, the learning and frustrations.  It has been an education that continues with each new painting I approach. Good advice is to have other paintings in progress so you can put each aside until you feel inspired with continuing.  Also, to allow drying time if necessary.

There is more to the story of “Rocket Ship” but that is for another time. I will say, the “Rocket Ship” along with two of my other works have been juried into museum exhibitions.

I would love to share the lessons I’ve learned and techniques developed for working with acrylics.  From considerations of choices that were made along the way including materials, subjects, composition, and when to sign off as completed. Some of my other acrylic work (lots more stories here).

Note: Not all of my paintings are quite as tight or take such a long time.  These two (below) were done as a challenge from my wife each in one day.

My next adventure, (third career), is to devote myself to not only my painting, but to develop and market myself as a “Marine Artist”.  Painting and creativity hopefully will stimulate excitement, supplemented income, and satisfaction during my retirement years. I continue to develop my brand through social media platforms. 

Everyone is more than welcomed to follow me on Instagram (@SeaLevelMarineArt). I also have begun an art business titled “SEALEVEL Marine Art", and you can email me at"

Thank you so much David for sharing your journey with us! We wish you all the best with Sea Level Marine Art :D

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 stay safe and well, and chuck some paint around!

Cheers from Frankie & Mark :)

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