How to Paint a Pelican Bird in Acrylic (part 2)


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1st wash of pelican bird paintingNext, I added a light, watered-down wash of the acrylic paint. I was trained as a watercolor artist, so I tend to go with washes at first.  You don’t necessarily have to do it this way–just works for setting the stage and giving it some reference color.

Then, I get a bit more color on my brush and start laying up deeper, thicker dabs of paint and paint the ocean first, then work my way to the bird. It’s sort of a process, and sort of saving the best for last.  I keep going, adding more detail as I go, and trying to be careful to “keep it loose”  (keeping it loose is a term for trying to acrylic bird paintingbe painterly about the piece–and not trying to get every molecule exactly how it appears in the photo).

I have a tendency to overwork paintings, so it is a self-regulatory act.  If you find yourself obsessing over your work, you might easel acrylic painting of pelicanconsider reminding yourself “it is a painting, not real life.”

I like to work really fast, and this painting took about an hour.  I like that aspect of acrylics–they dry fast.  Some folks don’t–they like how oils allows them to mix and move it around a really long time.  You can add additives and retardants to acrylics, too, which will give you longer working times.

The painting is finished, and I sit back and take a swig of my delicious, cold cocktail ( I believe it was a greyhound–to play upon the whole grapefruit theme at the beginning).

finished acrylic painting

Want to see how to make some other stuff?

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Jason Sipe Jason Sipe (68 Posts)

Jason Sipe is an artist, craftsman and writer. He has spent the last 20 years working in the art and media fields. He now turns to this blog and helping others learn about creating art as his main focus.

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