Join painter Alison O’Donoghue for a super fun class in acrylic painting, “Birds on Birds.” Alison shares her unique techniques for creating a stacked, interactive, and harmonious world within the bounds of an 11″x14″ wood panel. She will guide you expertly through six lessons — starting with preparing the panel with layers of gesso and finishing with varnish; and in-between, magic!
Alison likes the stacking up method of composing because it allows for a lot of images within the painting without any concerns for traditional perspective (a common folk art approach around the world). Through Alison’s process of layered washes and highlights, your painting will glow with light and color.
Lesson 1 – Supplies & Preparing Your Board
We’ll go over the supplies needed for this project and prep your board for painting.
Lesson 2 – Drawing It Out
Here is a place to begin letting the ideas flow. Your birds don’t have to be realistically drawn and you can let go of the idea of right and wrong; instead do it your way. You do have a way.
Lesson 3 – Painting the Simple Shapes
Create a palette of color choices ahead of time and have fun with color! It’s good to be aware of the negative spaces — or spaces between — the objects and imagery, because they are as important as the birds in creating a balanced and vibrant composition.
Lesson 4 – Painting the Negative Shapes
In this lesson you will create lines around your birds by NOT painting the lines, and paint in the negative shapes of the background.
Lesson 5 – Transparent Color Washes
This part is really fun, and here is where the dimension, volume, sense of light and shadow and nuance are begun. We are staining the shapes we have painted with the washes. (It may feel as though you’re ruining the painting, but you aren’t!)
Lesson 6 – Highlights and Details
In this step, my favorite step, we are adding a final layer to bring out the form, as well as adding pattern to some of the shapes. Add spots, stripes, patterns or follow the form of the object to highlight the form. All of this will create depth, a push and pull and sense of shifting light that is exciting and interesting to the eye. We’ll finish with a nice coat of varnish to give your painting more luminosity.
And one more of Alison’s work: