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Series of 10 Art Lessons
Lesson 1

Nothing is more important in painting a picture than to get the values (dark, middle and light) established on the canvas first. The blending of these values is important, too. For our small 11x14 canvas we used the dark value, ultramarine blue and red on the top 2/3rds of the canvas. The bottom third a mixture of white and a touch of the those two colors mixed into the white.

The acrylic paint dries so fast. If the paint is put on quite heavily the wet paint is easier to be blended together so there isnít a hard horizon line. If you will put a zig zag stroke to pull the two colors together first and then by placing the bristles of the brush flat or parallel to the canvas you will be able to blend the zig zag strokes to a smooth place with no horizon line.

After you have blended these together as much as possible then you can pick up the brush, dry it off very well with a paper towels and then lightly stroke across your blended area for an even better blending of the two values.

You will only have to wait a little while for that to dry.

I took a strong desk lamp, turned the overhead light off and this allowed the student to see the strong shadows. We were painting a Zennia, so I had them put the shadow on the ellipse we drew which was in the crescent shape. It is hard for them to understand what a person is trying to get across so I kept a canvas and did the steps while they were watching and they could see then what I was trying to get. They had to make a couple of attempts to do what I wanted.

As soon as the shape dries then we take a white pencil and begin drawing in the petals of the flower. Getting out of the paint at this time helps a person to have more control. After all we grew up using a pencil and this is easy.

The next step is to dip the small pointed brush into the three values, in this case, red, blue and white. By putting the paint on the brush in this manner a one stroke method is used. We touched the brush carefully onto the canvas, pressed down on it, rolled it and pulled up. This forms a perfect petal.

Just remember to keep the values light on the light side of the flower and dark on the dark side.

Here are examples of Rembrandt's paintings. He was considered a master of controlling value, Dark, middle and LIGHT.

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