Paint Along With Nancy
Let's Paint!
Nancy says:

When I started teaching, I discovered that along with the instinctive need for survival was man's instinctive need to express himself, to record his environment. This is not new. It began thousands of years ago with the cave dwellings of our ancestors.

That creative urge has not changed. It is still there in each and every one of us. All through the years I have heard the same refrain from students and people from all walks of life, all over the world: 'I have always wanted to paint,' and that has included such well known people as Churchill, Eisenhower, and even Grandma Moses, who at seventy years old became famous for her primitive paintings.

It is evident that nearly everyone has a secret desire to paint, but they are often put off because they believe painting is a mysterious, involved process, which only a talented few can understand.

Therefore I decided to remove the mystique from painting (amid howls of protest from the experts) with the 'anyone can paint' approach, giving all those who wished an opportunity to enter this happy world and enjoy the pleasures of painting.

The method I have devised consists of three basic guidelines which will guarantee you, the absolute beginner, an acceptable painting on your very first attempt.

1 The preliminary drawing is done with the aid of grid lines applied with brush and umber wash. The drawing shows the correct placement of components, stroke directions and tonal values.

2 Colour formulas are given in exact amounts for the mixing of the three tonal values needed.

3 Paint is applied with a palette knife.

Finally, when you have mastered the basic skills of painting, you will be free to decide for yourself what'ism' to adopt or create, and the conventional pictures used in the painting lessons in this book can be a launching pad into space of abstract, avant-garde art the Picasso of today is not the Picasso of yesterday.

Now relax and enjoy yourself. Don't become frustrated and discouraged trying to become another Michelangelo or Van Gogh. Painting is exciting and fun and that's what it's all about. Happy painting !


Painting Procedures

1. Your first step is to cover the canvas with an umber wash. This gives the painting a richer colour and also allows you to wipe off the drawing if you make a mistake. To make the umber wash, squeeze out 2 teaspoon burnt umber. Dip your large, flat hog brush into the turpentine or white spirit (it should not be dripping), and then into the burnt umber on the palette, pulling some aside to make a light, rather thin wash. Cover the canvas with the wash, taking care not to make it too dark or runny. Wipe the excess moisture with tissue but leave the canvas damp.

2. For the sectioning on the canvas use the medium round brush and umber wash. This time, use more burnt umber than turpentine or white spirit, in order to achieve a darker colour. (if your canvas is to be used vertically, draw three vertical lines equally spaced and five horizontal lines. If your canvas is to be used horizontally, section it off with five equally spaced vertical lines and three horizontal lines.

3. Put in the drawing reduced to simple form and the shading with the same dark umber wash and the medium round brush. Use tissue to erase, if necessary.

4. Set up your palette as shown below, using about a teaspoonful of each colour and mixing the aqua, purple and mixed green as instructed. The palette should be set up the same way each time and a copy of the set-up kept for reference.

Palette

5. Be accurate when mixing your colours. You may find that your colour mixtures vary slightly from the colour swatches shown here but this is normal. Just make sure that you keep the correct tonal values.

6. Keep your paint on your palette clean while working, by cleaning your knife before going from one colour to another.

7. Dabbling and stippling are two techniques you will find used here. To stipple colour on the canvas, put a small amount of paint on the tip of your knife or brush and cover the area required with short, sharp strokes to give a rough, raised texture. For dabbling, use a little more paint and, with the flat part of the top of the knife or brush, dab short strokes on the required area.

8. Six months after you have completed your painting, dust it off with a dry, soft paint brush and apply the clear varnish lightly. Lay the painting flat until dry - this will take about an hour.

9. One of the most difficult lessons to learn in painting is when to stop. You could argue that Albert P. Ryder, the famous American painter, reworked his paintings for thirty years in the solitude of his New York tenement. Painting over dust and grime gave a molten, jewel-like quality to his paintings. That's fine but, since it's quite possible that you may not be another Albert P. Ryder, forget it. In overworking, not only will your painting lose its spontaneity and freshness, but you may very well find that you lose the painting altogether.


Anemones
Florals are best for beginners or if you haven't painted for a while.

THE DRAWING
1. Use canvas board, canvas or hardboard, 36cm (14 in.) by 46cm (18 in.) horizontally.
2. Study the drawing and painting below.
3. Arrange the palette according to the palette layout above.
4. Use the large, flat hog brush to stain the canvas with a light wash of burnt umber, as described above. Wipe with toilet tissue.
5. With the medium round brush and dark umber wash, put in the grid lines and simple drawing as indicated above.
6. The light is coming from the right, so with dark umber wash lightly shade bowl and flowers where indicated.
7. Clean your brushes in the medium of turpentine or white spirit.

THE PAINTING
Always mix paints with straight knife.

BACKGROUND (always painted in first)

Colour formula
Tones of white
LIGHTMEDIUMDARK

The procedure for mixing this colour is different from other methods.
Light tone
1 3/4 tablespoons white
1/4 teaspoon Naples yellow
Mix and separate into three equal parts.
First part for light tone : do not touch
Second part for medium tone
add 1/8 teaspoon burnt umber
1/8 teaspoon aqua
Third part for dark tone
add 1/4 teaspoon burnt umber
1/4 teaspoon aqua
1/8 teaspoon yellow ochre

Clean your knife.

Let's paint
Use offset knife, held lightly.

1. Study the background in the painting below.
2. Using the flat of the knife, paint the background in thirds of light, medium and dark tones, starting on the left with dark tone.
3. Blend tones slightly and go around flowers loosely. (The knife will feel awkward at first.) Clean knife.
4. Again with the flat of the knife,lightly stroke on purple where indicated on background, and underneath the bowl for shadows, using downward strokes. Lightly score the shadows horizontally with the tip of clean knife.
5. With the point of clean knife, scratch in wet paint any flowers lost.
6. Move left-over paint, if any, out of mixing area and clean the palette.
7. It is best to leave the background to dry before putting in flowers.

BOWL

Colour formula
Tones of white

LIGHTMEDIUMDARKEXTRA DARK
Refer to the tones of white above, used for the background and mix according to the directions. Mix the extra dark tone in the following way:

Extra dark tone, to add
1/2 teaspoon dark white tone
1/8 teaspoon umber
1/8 teaspoon aqua
touch of alizarin crimson

1. Study the bowl in the painting below.
2. With the flat of the knife paint circular strokes of dark tone on left side and bottom of bowl.
3. Again with circular strokes paint medium tone in the middle and light tone on the right side of bowl. Blend tones lightly.
4. Paint extra dark tone on left side and bottom of bowl where indicated. Blend lightly.
5. Outline the right side of bowl very lightly with extra dark tone.
6. Keep left-over tones of white for the white anemones which will be painted in later.

PURPLE ANEMONES

Colour formula
Tones of purple
LIGHTMEDIUMDARK
Anemones - drawing

Medium tone
3/4 tablespoon white
3/4 teaspoon purple
1/8 teaspoon blue
Mix and separate into three parts, one small (1/2 teaspoon) and two equal parts.
First part (1/2 teaspoon) for light tone
add 1 teaspoon white
1/8 teaspoon Naples yellow
1/8 teaspoon aqua

Second part for medium tone : do not touch

Third part for dark tone
add 1 teaspoon purple
1/8 teaspoon blue

Anemones

1. Study the purple anemones in the painting above. You will see that I have added three extra flowers.
2. Start with the flower at the top of the bunch. Paint the top petals with light tone and the lower petals with medium and dark tones. Always slant petals to the centre of the flower, using the flat of the knife.
3. Paint the open flower on the left with light tone on the right of it and medium and dark tones on the left.
4. Paint the unopened flower on the left with dark and medium tones. Outline the edge of the petals with purple from palette.
5. Paint the top petals of the flower on the upper right with light and medium tones, and the lower petals with dark and medium tones. Retain the loose feeling of the petals by scratching with the knife around the edges. Watch strokes.
6. Paint the lower right flower with medium and light tones edged with dark tone.
7. The stamens of all the flowers will be added later.

RED ANEMONES

Colours
Tones of red

LIGHTMEDIUMDARK
cadmium orangevermilionalizarin crimson

The above colours are used from the palette and require no mixing.

1. Study the red anemones in the painting above.
2. Paint the two unopened flowers with dark and medium tones, with a touch of light tone on the right edge of each outline the edge of petals with purple from palette.
3. Paint the top petals of the upper open flower with light and medium tones. Slant strokes to the centre.
4. Paint the shaded lower petals with medium and dark tones, then add dark and light tones to the outside of these petals.
5. Paint the lower petals of the flower on the right with light and medium tones.
6. Paint the shaded petals with dark and medium tones, adding touches of purple from palette where indicated.

WHITE ANEMONES
For these you will need the tones of white previously mixed for the bowl.

1. Study the white anemones in the painting above.
2. Paint all the petals of the large white flower in the centre foreground with light tone.
3. Using the flat of the knife paint short strokes of dark tone on the lower right petal and medium tone on the centre and left petals.
4. Paint the petals of the flower directly above it with light and medium tones. 5. Add strokes of dark and medium tones on the left of the flower, where indicated.

LEAVES AND STAMENS

Colour formula
Tones of green
LIGHTMEDIUMDARK

Medium tone
1 tablespoon mixed green
1/2 teaspoon yellow ochre
1/4 teaspoon vermilion
1/8 teaspoon cadmium orange
Mix and separate into three parts, one small (1/2 teaspoon) and two equal parts.
First part (1/2 teaspoon) for light tone
add 1 teaspoon white
1 teaspoon lemon yellow

Second part for medium tone : do not touch

Third part for dark tone
add 1/4 teaspoon purple
1/2 teaspoon mixed green

1. Study the leaves in the painting above. They are just a general impression. Do not paint too many.
2. Paint a few strokes of light, medium and dark tones between flowers.
3. Paint the leaves on the left side of flowers with medium and dark tones and tip them with light tone.
4. Paint the leaves on the right side of flowers with medium and light tones, adding the dark tone at the base of the leaves. Keep them lacy by using the tip of the knife.
5. For the stamens paint a round blob of medium green tone in the centre of each flower. Add a spot of light green tone on the right of each, for highlight.
6. Stipple dots of purple from palette unevenly around each blob.

HIGHLIGHTS AND FALLEN PETALS AND LEAVES
1. With medium white tone paint highlights on red anemones where indicated.
2. Paint a few fallen petals and leaves with medium and dark red tones, medium and light green tones and purple. Keep them delicate and do not paint too many.
3. Paint shadows under fallen petals and leaves with purple.

Now you've taken the plunge and I'm sure you are pleased with the result.

Home