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If you’ve ever wanted to paint the ocean but didn’t know where to begin, this project is a great way to explore abstract techniques while creating a beautiful, textural work of art. Chroma’s Australian Artist in Residence, Teresa Small, offers her go-to tips for painting with Atelier Interactive Acrylics and Atelier Molding Paste.

List of Colors:

  • French Ultramarine Blue
  • Prussian Blue
  • Cobalt Turquoise Light
  • Naples Yellow
  • Napthol Crimson
  • Titanium White

List of Mediums:

List of Other Materials:

  • Large “Teardrop” Palette Knife
  • Small “Teardrop” PaletteKnife
  • Small “Round” Palette Knife
  • Stretched Canvas or Panel
  • Flat Palette for mixing colours
  • Rag/Paper Towel

Let’s start by considering your painting space. Ensure that it is a peaceful environment with good lighting. When using palette knives you will need to be mixing large quantities of paint, so have enough space on your table and use a flat palette. You will need Atelier Interactive Acrylics, Atelier Molding Paste, a canvas, palette or painting knives, flat paint palette, rag or paper towel and dropcloth (optional). A cheap disposable option for a large, flat palette is to clip baking paper to a piece of cardboard. Once you have your spot set up and all materials ready, you can get started.

Step One:

Prepare your surface. When using thick paint it’s important to be using a strong surface! Stretched canvas or primed wood panel is ideal. Do not use paper or loose canvas or the flexibility of the surface could crack your paint.

Atelier INteractive tiubes and painting knives

Step Two:

Using your large “Teardrop” palette knife mix together 10 parts Titanium White and 1 part Ultramarine Blue. Add an equal amount of Atelier Molding Paste to your acrylic paint. Mix thoroughly until the paste is one with your acrylic. Load up the back face of your large palette knife and apply the paint to the top of your canvas in long horizontal strokes with heavy pressure. Ensure the palette knife face is flat against your canvas. If your paint is stretched too thin or not covering well it means you need to use more paint! Continue this until the top half of your canvas is painted.

Applying Atelier Molding Paste

Step Three:

Using the small “round” palette knife, mix together Titanium White with Molding Paste in equal parts. Hold the palette knife overhand, almost pinching it between your thumb and fingers with the back face pointing down. Roll the palette knife between your thumb and fingers and get a feel for how it moves and swirls. Load it heavily with the white paint mix, and with light pressure, lay the paint over the blue in the sky while rolling the palette knife in your hands to make a swirly pattern for clouds.

Painting clouds with a palette knife

Step Four:

Wipe your large “Teardrop” palette knife with a rag by pinching and pulling the knife through. Using the clean knife, mix a small amount of Prussian Blue with a teaspoon (roughly) of Molding Paste. Apply this to your canvas in a wide horizontal line at the edge of your sky color (a light Ultramarine Blue). This should be about 5-10cm wide. Clean your palette knife with your rag.

Applying Prussian Blue Hue with a paintingknife

Step Five:

Mix a medium-sized amount of Cobalt Turquoise Light with an equal amount of Molding Paste. Using your large palette knife, load the entire back face of the knife with paint. Place the Cobalt Turquoise Light overlapping the Prussian Blue and with long, horizontal marks, paint on a thick band. Be sure to use light pressure so your new paint is sitting on top of the other color, not mixing through it. Before you reapply paint to the palette knife, ensure that you wipe the knife clean with a rag. If you would like to add some interesting texture to your surface, roll the palette knife in your fingers while moving it around in the turquoise area to create a “swirl” effect.

Cobalt Turquoise Light on a painting knife

Step Six:

Clean your palette knife with the rag. Mix together a small amount of Naples Yellow with a Large amount of Titanium White, then add in a large amount of Molding Paste. Wipe your palette knife clean, then mix together a small amount of Brilliant Violet with a large amount of Titanium White, then add in Molding Paste. Wipe your palette knife clean. Load only the top half of your palette knife with purple, then load the bottom half with the yellow. Wipe the double colors on your canvas with the purple touching the turquoise. Let the yellow fill in the remainder of the canvas. Experiment and roll the knife around to create a unique texture in the “Sand”.

Step Seven:

Using your small “Teardrop” palette knife mix together Titanium White and Molding Paste. Heavily load your palette knife with paint and with a light pressure overlap the turquoise and purple parts of the painting. Wipe the palette knife clean each time you pick up new paint. Take your time to build up texture relief on the area you want to “pop”.

Step Eight:

Lay your painting horizontal and let dry. This can take 24-48 hours with this amount of very thick paint. Wipe all your palette knives, clean your painting palette and pat yourself on the back! You now have finished this gorgeous artwork!

abstract ocean painting

Atelier Acrylics Tutorials

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