Painting Spring Flowers in Acrylic on a Black Surface


Lucy Parker demonstrated a dramatic version of a seasonal still life on good quality black paper.  Many people were tempted to give it a try themselves during that afternoon, where Lucy was available to assist. 

She started by using quality acrylic paint with good pigment to ensure better coverage, otherwise there’s a possibility that  two coats will be needed.  A brush loaded with paint and relatively little water is needed. Some transparent colours like yellows benefit from a white undercoat to ensure the black substrate does not show through.

Lucy demonstrated a loose and expressive approach, not aiming for botanical accuracy, by building up a quick and sketchy base layer. She started painting the flowers from the base of the stems, moving quickly towards the head like a firework. Then the leaves were added to create a pleasing composition before working on painting the flower heads.  When this layer dried she went back in to refine and add some details.

During the demo we picked up many useful tips. 

  • Lucy reminded the audience of the benefits of a stay-wet palette to keep acrylic paint moist and workable longer.  She shared tips on how to make one with a shallow tray containing damp kitchen paper and a layer of baking paper or tracing paper.
  • Tips on mixing realistic shades of green, which were essential for this subject. And other useful colour mixing tips. 
  • Also colour loading with two different colours on the brush – so effective for the different colours in the tulips.  
  • Painting water with the elipse of the water line and the distortion of objects seen through water and clear glass.