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Acrylic Peacock painting Your help Plz

edited June 2016 in Post Your Paintings
Hello, my name is Jill. I am new to this forum and hope it's okay to post an acrylic painting. I do paint in oils sometimes but I don't have any oil paint right now. I used golden acrylic color theory paints and mixed the colors myself. This was done very quickly last night mostly dry brushing. I see a few mistakes but what I am really trying to work on here was values... I am self taught and not sure I have the values right or not... I have watched the videos but still unsure... Any critiques are welcome because I just want to improve my paintings. I used no reference photo and I didn't draw it in... I just painted.


  • Wow! So beautiful.. and without any references too :)
  • Thank you. I have the artist "curse" lol because when I look at it I see the glaring feather to the left that I can't stand and can't fix it either.
  • So I was a little depressed earlier when I went and viewed Carder's paintings and some others posts. They are so good, and my paintings are so very far from being anywhere close to that.... I really what to paint at that level..... Suggestions are welcome, and do you think it makes a difference whether painting in acrylic or oil.... Or just developing skill in either? I am self taught,have only been painting for a couple years not very regularly because I am  a mom with three little ones the youngest being 6 months old so time for practicing is an issue for me.... What do you think will help me grow faster?
  • Jswartzart, if you want to paint in the realist mode taught by Mark then I think that practice getting values and colours right is fundamental. Mark has some good videos on how to see and mix correct values. That said, you painting has a very nice vibrancy in terms of colour and your strong brushwork I find really appealing. Stick with it.


  • Hi Jill , 
    When I read your post I felt I could totally relate to everything you said. I , too , am self-taught and until recently, have worked with acrylics. 
    I love acrylics.  I don't find them at all difficult to use , and I love the vibrancy of their colours. 
    When I say I love them , what I really should say is that I 'used to' love them. 
    I don't love them quite so much now that I've switched to oils. I still miss them in a way , particularly when the oil paints are giving me grief. Sort of like missing an old boyfriend, even though you know he wasn't the right one  :)
    Quite by chance , I came across Mark Carder's videos and I was immediately drawn to them. Then I discovered this forum and started to follow the work of some artists that use Mark's method. 
    Gradually , very gradually, I began to 'get' what Mark was saying on those videos. 
    You have to work slowly. You need to draw as accurately as you can. You need to check your colours because what you 'think ' you see isn't really the colour at all. You need to take time mixing your colours. You need to get your values right. You need to prep your canvas before you start. 
    Initially , my thought was ' Ah , for heavens sake , this is crazy !! Who has the time or patience to do all this !  Give me a break ' 
    But you know what , the man is correct in every single thing he says.  There are some things you just HAVE to learn before you fly off in whatever direction you want to go. 
    Things like measurement , perspective, values , tones.  You have to learn the rules , the basic rules , and then you can take a sledgehammer to them. 
    When I look at your peacock , I see something that's a nice painting.  Very colourful. Very cheerful. 
    But take a look at Thiago's work ( maybe don't !!  :)  He is in a league of his own.  
    But take a look at any of the paintings by artists here who have used the Carder method. You'll see the difference.
    There's no glaring , unrealistic colour. It looks natural.  
    Like you , I'm having a struggle at the moment.  I'm having to put aside a lot of my old beliefs about painting and I'm having to face the reality that talent seldom comes to us by accident. A lot of hard work and effort have to precede a good painting. 
    Also , I'm struggling with this idea of a limited palette. I'm so tempted to put out all my brightest colours and dazzle myself with them , a bit like a child in a sweet shop !! 
    But I'm beginning to realise that actually 'less is more' , and that natural , softer colours make for a better painting.  
    It's hard to 'grow up' , artistically , I mean. But hopefully , worth the effort.   
    David is so right in what he says about painting from life. It teaches you to see colours as they really are. 
    If the world had been painted in acrylics, we'd all have to wear sunglasses!  B)
    Sorry for the long reply but I just wanted to share some of my thoughts with you as I felt I could relate to how you were feeling when you wrote what you did.  


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  • Wow thank you everyone! This gives me a lot to work on... I will keep watching the videos and trying to learn. Again thank you so much!!! I know I am going to read all these comments again and try to really absorb what your saying.
  • @Hillary thank you so much for your post. I keep coming back to this thread and reading the comments. I have so many questions. I plan to make the transition to oils. What do you all think of alkyd oils? I watch a video on YouTube the artist uses them because the dry over night..., Coming from Acrylics the open time with oils is intimidating. How did you manage and what do you suggest? I love the idea of Geneva oils because the medium is already in it and takes all the guess work away.... I'm just not sure what to invest in initially, up till now I have only tried the cheapest student brand of oils. 
  • @davidwwilson when you look to the left there are some bold larger feathers that jus kind of stick out, I knew when I put the paint on I got them to big, to bright, and they just don't seem to fit, they drive me nuts lol
  • You could use water mixable oils and add water to them to thin them down. They do lighten then when mixed with water and dry darker (as do acrylics and watercolours), but they can then dry much faster, i.e. hours rather than days.
  • @richard_p thank you I hadn't thought about trying water mixable oils. This may be a good transition for me
  • I switched from using acrylics to water mixable oils, they are nearly as easy to clean up as acrylics, and you can add water or other oil based mediums to the paint as you can normal oils.

    You could buy one tube and see if you like how they feel.
  • My 2 cents. Get oils, traditional oils, and get the best artist quality you can afford. You only need to get five tubes. I find clean up easy with  oils. For one, I don't clean my brushes, I use the brush dip recipe provided by Mark and make my own. Glass palette cleans off very easily with a blade scraper and paper towel with a splash of isopropyl alcohol. I used to use acrylics and find there is less cleaning up with using traditional oils and these methods- more time for painting. 
  • I agree that cleaning up is easier than it used to be. I used to spend so much time washing brushes in toxic turps but now I just squeeze out the paint onto a paper towel, dip them in the oil and leave them lying flat and they're ready to go when I return to paint.  I can leave them for days and days and they don't dry out. The palette I just wipe off and if any paint has dried on it it's easily scaped off with a palette knife.
  • I might buy a tube of traditional oils and see how different it is to the Water Mixable Oils in painting and in clean up. At the moment though I'm enjoying just adding water to thin the paint and just using soap/water to clean brushes and a scrubbing brush to clean the glass palette. :/
  • I'd love to try those water mixable oils. I just hate turpentine! 
  • When I first started painting, I started with acrylics which dried too fast for me to enjoy.  Then I tried Water Mixable Oils - several different kinds - & found them quite a bit 'stiffer' than traditional oils.  Also, to obtain the best working properties, I had to add the linseed oil made for them.  I liked the Duo-Aqua brand the best.  I did like them, but when I tried traditional oils, they were so much easier (for me) to work with.  It was nice to clean up with water, but the cleanup with oils is just as easy - especially with using Mark's brush dip.

    I found the cost of painting for both water mixable & traditional oils the same.

    Here is a painting I did in 2012 in water mixable oils - as you can see you can get the same results as traditional oils.

  • That's interesting Jat. Would brand of traditional oils are you using now? :)
  • Marvellous painting whatever medium you used. 
  • @Richard_P  I used duo-aqua oils ( for this painting.

    Then I settled into Gamblin oils which are very nice, but am slowly replacing them with Mark's Geneva paints as I like the more buttery/self leveling effects of his paint.  I just began this course & am looking forward to attempting this alla prima style of painting - I tend to blend too much!
  • Thank you all again for sharing so much knowledge with me. @jat your painting is wonderful!!!! I think after having gone and watch more videos of mark carder I am going to invest in Geneva oils, I absolutely love his paintings and that is my ultimate goal. The only thing I wonder about now having watched his video on laying out a palette ( when he was about to paint peaches) those paints look thicker than Geneva paints? Why is that and do you have problems laying out your values the same way with the Geneva paints?
  • This is a painting I did in acrylics. I still have a lot to learn, and I greatly appreciate having a safe place to get "real" feedback from people who actually know what they are talking about and want to see you progress.  I painted this 1 1/2 ago before I found out we were expecting our 3rd baby. At the time I was so proud of it, but when I look at it now I see a lot that should have been painted differently. I'm just sharing, if you have critiques I will definitely try to apply your suggestions. Thank you everyone!
  • @jswartzart I don't think I watched the video of Mark painting peaches, I will have to look for it.  I only bought the yellow in Geneva Paint so far & had no problem with it on the palette or mixing it with my other oil paints.  I am using Mark's slow-dry medium that he gives the recipe for in the Studio Supplies so that I can make my other oils the same consistency as the yellow Geneva Paint.

    I think you will be happy with the oils - although it will be very different from using the acrylics, so you will probably have an adjustment period.  Follow Mark's videos & you'll do great.

    I like your tiger, it's well done!  Have you ever heard Mark talk about "painter's curse"?
  • @jat yes I watched the video on the artist curse, it's definitely something I have to work on. I have actually thrown paintings away thinking they were rubbish that later someone who had seen them beforehand came back and wanted to buy.
  • @jswartzart Yes!  I used to throw mine out too - but then another artist told me to keep them - at least as a visual record of your progress. 
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