Posted in Art, Family life, Other stuff, Writing tips

The painting life of Donna begins

The painting life of Donna begins or maybe like writing it was always there

Okay, that’s not totally true. You’ll have seen through this blog that I like to find old tired furniture and paint it new. Not in a traditional sense either. I have an artistic view on what I’m painting so each piece is original. Some don’t turn out perfect but that’s half the fun of giving it a go. It can always be sanded back and repainted if need be.

Apparently so can a canvas painting. My mum’s advice before I stared on the canvas she had lovingly bought for me was. “You can always paint over it and start again.” So with that in mind, what did I have to lose?

My last post tells of my inspiration to paint this particular painting was the photo below.

Sunset Currumbin, Queensland
Sunset looking up Currumbin Alley to the west. July 2016.

The canvas I have started with is 75 x 60cm. Mum usually paints on much bigger canvas but I didn’t want to start too big, especially if I may be awful at it. I had to make a easel out of a pergola pole facing the light, by screwing in two flat hooks. The frame was too wide so I added flat piece of timber (ruler width) to the bottom and inserted an open paper clip to the top to anchor the painting so it wouldn’t blow off. Strangest easel I’ve ever seen but it did the job.

Painting outside
A nice spot in the sun to paint. I like to improvise.

Mum said to paint the canvas white first. I tried crisscrosses, then waves and the brush seemed too small, so I got a bigger one (I’m impatient) and gave it good cover by watering down the white pearl paint a bit more.

Painting on canvas
I covered the canvas with Pearl White Mont Marte Dimensions.
Painting from a photo.
An almost blank canvas and a photo for inspiration.

Next step: drawn in the lifesaver tower (I used a ruler). Though I want it to look real it’s just a silhouette in the foreground and the sunset sky is the star. I found when I started to paint I could still see the pencil so though I tried to paint around it to start I realised it would be better to paint over it so it flowed behind the structure. The blue is Monastral Cerulean. I think in hindsight I should have mixed a colour closer to the real sky because it was a stunning blue.

Drawing on canvas to paint
I drew the main structure, the lifesaver tower, before starting to paint.

Next step: paint the black parts which are all the things in the shadows. The land, the tower, trees and inlet.

Lifesaving tower in painting
Starting with the blacker areas such as the lifesaver tower.

Next step: start creating the detail with whites (clouds), colours such as Brilliant Red and Medium Yellow. A bit of Hookers Green Deep for the land detail and wash some blue where the creek runs. I seriously didn’t think it was working. I didn’t seem to be getting the shadows and light right. I probably needed to get further away from it because when I did I sort of liked it a bit more.

Painting on canvas Currumbin Alley
The painting details came together in the end.

Next step: when the canvas was dry I took it inside and propped it near the TV so I’d be forced to look at it and analyse it. The details didn’t quite look right. I thought the cloud shadows weren’t correct and needed more shadow above.

The next day I corrected that and also gave the sky a bit more red and pink leading to the clouds, where before it just went from red to vibrant blue. I don’t mind what I did at the bottom of the painting (particularly from a distance). I’m still not sure about the clouds. They just don’t look enough like clouds. I think the overall effect of colour is what I was trying to achieve. I like the brightness. I suppose like all art you can love it or hate it, and sometimes not even be sure what you feel about it. Using acrylic paints meant that the paint dries darker than when it’s applied. The painting also looks different in the bright light of outside to the more subdued inside light.

Painting of Currumbin Alley sunset by Donna Munro
This is how it looks on the wall in the lounge room.

I found this blog post on About Home website that I probably should have read before I started. There is also Acrylic Painting Tips for Beginners, another I should have read first.

Tell me what you think and if you have any advice on how I can improve please feel free to be a critic (only in the nicest of way). Thanks once again for reading.


Donna Munro is the author of The Zanzibar Moon, Kendwa's Secret and Elephant Creek, freelance writer, blogger, graphic designer, content writer, book marketer, administrator, web editor and book reader. She's been published in Take Five, The Australian Woman's Weekly, For Me, She, That's Life, Woman's Day and Club Life and other smaller publications. She is a proud member of Romance Writers of Australia and the current Administrative Assistant. Donna lives in Queensland and is addicted to beaches, reading, Peanut Butter, elephants, koalas, Sydney Roosters and Home & Away. You'll often find her digging her toes in the sand with a book in her hand.

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