Archive | November 2012

Back to Coloured Pencils and Markers

Yes, I’ve returned to my coloured pencils and my markers. This time however my intention is not to try things out, but to try to create paintings or drawings which could hang on someone’s wall – and that someone might not be only me.

I spent last weekend together with some dear friends who have been artists for a much longer time than I have been doing art. They decided to participate in an event called “the day of the open studios” which means that they plan to do an art show in their house and garden. I’d brought some of my pieces with me, and they favoured one done with pencils and markers (you can see it here). And they – gulp – invited me to participate in their show! An art show – that was something I had been dreaming of but never thought that it could become reality some day.

On the other hand, I must admit I am terrified. It is not only that I have to produce the necessary drawings or paintings, they also have to be good enough to be shown to the public, good enough to be shown side by side with my friends’ art.

The event will be in May next year. Time enough, one might think. But we all know that time flies. So I am off to my drawing table, because I want to be able to show you something soon!

Burning Sky

Burning Sky

Burning Sky. Acrylics on Watercolour paper. Ulla Hennig November 2013

This will be the last painting of my series of Acrylic paintings. It is not because I won’t ever use acrylics again. Maybe some months from now I will return to them and happily will be slinging paint again. In the meantime I will get my Polychromos coloured pencils and my markers out of their boxes. There’s a reason for it, and I will tell you more about it on Friday in my next blogpost.

Fire flower, Finished

Fireflower - finished

Fireflower, finished. Acrylics on Acrylic paper. Ulla Hennig November 2012

It was very interesting to see how my vermillion red got darker when I added green to it. However I still want to feel more secure in how much of the green I have to add to how much of the red. But there’s no other way to reach that feeling of security than to practise, practise and practise colour mixing!

Fireflower in Acrylics WIP

Fire flower

Fire flower. Acrylics on Acrylic paper. Ulla Hennig November 2012

I haven’t much to say about it, except that I managed to get the highlights on with adding a tiny bit of red to my yellow. In a second step I will add some dark red in order to give more depth to it. I don’t have a pre-mixed dark red so I will mix that by adding green to the red. I’ve learnt in the meantime that complimentary colours can be used to darken a certain colour.

Sunset behind the Wall

Sunset behind the wall

Sunset behind the wall. Acrylics on watercolour paper. Ulla Hennig November 2012

Sometimes you plan to do something and you end up with something totally different. Originally my plan was to try out how to darken vermillion by adding black. You can see the original vermillion in the upper lefthand corner. I ended up with a very dark brownish red. Not the colour I wanted at all. So I added white. Interesting. More and more my painting reminded me of a stone wall. But the stone wall needed some structure – so I added some black to some white and went over the first layer. I also put a bit of that greyish colour over the vermillion red. Now it looked like a sunset with grey clouds to me. And here I stopped…



Hornbill. Acrylics on Acrylic paper. Ulla Hennig November 2012

I’ve already painted that bird with watercolours, as you can see here. I now wanted to give it a try with my acrylic paints. The only thing I am not so much satisfied with is the colour of the sky. I think it is much too blue, although I added quite a lot of white to my primary blue. So there’s a note to oneself: Do more skies. Experiment with not only adding white, but also with adding a bit of gray. In order not to forget that note I’ve put up a list on my google drive which has all the experiments and practice exercises I want to do in order to get better with acrylics.


The blue Flower

Blue flower. Acrylics on watercolour paper. Ulla Hennig November 2012

In Germany, the “blaue Blume” (blue flower) stands for mystery and romanticism.

The greens on this painting didn’t come out of the tube. I mixed them out of my primary blue and primary yellow, adding a bit of white in order to make it opaque. I’ve read before that one shouldn’t use the premixed green out of the tube because it doesn’t look natural. So I made a mixing green experiment – and yes, it is true!

Laughing Pumpkins

laughing pumpkins

Laughing Pumpkins. Acrylics on acrylic paper. Ulla Hennig, November 2012

I know – Halloween is over, but somehow those pumpkins wanted to be painted. I imagined them having fun, rolling on the floor, laughing. I found out that you can get a very nice dark orange by mixing yellow ochre with vermillion.

Regarding the background I first put down a layer of burnt ochre, but it didn’t seem dark enough for me, so I painted over it with black, mixing the two colours on the acrylic paper.

Turquoise variations

Turquoise variations

I made a rough pencil sketch on the acrylic paper, but when I got into the process of painting, I got carried away and things ended a bit different than how I planned them to be.

I used three colours: white, primary blue and phtalo green. White is not only needed to lighten up the blue and green, but also to make those two colours opaque. I bought a set of ten plastic knifes (not palette knifes but the real ones which you use for BBQ outside), using them for mixing colours. I’ve seen some video tutorials where the palettes are very, very well organized – I’m afraid I’ve got to learn a lot here. However I’m very much satisfied with my paper palettes (originally being designed as quadrangular BBY paper plates). They are very good for mixing colours and are easily decluttered when they are full of dried up paint.



Heat. Acrylics on Acrylic paper. Ulla Hennig November 2012

The paints I used for this painting are Burnt Umber, Yellow Ochre and Vermillion Red. Mixing Yellow Ochre and Vermillion Red results in a very intensive orange, and mixing Burnt Umber with Yellow Ochre results in a nice middle brown. I added the shadows in the branches by painting with pure Burnt Umber.

Besides learning about the various possible colour combinations I learnt that  using a bigger format than the one I have been using might be appropriate. It is a difference whether you are using coloured pencils and markers or a paintbrush. The second thing I learnt is that it might be better to do a rough sketch on the acrylic paper to make sure that the composition is right.