Basic Acrylic Painting – Sponge Texture

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 43,098
    Painter Mary Gallagher-Stout demonstrates the sponge texture for basic acrylic painting.

    Mary Gallagher Stout: Hi! I am Mary Gallagher Stout. Today, we are at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Virginia, my studio is here. We are creating a stony lion. We have just put on a layer of gray and now we are going to go in with the burnt sienna, a very diluted burnt sienna and build up those lines again, because like I said, we are not working from a reference picture; we are working from my memory. My memory puts down the information and if we wash it away, we wont be able to get it back. So lets build up those lines that are already existing.

    I am using a Number 2 round brush to draw in my sketch. So I am really just building those lines back up, so I can put my lion where he needs to be. This is a dark space, so now I need to fill that with some dark. Its really about having fun and going with the flow. So there arent any mistakes, there is just a new beginning. Thats the way you really should look at your artwork because usually, the best paintings come from our mistakes, really. So I am just going to fill in these lines and not sweating this monster, filling in my lion. This is his bottom lip here.

    So now that I can see my image again, I am going to be building up the stone. Typically, what happens when you are building a stony lion, your image will start to fade away. When that happens, you shouldnt panic because basically, building this lion is just a repetitive process of building up the layers with depth and color and lights and dark. So we are going to build more grit on top of this, since we can see our lion again. I am going to lay a darker tone of gray on top of our lion. We are just building up grit and texture on top of this lion. If you notice that your image is getting a little weak, you really need to just go in with a little burnt sienna and retrace what you have already drew.

    So I am going to mix up that gray and thats what we are going to do next; we are going to lay out a toning darker gray. So now Ive continued to put the light gray layers on top. We are going to put on the burnt umber and Paynes gray. Thats a toning darker layer to help build depths with the light and depth. We are just going to continue, thats what I have been doing, just layering and layering and layering. Once your image falls away, you are going to pull it up some more with some darker. I am using Paynes gray to pull it out as I get further into it in the layers. So you are just going to take your Paynes gray and burnt umber. Its a very diluted solution. Its probably 10:1; its a lot, a lot of water. You are going to get a sea sponge and you are just going to put it on very haphazardly as we are just building texture, like a stony texture because we are making stones. I just want to have it on there to give it a nice variety. Any sea sponge will work. You just want to make sure that you are not making like a uniform pattern; you want it to be kind of all over the place because things in nature arent symmetrical. They are just kind of everywhere, they are natural. Now I am pushing it in a little bit, I am wiping it in, not too much, but I am just kind of folding and blending as I am rolling it on there. You can even roll it, if you want. There are many ways that you can do it. I have rolled it. We are just going to keep layering and layering this stony color, until we are happy with how the stone looks. Again, thats all your own preference. Dont expect to get it perfect the first try; it takes layers and layers and layers to build the type of stone that you are looking for. So dont give up because you dont think it looks like mine, it takes time and layers.

    So if you are not happy with it, just put on another layer and just add a little bit more movement with your sponge or some more spattering with your stiff brush. Coming up next: shadows and highlights.