Focus on Education – Mixed media shadows from Elaine Russell CDA

In the second installment of our Expand your Skills series, Elaine Russell CDA gives us an introduction to a very interesting technique of adding shades and highlights by mixing oil paints with acrylics.

This my first blog and since I’m a talker, It may be hard to limit this to several hundred words but I’ll do my best. I love oils and acrylics both so I found a way to combine them to create easy and dynamic shadows and highlights in this mixed-media style.
When we paint in oils we apply the values to start the form in oils, let dry, or add a drying medium. We then add further values in oil, drying between layers to create the finished picture. Being a busy person, I decided to try a different way to do still life painting and still have the appearance of oils when done.

After painting the background, I based in each object in the picture of the mid-tone in acrylic.
As soon as that was dry, I started applying the shadings and found that darker and darker shades could be applied right over wet ones. The reason was that since we were using so little paint, we could apply more oils as needed. Highlights and reflected lights were done the same way. It was a pleasure to scrub in the shadows and softly rub them out. I have been doing it this way for many, many years and have never had a student fail to learn how to do this.

I should also mention that no mediums are used with this method. Those who think they are allergic to oils, often are allergic to the mediums. Since none are used I have found many who are now able to use oils again.

Your sister painter,
Elaine Russell CDA

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