Feb 09, 2022
  1. Overview

I designed this course to help you understand how you can exhibit your ingenuity and novelty in artwork by working in a series with complex colors to create unity, harmony, and cohesion in four paintings from the beginning to the end. You’ll be able to learn how to use your artistry and express your feelings for color, shape, and surface quality—all the things you LOVE—in a way that demonstrates your COHESIVE VOICE!


I created this course to help artists broaden not only their exploration of acrylic and mixed media but also their ability to work in a series to help explore how their personal voice can truly benefit by working on more than one piece at a time. This course is quite different from my first course in acrylic and mixed media, namely, Acrylic and Mixed Media Techniques. To access this course, watch this video.


This course on working in a series with complex colors is grounded in the fact that in acrylic and mixed media, techniques alone are not enough. Rather, mastering how to use many techniques with repetition and variation helps create unity, harmony, and COHESION. We, as artists, seek our unique, personal, cohesive voice, and in this course, I will show you how I often work in a series, which helps me to identify those things that I MUST HAVE to help me clarify my own personal voice.


In this course, I will help you learn more about acrylics, mixed media, design, and complex color, and how you can use these to express your unique point of view, i.e., your "artistic DNA." I will also take you through a visual tour of how to achieve unity, harmony, and cohesion by creatively working in a series on four paintings at a time using complex color. [Click here to learn more about this course, especially if you’d like to watch the entire series unfold as you watch over my shoulder while I work!]


  1.  What is an acrylic paint? (From

A water-based acrylic paint is a paint that is composed of pigment particles dispersed in an acrylic polymer emulsion. There are three main components in any acrylic paint—pigment, binder, and vehicle:


  1. Pigment: Pigments are granular solids that give paint its color. They are milled to a tiny particle size and do not dissolve, but remain suspended in the paint. Pigments can be organic, inorganic, natural, or synthetic. They have little or no affinity for the surface to which they are applied.
  1. A binder is the substance that keeps pigment in place after the paint dries. Acrylic paint has acrylic polymer as its binder, and this forms a film after the water has evaporated.
  2. Vehicle: This refers to the part of the paint that carries the pigment and binder. Water is the vehicle for water-based acrylic, and when combined with the binder, it creates a polymer emulsion. Once the water leaves the system via evaporation or absorption, the paint dries, creating a stable clear polymer film full of trapped colored pigment particles.


  1. What is Mixed Media?

Mixed media is a term used to describe visual artwork created by combining several mediums or materials.


  1. Designs and Colors

Just like shapes and surface quality, color is a very powerful design aspect for artists. Color significantly influences emotions and perceptions in artwork. Color is complex and a bit tricky; the way we each see color is not only personal, but can depend on what colors are juxtaposed together. Cool colors can also be warm and vice versa! In my Powerful Design & Personal Colorcourse, I discuss color mixing and limited palettes.


Powerful designs require you to understand color theory so that you can not only realize the infinite tints, tones, and shades possible with just a few colors (plus black and white), but also so you can choose colors that align with what you wish to convey. Color selection can be very simple or very complex, but complex color in the final work can be achieved through glazing, sanding, and overlapping shapes in either case. I would like to introduce you to complex colors to help you understand how they can help you create both depth and history in your surface quality—these attributes greatly help an artist to find significant clues in their personal aesthetic. The way you balance color intensity, hue, and value is a driving force in your design and composition. I often work in a series with at least four paintings at a time, and in my Working in a Series Course I show you how to obtain complex color and cohesion throughout the series of paintings.


  1. Working a Serieson Different Paintings at the Same Time

I have found that working in a series increases my artistic momentum and productivity. If you work in a series on a number of paintings at the same time, it will give you a real insight into your "artistic DNA". Each work in the series can and often does inform the other pieces, allowing you to cross-pollinate ideas that are clicking and that inspire you! This repetition of a common thread is what ties the series together, regardless of how individual and unique each work is!


In a series, whileeach painting is unique, your intention is to create a sense of unity, harmony, and cohesiveness through the four paintings. How can you accomplish this?


If you watch me do this in my studio, you’ll see how this activity is able to loosen you up – after all, you are working on more than one project at a time, taking the pressure off each individual one. In a series, you have more opportunities to discover the aspects of art that you love, namely, colors, shapes, lines, marks, texture, and surface quality. As I work on four paintings at a time, I continually look at each painting alone and together with the others, allowing me to assess variation, contrast, similarity, and cohesion.


As you work toward finishing your series, you’ll come to a point when you feel the need to really slow down, step back, convert your work to black and white, and consider what each painting needs. I call this stage "CLARIFY," a time for final touches and editing out anything that is not necessary. This is the time in a painting’s life when you realize you cannot keep everything, nor do you want to. It is a time to declutter, simplify, and make what you wish to feature clear. This is where the VALUE of your painting can provide many clues! Aim for a predominance of one key value, pay attention to where your eye enters the painting and where it goes next (navigation), and use glazing to achieve color harmony.


The final works in your series will help you build confidence, since each painting will have its own unique problems to solve, but having the other works nearby will allow you to see successful areas in another painting that help to solve the painting you are stuck on!


  1. How to Get a Complex Color

I describe "complex color" as a color that can only be achieved by adding, subtracting, layering, sanding, and glazing. In other words, rather than squirting color out of a tube or bottle and leaving it "as is," I basically do the opposite. I keep layering, overlapping, sanding, etc. until what is left is the complex history of all that used to be there. I control what the final color will be through glazing, adding solid paint, and determining how much of the distressed color/texture to leave showing. For me, complex color in a painting is a "must have". This is because I appreciate seeing the struggle behind the work, a reminder that nothing in life or in painting "comes easy". Using colors straight out of the tube, without any manipulation, would convey a very different feeling or message. Personally, I cannot relate to pure and unchanged color. It does not align with my life experience.


  1. How I Create a Series of FOUR Acrylic and Mixed-Media Paintings

In my "Working in a Series" with Complex Color online course, I show you how I used one simple shape—a circle—to begin four acrylic/mixed media paintings. This series was fascinating to me because, although I began with one simple shape – the circle, which changed in size, color, texture, and eventually introduced rectilinear shapes that were NOT circles at all! To own this LIFETIME course, just click here. This course has 12 HOURS OF VIDEO, with 9 HOURS of VIDEO DEMO and 3 HOURS of BONUS VIDEO – it really is quite a comprehensive insight into not just working with acrylic and mixed media, but the design and color principles behind the work!


In the VIDEO DEMOS, I share my inspirational insights and knowledge on Glazing, Collage, Mark Making, Sanding, Gouging and how to create a final encaustic like finish in four easy steps.


I have lots of techniques that I will share with you, including image transfers, stencil transfers, how you can fix dry marks, how you can:

  • determine the pH of a paper,
  • use a gelli plate
  • create handmade stencils
  • keep acrylic paints wet for at least 24 hours
  • camouflage unwanted shapes
  • use acrylic spray paints
  • create unusual shapes
  • finish a painting with final touches and finesse!


Let’s get started. Access the course here!



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