Studio Secrets / Improve Your Painting and Creativity | Ron Mulvey✏️ | Skillshare

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Studio Secrets / Improve Your Painting and Creativity

teacher avatar Ron Mulvey✏️, Artist / Art Teacher

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Time To Boost your Creativity


    • 2.

      Art Materials and Setup


    • 3.

      Painting Secrets / Revealed


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About This Class


Learn 3 Art Changing Studio Secrets that Fine Artists and Illustrators Use All the Time

I have used these three secret techniques to produce hundreds of paintings in watercolor, acrylic, and oil. Here they are!

1 - Glazing

2 - Veiling in White and Heightening in White

3 -  Shadow Secret

Why are they secret? 

They are not so much a secret as they are forgotten. Dash and blast painting techniques have taken over the art world and who has time for technique anymore.We do however have time (and sometimes it only takes a few minutes) to apply one or more of these Studio Secrets to a piece of art that does not measure up to our 'seal of quality'

We do however have time (and sometimes it only takes a few minutes) to apply one or more of these Studio Secrets to the following list of artwork:

1- To a piece of art that does not measure up to our 'seal of quality'

2- To enhance and bring brilliance and luminosity to a piece of art we are doing.

3- To bring harmony to a painting that needs color correction.

I am always saddened by the lack of 'punch' in most paintings I see publicly displayed. With just a few of these techniques and a few more minutes and sometimes hours, the work would really sing and say, "Look at me!"

Learn these painting techniques for watercolor, oil or acrylic, and see if you are not encouraged to paint a little longer and delve a little deeper into your artistic development.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Ron Mulvey✏️

Artist / Art Teacher


I've been working as a full-time artist since 1980. I have had the pleasure of teaching art since 1983 and have taught thousands of classes on drawing and painting. I would consider it a privilege to assist you in achieving your artistic goals.

I have taught the basic and advanced mechanics and principles which give us the skill and confidence to express creatively, for the past 30 years. Sharing them is my passion! 

What Do I Like Teaching?

Watercolors and Acrylic are my specialty. I work with oils also but not as often as the water based mediums.

I love trees, mountains, rocks, water, flowers, and all that nature has to offer. Getting out into nature always gives me a creative boost. You get the real energy and feeling of space and belonging.See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Time To Boost your Creativity: I am Ron Mulvey and today we're going to be learning about glazing. Glazing is a great technique used by many of the major artists through the centuries, and you're going to learn a lot of things that you can take a picture that you thought maybe you didn't like, and with this technique, bring it to a new level of luminosity and clarity. So this is a painting we're going to be working on and we're going to be glazing with Indian yellow. We're going to glaze it with some cobalt blue. I'm going to show you some of the tricks out of the studio [inaudible] studio secrets. I want to bring out the sunshine. So here comes a little more blue glaze, and of course that'll work there because the glaze is darker. 2. Art Materials and Setup: Here we have the acrylic gloss medium. I'll put a little bit in here. Notice how milky it is. It only looks that way for a moment. Then once you've mixed it with a color and put it on your picture, it goes clear. Here's a badger hair brush. I like using badger hair brushes. I also use bristle brushes like that. Here it is. This is the acrylic medium. It's glossy, it's milky. But after you've put it on, see it goes on milky and then in a couple of minutes it dries and it goes clear. We'll be glazing with this and Indian yellow,and will also be glazing with a ultramarine blue or a cobalt blue. Your choice 3. Painting Secrets / Revealed: Let me just show you a quick little sketch that I did, and there's the little fella on the left. You can see that the tonality and the color range is very similar to the one we're going to be doing. I have some Indian yellow. Very good yellow, permanent, has a rich history and painting. I've just mixed it up with some medium. This is a gloss medium and what it will do is it will allow me to spread the paint all over the painting. Now, there are some areas I'm not going to touch. But what I wanted to do is get a veil that's warm, you can see it coming out there. Especially in the water to create a transparency in the water. Colors that you glaze will always be more intense, transparent, brilliant, and if you just slapped down a big glob of yellow. Over here we're going to keep that cool, so I'm going to need to stay away from there. If light enters, the painting, hits what's underneath it. Like right here, this white, will be much more intense yellow. Then if I'd just taken thick yellow and put it there, I can always add white or what we would call heightened with white. Something Rembrandt did all the time. Leonardo Da Vinci said, "The whiter it is underneath, the brighter the color will be." This is a glaze. Now, what stands out in my memory is that these rocks were quite white, they are sun bleached. These are logs I could over those. I'm going to stay away from that. This is a piece of old cedar spar that was lying there. They're going to brighten up right there, see what that does. Liquid sunshine. There's the shadow areas deep in the forest I won't touch that there. Now, if you go back to the beginning of this film and see what this looked like before I added the glaze. You'll see quite a difference. This is quite cool here. I'm going to leave that. I remember it was a cool evening and I'll bring this in here, just give a little warped and flapping down from here. Here's where this will intensify. This is a fairly thin quinacridone red, which is like hue, that we like to use. Very strong. These are all the Cedar needles lying on the ground. So that will intensify that. Then I'm going to take my rag and bring back a little bit white there, a little rubbing. Get rid of some of the edges there. If there's any drift, Just pad it. There see a stripping head. Bring that in there. Now, I have a little blue on my brush. This green now with the glaze of blue, really stands out to that, see how that blue stands out. Anything in the shadow. I've got something hot here, hot, the sun is hitting it, and I add some very strong blues in there. I can glaze over these blues later. Ever I see in green, I'm not throwing a bunch of thick paint down and making layers. I already did my thick paint and I probably will add little more later, but right now, establishing darks and lights. You can tighten up any picture and make it as real looking as you want. If you have the hours and the mind to do it, you do end up using very small brushes. I'm more likely to keep at something with a broader brush stroke and then eventually all the wide brush strokes, because of there tonality, from a distance blend in. This is a wonderful dark in here. Like that. Dark and light. This is the reflection of the log in the water there. So lovely little section right down in here. This is going to be the cool layer area. See through the water to the bottom of the river where all the rocks and some of the leaves have sunk down. A couple of vertical strokes right here. Here we go. Start of a studio masterwork. Let me show you a few things that I think are worthwhile exploring. We're going to add a shadow in here. We have a mid-tone here, a light tone here. If I start the shadow from here, the paint is quite loaded on the brush and that's the lighter area, the shadow wouldn't be quite so pronounced. I'm going to start down here, not in the very edge, but right about here, and I'm going to just sweep it up like that. Then I'm going to fade it. Soften the edges. I'm going to add a little more here. Soften the edges. This is called the glaze. You bring it right over there. Shadows in the forest are dappled. It's a great painting by Renoir. I love party in a park and a couple are dancing, and the light is all dappled. Spots of reflected light. I want to bring out the sunshine. Here comes a little more blue glaze. [inaudible] worked work there because the glaze is darker than the actual white. Same with up here. Because I want the difference between the sunlit areas and the shadow areas in the mountain to be about 50-50. It's 50 percent darker. We're going to see if this works. In here might be a little iffy because of this value here. That's why the clouds are there. We're adding a little more dark up here. Painting and painting at arm's length, and now light here, dark here. It's all about adjusting dark to light. If you want the light to actually sing in your picture, and you're doing a landscape, you're going to need dark to light. Darkening. So we have quite a thick bit of blue there, the feathering. Right here there's a bush of some sort. Sometimes when you paint, you just make up your own hybrids. It reminds me of a little [inaudible] though in the fall. This is a studio masterwork. All that means is that it takes a while to master the techniques that you need in the studio to be able to do something to a picture so that the painting doesn't take you 10 minutes to paint. Usually a 10 minute painting can be very effective, but a sustained effort is always great to watch too when you're painting, I call watching a painting because if you just look at it, nothing much happens. If you watch it, you really keep your eyes on it, all things come to life that were intended by the artist. Dark to light. Moving across shadows, moving into the water now. Dark to light. Light, dark, light, dark, dark, light. The area here is reflected up here. The little finger there. This is Belgian linen, back to where we started. So it really grabs the paint. It's about a $100 just for the canvas made by Fredrix, one of the best factory-made canvas there is that you can buy, done by professionals. Each time I do this, you'll see it goes on a little darker. You're moving up into the shadow areas here. Generally the edges of the paintings should not stand out too much. Moving over here now, and this has taken a few minutes to do, and we're right in here. Remember with acrylics, a vale of white will pull up a dark area into a mid-range. But we're trying not to be timid here. Here's a quick example of how to heighten with white. This is my titanium white squeezed out, I'll take it full strength on a brush like this, and I'm going to pop it right in here. I'm going to put a little bit of white on top here, and right in here. You'll see how that stands out now. I'll take my finger and I'll soften the edge. Lots of painters use their fingers to soften edges. Now I've heightened that area with white. So if I let that dry and come back later and glaze it again, it will be even more bright and brilliant and luminous. So that's heightening your picture with white. You must make sure it's dry though, before you glaze over. Now, this is a little picture did there in Victoria and I just threw in some darks, it's a little watercolor, and it's on a hard board. What I'm going to do is going to take some of this white, and I take a little bit of the white on my brush, I take some of the medium. Let's take a little bit and then see what happens. Now, I'm going to put this over this picture. Now because it was watercolor, I'm getting a little bit of- see that? See it's dissolving the watercolor because watercolor is water soluble, and I new that. I'm giving its first coat, take a little more medium. I mean, you have the white paper here to checked and see our effect, it's a gray. That's what we want. I'm going to go over this with the medium. Now I could thin the medium with water, I happen to have a little bit of water right behind here. I'll put a little bit on here, and now I'm going to just stroke a little more white on. See the white? What this is, it's veiling the picture with white. If the white gets too thick, I can do two things. I can add more water like that, and then I can take my rag. I can tad it, see? Create a misty look like that. So you're putting it on, very little of it came off. Now if you did your water color with acrylics, then that would even work better because it wouldn't dissolve. You see that post behind there? I'm going to get some mist rising up here, like that, especially behind here. I'm going to come down with some thicker mist coming in here. I don't known if you've seen the fog banks on the coast, but they start pouring in very quickly. I can just wipe here. Bring back my tree, see if I can bring back that, up there it is. There's the post. So little padding technique or sweeping, creating a mist coming in. Veiling with white. I'm veiling my picture with white. Remember when this dries, fingers are great, it will look different because the white will have sunk in a bit. So you notice I can also lift with another brush if I want. I can lift off little shapes like this. I can go over this like that and I can still see it underneath, and lift it off gently. So a great technique. Get some wires, these are wires going up, and I think I'm going to leave those in there. Three little wires. The cloud here, I could actually just work it in. This is where it might take a little bit of the red, and the medium. There's the medium, add some the pink center. I'm not using thick paint, I'm just thin layers of paint, pouring in. I might even have a puddle here. Mist rises, so the rising brush stroke is good. Padding them here and there. Remember, that will blend in as it dries, even using your finger. Take a little more white over here with a little bit of the red in it. I can let that dry and see what it looks like later.