What Is a Layered Effect in Painting?

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A layered effect is a painting term that is used to describe a very particular phenomenon. Learn about a layered effect in painting with help from a graduate of the Maine College of Art in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Painting Techniques
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Abbeth. I'm an artist living in Portland, Maine and I'm going to teach you how to create a layered effect with painting. You can use any extra paint that you have sitting around on your palette and if you don't already have a palette started, then just squeeze out a couple colors and mix the two together to create a third color just so you have some variation of hues and tones. Then I'm going to have you take any type of brush you would like and just soak the paintbrush with one of those colors and just spread it out onto the canvas in any way you would like. We're going to do an abstract painting right now. Don't be afraid to be kind of rough with the paper and really just get that paint on there so it's fully saturating the paper or canvas. Now grab your other color and do the same thing, just brush it on any way you see fit. Don't be afraid to let the two colors mix together on the paper. It's one of the exciting things about paint , and then take your third color and do the same thing with that. And everyone kind of has their own style for brushstrokes so just let your hand just kind of feel the brush on the paper and make any sort of brushstrokes you would like. Alright once the paper is completely coated in paint, you're going to let that dry. Wait until it's completely dry so with acrylic that's going to be about 15 minutes. Once your paint is dry you're going to take a few minutes to mix up a complementary color to go with the first color that you put down so in this case I'm going to mix up an orange using red and yellow to go over my blue. I like to use a palette knife to mix the two colors together and since I'm using naple's yellow it's going to make sort of a peach orange. And I'm going to take flat wide brush like this to evenly spread that color over the dry paint. If you're having trouble getting your paint to spread smoothly, you can dip your brush into the water and it will just make your paint a little bit more fluid. If you want to create a transparent effect, add a lot more water and make your paint into the consistency of watercolor which is about a 50/50 ratio of water to paint. Now before your paint dries, you can take any tool you would like, a pen that's dyed or a pencil or even just the back of one of your paintbrushes and you can scratch through the wet layer of paint to reveal the dry layer. And just play around. You can draw an image into it or create abstract forms or you can clean off your palette knife and use it to scrape away larger areas of the wet paint. My name is Abbeth and I showed you how to create a layered effect in a painting.


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