Capture Autumn Color in Acrylic: A Demo

By Joe Gyurcsak

Chadds Ford Fall Morning (acrylic on panel, 12×16) by Joe Gyurcsak

|Sponsored| To capture the seasonal beauty of a landscape in early morning light, acrylic artist Joe Gyurcsak uses Utrecht Artists’ Acrylic Colors — mixed on the palette to create new and original color combinations.

Inspired by Autumn “Color Energy”

The main inspiration for Chadds Ford Fall Morning was the beautiful autumn color and early morning light illuminating the farm buildings. I could see that the color pattern for the earth, buildings, and tree line, which involved combinations of earthy tones, was especially exciting against the vibrant blue sky. Once I could see this color scheme, I began to plan for a complementary undertone wash that could set the stage for the subsequent layers.

Whenever I’m painting a scene with an obvious dominant color, I avoid selecting the closest tube color. Instead, I prefer to create mixtures. In this piece, for instance, I mixed all the earth tones on my palette.

My painting process can be broken down into a few distinct stages. I begin with a broad neutral layout of moderate abstract shadow patterns. I follow this with a broad layout of moderate abstract light patterns. Then, I begin to delineate the shapes, being selective as to where to allow the sharpest edges. I like to keep most of the edges soft or lost when trying to express realism. Last, I scan the entire painting for odd shapes or value changes or overstated edges. My goal is to convey that initial feeling I experience when I first see the scene — in this case, the thrill of the autumn color and morning light. Light, for me is “color energy,” and translating that into artist colors continues to excite me creatively.



For my landscape, Chadds Ford Fall Morning, I used Utrecht Artists’ Acrylic Colors from BLICK.

Note: Utrecht Cadmium-Free Artists’ Acrylic Colors offer the same excellent performance as traditional cadmium colors, but they’re certified nontoxic, making them safer for your health and the environment.

The Undertone

I toned the surface (a 3⁄8-inch-thick BLICK Premier Artist Panel) using a subdued wash mixture of dioxazine purple, chromium green oxide and unbleached titanium.

Stage 1

I begin to establish the large moderate abstract shadow shapes using unbleached titanium, dioxazine purple, cadmium-free orange and viridian — the perfect neutral complement to the neutral undertone wash.

Stage 2

Next, I start defining the abstract design using a mix of cerulean blue hue, cobalt blue pure, unbleached titanium white and titanium white for the sky. Next, I place a few dark accents. To maintain a painterly expression, I like to preserve a suggestive quality for as long as possible.

Stage 3

I try to avoid overworking the painting in the final phase. if the effects of light and space are being successfully communicated, then I know it’s time to start reining it in. Because the stone shed is a focal area, everything else should yield and be supportive to this. What originally drew me to the scene was the morning light on this farm shed and the deep clear blue sky, so I let this guide me all the way through the painting of Chadds Ford Fall Morning (acrylic on panel, 12×16).

Learn more about Utrecht Artists’ Acrylic Colors, including the cadmium-free line, at DICKBLICK.COM.

To see all 102 of the AcrylicWorks 7 Art Competition Winners, check out the the special publication, AcrylicWorks 7, on newsstands now (or get the digital edition here).

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