Acrylic splat becomes a toucan

I have to say that I am so excited. I’ve had a crazy day at work with lots of exciting things happening, big changes and developments in the Libraries being backed up by a huge pile of work and several learning curves to clamber up. So I came home frazzled and tired. I had planned to vegetate in front of the television, but wandered into my studio instead.

Yesterday I discovered Michelle Kral‘s work and in particular one of her videos (as I posted yesterday) and I was really inspired by her technique. So I thought, ‘what the hell’ and sat down to play.

I dug out some watercolour paper and my fluid acrylics. I think Michelle works in watercolour, but I’m more familiar with acrylics, I had the urge to layer on layer, and I’m not as confident doing that with watercolours. I also dug up some thin viscocity acrylic medium which previously I had no idea what to do with and suddenly realised that it would be perfect for thinning the fluid acrylics down without using so much water (which can be a not so good thing as too much water in acrylics can prevent the paint from forming a proper film when it dries and consequently it can flake off or do some other artwork ruining antic).

I started splatting and scribbling with my brush, a little dribbling, dotting, and dabbing with my paint rag. Then my iridescent medium entered the scene (I am hung up on that stuff lately, I love it), followed by iridescent white. Splat, scribble, dab, dab, I just poked at it for a while, not really sure what I could do with it, trying to get that vibrant feel that Michelle managed.

At one point I discovered a long bent triangle shape and the concept of a toucan came to mind. I had been working in landscape, so I turned it to portrait and suddenly the picture coalesced in my head.


Toucan, acrylics on waterclour paper, approx. 297 x 420 mm.

I finished it off with thinned acrylic white and my ruling pen. Sorry about the poor photograph, but because of the iridescence it is really hard to photograph. I might give it another go tomorrow with sunlight (it is midnight here at the moment).

So a totally new style and experience for me…yay! And quick! Only took me a couple hours max (in comparision to some of my other works which can take days or weeks). This could be for sale! (And yes, that is a scary statement for me :D)

The biggest thing for me that I’m learning at the moment is to trust my skill. I have to believe that no matter what I do it will work out somehow. It may look like crud at some points, but if I keep going, I can make it work. I’m an artist, I can do this! (This is my mantra…and it is working :D).

Here’s wishing all of us a fantastic and arty weekend.

Best wishes,
(happy la-la)



6 responses to “Acrylic splat becomes a toucan”

  1. A….Mazing! wonderful technique …why…because it is FUN and it has a great way of freeing the creative juices I would think. This is a great way to break through when you just can not think what to paint or how to start a painting…(My usual problem) I may hav a go at it too…you made a great looking toucan bird


  2. Your painting is wonderful – I love working kind of intuitively like that – just seeing what shows up. Haven’t done this exact technique – but I think I’ll try it. Definitely that Toucan could be for sale!!

  3. Hi Liz,

    You most definitely are an artist with amazing skills – Keep trusting in them!!! (I love seeing the results!)

    I love the idea of intuitive painting, and when I’ve given it a try it’s been fun (even though I typically have trouble just “letting go”)… Your painting and the video you’ve shared make me want to try it again!

    Thanks for your continued inspiration 🙂


  4. very cool! i am terrified to think what would come out of my pen if i tried to draw a toucan. yours is awesome!

  5. Melinda Cole Avatar
    Melinda Cole

    Brilliant Liz! Love the colour and the toucan is great. Most definitely should be for sale : )

  6. I love this so much. The colours are brilliant and I love how you have made the bird appear out of the foliage.