A stark white canvas is notoriously hard to work with. It glares in your eyes and distorts the effect of the colors. However, what is even harder to work with is a base you already have and love. All you can think about is how you can ruin it in a thousand ways and how you will never have this back. And this is where a breathing technique can come in handy. You need to take a good old deep breath and just let it go.

With a shaky brush in hand I went back to my harbor scene. I had my doubts at the beginning whether I wanted to continue or not. However, was so intrigued (maybe obsessed is a better word) with how the technique in the tutorial will work out, that I ended up forgetting about it, and just started painting.

Taking a step back from the original picture and dissecting it to its bare elements is something new to me. To take one color and look for all the little places where you can find it seemed strange. Sometimes I felt like I was playing Where is Waldo? But you know what, it works!

cornish harbour acrylic
Cornish harbor

What struck me most during the process was how quickly the paining can transform by bringing in the different colors one by one. The earth tones in the base made it ghostly as if smog descended on this beautiful harbor. Then adding in the green toned blue suddenly made it sparkle like a jewel. From an almost industrial-like scene it transformed into a secret place you would only find in a hidden Mediterranean fishing village.

cornish harbour acrylic

Perhaps the most intimidating part of the painting seemed to be the water. It resembled the ponds in Monet’s water lily series. And Monet is Monet, so how am I … (again, breathing technique!). At the end, taking those little baby steps and adding the colors and textures one by one it slowly came together. In a rather nice way, I think.

cornish harbour acrylic

Looking back at the process the only thing I can say is I really enjoyed it. I discovered many new tricks and tips. I cannot wait to implement these elements into my future works. I will definitely use it for the paining I am planning for my uncle!