Acrylic Painting Painting Plants

Devil’s Tongue (aka Snake Palm) again

Devils Tongue Again

Acrylic on mat board, 27 x 13″
To enlarge, click image, select All Sizes

I hadn’t posted anything for a couple of days because I’ve been working on this painting instead of daily sketches. I was determined to finish and post it today, and did, even though the photo isn’t great. I worked from a watercolor I did on site, and a bunch of photos I took of this odd stinky plant on a walk a few weeks ago. I did some sketches for composition, trying to make sense out of all the crazy foliage happening in the photo and to decide what to emphasize, eliminate or move. I did a couple of small value studies too. Then I just had at it, working very loosely in acrylics. To check values, I set my camera to black and white and took a picture. I could immediately see I need more light areas and where. I painted in layers, using thickened and thinned paint in many layers and glazes.

My main goal with this painting was to experiment with trying to make acrylics work like oils (except without the toxic solvents, lengthy clean-up and slow drying time). There was a ton of learning that went on as I worked on it.

I’ve done a lot of reading on acrylics, much of it contradictory or out-of-date information but finally found an excellent new book called “Acrylic Revolution” by a Golden Acrylics (the brand I’m using) working artist named Nancy Reyner. It’s the book on acrylics I’d been hoping for. Detailed up to date information about how to properly work with the various mediums and paints to do whatever you could dream of doing and more. It’s a great book and tomorrow I’m going to experiment with some of the techniques in it to try to better understand how to do some of the blending techniques and ways to get soft edges, to be able to work more like oils.

Update: This is a Dragon Arum plant (Dracunculus vulgaris), not as named in the title of the post.

8 replies on “Devil’s Tongue (aka Snake Palm) again”

Wow this is wonderful. I was interested to read about your experiments with acrylics because I’ve only just started using them and I’m sure there is so much to find out. I’ve used golden acrylics on fabrics but haven’t tried them on paper/canvas yet – I might have a dabble when I’ve finished reading to see what happens – any tips gratefully received. Annabel


Jana — your experimenting and testing has certainly paid off! This is gloriously stunning! Colors, values composition — all of it!! An absolute WINNER!


This one looks so Georgia O’Keefish. Very sensual with all it’s curves. There is so much to experiment with in acrylics, isn’t there? Have you read any of Stephen Quiller’s books?


The painting has great depth. What a strange yet beautiful flower. I’ll have to look up the book you recommended. I am very uncomfortable with acrylics also.


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