Mystery Canvas Series, Part 1

By  Linda Hollander 

  • Part 1
  • Figs. 1-3
  • Figs. 4-6


  • Plaid: FolkArt Acrylics: Azure Blue, Basil Green, Butter Pecan, Dark Gray, Eggplant, Fresh Foliage, Greenscape, Heather, Lime Yellow, Linen, Magenta, Jamaican Sea, Olive Green, Seamist, Steel Gray; FolkArt Artist's Pigments: Aqua, Titanium White
  • Brushes: Loew-Cornell: La Corneille Golden Taklon: Wash/Glaze, Series 7150, 1"; Round, Series 7000, #1; Liner, Series 7350, #10/0; Shader, Series 7300, #4, #8, #12
  • Brushes: Specialty: Bristle Rake Fan, Series 246, #2; Deerfoot Stippler Russian Fitch, Series 410, 1/8"; Angular Bristle, Series 244, 1/4", 3/4"
  • Gallery Box (12"x16") from Painter's Paradise
  • Plaid FolkArt: Gesso; Extender

Pattern - Mystery Canvas Series, Part 1

  • Preparation
  • 1. Apply several Gesso coats to top and sides of gallery box. Sand lightly. Allow to dry overnight.
  • 2. Print out pattern; transfer design outline. (Transfer details as needed.) Use painter's tape to tape off design edges. (Note: To prevent tape from peeling off basecoat, adhere to clothing first to reduce tack, then apply to surface.)
  • Sky and Water
  • 1. Use glaze wash brush to apply a thin coat of Extender to design area. Apply generous amount of Titanium White over entire design area; while wet and using dirty brush, apply Jamaican Sea horizontally from top down toward horizon allowing Titanium White to blend with Jamaican Sea, leaving light streaks here and there, and leaving area just above horizon lighter (Fig. 1). (Note: If needed, blend touch more Titanium White above horizon to lighten area.) Repeat same for water (area below horizon), omitting lighter area just below horizon (Fig. 1). Use blow dryer to force dry.

    Figs. 1-3
  • 2. Reapply Extender to upper half of sky area and entire water area. Fig. 2. Use small amount of Azure Blue to deepen upper half of sky working from top down and horizontally. Use dirty brush and Aqua to deepen water working horizontally from bottom up.

    Figs. 1-3
  • 3. Remove border tape. Use chisel edge of shader and rubbing alcohol to gently remove any unwanted paint or bleeding from border. Let dry. Reapply tape.
  • 4. Fig. 3. Use #12 shader to add Titanium White water reflection "dancing" down center of lake.

    Figs. 1-3
  • Artist's Tip
  • 1. It is best to use pattern and photos as guides for placement of grassy areas. If you must transfer pattern do so very lightly and transfer grass outlines of marsh foliage only.
  • Foliage
  • 1. Use dirty brush method to paint foliage; wipe brush on dry paper towel if necessary to remove excess paint between colors. (Note: Angular bristle brushes are also referred to as foliage brushes. If using new brushes, condition brushes by wetting with clean water, then pounce up and down aggressively on chisel edge of palette to open and relax bristles.) Wet 3/4" angular bristle brush; blot lightly on paper towel. Load small amount of Seamist on tip. Pounce chisel edge on palette until a light, open look evelops. Fig. 3. Using pattern as guide, use chisel edge to lightly stipple distant most foliage in sky area. Pick up small amount of Greenscape and stipple middle layer of foliage. Use Basil Green to stipple last layer. Float Olive Green along bottom layer to deepen.

    Figs. 1-3
  • Marshy Areas
  • 1. Wet 1/4" angular bristle brush; blot lightly on paper towel. Double-load with Olive Green and Greenscape; tap on palette to blend slightly. Lay a piece of scrap paper along base of marshy area to protect water below. Stipple marshy areas jutting out into lake from top downward. Remove scrap paper. While wet, use chisel edge of damp shader to smooth and level bottom of marshy areas (Fig. 4). Load tip of dirty brush with Fresh Foliage plus a touch of Lime ellow; stipple highlights (Fig. 5). Use bristle rake fan brush and thinned Fresh Foliage plus a touch of Olive Green to rake marsh and foliage reflections in water (Fig. 4). Use touch of Titanium White and chisel edge of #12 shader to dry brush ripples across marsh and foliage reflections (Fig. 5).

    Figs. 4-6
  • 2. Use liner and thinned Butter Pecan to paint small branches behind marshy areas and behind distant foliage above horizon (Figs. 3 and 5). Use Eggplant to tap in spiky purple flowers in marshy areas; while wet, tap Heather over top to highlight (Fig. 5). Use dirty brush and touch of Titanium White to tap additional highlights (Fig. 6). Use brush mix of Magenta and Titanium White to dab wild roses. Use liner and slightly thinned Olive Green to pull tiny grasses extending up into water. Use liner and Titanium White to paint stronger ripples in water here and there (Fig. 6).

    Figs. 1-3

    Figs. 4-6
  • Foreground
  • 1. Wet 3/4" angular bristle brush; blot lightly on paper towel. Double-load with Olive Green and Fresh Foliage; tap on palette to blend slightly. Stipple foreground foliage from back to front; use dirty brush and touch of Lime Yellow to tap highlights here and there. Use dry deerfoot stippler and brush mix of Magenta and Titanium White to dab in wild roses. Paint purple spiky flowers in same manner as in Marshy Areas.
  • Boat and Dock
  • 1. Use Steel Gray to base boat; base seats Butter Pecan. Use sheer Dk. Gray to float shading. Use brush mix of Steel Gray and Titanium White to dry brush highlights on boat; use Linen to float highlights on seats. Use liner and thinned Dk. Gray to add detailing to outside of boat.
  • 2. Shade Aqua on water under dock. Use Steel Gray to base dock boards; use dirty brush and Titanium White to blend in highlights. Use liner and a touch of Dk. Gray to add detailing. Use mix of Steel Gray + tch. Dk. Gray to paint posts; use dirty brush and touch of Titanium White to dry brush highlights.
  • Finishing
  • 1. Use liner and brush mix of Titanium White and Steel Gray to stroke in birds. Remove tape.