[Retrospective post] Part 5, project 1, exercise 1: different ways of applying paint – Impasto

Retrospective post following tutor feedback.

14 March 2017. In her feedback to Assignment 5 my tutor suggested that I rearrange my blog for Part 5 of the course for easier cross-reference in assessment. Since doing this with the existing blog posts would in my opinion produce more trouble than clarification I decided that I would produce retrospective posts fitting the project exercises in the sequence of appearance in the study guide (Open College of the Arts, 2011, pp. 123-134). I apologize for double-posting images already contained in the posts covering the work for my assignment pieces.

So, here is my exercise work for testing the impasto technique of applying paint. In Part 3 of the course I had already started using my palette knives (Lacher-Bryk, 2016a) (Fig. 1). After an awkward start I had found them increasingly good and easy to use:

Figure 1. Drawing with paint – Part 3 exercise work using impasto technique

Also part of my preparatory work and assignment piece for Assignment 4 was mostly painted using impasto (Lacher-Bryk, 2016b). The finished result unfortunately suffered from a deplorable longer-term change of colour in the black paint I had used then (it turned a very unfortunate indifferent dark grey after I had taken the photo, which swallowed all the beautiful elements visible in Fig. 2 below), but I was quite happy with the structural quality of the rocks produced. I also noticed that my confidence in using palette knives grew quickly:

Figure 2. Assignment piece for Part 4 of the course – impasto painting technique used for creating the rock structure

For the present exercise I first produced an intuitive multi-layered impasto piece, in which I examined the emergent properties of depth and light effects. This 56 x 42 cm acrylic paper would later become the background for one of my Assigment 5 pieces (Lacher-Bryk, 2016c) (Fig. 3).

Figure 3. Multi-layered impasto examining light and 3D effects

Next I produced some monochrome structured layers on 42 x 56 cm acrylic paper, first using acrylic medium only on top of a dried white background (Fig. 4), then using acrylic paint directly (Fig. 5). The structures were created using two different kinds of large serrated spatulae. Both the exercises below were later used in my Assignment 5 project “A Shadow on his Soul” (Lacher-Bryk, 2016d):

Figure 4. Spreading acrylic medium with a serrated spatula
Figure 5. Producing a rough structure in acrylic paint using a serrated spatula

Some more impasto effects I also tested in preparation for my third Assignment 5 project. In particular, I mixed finely grated willow charcoal into white acrylic paint and applied it with a palette knife. The charcoal dust mixed with the paint to give a wonderful cool grey, while the larger pieces moved with the direction of the palette knife to produce a very attractive pattern (middle row in Fig. 6 below. This type of mix I later used to prepare the background layer for my third assignment piece (Lacher-Bryk, 2016e).

Figure 6. Impasto techniques tested for assignment project 3. Middle row: acrylic paint mixed with grated willow charcoal. Bottom row: Thick layer of acrylic paint applied with coarse paintbrush, then different types of ink added

Impasto for me is an incredibly versatile technique, which I will without any doubt come back to regularly with great joy.


Lacher-Bryk, A. (2016a) Part 3, project 1, exercise 1/2: Portrait and Figure – drawing the human figure, linear figure study [blog] [online]. Available at: https://andreabrykocapainting1.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/part-3-project-1-exercise-12-portrait-and-figure-drawing-the-human-figure-linear-figure-study/ [Accessed 14 March 2017]

Lacher-Bryk, A. (2016b) Assignment 4: “Claustrophobia” [blog] [online]. Available at:
https://andreabrykocapainting1.wordpress.com/2016/11/29/assignment-4-claustrophobia/ [Accessed 14 March 2017]

Lacher-Bryk, A. (2016c) Assignment 5, subject 1: “A Shadows Only Painting” (including Part 5 project exercises) [blog] [online]. Available at: https://andreabrykocapainting1.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/assignment-5-subject-1-a-shadows-only-painting-including-part-5-project-exercises/ [Accessed 14 March 2017]

Lacher-Bryk, A. (2016d) Assignment 5, subject 2: “A Shadow on His Soul” (including Part 5 project exercises) [blog] [online]. Available at:  https://andreabrykocapainting1.wordpress.com/2017/01/21/assignment-5-subject-2-a-shadow-on-his-soul-including-part-5-project-exercises/ [Accessed 14 March 2017]

Lacher-Bryk, A. (2016e) Assignment 5, subject 3: Hans Christian Andersen “The Shadow”. An attempt at an illustration (including part 5 project exercises) [blog] [online]. Available at:
https://andreabrykocapainting1.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/assignment-5-subject-3-hans-christian-andersen-the-shadow-an-attempt-at-an-illustration-including-part-5-project-exercises/ [Accessed 14 March 2017]

Open College of the Arts (2011) Painting 1. The Practice of Painting. The Bridgeman Art Library, London, New York, Paris, pp. 123-134.

Assignment 4: Feedback reflection

Updated on 25 March 2017 (Harvard referencing).

10 December 2016. Yesterday I had a wonderfully encouraging hangouts talk with my tutor to cover Part 4 of the course. My portfolio, unfortunately, was damaged during transport. The damage was not total, but I wonder how little care the horrendously expensive courier had for my parcel. Well, it cannot be helped and I just hope it will be returned with no additional damage.
Feedback from my tutor was so very positive and I think that in the last few months I might have found myself a little door leading to a new path of development.

The main points of attention for the rest of the course should ideally be the following:

  1. Since my work is much better when I am in front of a subject, my tutor suggested that I do as much on site work as possible. I will do so as often as possible.
  2. Technically there is a lot of space for development and for the first time I think that I might start having at my hands the ability to push myself a lot further.
  3. My sketchbook work is on a good way and I am advised to use it extensively throughout the remainder of the course.
  4. I am advised to consider the most successful pieces from Part 4 and try to carry the experience over to Part 5. The main successes were the painting done outdoors (Lacher-Bryk, 2016a)) and the view of our kitchen worktop (Lacher-Bryk, 2016b) as well as some of the painted sketches.
  5. It is very important to carefully look at the emotions felt in my work and reflect on their role for my personal development. It is necessary to avoid overworking or obliterating these emotions. I think that during much of my working time I am not yet fully aware of the emotions developing while painting and I will try and be much more alert in this respect. Some of the time I notice, though, that a development in this direction has set in.
  6. The method I used for conveying aerial perspective (volcanic landscape (Lacher-Bryk (2016c)) worked and I am advised to continue using it.
  7. At my stage of development there appears to be a problem with imaginary landscapes. My tutor pointed out to me that I am not yet confident enough to recreate a believable situation. Again I am advised to avoid overworking a painting, since it will turn illustrative.

In summary, in Part 5 I will try and experiment widely with a clear focus on my intentions for the assignment pieces. I think that I will need to come up with a reliable and easy to use system of recording outcomes and connecting them with an emerging pattern of mental exploration of my chosen subject.


Lacher-Bryk, A. (2016a) Part 4, project 4, exercise 1: Painting outside – painting a landscape outside [blog] [online]. Andrea’s OCA Painting 1 blog, 20 November. Available at: https://andreabrykocapainting1.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/part-4-project-4-exercise-1-painting-outside-painting-a-landscape-outside/ [Accessed 10 December 2016]

Lacher-Bryk, A. (2016b) Part 4, project 5, exercise 1: Working from drawings and photographs – painting from a working drawing [blog] [online]. Andrea’s OCA Painting 1 blog, 24 November. Available at:https://andreabrykocapainting1.wordpress.com/2016/11/24/part-4-project-5-exercise-1-working-from-drawings-and-photographs-painting-from-a-working-drawing/ [Accessed 10 December 2016]

Lacher-Bryk, A. (2016c) Part 4, project 2, exercise 2: Perspective – aerial perspective [blog] [online]. Andrea’s OCA Painting 1 blog, 10 November. Available at:https://andreabrykocapainting1.wordpress.com/2016/11/10/part-4-project-2-exercise-2-perspective-aerial-perspective/ [Accessed 10 December 2016]