Painting Abstraction and Abstract Realism in Acrylics

Betsy_Dillard_Stroud_TattooLearn Betsy Dillard Stroud’s experimental and intriguing way to paint acrylics with four different exercises — a great lesson in painting abstractly with acrylics.

You’ll begin with two exercises done in total abstraction and in the last two exercises, you’ll approach subject matter in an abstract way. Expect the unexpected! A joyous adventure awaits you as you join her in stepping out of your proverbial comfort zone, and having a lot of fun in the process.

Start Date:

October 14, 2014

Course Length:

4 weeks




Betsy Dillard Stroud, AWS D.F. NWS (bio)

View Course Schedule


COURSE MATERIALS (included with tuition):

  • Course registration includes digital download of photo examples from the artist
  • “The Thick and Thin of Acrylics” by Betsy Dillard Stroud, Acrylic Artist July 2009

What You’ll Learn:

  • Exploring layering and pouring and in addition, using transparent and opaque paint in the same painting.
  • Creating exciting designs using black gesso and a limited palette.
  • Combining Collage with acrylics for spectacular results.
  • Looking at subject matter in new and intriguing ways.
  • Carving your own stamps.(If you don’t want to carve your own stamps, get some ready made ones)

Who should take this course:

  • Any intermediate or adventurous student who wishes to learn more about painting abstractly and the acrylic medium, itself.
  • Students looking for innovative ways to start and complete paintings!


  • At least three fluid acrylics: I recommend Golden Acrylics. If you are limited to buying three pigments, I would choose Napthol Red; Ultramarine Blue; and Quinacridone Nickel Azo. Other pigments to consider would be: Quinacridone Magenta; Phthalo Turquoise; Phthalo Blue; and an iridescent color like: Iridescent Copper Light; Iridescent Gold or Silver. Fluid Acrylics come in small plastic bottles, also, so to save money and get more paint, you could buy small ones.
  • You’ll also need: one small bottle of fluid black gesso (Liquitex)
  • One fluid white gesso
  • Tubes of acrylic: I recommend Liquitex. Match up the tube colors with the fluids, if you can. You must have a good gray. Liquitex makes a good neutral gray, although I will be giving you information about making grays.
  • Several pages of newspaper and one piece of rice paper, if you wish.
  • Watercolor paper in either 140 lb. cold press or hot press. (4 sheets) And, I suggest you all use a full sheet to get the benefit of this course.
  • Speedball pink soft linoleum to carve on. Get their carving tool, as you can hurt yourself trying to use other instruments to carve. Pictures of my carved stamps are in the syllabus. I will also give you more information about carving in the Announcement area.
  • Alcohol
  • An oiler boiler from Cheap Joe’s if you can get it. If not, you can use your brush to draw with alcohol on your painting. Or, you can use the dropper that comes with the bottle of rubbing alcohol to draw with.
  • Any other imprinting objects you might want to try.
  • One small bottle of fluid matte medium
  • An acrylic palette or a butcher’s tray (all found in art stores online)
  • Kleenex, saran wrap, paper towels, bubble wrap
  • Soap to clean your brushes with
  • Big Buckets to hold water

All assignments should be scanned, or photographed at full size, at 72 dpi or better, jpeg.


The Four Exercises:

  • Total Abstraction using transparencies,layering, opaque paints, and pouring.
  • Painting the Black Shape: A great exercise in design
  • Painting a Floral Abstraction
  • Painting an Abstract Figure

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