• Acrylic Flower Painting Tutorial + Amy Style Calligraphy

    I love tutorials — so today I’ve got a special treat for you! Two tutorials, one post. Learn how to paint acrylic flowers and make my signature Amy style calligraphy … all in one shot!

    Amy Style Calligraphy | The Postman's Knock

    I apologize for my absence this weekend! We decided to take off to Kansas for Easter to see our adorable little niece. In the free moments I had, my mom and I worked on a new concept: fabric wedding invitations!

    Fabric Wedding Invitations | The Postman's Knock

    To make up for my lapse in writing, I’ve got quite the treat for you today, though. Not one, but two tutorials! I was lucky enough to get some insight from Jan, a talented acrylic artist from St. Louis, on acrylic flower painting; and I thought a tutorial on Amy style calligraphy would pair up nicely with Jan’s instruction.

    Amy Style Calligraphy | The Postman's Knock

    You may remember from my watercolor calligraphy post that Jan sent some gorgeous envelopes, which I used to model the Amy style calligraphy today.

    Acrylic Envelopes | The Postman's Knock

    Jan was kind enough to send over photos of her larger acrylic flower paintings, which will soon be displayed in a gallery showing! Take a look:

    Flower Paintings by Jan McKinney | The Postman's Knock

    Jan has a wonderful style that is whimsical and summery. Her paintings me of the nostalgic English times, like I see depicted in Downton Abbey or Jane Austen novels {perhaps it is no coincidence that she is quite fond of the book A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside by Susan Branch}.

    Before we discuss how to create Amy style calligraphy, I’d like to share the photos and instructions that Jan provided to me on her acrylic flower painting process. She wanted to provide a tutorial for a project that will only take you a couple of hours to make; this is a wonderful way to practice your acrylic skills and make some beautiful adornments for your home {or — here’s an idea: as a gift for Mom [Mother’s Day]}.

    Jan purchases her canvasses as Michael’s in a group of nine. They are 4″x4″ and 1.5″ deep. They are pre-gesso, meaning they are already coated with white paint, so they’re good to go! If you have an untreated canvas, however, you will want to coat yours with gesso beforehand.

    Creating Acrylic Flowers | The Postman's Knock

    Jan chooses a base color and covers the front and sides of the canvas with it. She uses pencil to draw a freehand rose outline. If you’d like a reference photo, simply conduct a google search for “rose photo” {or whichever other flower you wish to draw}.

    Creating Acrylic Flowers | The Postman's Knock

    Once the base background color is on the canvas, you’ll want to assemble the different acrylic paint colors you will use for your flower. Jan has chosen one color plus white for the rose, two different greens, a gold, a liner brush and medium size paint brush.

    Creating Acrylic Flowers | The Postman's Knock

    You’ll use the rose color you have chosen to create the base coat for the rose. Notice here how Jan uses specific stroke patterns to create nice contouring.

    Creating Acrylic Flowers | The Postman's Knock

    Immediately upon painting the rose base, you’ll want to add some white. Acrylic dries quickly, so you have a small window of time to blend! Always pay attention to contouring; each petal is created with a “C” or “U” brush stroke. At this point, Jan advises adding a little yellow to the center of your rose {if you have yellow} to add a pop of unexpected contrast.

    Creating Acrylic Flowers | The Postman's Knock

    Next, Jan works on the leaves. She uses a fun “wriggle” stroke to blend the lighter green leaf base with a deeper evergreen tone.

    Creating Acrylic Flowers | The Postman's Knock

    Creating Acrylic Flowers | The Postman's Knock

    To finish the acrylic flower painting, you’ll want to coat it with gloss medium. This protects the piece and also gives it a professional look. {If you are painting on envelopes, gloss medium isn’t necessary}.

    Creating Acrylic Flowers | The Postman's Knock

    Jan also freehanded a rose motif on the back of the canvas for a fun little surprise!

    Creating Acrylic Flowers | The Postman's Knock

    And for canvasses this deep, it’s good to finish the sides as well:

    Creating Acrylic Flowers | The Postman's Knock

    Acrylic is a very nice medium for portraying a number of subjects; I like to use it to create portraits, as well! It’s the paint I used to create this portrait of two of our family members:

    Tío Pepe Acrylic Portrait | The Postman's Knock

    And also this portrait of a friend’s dog:

    Dog Portrait | The Postman's Knock

    You can get some really rich tones with acrylic; and your creations are sure to be striking!

    Now — let’s talk calligraphy!

    Amy Style Calligraphy | The Postman's Knock

    To create this calligraphy, you will need a Brause “Blue Pumpkin” nib. If you don’t have one, grab one now at Paper & Ink Arts. They’re cheap and high-quality, plus the shipping is very reasonable {about $2.50}.

    Brause Blue Pumpkin Nib | The Postman's Knock

    The Brause Blue Pumpkin is a great nib because it stands up to a lot of pressure. It’s great for putting in straight holders {I love my holder from Rodger’s Pen Box}!

    This style is a straight up-and-down style. The best way I can explain how to make it is simply by showing you the alphabet:

    Amy Style Calligraphy Alphabet | The Postman's Knock

    Remember, you’ll put pressure on your downstrokes, and take pressure off when creating your upstrokes. And have fun with the curls! The Amy style is all about dainty curls!

    I have also put together a worksheet so you can practice! You can download it for free here.

    Enjoy your flower painting and calligraphy making! I’d like to extend a very special thank you to Jan for sharing her technique!

    XO, Lindsey | The Postman's Knock