Bonfire Acrylic Gouache Painting

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Create an ambient bonfire painting from observation using Liquitex Acrylic Gouache on Arches Watercolor Paper with artist Jimmy Leslie. Learn to block in color and explore color mixing, color temperature, and application techniques during our Bonfire Acrylic Gouache Painting Facebook Live Demo on 8/...



  1. Carefully separate Arches watercolor paper from block using a palette knife. Process
  2. Vertical Format Layout • Using the 7” x 10” Arches watercolor paper block in a vertical format, measure in 1” on each and lightly mark with a pencil for a 5” width. • Measure 1.5” from top and bottom and mark lightly with a pencil for a 7” length. • Apply painter’s tape and burnish the edges.
  3. The initial stage of drawing should be simple with basic geometric shapes and the concept of working “general to specific” at each stage of the painting. Keep lines light.
  4. Begin blocking in colors quickly to establish relationships rather than finishing one area and then moving to the next. This section of the “sky” or background helps establish the shape of the flame but is quickly laid in, in 3 minutes or so using a mix of mostly Primary Blue, a bit of Primary Red and a little Mars black to create a deep gray/purple. The entire surface should be covered with color in 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. For the flame, use Primary Red with a small amount of Primary Yellow. To achieve the brown color of the wood, add a bit of Emerald Green.
  6. The remaining sections are blocked in with roughly a 50/50 mixture of Primary Red and Emerald Green for the ground with a bit more Primary Red and Primary Yellow added to the mixture for the fire pit.