Using Nature to Explore Acrylics

Providence Petrels (detail) by Nicky Dickson

Providence Petrels (detail) by Nicola Dickson

Using Nature to Explore Acrylics
With Nicola Dickson

Wednesday, 10am – 12:30pm

26 February – 1 April 2020

Acrylics are the most versatile of all paints. Certainly, they can be used so to mimic the appearance of watercolour or oil paints but they also can be combined with various media to modify their properties and appearance, enabling the creation of a wide range of unique effects. Each week, different natural objects such as seed pods, leaves, nuts or flowers will be available as inspiration for a series of guided exercises where we will explore the different ways acrylics can be used. Participants will have the opportunity to complete several paintings on primed paper or board to explore how to create interesting layered and textured effects as they depict their specimens. These classes will be suitable for beginners and those more experienced who wish to explore the potential the medium offers.

About Nicola Dickson

Bauer's Noisy Friar Bird (detail) by Nicola Dickson

Bauer’s Noisy Friar Bird (detail) by Nicola Dickson

Nicola Dickson is a Canberra artist who attended the Australian National University, completing a Bachelor of Visual Art in 2003 and a PhD in 2010. Nicola enjoys using a range of processes to make her artworks that explore the sense of wonder she feels in response to the natural world. She is however primarily a painter working in oil, acrylic and watercolour media.

Nicola has held 18 solo exhibitions in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney. She has been a finalist in various competitive exhibitions including the Sulman, Waterhouse Natural Science, Kilgour, Bayside and Hadley’s Art Prizes. She also has been selected for residencies at the Cité Internationale des Arts Paris in 2017 and at the Norman Bird Sanctuary, Rhode Island in 2019. Her paintings and drawings are held in several public collections including Parliament House, Canberra Museum and Gallery, ACT Legislative Assembly, Australian National University and Canberra Hospital. Nicola is represented by Beaver Galleries, Deakin.

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Week 1
Introduction to the properties of acrylics and how they can make wonderful surfaces onto which you can paint your subject.  

Week 2
Exploring different media you can add to acrylics for glazing or adding texture; options for application including brushes, rollers, pouring, stamping and stencils.

Week 3
Project one: making a background with layers using translucent washes and glazes.

Week 4
Project one: complete by adding opaque foreground elements.

Week 5
Project two: developing background layers that also incorporate texture.

Week 6
Project two: adding final layers to project two.



All materials will be provided.


Please note, enrolment closes one week prior to the first workshop.

  • Refunds are available if requested at least one week (7 days) prior to the commencement of the workshop(s).
  • Refunds requested within one week (7 days) of the commencement of the workshop(s) are only available in exceptional circumstances and must be supported by documentation (i.e. medical certificate).
  • No refunds will be given after the commencement of the workshop(s).
  • Partial refunds are not available if you are unable to attend individual workshops that are part of a workshop series.

More info

Please contact Belconnen Arts Centre via email, or phone (02) 6173 3300.