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Magical Acrylic Painting Tutorial: Crafting a Pastel Unicorn with Artist Lisa Chadwick



Unleash the magic of acrylics with this enchanting unicorn painting tutorial, a favorite from the esteemed Goleta elementary School teacher, Lisa Chadwick. She is the founder and teacher of Artistic Horizons' after-school art and clay. This year we are debuting the Art and Clay Summer Camps at Mountain View Elementary. This step-by-step guide, infused with creativity and educational value, showcases the enriching art activities Lisa brings to children in Goleta, Santa Barbara, and beyond. Whether you're part of our art club or just beginning your artistic journey, this tutorial is perfect for young artists eager to explore the wonders of acrylic painting.

Step 1: Mixing Your Pastel Palette

Begin by creating a delightful palette of pastel colors that will bring your unicorn to life. Mix pastel yellow, pastel pink, pastel purple, and pastel aqua by adding white to each base color. Achieving the perfect pastel shade adds a soft, whimsical touch to your artwork, embodying the spirit of our art summer camps and after-school clubs.

Step 2: Slowing Down Time with Acrylic Retarder

To ensure your colors blend seamlessly on the canvas, incorporate a drop of golden acrylic retarder into each mixed color. This invaluable technique taught by Lisa Chadwick slows down the drying time of acrylic paints, allowing young artists to refine their blending skills without the rush, a cornerstone of our art enrichment philosophy.

Step 3: Painting the Background

With your lightest color, pastel yellow, begin to paint a radiant sunburst that will serve as the background, symbolizing the boundless creativity fostered in our Goleta and Santa Barbara art programs. Gradually blend in the other pastel colors, creating a harmonious transition that mirrors the supportive and collaborative environment of our art club.

Step 4: Adding Depth with Black

Introduce depth and dimension to your unicorn by painting the darker areas, such as the eyes, ear cavity, and nostril, with black. This technique emphasizes the importance of contrast in art, a concept explored in our elementary art after-school clubs under Lisa Chadwick's guidance.

Step 5: Bringing the Unicorn to Life

Paint the unicorn's body with pastel aqua, immediately adding white to the wet paint to create soft highlights. This step captures the essence of imagination and fantasy that we cherish in our art summer camps, encouraging students to experiment with light and shadow.

Step 6: Crafting the Mane

The final touch involves painting the unicorn's hair. Layer strokes of the darker pastel colors over the lighter ones, building up the texture and volume layer by layer. This technique, perfected in our art enrichment sessions, showcases the versatility of acrylics and the power of patience and practice.

Step 7: Perfecting the Unicorn's Horn

Begin by painting the horn's form using black, setting a dramatic base that will add depth to the layers above. Apply a layer of pastel yellow over the black. This serves as the foundation for the horn's glowing effect. Create a soft orange by mixing a bit of pastel pink into the pastel yellow. Paint this mixture onto the black underpainting, allowing it to subtly show through, thereby creating form and volume.


Conclusion: A Masterpiece of Imagination

Completing this pastel unicorn painting is not just an artistic achievement but also a journey through the enriching educational experiences offered by artist Lisa Chadwick in Goleta and Santa Barbara's premier after-school art and clay clubs as well as summer camps. This project embodies the core values of Artistic Horizons: fostering creativity, building skills, and nurturing young minds through the beauty of art.

Let your child's artistic journey begin with us, where every brushstroke is a step towards discovering their creative potential. Join our art club today and watch as your child transforms imagination into art under the expert guidance of Lisa Chadwick.

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