Pure Grace

The realism technique is used for this painting, which creates harmony using complementary colors. There are two ways to paint this piece. The first is using oils in the traditional way; the second is to use acrylics mixed with one drop of Easy Float on the wet palette before painting. The painting instructions are the same for both oils and acrylics.

Swan tray

Swan tray featuredNote: Follow all manufacturers’ label instructions for proper product usage.


• Wooden or MDF tray of choice • DecoArt Americana Acrylics: Buttermilk, Deep Midnight Blue, Light Buttermilk, Wedgewood Blue • Oil colors of choice*: Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Cadmium Orange, Cadmium Yellow, Cerulean Blue, Dioxazine, Prussian Blue, Titanium White, Viridian • Royal & Langnickel Supreme #2, #4, #6, #8, #10, and #12 flat (Series 1AB); #2, #4, and #6 filbert (Series 1AT); Fusion #6 and #12 flat (Series 3150); #3/0, #4, and #8 round (Series 3250); #5/0 liner (Series 3585); 1/2″ glaze/ wash (Series 3700); #2 Cheri Rol mop • DecoArt Easy Float; Multi-Purpose Sealer; Acrylic Sealer/Finisher, Matte (spray); Perfect Crackle (two-step process); DuraClear Satin Varnish • Royal & Langnickel Painting & Palette Knife, #P-6 • Martin/F. Weber Turpentine • Daler-Rowney Goldfinger (rub-on metallic finish), Silver • Miscellaneous: brown paper, gray graphite paper, hair dryer, paper towels, sandpaper, soft cloth, stylus, tracing paper, waxed-paper palette * If using acrylics, see Color Conversion Chart.


1. Smooth surface with sandpaper and wipe clean. 2. Apply sealer, dry, and sand again. 3. Basecoat entire tray with four coats of water + acrylic Buttermilk (2:1), allowing adequate drying time after each coat. 4. Sand with brown paper. 5. Transfer the pattern to the surface. Note: Refer to the Color Worksheet for each painting step. Use the brush size that best fits the area in which you are working and is most comfortable to you. Thin oil colors with Turpentine (3:1) for a transparent consistency. Mix acrylic colors with Easy Float (3:1).

Color Conversion Chart

color worksheet

Color WorkSheet (click to Zoom)

Oil color to DecoArt Americana Acrylics:
  • Burnt Sienna = Burnt Sienna
  • Burnt Umber = Burnt Umber
  • Cadmium Orange = Cadmium Orange
  • Cadmium Yellow = Cadmium Yellow
  • Cerulean Blue = Turquoise Blue
  • Dioxazine = Dioxazine Purple
  • Prussian Blue = Prussian Blue
  • Titanium White = Titanium White
  • Viridian = Bright Green


1. General basecoat. Base the entire background with Cadmium Orange. Base the sky with Cerulean Blue + Prussian Blue, the water with Cerulean Blue, and the reflection with Cadmium Orange + Burnt Sienna. Base the low value area of the swan with Dioxazine + Cerulean Blue + Titanium White and the light value areas with Cadmium Orange. 2. Start to create the volume using values. In this step, use the colors without Turpentine, although a little may be added to the brush, if necessary. Load the color in both sides of the brush. The brushstroke will be short, using the side-by-side technique. When needed, clean the brush with a paper towel. Apply a light value of Cadmium Orange + Titanium White to the sky. To the water, apply a low value of Prussian Blue + Burnt Umber and a medium value of Cerulean Blue + Prussian Blue. To the reflection, apply a low value of Prussian Blue + Burnt Sienna and a light value of Cerulean Blue + Titanium White. To the swan, apply a medium value of Prussian Blue + Dioxazine + Titanium White, a low value of Dioxazine, and a light value of Cadmium Yellow + Titanium White. 3. Modeling the color all the way through. In this step, stroke following the shape of each element. Load the brush with a generous quantity of paint to create texture. Apply a light value of Cadmium Orange + Titanium White to the sky. Apply a light value of Titanium White + Cadmium Orange to the water. Apply a light value of Burnt Sienna + Cadmium Orange to the reflection. To the swan, apply a light value of Titanium White + Cadmium Yellow and a low value of Prussian Blue + Dioxazine. To the beak, apply a medium value of Cadmium Orange, a low value of Dioxazine + Burnt Sienna, and a light value of Cadmium Yellow + Titanium White. To the branch, apply a low value of Viridian + Burnt Sienna and a light value of Cadmium Yellow + Viridian + Titanium White.


1. Allow surface to dry and cure for twenty days, and then spray with three coats of matte Sealer/Finisher. 2. Rim. Apply one coat of watery consistency acrylic Buttermilk to the rim. Do not dry. Use the mop to slip- slap the wet rim with small amounts of acrylic Light Buttermilk, Wedgewood Blue, and Deep Midnight Blue. Let dry. Sand with brown paper. 3. Crackle the rim. Apply one coat of Crackling No. 1 Base. Let dry. Apply one thick coat of Cracking No. 2, and dry using the hair dryer. Rub Silver metallic finish into the cracks, using a soft cloth to remove the excess. 4. Apply varnish following the manufacturer’s instructions.

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1 Comment
  1. Reply Patricia Clark May 15, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Love this design of the swan. I cannot find the pattern on your site?

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