Sketching up a Design
This tip is for working on canvas with a smooth primed finish:
To keep the colours fresh for acrylic painting I usually sketch the composition in pastel. The colours blend in easily with the acrylic washes…. and the best part is that it can be wiped off with a damp rag should – there be an error 🙂 whereas charcoal may stain and graphite is difficult to remove.
The two images below show the pastel and acrylic washes as I constructed the painting, and then the finished oil painting Rununculi Medley.
Money Savers – Paint Tubes
To save or use the very last skerrick of paint, try the following hints:
The tips for metal tubes below are really only suitable for adults to perform.
- ACRYLIC PAINT – When a tube of acrylic paint is finished there are two solutions. If it is a soft plastic tube then squeeze some air out of the tube and then place tip in water and allow the water to siphon up into the tube. If a stronger tube, spray some water into the tube using a water spray gun set on direct stream. With either method shake vigorously an use the paint for washes or for mixing.
- WATERCOLOUR AND GOUACHE TUBES – A hardened, or seemingly finished, gouache or watercolour (image above) tube can be carefully cut open (see Oils below) and the dried pigment placed in a small jar or into the palette. Add a little water and the pigment will soften.
- OIL PAINT – There is usually quite a bit of oil paint remaining in a ‘finished’ tube. Wear rubber gloves, and apron or smock. Cut the base seam off the tube and with an old pair of scissors carefully cut up the sides of the tube and roll open. Cut the tube prior to a painting session as the paint will only be usable for a day or so.
A Little Spelling Tip – How many different spellings have you seen for the paint ‘gouache’? The easiest way I found to remember the correct arrangement of the vowels is to think about what a pain it is to remember LOL!! Go – you – ache … you’re welcome 🙂
Care of Your New Artwork
Storage, Transportation, Handling, and Hanging Tips
I’ve added some easy tips for hanging new artworks below. They’re probably handy also if your moving as there are some useful packaging tips.
Hope these few tips help with your new art piece, and a well-loved piece.
- Always store and transport framed works with art on paper UP-RIGHT (the direction they will hang) to prevent the paper from becoming dislodged. Works on paper are usually hung on acid free hinges behind the mat board, therefore incorrect standing or storage will put unnecessary strain on these tapes/hinges, and the artwork may slip down or sideways.
- Avoid carrying a glassed artwork by the outer frame as it will put pressure on the ‘v’-nails on the corners. I have seen the this wood stay bowed after the weight of the glass pulling it. Best to include the glass in your grip or hold by two sides.
- Never carry a framed or stretched canvas painting by the wire or cord across the back. The constant bouncing of the painting, and it’s weight, during your walk will weaken or break the screws or staples holding the wire.
- Always store and transport paintings with two painted surfaces wrapped and facing each other, and then the backs facing other back to prevent the ‘D’-rings and wire damaging another painted surface. Fronts to Fronts and Backs to Backs.
- The bubbles on the bubble-wrap should face out and the flat side should be against the painted side.
- Unwrap a painting totally and gently. Best not to open one end and drag the painting out like an envelope. This may damage any textured paint on the artwork.
- Never spray air deodorizers, insect sprays, or cleaning solutions, near unprotected paintings or drawings, and this includes framed oil paintings. The sprays will over time discolour and damage the artwork.
- Prints, photographs and paintings, regardless of the medium, should never be hung in direct sunlight as fading will occur after a period of time.
- The prolonged exposure to cigarette smoke, kitchen steam and grease, and the smoke and soot from an open fire, will eventually discolour a painting. So select a suitable hanging space.
- For best enjoyment of your new artwork have it displayed with good lighting, natural/daylight bulbs/tubes are best.
To check tonal values in your painting it is easy to take a phone snap and convert it to Black and White. This is especially handy for landscapes with depth/perspective to check that the distant tones ARE distant. For this image it helped me see that the structure was forming how I wanted it to.
Checking tonal values is easier these days 🙂 I used to take a photo, get it printed, then photocopy it in black and white.
Mixing Acrylic Paints
Today I’ve been adding more thin layers to a rain forest painting – inspired by my recent walk/resource gathering at Mary Cairncross Reserve, Maleny. I’m working on beautiful W & N stretched cotton canvas, 20 x 20 inch, and using artist quality acrylic paints and mediums. The cotton really lends itself to this light style I have been using.
Something that I have done for years is use a variety of china dishes for mixing acrylic and watercolour paints. I find they’re easier to hold and maneuver than a traditional large palette, especially when working on a table rather than an easel. I can place them on a dry area and work closely when adding detail to a piece. I wipe them clean easily with a tissue or paper towel and wash in soapy water, then rinse. It feels quite luxurious to mix in them and they are quite cheap, from AU$1.25, and sometimes on sale too. It’s a shopping treat to buy even one or two.
Storing mixed paint colours in an airtight jar is handy for reworking an area and being sure you have the same colour mix. Label clearly if needs be (I have different style jars for watercolours), and be sure they don’t go back to the kitchen 🙂 Store away from heat and sunlight.
Tomorrow I’m off to a friend’s studio where a few of us will be painting together – I love these casual days of coffee, painting, art talk and inspiration 🙂