Golden’s New Paint Tube Caps

February 1, 2021

In my previous post I wrote that Golden Paints was starting a program where you can have them send you replacement caps for their acrylic tube paints. I’ll repeat the link to their site here. My new caps arrived today, the black ones above.

Of the 10 tubes of their brand that I have, only 6 caps were damaged, but I requested 10, and that’s what they sent. For that large 5oz. tube of zinc white, I had previously borrowed a cap from a tube that had dried out, but it later cracked also. The new caps are nice, and fit perfectly. I’m happy to see the large size. In my comments to them on the form to get these caps I mentioned that a larger size would be an improvement, similar to those on Liquitex tubes that I’ve never had a problem with. Looks like they figured that out too.

In my picture above I brightened the image around a couple of the caps so you could better see the details. The top of the cap pops open on a plastic hinge to show a small spout where you can squeeze out paint rather than unscrewing the whole cap. Squirting the paint out should be better, since it will keep the threads of the tube from getting paint on them when you unscrew the cap. The large size of these doesn’t match the size of the small 2oz. tube, but the threads inside do fit. It’s interesting to note in the article on their site that they say the new caps look just like the current ones, and that the new color will be grey. The only caps I’ve seen at stores for their paints are the older “T” shaped design. I suggest you keep an eye out for these larger cylindrical caps, since they look like they will hold up much better.


Golden Paint Replaces Acrylic Tube Caps

January 21, 2021

I just heard that Golden Paints is offering a program where they will send people replacement caps that have cracked at no cost. Below is a link to the press release. At the bottom of that page is another link that opens a form you can fill out to tell them how many caps to send you. They claim to have found a new material for better caps, but it will take awhile for them to be available at stores. It’s not clear in the press release if the new caps are made of this material. I’ll find out in a few days when I get mine.



New Drawing: Buzzard Roadkill

December 28, 2020

Hello, I’m Back! All this Coronavirus lockdown has sapped my creative motivation, I think. It’s time to get back on the horse, so to speak, or in this case, buzzard. This scene was playing out in front of me a few days ago as I sat at my window preparing lunch. I looked out to the street, and saw this feathered fellow making a meal out of a former squirrel. I took a few photos, and today worked up this drawing.

The figures were made with a grease pencil. I scrubbed in some black around it with an oil pastel bar I had made, and then laid down the white with a sponge dipped into shellac paint. It’s on 8.5 x 11 inch paper.


Painting Update 3: Fire Hydrant Repair

November 30, 2020

Well, I think this is mostly finished. I may do some more work on the background, and tweak a few things. If I make any major changes, I’ll post it.

By the way, this is what I use to store my acrylic paints between sessions. It’s a deviled egg tray I found at the grocery store. I took a styrofoam plate that’s covered with a removable sheet of plastic wrap, trimmed it so it fits inside the clear top, and snap it shut with the egg tray. This keeps most of the air out. It works rather well for regular acrylics, and even longer for these slower drying paints. The plate is used just for mixing. I use that metal dish to hold the fresh dabs of paint from the tubes, and move the color to the plate with a palette knife. I can keep the dish in the tray also.


Painting Update 2: Fire Hydrant Repair

November 22, 2020

A little more progress on the new painting to show, now with the kneeling figure added. Next I’ll work on the hydrant and bottom foreground area.

I’m reminded of an article I once read long ago by an art critic describing several paintings by Edouard Manet in that they looked as though the figures were standing on a stage in front of a painted scrim. It’s an approach that has always stuck with me, and an idea I’ve often toyed with. What gave his paintings that effect was having the figures in tighter detail than the background, still somewhat loose, perhaps, but with sharper edges or outlined shapes. It made the paintings have an illusion of theatrical artifice.


Painting Update: Fire Hydrant Repair

November 17, 2020

Here’s an update to the new painting I started. I’ve added some tone to the street in the background, and worked out most of the details on the figure to the left.

I am gradually getting familiar with these Open Acrylic paints. The limited color range of this “Landscape” set is forcing me to do a lot of mixing to get the colors right, so I’ve resorted to an old method of mine of working sort of alla prima on the surface without mixing too much on the palette first. The slow drying is handy, and this paint feels a bit more fluid than the heavy body acrylics I’m more familiar with.


New Painting Started: Fire Hydrant Repair

November 11, 2020

Time to get back to painting. I have been spending several days driving around the area taking pictures, making sketches, and looking for scenes and people to paint. A couple days ago these two men were outside my house repairing a fire hydrant, so sometimes the subject comes to you.

I made a few quick thumbnail sketches, and worked out a composition I liked. The sketch in front is the final arrangement. I enlarged that on a larger sheet of paper with just outlines, and transferred that to the panel. This panel, by the way, is the ABS sheet I wrote about a few days ago. I used thinned acrylic burnt sienna and ultramarine blue for the undertones.

I had recently purchased a set of Golden Open Acrylic paints that I wanted to test, so I’ll use those from here on out. I may need more colors than this “Landscape” set of Open paints includes, so I have some Open medium to mix with my other regular acrylics if I need to use those.


Preview: Sinopia’s Milk Paint

October 28, 2020

A couple years back I noticed that the art materials company, Sinopia, was marketing a new product called Milk Paint. Over the years I have seen several companies that sell a casein based milk paint, and they all use lime as the glue catalyst, which can be a problem for some pigments, so I ignored them as I did when I saw this product from Sinopia until recently I took a closer look at the details they gave on how they made their version. Sinopia uses borax instead of lime, which is the same thing I use to make my own casein paint. Borax is much less caustic than lime. When I saw that I decided to order a small sample a few days ago (4 oz. at $9,) and it arrived today. Free shipping in the US was a nice benefit. This is a quick preview of what I saw when I opened the jar.

Sinopia lists ingredients used to make this product that I found a bit unusual. You can see this list of ingredients when you click on their color choices. It includes water, salt, vegetable oils, pine resin, beeswax, chalk, and pigment. It’s the oils and beeswax that I found curious. Despite these ingredients the paint is very water soluble. I did notice that it seemed to dry a little more slowly than regular casein paint made with just casein medium and pigment. That swatch in the picture above took about 15 minutes to set. It also seemed more liquid in viscosity than I expected; although, its opacity covers quite well, as you can see in the picture above where I painted it over a black ink mark.

The only concern I have with it right now is the plastic jar. This is my least favorite form of packaging for paint, since air tends to penetrate inside very slowly, and will dry out the contents much faster than small tubes. Metal cans like those you see for house paint tend to seal slightly better. I purchased a jar of casein gesso that Sinopia sells awhile back that is also in these jars, and about half of it that I hadn’t yet used had dried out in about a year’s time. Once casein dries it can’t be diluted. The easiest solution to this worry is to just use it up quickly. Otherwise, I may try to transfer it to a better sort of container.

Other projects are starting to back up on me, but when I get time I’ll give this a good testing on different surfaces, and see how well it works with other art mediums and tools. It could make a very nice primer.


Preparing Plastic ABS sheet for Painting

October 14, 2020

In my on going experiments with synthetic surfaces, I recently purchased two sheets of ABS plastic for painting. ABS stands for “acrylonitrile butadiene styrene” and is a thermoplastic polymer. It has multiple uses for such things as computer cases to Legos. It can be run through a 3D printer to make all sorts of things. It can come in almost any color, but is typically available in black or white. In sheet form it often has a rough “haircell” texture on one side, and the opposite side is smooth as glass.

I first heard about this material for artwork many years ago from other artists who liked painting on it. One of those people is my friend, Kim Dow. She told me she gets it in thin sheets, and then has it glued to a foamcore for support. The two I bought are 1/8 inch thick, and 17×21 inches. The price varies online, but these were @ $10 each. The smooth side is sanded down enough to remove the shine, and make it capable to hold paint. I’ve done this in the picture above where you can see the sanded sheet on top. I used an orbital sander with a 120 grit disk which took just a few minutes to get it ready, and then washed off the plastic dust. Use protective goggles and mask so as to not inhale any of that. At this point the plastic has a paper-like feel, and can hold any form of paint, from gouache to oils. No priming is required even for oil, but I added a coat of very thin acrylic primer just to lower the value to a light grey (see picture below.) It’s a little streaky, but that won’t matter.

A new panel ready for paint. I should also mention that you can draw on these too once sanded down with dry media or inks. No priming necessary there either. Now it’s time to start making some art on these.


New Drawing: Art Teacher and Model

October 8, 2020

Here’s another sketch to show, grabbed from a youtube clip. It’s shows an art teacher and model preparing for a drawing class. I used a pastel pencil, and the page is about 10 x 18″.


EVA Foam as Art Material

September 22, 2020

I heard from some friends about a foam surface I might be interested in for painting on. It’s EVA foam that has many uses from mold making to padding in uniforms, but cosplay designers like it to make things like helmets and decorative outfits. It’s a thermoplastic material, meaning you can apply heat to it to soften it and mold it into different shapes. My local hobby store had several rolls of it in different thicknesses, but all the same 2×5′ lengths. I bought this 4mm thick roll for @$10.

I cut off a strip of it about 9″ wide and noticed that it still had the curl from the roll. I hit it with some heat from a hair dryer, and that made it lay flat, staying that way permanently. It’s very easy to cut with scissors or knife, and the surface feels very smooth and spongy.

The first thing to test out was different types of drawing media. The soft surface does not lend itself well to dry media. Pencils, charcoal, oil pastels and crayons did not work well; although, they did leave a mark. Soft pastels, however, worked acceptably. Erasing is not an option.

Inks, on the other hand, did very well on this surface, brushes and felt markers in particular. Hard metal tips from pens or nibs won’t do well, however. Hard felt tips, like the Micron markers did okay if you draw lightly.

Next I tested the surface for painting. I used gouache, casein, acrylic, and oils. After watching some videos online from different cosplay designers, they all recommended the surface be heated first to shrink it and close the “pores”, and then coat the surface with one of several types of primers to make it less absorbent. I didn’t find either of those two things necessary or to make much of a difference. In the above image, the left side was heated with a heat gun (1100°) and the right side is left as is. I also added a thin coat of acrylic medium down the middle.

Although the surface feels smooth, in this closeup of the drawing test you can see tiny pockmark holes in it. While this helps with adhesion of paint material, it leaves a dotted texture in thin coats of paint or ink. I thought maybe my heat gun might close them some, but I didn’t see that happen.

Here is a sample of the oil paint test, and you can see the dotted texture more clearly. I painted this over a thin coat of acrylic media so that it wouldn’t be too absorbent. Those dots are not noticeable in thicker or more opaque paint layers, and not too distracting, but something to be aware of. The oil paint adheres to this just fine, but I should mention that all the wet media took longer to dry on this surface than on paper or canvas. Undiluted acrylics took about an hour or so, and several days for the oils to not be tacky in the thicker areas.

Those pockmarks were less noticeable when I painted over a coat of acrylic medium. It’s also possible I may be able to fill them in with a gel or thicker primer layer. If the surface gets wrinkled or creased you can restore it with heat, but I wouldn’t recommend doing that after it’s been painted. Overall I’m pleased with the potential of this surface, in spite of a few limitations. It’s a good size at a decent price, and easy to handle.


YouTube Figure Drawing

September 16, 2020

While I continue in this time of quarantine looking for things online to draw, I’ve been clicking through youtube videos, and came across a good selection of figure drawing poses offered by the Royal Academy of Arts. This is Pose #7. It was offered as a 20 minute pose, but I decided to stretch that out a bit on the rendering, all charcoal on 18×24″ paper. Still finishing up the drapery on the bottom. Not sure yet if I’ll fill in the top.