This is drawn from a photo I snapped a few months back at a local burger joint. These two people were at a booth in the corner, and he was speaking into a phone headset. It was off to the side in the distance of the photo, without much detail, so I had to improvise on some things. I also ran dry on the marker, but managed to get him drawn in okay.
Some fatherly advice I received years ago from dear old Dad was to store my containers of liquid, in particular cans of paint and such, upside down. The demon of air will dry out paint, or cause it to get a dry skin layer inside the can as air that penetrates through the lid. However, when the wet liquid presses against the inside of the lid there’s less air to dry it out, and the paint will last longer.
In this photo above you can see a few small plastic jars of some recently made gouache paint turned upside down on their lids. This is how I store them. Sometimes I put labels on the bottom. Behind them is a jar of Golden Acrylic Gesso, a bottle of acrylic medium, and some paint tubes. The bottle of medium is a little unwieldy on its cap, so I have to place it in a drawer in such a way that it won’t tip over, usually against other similar bottles stored in the same way. The paint tubes can be a problem since most manufacturers use very small caps that won’t let you balance the tube upright. Liquitex tubes are nice and large for that, but not most other brands. Alternatively, you should squeeze the tubes from the end, forcing the paint to the top and get the same benefit.
This is also a good way to store any cans of left over house paint you might have in the garage. Be careful of potential leaks, however, and put a plastic sheet underneath, just in case.
The motivation for this post was my reading that Golden is going to start labeling their cans upside down to encourage people to get use to this way of storing their supplies. Good for them.
Back to working on the painting. I had all sorts of curious things happening with the background, all of which I wound up not liking, so I painted it all a solid dark shade, and switched over to the figure. I’ll decide what to do with the background later, maybe leave it.
Here’s a closeup of her leg that I’ve been working on. It’ll give you an idea of where I’m headed with the rest of the figure.
I thought I’d pause a second and show how I set up my palette for painting with acrylics. As you know, acrylic paints dry very quickly, and within an hour or so the paint you’ve squeezed out can be hard as a rock. There are commercial gadgets on the market that will preserve the paint with a lid over the palette, or have a sponge that will help keep the paint moist while you work or between sessions. My homemade version uses the same concept.
I’m using my 12 inch metal pizza pie plate upon which I’ve placed a wet piece of cotton muslin (from old an t-shirt,) roughly cut to fit the shape of the plate. This fabric is damp, but not soggy. On top of this I’ve placed a sheet of “Sta-Wet” acrylic paper made by Masterson, a company that makes one of those acrylic palettes. You can use regular paper, but you’ll want something that’s thick enough to not deteriorate when wet, and thin enough to remain moist from the fabric beneath it. I lightly dampened the paper before squeezing out paint on it.
While working on my new acrylic painting, the paint on this palette stayed moist on this palette for the whole day’s session, about 4 hours. When I stopped for the day, I placed a large pane of glass on top to keep the water from evaporating. This is why you’ll want a palette surface, like this plate, that has a raised lip of some kind. I checked on the paint about 20 hours later, and it was still wet enough to continue using. For the record, I didn’t use any retarder medium in the paint. It’s all right out of the tube. You can lift off the paper and moisten the fabric again, as well as lightly mist the paper with a water sprayer to keep the paint wetter longer if necessary. Clean up is just a matter of replacing the paper.