Posts Tagged ‘Acrylic’

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Paint Test on Tyvek Synthetic Fabric

June 11, 2018

Following up on the Tyvek fabric that I showed in my previous post, I wanted to show some paint tests on it using both oils and acrylic paints. In the photo above I painted a few sample swatches of each using different tools and methods. As a reminder, this is a 9×12 inch sheet of polyethylene fabric, “Tyvek” brand, mounted to mat board with acrylic gel.

For the oil paint on the left I used stiff a hog brush and soft sable, as well as a paint knife. Some areas were thinned with mineral spirits, or wiped down with a soaked rag. All of this worked out fine. There were a couple problems to point out, however. In the center yellow area, I used a stiff brush soaked with spirits, and scrubbed the surface hard. This caused the fabric to come unglued from the backing in that area (see the image below.) The other problem happened scraping lines with a metal paint knife. When I applied a lot of pressure it caused the thin fabric to tear. Although it is tear resistant, it’s not tear proof when using a metal tool. Otherwise, it works very well with oils. Since this surface is slightly porous, if your backing is a paper product I recommend sizing it properly if you will be using oil paint on this.


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In the acrylic paint section everything worked well with the range of tools I tested. This included the same type of brushes as used with the oil, a paint knife, a rag, and also acrylic paint markers (DecoColor & Molotow.)

Above are a couple things to point out about using acrylic paint. With a metal paint knife I was able to scratch through the paint surface rather easily after the paint had dried. It’s an interesting effect, but also shows that the adhesion is not perfect, but acceptable. This layer (left image above) of burnt umber was painted with a stiff brush in the top area, and again below it with water added. You can see how the water beaded up as it dried. When using a wet soft sable brush, this was less noticeable. The paint also takes a little longer to dry on this surface than it does on regular paper. After a minute or so I was able to wipe it off almost completely with a damp rag. In these closeups you can also see a small square grid pattern showing through from the fabric where the paint is thin. The square is only about 1 mm. It’s less noticeable in areas where the paint is more opaque.

Keeping these points in mind, I would still have no problem using this as a paint surface for oils or acrylics. Being synthetic, it wouldn’t have some of the aging or humidity problems that come with natural fiber canvas. It’s also very inexpensive, and comes in large size rolls. I may do another test using water-based paints of gouache and casein, as well as different drawing media, so stay tuned.

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Polyester Fabric Mounted to Hardboard

November 30, 2017

I’m preparing to start another painting, and wanted to use some polyester fabric I had. First I needed to mount it to a hardboard panel.

This shows a 16 x 20 inch panel with the fabric glued to the front. To get to this point I had to prepare the panel first. It was a scratch panel I had in the studio that had a few thin spots of white paint I needed to sand down. I used some acrylic “gouache” paint I had and mixed it with some GAC-100 medium to both prime and size the panel. I thinned this a bit with water to make it more brushable, and covered the panel in two coats.

I roughly cut a sheet of the fabric about 2 inches larger than the panel. It had a few creases in it, so I used an iron set to low heat to smooth them out. Once the paint had dried to the touch, I covered that with some Liquitex Extender Gel to use as an adhesive for the fabric. This also had to be thinned a little. I dropped the fabric on the wet panel, and used a brayer to roll the fabric smooth. I left this sitting under some weight for a few hours to keep the panel straight as it dried. Later I’ll glue the edges to the back, and trim them to make them look less ragged. Now all I have to do is figure out what I’m going to paint…

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Preview: Drawing on Liquitex Clear Gesso

October 19, 2016

In my ongoing exploration of drawing surfaces, I recently picked up a bottle of Liquitex Clear Gesso. An online friend was looking for a way to prime wood for oil paint but still let the grain of the wood show through. I suggested this product, and noticed that it was also recommended for drawing with pastels or other dry media.

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Here I have painted a small square of the gesso on a sheet of black poster paper, and drew on it with a selection of different pencils; pastel, watercolor, graphite and charcoal. The media has a gritty sand paper texture like Ampersand’s Aquabord, or other similar acrylic primed surfaces that are made to have more tooth than regular acrylic dispersion (“gesso”) primers. It feels a little rougher than the Acrylic Ground for Pastels made by Golden. I suspect there’s acrylic resin mixed in to make it clear, since the Pastel Ground has silica and looks grayer when it’s wet. You can add water mixable paints or inks to color this gesso if you wish, and it can be thinned with water.

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The particles catch the light and will give the surface a slight sheen at an angle. It’s thinner than regular acrylic gesso, more like acrylic medium. To avoid brush marks you might consider thinning it and applying multiple coats to make the strokes less noticeable, or use a sprayer. An eraser won’t work well removing any marks, but you can dab the surface and lighten them with an eraser. I noticed that if this gets slightly scratched it will leave scratch marks behind.

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You can also paint on this with acrylics, gouache, casein, or oils. The tooth will give the paint something to adhere to on any hard slick surface, but it’s recommended that the surface first be sanded before applying the gesso, which might be noticeable through the clear gesso. My main complaint with these rough surfaces for painting is that they really chew up my brushes.

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Making a Panel with Acrylic Ground for Pastels

August 26, 2016

Now that I’m between projects, I wanted to use this time to finally test out this Acrylic Ground for Pastels made by Golden that I bought a few months ago. My true plan is to see how well it works with gouache paint.

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As a test panel, I used a scrap piece of hardboard, 8.5 x 11″. It had a little dried white acrylic paint rubbed into the surface, but I figured that wouldn’t be a problem. First I sized the board with a couple coats of GAC 100 medium to keep anything in the wood from leaching up to the surface. You’ll notice in the photo above that the ground is somewhat gray and translucent. It doesn’t have any pigment in it, like an acrylic “gesso” ground. That gray color is from finely ground silica that gives the surface some tooth for pastels.

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The label instruction says to not thin it with water more than 40%. This photo shows what it looks like with 3 coats. The first two coats where not very thin, maybe 10-20%. The last coat was thinner. I noticed that the brush left behind a few small gouges in the surface caused by some larger particles of silica, so I dug that out and filled the tiny holes with undiluted ground using a palette knife. I wouldn’t want to do that with a true gesso surface, but with this acrylic medium it isn’t a problem to patch it that way. I suspect that if I had waited for each coat to dry longer and harden, it wouldn’t have had those gouges.

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I wanted to even out the color a bit, so I mixed up a thin wash of acrylic “gouache.” This will be porous enough for regular gouache paint that won’t lift.

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The final result I left a bit patchy, but that’s okay. Now comes the fun part of figuring out what to paint on it.

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Painting Finished: Elizabeth Stretches version 2

August 11, 2016

I’ve got the painting all finished now, I believe. I gave her a floor stand on so she wouldn’t float so much. It’s hard to get a good photo of it, but this is fairly accurate. Acrylic paint and oil pastel on 24 x 12.5 inch illustration board.

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Reworking a Painting: Elizabeth Stretches

August 9, 2016

I dug out a painting I had finished about a year ago to make some changes. I wanted to add a broader tonal range of values with more highlights to her figure and a darker background. I’ve photographed the background unfinished so you can see some of the process.

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The black acrylic paint was reflecting too much of a satin sheen, and adding matt medium wasn’t helping, so I tried using oil pastel instead. That seemed to do the trick. I used a pink and white pastel on her figure, and for the background I first used a blue then black pastel. I mixed the blue and black together with a paper towel dampened with mineral spirits to blend it together. To get around the shape of her figure, I used a cotton swab dipped in the spirits.

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Homemade Acrylic Gesso Experiment

September 3, 2015

I wanted to see if I could use an acrylic medium to approximate the same quality of surface I get using animal protein (hide glue or casein) for my binder when making gesso. This will not be the same result as the commercial brands of acrylic gesso you see on the market. That’s more like paint. The goal of this is to keep it very thin, and sand it to give me a surface that’s smooth as marble.

My choice for acrylic polymer medium for this experiment was Golden’s GAC 800 medium. The description of it being “useful as a modifier when adhesion to chalky surfaces is desired” sounded good for this application. The solids I’m using are the same as what I use for traditional gesso: calcium carbonate. I sometimes also add titanium white pigment, but not this time. I wanted something more grey. The surface I’m applying it to is a medium thickness black mat board. The black will help me evaluate the coverage better, and again I’m trying for a grey undertone for the artwork I’m planning. I normally use a wood panel for my gesso, but I wanted to see if the acrylic would allow me to work on something a bit more flexible.

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The mat sheet is in the center (approximately 18 x 24″) with 12 coats of my acrylic gesso mixture applied. I coated the back of the sheet with a couple coats of thinned medium (no solids) to keep it from warping. The amount of medium is roughly 10% by volume, but I haven’t been doing any careful measuring – just going by sight. In the end, I wanted something very thin, like a watercolor wash, or onion soup, so it has quite a lot of water. There’s a piece of the original black mat board on the far left. I placed a sheet of white copy paper on the right to show the contrast.

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This bowl shows a small amount of the gesso left over, and helps show how thin it is. I applied a single coat on that black sample to the right. It dries relatively quickly – about 15 minutes to the touch, and the texture feels the same as the traditional gesso I make.

So far so good. I’m going to let it continue to air dry for a couple days, and then see how well I can sand it smooth.