Posts Tagged ‘paint’

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New Painting Started: Jerry Reading

October 1, 2018

I’m starting a new gouache painting of my friend, Jerry, who posed for me awhile back as he caught up on some reading. The surface is surface is 13 x 19 inch gray Binder’s Board.

pencil sketch on newsprint

I began with a rough pencil sketch on newsprint. I then rubbed gray pastel chalk on the back to transfer it to the board, tracing just the outline shapes.

initial painting stage with undertones

I started to set the values on the board using a refill marker from Molotow that was filled with thin burnt sienna acrylic paint (Golden’s High Flow.) I used some thin raw umber acrylic in some areas to get a slightly darker gray value than the gray of the board. This I applied with a brush. On the left you can see where I’ve started in with gouache paint.

This binder’s board is an interesting surface to paint on. It’s about 3mm thick, and very absorbent. I think that there might not be any sort of sizing on it. The paint marker gave a rough dry brush on this that makes it good for loosely blocking in shapes. If I scrub the surface with a stiff wet brush it’ll peel up a bit, but it’s solid grey all through, so that’s not a big problem. No warping from the water, either. I like it.

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Reviewing Arteza Brand Gouache Paint

September 24, 2018

I want to review a recent batch of commercial gouache paint I recently purchased from a company called Arteza. I haven’t yet tried to do much more with them than some preliminary sketches, and I do have a few complaints that I’ll get to in a moment, but my overall impression is that they are a good deal, and will likely be buying more at some point in the future.

Arteza gouache packaging

The paint comes in a set of 24 small tubes. It is packaged in a thin box with two plastic racks that hold the separated tubes, which is nice for storage. The pigment ID numbers are printed clearly on each tube, and I’ve made a chart below showing each one. The main thing that I am happy about is the low price. Including shipping, the cost came to @ $1 per tube. The shipping was free.

Below is another image that shows a brush stroke of each color over black ink to demonstrate its transparency.

For the most part, I am happy with the range of pigments. Most of them are mixtures of 2 or 3 pigments, but those are still useful, and there is a good range of single pigments. The pigment load of the paint feels very good, not streaky or poorly mixed, comparable to quality brands, and not like student grade paints.

I do have a few complaints: The tube size is very small at 12ml. Granted, they are inexpensive, so you might order 2 or 3 packages and have as much or more paint than you would get from other companies for less money.  but that brings me to another negative point. The paint isn’t sold separately, only in a set of 24. I don’t imagine myself ever using the neon “peach red” and perhaps very little of some others, so when ordering more I’d wind up with paint I don’t need. Arteza sent me an email saying they are considering selling them individually, but no information on when or how. Perhaps they could come in smaller sets that you could pick yourself, or maybe larger tubes could be an option. Those are suggestions I’ll send back to them.

Curiously, there are two tubes of titanium white, one labled as such, but the other is just labeled “white,” even though the pigment ID is PW6 for both. Having more white is a good thing, but I found this labeling confusing. I looked around on the web, and saw a couple other reviews of people thinking the “white” might be a “mixing white” (includes zinc) but that isn’t what’s on the label. 

Also, the color printed on the label in many cases isn’t accurate to the paint inside, either when it’s wet or dry. If you reach for a tube based on that color, you will sometimes be disappointed. The Ultramarine, for example, looks more like a violet on the label, and dries at a lighter shade. This Ultramarine label looks very similar to the Prussian blue label, and could easily be mistaken when the actual colors are different. I recommend making a separate color chart as I did above, and keeping that handy, something good to do for all your paints. In terms of the pigment choices, I would have preferred cadmiums and a true cerulean, but that likely would have increased the cost. Having a Phthalo blue or green that was not mixed would be nice. 

One last comment which is not Arteza’s fault has to do with tracking the shipment I received from the Post Office. It took a week to arrive, but on the day I got it the useless tracking information said it was still on its way to the Post Office. Possibly only a one time glitch.

Once I make a couple sketches that I like with this paint I’ll post them here.

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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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Using Tyvek Polyethylene Fabric for Artwork

June 9, 2018

I recently purchased a large sheet of synthetic fabric that I wanted to experiment on as a painting surface. It’s called “Tyvek,” made by DuPont, and is a paper-like fabric made of polyethylene fibers. There are different brands out there that have different textures, and other features. The sheet I bought is 60×52 inches, and came folded in a letter sized envelope. I’ve seen rolls of it in larger sizes at hardware stores with “Tyvek” printed on it in large type. This was blank, and other brands in rolls may be also. This sheet is 43 GSM (grams per square meter) which is very thin, but it’s extremely tear resistant. Some other brands I’ve seen have a puffed up canvas-like texture, but this is smoother.

The folded sheet has creases, but I was able to mount it to a scrap piece of 9×12 inch mat board, and that removed the crease. In the picture above, the Tyvek board is on the left. I used an acrylic gel medium, and also painted the back of the mat board with a single coat to flatten it out when it dried, and then folded over the edges of the fabric to the back.

In this photo above you can see what looks like wrinkles, but it’s actually very smooth. These are fibers that leave wavy streaks of matte and sheen lines that looks something like wood grain. If you wanted to leave areas unpainted this would be seen, but an opaque coat of paint would hide it.

Here I’ve scribbled some ink lines to on the back to show an example of what that media looks like on this surface. Even though it’s soft to the touch, it does have a texture. You can see a grid of square lines running through it like a canvas weave. A thick paint layer would cover that, but thin washes would not. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but something to keep in mind. I used sumi ink with a brush, a PITT brush pen, and a ZIG Millennium marker. Markers draw well on this in general, but water based inks may bead up some. Metal dip pens don’t work so well, tending to snag on the surface. Dry media, like charcoal or pastels work okay, but this is a little too smooth to be ideal for them. Hard leads of graphite or wax pencils don’t work very well either.

Once I figure out what to paint on this, I’ll show an example of how it performs with paints. I may just paint example swatches and nothing in particular, but I’ll still wait for a later posting.

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Considering Selling the Casein Paint I Make

January 20, 2018

I continue to be wrapped up in a family crisis, so I haven’t yet gotten back to my painting, but hope to tomorrow. In the meantime, I made up some more casein paint yesterday. This time I made some yellow ochre.

It came out very good. The paper shows a thin wash, and an undiluted sample painted over a black sharpie ink marker. I decided to use my last empty 45ml tube instead of the new 37s I got recently.

All this paint I’ve been making has got me wondering if anyone would be interested in buying some tubes of paint from me. Right now I have a bunch of burnt umber, titanium white, red oxide, and this yellow ochre. I have a few small jars of other colors, but can easily get more. I could put together a “basic set” of six tubes, such as what Richeson does with their caseins. I’m sure I could affordably sell it for $15 to $20, and possibly individual tubes as well for $3 or $4. That would be much cheaper then Richeson. Not sure how I would market them. Perhaps an Etsy page, or a Go Fund Me project would work. Does this sound like something any of you would be interested in? If so, please leave me some feedback.

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Empty Paint Tubes Arrived

January 15, 2018

The empty paint tubes I ordered arrived on Saturday. I got 24 37ml tubes for $20 including shipping from Cheap Joe’s. I used one of them to hold the red oxide paint I made a few days ago. I’ll need to make up some yellow ochre soon, I think.

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Making Red Oxide Casein Paint for New Painting

January 7, 2018

As I’m starting to work on the background of the new painting, I noticed I was too low on the red oxide paint that I wanted to use, so I needed to mix up some more.

I also wanted to test out the package of Bob’s Red Mill milk powder I bought recently to see how well it works for making a casein binder. 1 quart of rehydrated milk gave me a little less than 6 ounces of casein when I added 1/2 cup of vinegar. That’s the separated milk liquid on the right. I’m used to seeing the milk coagulate into a large ball after I add the vinegar, which I then tear it into small pieces so it will dissolve better. This milk forms small clumps of casein instead, as seen here, so that saves me an extra step.

I added about 2 teaspoons of Borax diluted in 1/2 cup distilled water to this casein, and let that sit for about 24 hours to form a thick smooth gel. This will be my paint binder.

The red oxide pigment was purchased from Camden Grey. A one pound bag cost me only $3. It makes a lovely dark red burgundy color that mixes very easily with my binder. I’m waiting on an order of empty paint tubes to arrive, so I’m using a one ounce jar in the meantime.

Here’s a scan of the paint on a piece of watercolor paper. I painted it over some black Sharpie marks to show how opaque it is. It also thins down nicely. Now I’m ready to get back to work.