Georgina’s Tips

Handy Tips for Acrylic Painters

All paint is a combination of a ‘glue’ and pigment. The glue in acrylic paint is a plastic consisting of microscopic spheres of polymer suspended in water. When the wa-ter evaporates as the paint dries the spheres come to-gether to bind the pigment. Make sure you use only a little water to thin your paints so the ratio of spheres to water is not diluted. This dilution can affect the paint’s bonding ability. Use Polymer Medium as a thinner in-stead.
Polymer Medium is available in Matte and Gloss and may also be used for glazes. Matte Medium is dull be-cause it contains a powder made of ground crustacea. The microscopic particles of the powder have jagged edges which hinder light refraction, thus giving a flat finish. Gloss Medium is clear and therefore shiny. Don’t use Matte Medium for thick or multi-layered glazes. The effect of the powder clouds the layers thus dulling the colours and forming a ’fogged’ appearance..


Tips for Removing Stuck Paint Tube Caps

Keep a small pair of pliers or some nutcrackers handy for easing off stuck caps. Or place a clothes pin around the cap, hold firmly and twist.
 Use a small piece of non-slip rubber shelf liner to get a grip on the top of the tube. It works better than pliers and doesn’t damage the cap.
 If you can’t get the cap off, snip off the bottom of the tube to get the paint then close it again with a bulldog clip.
 Invert the tube and soak it for a few minutes in a cup of hot water.
 Apply Vaseline around the top of the tube or inside the threads of the cap before you put it back on to prevent sticking.


What is Broken Colour?

Broken colour is a technique which was introduced by the NeoImpressionists), whereby colours on the canvas are made up of small flecks and dashes of paint.   The development of colour theory by the late 19th century played a pivotal role in shaping the Neo-Impressionists’ style. They acknowledged the different behaviors exhibited by coloured light and coloured pigment. While the mixture of the former created a white or gray colour, that of the latter produced a dark, murky colour. As painters, NeoImpressionists had to deal with coloured pigments, so to avoid the dullness, they devised a system of pure-colour juxtaposition. Mixing of colours was not necessary. The effective use of pointillism produced a luminous effect, and from a distance, the dots came together as a whole displaying maximum brilliance and conformity to actual light conditions.

 


What Is Gouache?

Before the advent of computer-generated design, gouache (the word is French and is pronounced ‘gwash’ or ’goowash’) was the most popular painting medium in professional design studios, where it was widely used to create crisp visuals and illustrations in solid colour that reproduced well in print.  Gouache is, in fact, a refinement of the more familiar poster paints, but the quality and permanence of pigments used in good brands are far superior.  Also known as body colour, gouache is a water-based paint with chalk or blanc fixe added to create opaque colour with good covering power, which can be further enhanced with the addition of Permanent White. It dries to a matt, chalky finish and can be used on its own or with transparent watercolour.  Considering it is so versatile, gouache is an underrated medium. Use it in dilute washes to achieve attractive misty effects. Thicker gouache creates a more rugged finish, ideal for bold, energetic paintings. A starter palette might include Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red, French Blue, Raw Umber and Yellow Ochre, plus Permanent White. 


Georgina's Tips on Acrylic Paint

 PROPERTIES OF ACRYLIC PAINTS

A by-product of the then new plastics industry, acrylics were invented in the 1950s. They are as versatile as oil paints and have some unique qualities of their own.

One of these—vital from the beginners’ point of view—is that they dry very quickly, so that you can overpaint as much as you like. You can, of course, overpaint with oils but, because they are slow-drying, there is always a risk of churning up the colours and creating a muddy mess. Acrylics, once dry, are immovable, so that each new layer completely covers the one below without picking up any colour from it. Another advantage is that you can paint on more or less anything, from paper and board to canvas, and the surface needs no preparation or “priming”. 

The disadvantages of acrylics are that changes to the picture can only be made by overpainting, and the paint dries so fast that it cannot be moved around on the surface to the degree that oil paints can. Also, brushes must always be left in a container of water or washed regularly, otherwise they will be ruined. However, the virtues of acrylics far outweigh these minor vices, and those new to painting could find them the perfect medium with which to begin.

All paints are made from fine-ground pigment particles suspended in liquid and bound with a glue of some kind. In the case of acrylics the liquid is water and the binder is a form of plastic—a polymer resin to be precise—which forms an emulsion. Acrylics are thus water-based, not oil-based and if they need to be thinned, you use water not oil. Likewise, brushes used with acrylics come clean in water, not white spirit.  

In its liquid form the emulsion has a milky appearance, but after the water evaporates it becomes transparent. You can test this for yourself with one of the acrylic mediums—just brush some undiluted gloss or matte medium (which is an emulsion without any pigment) onto a tinted support. You’ll see that it’s rich and creamy right from the bottle, but transparent when dry. This is why acrylic paints dry darker than when first applied. 

The two main types of acrylic paints are liquid and heavy body.  

Liquid acrylic paints have a thin cream consistency and resemble slightly brilliant liquid watercolours or regular inks (which tend to be fugitive, or fading when exposed to light). Because they all look similar they may often be grouped together—mistakenly, since most liquid acrylics are permanent not fugitive.  

Heavy body acrylics have the consistency of toothpaste and come in a tube. They can be thinned with medium and/or water. They can also be used undiluted, with a brush or painting knife, for a more textured and “impasto” look.

Acrylic inks are also available which are very saturated with pigment.

In recent years a new type of acrylic paint called “open acrylic” has become available. These paints have a much slower drying time and remain “open” so they can be worked on the canvas for longer. 

A vast number of mediums are now available which can be added to the paint for various effects. Some slow the drying time, some add body. Some add texture or can be applied to the support to form an “impasto”-like ground which can then be painted over. It is worth experimenting. 

Impasto

         A way of applying paint, specifically a thick, textured application of paint where                   the marks made by the brush or painting knife stay visible. Impasto is evident in                      the work of artists such as Vincent van Gogh.

 A FEW BASIC COLOURS AND THEIR PROPERTIES.

Cadmium Yellow Light  A cool, transparent, greenish light yellow. 
Cadmium Yellow Medium  Makes lighter yellows when mixed with white. If you want to darken yellow try adding its complimentary—purple, rather than black which tends to produce an olive green rather than deep yellow. 
Cadmium Yellow Deep  Warm, deeper version of above. Most yellows are transparent. 
Yellow Ochre  Golden, yellowish brown 
Cadmium Orange   Of course you can make orange by mixing red and yellow but it’s handy to have as a convenience. 
Cadmium Red Medium   Yellowish, warm and relatively opaque. (Cad. Red also comes in light and deep). 
Alizarin Crimson  Cooler, bluish red. Makes pinks when mixed with white 
Ultramarine Blue  A good blue. Makes different light blues and greens than Pthalo Blue. 
Pthalo Blue  Also known as Thalo Blue, or Pthalocyanine. Intense and versatile. Goes darker with Burnt Umber. Has high strength—only needs a little to create lighter blues when mixed with white. 
Pthalo Green  Greens are hard to mix consistently unless you keep track of the colours and proportions that you use. Pthalo Green is a bright, bluish green and mixes well with Cad. Yellow for a variety of greens. 
Hookers Green  Transparent.. Makes interesting greens when mixed with cool   and warm yellows. 
Dioxazine Purple  It’s worth buying a very dark purple as you can waste a lot of paint trying to mix one, and it’s useful for adding to other colours—to yellow for various golds and for making “non black” darks when mixed with other deep colours. 
Burnt Umber  Warm chocolate brown. Versatile. Great for darkening the tone of other colours 
Raw Umber A cool, “greyer” brown.
Paynes Grey  Transparent, dark, bluish grey. Makes interesting blues when mixed with white. 
Mars Black  Relatively opaque. Add in small quantities to other colours until you get used to the strength. 
Titanium White  Opaque, bright. Strong tinting power—a little goes a long way. 
Zinc White  A transparent white. Good for glazes and “veiling”.

 

SOME BASIC TIPS FOR PAINTING

 

Hue   Name of a colour, e.g. blue, red etc.

Value    Light or dark

Saturation     Dull or bright   

Temperature    Warm or cool. Warm colours have more yellow, cool colours have more blue.

“Local” Colour    The perceived colour of an object. e.g. A green leaf, an orange carrot, a red apple etc.       

Some warm colours  Ultramarine Blue; Cadmium Yellow Deep; Cadmium Orange; Cadmium   Red Light, Medium; and Deep; Burnt Umber

Some cool colours  Pthalo Blue; Cadmium Yellow Light; Dioxazine Purple; Alizarin Crimson;  Raw Umber; Hookers Green 

Primary colours  Red, Blue, Yellow. These colours can’t be made. They are the basis of all other colours.

COMPLIMENTARY COLOURS

 These colours are opposite each other on the colour wheel. They “compliment” each other. They bring out the best in each other. They make each other “sing” - but if you mix them together they dull each other down (neutralize)!

Red/Green,   Blue/Orange,   Yellow/Purple

You don’t only have to mix black and white to make grey.

  • Mixing complimentary colours together with white makes more interesting greys.
  • To de-intensify (dull down) a colour add a little of its complimentary
  • For shadows on objects—add its complimentary to the body colour. For example when making shadows on a red apple mix some green with the red.
  • Shadows—If light is warm, eg. the sun, then shadows are cool and vice versa

  

LANDSCAPE GREENS AND BROWNS

Ultramarine Blue is the most versatile colour for landscape greens. It’s the base of a wide variety of cool and warm greens when mixed with cool or warm yellows. These can be used in cool shadow areas and warm light areas.

Pthalo Blue is a convenient blue that can be used to create rich greens and browns. Add White to it for a true blue sky. For shadow areas on cumulus clouds use a grey made from Pthalo Blue, Cad. Red Light and White.

Pthalo Green is the most difficult to use because of its intensity. Handle it like vanilla: Even though it has a delicious flavor, a little goes a long way and a lot is a disaster. The secret to successfully using Pthalo Green is to start with whatever other colour you’re going to use and then add the Pthalo Green to it. For instance, add a whisper of it to White for the sky colour just above the horizon. Add it to Quinacridone Red for deep, rich blacks.

 A FEW BASIC COLOURS AND THEIR PROPERTIES.

Cadmium Yellow Light A cool, transparent, greenish light yellow.

Cadmium Yellow Medium Makes lighter yellows when mixed with white. If you want to darken yellow try adding its complimentary—purple, rather than black which tends to produce an olive green rather than deep yellow.

Cadmium Yellow Deep Warm, deeper version of above. Most yellows are transparent.

Yellow Ochre  Golden, yellowish brown

Cadmium Orange Of course you can make orange by mixing red and yellow but it’s handy to have as a convenience.

Cadmium Red Medium Yellowish, warm and relatively opaque. (Cad. Red also comes in light and deep).

Alizarin Crimson Cooler, bluish red. Makes pinks when mixed with white

Ultramarine Blue A good blue. Makes different light blues and greens than Pthalo Blue.

Pthalo Blue Also known as Thalo Blue, or Pthalocyanine. Intense and versatile. Goes darker with Burnt Umber. Has high strength—only needs a little to create lighter blues when mixed with white.

Pthalo Green Greens are hard to mix consistently unless you keep track of the colours and

proportions that you use. Pthalo Green is a bright, bluish green and mixes well with Cad. Yellow for a variety of greens.

Hookers Green Transparent.. Makes interesting greens when mixed with coo and warm yellows.

Dioxazine Purple It’s worth buying a very dark purple as you can waste a lot of paint trying to mix one, and it’s useful for adding to other colours—to yellow for various golds and for making “non black” darks when mixed with other deep colours

Burnt Umber Warm chocolate brown. Versatile. Great for darkening the tone of other colours.

Raw Umber A cool, “greyer” brown.

Paynes Grey Transparent, dark, bluish grey. Makes interesting blues when mixed with white.

Mars Black Relatively opaque. Add in small quantities to other colours until you get used to the strength.

Titanium White Opaque, bright. Strong tinting power—a little goes a long way.

Zinc White A transparent white. Good for glazes and “veiling”

 

 


Did You KNow

Did you know..?

These fun facts have nothing to do with art but are interesting anyway:-

Gold is the only metal that doesn’t deteriorate, even if its buried in the ground for thousands of years.

Your tongue is the only muscle in your body that is attached only at one end.

The roar that we hear when we place a seashell next to our ear is not the ocean, but rather the sound of blood surging through the veins in our ear.

The tooth is the only part of the human body that cannot heal itself.

Drinking water after eating reduces the acid in your mouth by 61 percent.

Zero is the only number that cannot be represented by Roman numerals.

Peanut oil is used for cooking in submarines because it doesn’t smoke unless it’s heated above 450 F.

Nine out of ten living things live in the ocean.

The commercially grown banana cannot reproduce itself. It can be propagated only by the hand of man.

Strawberries are the only fruits that grow their seeds on the outside.

Avocados have the highest calories of any fruit at 167 calories per hundred grams.

Due to Earth’s gravity it is impossible for mountains to be higher than 15,000 meters.

Everything weighs one percent less at the equator.

The moon moves about two inches away from the Earth each year.

The Earth gets 100 tons heavier every day due to falling space dust.

If you could get into the bottom of a well or a tall chimney and look up, you would see stars, even in the middle of the day.

Soldiers do not march in step when going across bridges because they could set up a vibration which could be sufficient to knock the bridge down.

A comet’s tail always points away from the sun.

In ancient times strangers shook hands to show that they were unarmed.

The military salute is a motion that evolved from medieval times when knights in armour raised their visors to reveal their identity.


Dent In Your Canvas?

Have you ever had the misfortune to pull out a painting only to discover that it’s been leaning against another and developed a large dent? One of the tips Michael Schlicting shared with me was the use of ‘Tight’n’Up’ Canvas Re-tensioner. He was very impressed with how it removed even quite large dents.

‘Tight’n’Up’ liquid canvas re-tensioner solves the problem of how to repair a loose stretched canvas. This new liquid technology solves most of the typical canvas tension problems due to variations in humidity and temperature. ‘Tight’n’Up’ helps remove or improve any previous sagging, wrinkles or ripples leaving the canvas taut and tight. It dries to a clear finish that will not affect the look of the piece.

Simply spray onto the back of a stretched canvas. It will cause the canvas to shrink and increase canvas tension. Apply to the entire back surface or only the affected canvas areas. ‘Tight’n’Up’ will not harm the canvas, gesso, or typical artists’ paints. It works best on cotton, linen or other natural fibre canvases but is not recommended for use on polyester-based canvas, oil primed canvas, inkjet printed canvas or gicleé prints. It is archival in quality and acid-free and is available at most art supplies stores and online.

 


A Few Words of Wisdom

“Don’t think about making Art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make more art.” ~ Andy Warhol “To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut “Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.” ~ Edgar Degas “Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” ~ Twyla Tharp, Choreographer. “If I were called upon to define briefly the word Art, I should call it the reproduction of what the senses perceive in nature, seen through the veil of the soul.” ~ Paul Cezanne.


Do you have a special tip that you’d like to share?

Sometimes there’ll be something not quite right about a painting I’m working on and I can’t figure out what it is. I find if I look at its reflection in a mirror, nine times out of ten the problem will jump right out—maybe the ellipse at the top of a cup is uneven, the composition is not balanced or the perspective is off. Taking a photo of the painting with my cell phone and looking at it in isolation also can help reveal a problem.