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A rat's journey into art. Acrylic paint.

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cause the rat:
This is more like an open blog. A way to share my triumphs and failures learning a new craft. Everything along the way.

A bit of my art history. I tried watercolor. Tried. And tried. If you don't have enough aggravation in life try watercolor. Any little mistake is there. You can't cover it up. And hardest of all you can't add light. The white of your paper is all the light you have. And when it's painted over it's gone. Yes you can 'scrub' it out. Scrub meaning ripping the surface of the paper away. Enough of that and your finished painting looks like zits on the Mona Lisa. And if you use white paint? THE HOROR!!! Your cheating. You have to suffer as much as everyone else or your work is not good enough to be called art. Well, I don't do art to suffer. All my paints most of the brushes will find new homes.

The reason I chose watercolor painting was the lack of chemicals. I would love to play with oil. But even the water based oil paints can lead to chemicals. Because my house is closed up ( allergies ) what i bring in stays in. Unfortunately oil paint is out of the question. But water? I get that out of the tap. Acrylics? The only acrylic paints I ever used were those cheapo craft paints you get at Walmarts. Used enough of those and it smells like you just freshly painted a room. So you may be asking why I chose to try acrylics anyway? Because quality acrylic paint doesn't have that painted wall smell. Because the cheaper the paint the more additives they use. And no matter how good the acrylic paint you can still clean it up with soap and water.

What I'm doing now.
Unlike watercolor painting it's better to have the surface your working on straight up. We're talking wall flat. So the first thing I'm working on is brush control. Holding the brush with no support between me and the canvas. Practicing my A, B, C,s. And I thought my handwriting was bad. A bit wonky. I'm also doing color saturation and hue studies. With a little under by belt I'll do my first painting. I want my first painting to be the absolute best I can do. Then I'll put that painting away and continue with excursuses. Then do the very same painting a second time. Just like learning to write with a pencil. You learn the moves your hand has to make to create the shapes. Then it's off to the races.

My first AH HA moment. What I've learned so far,
The farther back I hold the paint brush the more control I have. It sounds counterintuitive but it works.

When I do start posting works feel free to comment and critique.

cause the rat:
Still learning to control the tip of the brush. I've done four 12x18  (12.5x45.8) sheets with the alphabet. What i'm using to paint on is old watercolor paper I've gessoed. Figure already have the paper. Might as well not let it go to waste. And unlike watercolor I can use both sides of the paper for this. I have my first painting paper primed and ready to go.

Going through the watercolor brushes here I've learned that a few of them are also used for acrylics. Acrylic paint is actually hard on brushes. It can build up over time and damage the tip or edge of the brush. It also gets into to ferrule and spread the bristles. So there is a difference in brushes. My favorite watercolor brushes would die within days of use with acrylics. So I tried the ones recommended for acrylic paint. One brand that stands out. I can get thinner lines with a size 6 of this brush then I can get with the size four of the other brand. Way better control of small curves and backstrokes. Now looking for an alternative to this brush. Escoda Versatile brushes are a bit pricy. Not sure if I want to go hog wild. Like I did when buying watercolor supplies. I'll wait till I get to the point where I need them.

Things i've learned so far.

Made my own 'wet pallet' for acrylic paint. Been three days now and the paint is still good to go. Used a 14x9x3 (35.5x23x7.6) Rubbermade food container. Put a layer of paper towels down first. Then a sheet of parchment paper. You can get parchment paper in the same place you'd find plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Put some water in to wet the paper towels under the parchment. Paint goes on top of the parchment paper. Lid goes back on when your done painting. Works! I'm not using craft paints. The brands are 'M Graham' and 'Winsor & Newton'. Not sure if this would work with craft paints. After three days there is still no cheapo acrylic paint smell! Gesso stinks. But you don't paint with gesso.

Painting the alphabet over and over again is boring.  :D

Varg the wanderer:
Pictures or it didn't happen ;)

Is there a solvent you can use to clean the brushes? Soak-em outside in mineral spirits or something?

cause the rat:
Pictures? Picture a six year old with crayons. :) that's kinda where I am right now. Not much to look at if it's just the alphabet over and over again. I will post my first attempt. Got my composition planned. And a bit of a value study. Going to work on that a bit more before I commit. Trying to keep from getting a dark blob. May have to introduce another light source. I'm starting with the same idea I had for my first watercolor painting. A bar with outdoor umbrella tables under a large tree. Changing the composition up and going for more of a dusk or night time scene. Trying to make it as hard as I can. 

I've read you can use denatured alcohol to clean out some of the mess. But once paint gets deep into the ferrule there's not much you can do. The synthetic fiber my favorite watercolor brushes ('Silver Brush Black Velvets' ) are made of  are to thin to handle acrylics.

cause the rat:

--- Quote from: Varg the wanderer on March 24, 2019, 08:47:20 pm ---Pictures or it didn't happen ;)

--- End quote ---

Not sure how to post pics here. I click on "Attachments and other things" and all I get is other things. Nothing to add an attached pic. Insert Image looks like it wants a hyperlink. None of this is on the web.

Getting a lot of help from Wet Canvas's acrylic painting forum. Same place I got loads of help when I was trying watercolor. Lots of great people. Every month they have a 'Different Strokes Challenge". Joining in this months painting idea. 'The (Secret) Garden'. The idea is to go crazy with a garden. Anything goes. So I asked if nudes are allowed if I 'landscaped'. :) No, not what I'm paining. This will be my official first acrylic work. Pushing myself and trying things I've never done before. Not even sure if most of what I want to do will work. Doesn't matter. Going to have fun with it. Best part is it's not watercolor. If I make a mistake I can paint over it. If the entire piece is a mistake I can re gesso and repaint the whole thing. No one will even know. :)


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