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BothHands
09-18-2014, 07:10 PM
I'm using Chroma Atelier acrylics, primarily. I think they're of excellent quality and I usually appreciate their "unusual qualities", too. But I have so much trouble getting them to cover opaquely.

Specifically, I find it nearly impossible to paint out (obscure) heavy dark lines appearing in my under drawing. I know, each individual paint color is rated in terms of Opacity, but nearly all of mine function like watercolors rather than oils. Sometimes I need opaque paint, too. Adding Titanium White boosts opacity, but in most cases does not render the color mixtures I need.

Is there some way to increase opacity other than adding Titanium White?

Thanks

Davkin
09-18-2014, 07:29 PM
Thicker paint, many layers of thin paint.

David

GardenMaven
09-18-2014, 08:17 PM
I agree with David. I have never had an acrylic painting with just one layer, there are at the very least 3 layers.

Mark Szymanski
09-18-2014, 08:30 PM
Two thoughts. Don't draw so darkly in the underdrawing. Increase the thickness of the layer of paint you're painting with. Make it a bit more impasto. Often because we don't want to waste paint we don't place enough pigment on the canvas and end up brushing it so thinly that even paints which should be fairly opaque end up transmitting the colors or values underneath more than we wish.

With acrylics I find this to be especially true. Many brands (though I haven't tried the one you mentioned) when painted thinly are much more translucent than I wish. I find using a bolder technique in laying in my layers especially at first and then I can thin out as I wish later on.

opainter
09-18-2014, 08:41 PM
Acrylics are pretty versatile, so if you want to you can use them very thinly (like watercolors), very thickly (like impasto with oil paints), or anywhere in between. Building acrylics up in layers is somewhere in between. If you prefer to apply them thinner than that, then you might want to apply an intermediate coat over the drawing to lessen its show-through, wait for it to dry, and then paint over it. For this coat, I would suggest you use acrylic gesso. Gesso can be obtained in opaque white, opaque black, and clear. So I would experiment by mixing opaque white and clear gesso in different ratios and applying it over the drawing. I think this will work! Please let us know what does work for you!

idylbrush
09-18-2014, 09:15 PM
Have you considered gel opaque medium.

waterhousey
09-18-2014, 09:38 PM
Lighten up the lines in your under-drawing, and pay attention to the paint colors you're using. "Modern" pigments (carbon-based pigments developed in a laboratory) are usually transparent, though chromatically powerful. "Mineral" pigments (inorganic pigments derived from metals or rocks) are USUALLY (not always!) more opaque, even though they have little tinting strength.

Frequently, you can find duos of Modern & Mineral pigment colors which are similar in mass tone (aka, what you see when you put out a blob of paint on your palette). The Mineral component of the duo will help opacify the Modern component.

For example: Red Oxide* (mineral) lends a great deal of opacity to Quinacridone Burnt Orange* (modern). Other examples might be: Chromium Oxide Green* (mineral) and Sap Green Hue* (modern); Yellow Ochre* (mineral) and Nickel Azo Yellow* (modern).

Yellows are tricky. If you like the hue of the modern yellows, I would almost always recommend first underpainting with Titanium white, then glazing with the yellow. Cadmium (mineral) yellows are definitely more opaque, but some folks want to avoid them.

*using Golden's color names because they're the ones I'm most familiar with and I'm too lazy to go grab paint tubes for pigment #s. Sorry!

Charlie's Mum
09-19-2014, 09:28 AM
Even light pencil lines will show through a first layer - even a second - so if you want the colour flat, it's many layers I'm afraid :)
(I'm currently trying to cover faint pencil!!!!) - and that's with W&N Artist quality.

For flat painting I'm not a fan of the interactives, they take longer to 'set' and so lift when applying the next layer. I find them much better for thick, impasto applications with no, or little, brushing out.

Mythrill
09-19-2014, 11:22 AM
I'm using Chroma Atelier acrylics, primarily. I think they're of excellent quality and I usually appreciate their "unusual qualities", too. But I have so much trouble getting them to cover opaquely.

Specifically, I find it nearly impossible to paint out (obscure) heavy dark lines appearing in my under drawing. I know, each individual paint color is rated in terms of Opacity, but nearly all of mine function like watercolors rather than oils. Sometimes I need opaque paint, too. Adding Titanium White boosts opacity, but in most cases does not render the color mixtures I need.

Is there some way to increase opacity other than adding Titanium White?

Thanks

BothHands, this opacity issue surely is a double-edge in acrylics and, in your case, a problem.

One thing I would suggest is to use heavy-body paints. They tend to be more viscous and opaque, and although they don't completely solve the problem, they'll help you a lot.

Another technique to paint opaquely is to use opaque pigments. Consider use, for instance, Cadmium Yellow Medium (PY 35) instead of Hansa Yellow Medium (PY 74).

If these still won't work for you, try this:

1. Mix your transparent paint with Titanium White (PW 6) until it is opaque enough. Don't worry about saturation just yet, though.

2. After you've covered the surface with your opaque layer, coat it with your transparent pigment. This will give you the illusion of a surface that was generously covered with transparent pigment and, as a bonus, it will also look very luminous.

You can also try a variation of the technique above, mixing Cadmium Red (PR 108) with Quinacridone Magenta (PR 122), for instance, and then glazing with Quinacridone Magenta.

I also suggest working from transparent to opaque and from light to dark in acrylics. You can surely work from opaque to transparent if you want, but you'll spend a lot of time covering your surface and fixing mistakes. It's much easier to solve any problems that come up in your painting if you work from transparent to opaque and from light to dark.

BothHands
09-19-2014, 11:44 AM
David, GardenMaven, Mark Szymanski and Maureen ==

Thanks for your very helpful advice. Each time I design a painting I imagine executing it with "amazingly versatile" paints that don't really exist. HA! :D Despite my prior disappointments with acrylics, or perhaps I should say with the brand I'm using, I somehow "overlook" the shortcomings and then am disappointed all over again with the next endeavor. A scenario that comes perilously close to the definition of Insanity, no? :D

I was hoping one of you might say, "Golden or Liquitex or XYZ Brand tends to be a lot more opaque" but that was a long shot at best...

I paint thinly in a multi-layered "indirect" method. Impasto techniques for acrylics seem (for me) to involve too much "planning and preparation". I think of Impasto as a very immediate, spontaneous technique - so getting out the special mediums and mixing it all up 'just so' kinda makes me feel like an "Impasto Poser". :D I think Impasto is a series of Happy Accidents, but (so far) acrylics seem to reduce the technique to Strategic Planning.

And painting an area three times with the same color (which never happens because I can't mix the same color twice to save my life, ha!) is so non-expressive, if you know what I mean. In my "wild imagination" I thrust each color onto the canvas (or panel, actually) and it covers exactly as I've mixed/intended it. Opaque, scumble or glaze - it ALWAYS works! :D


Can anyone here recommend a clear medium, perhaps some specific gel, that might improve opacity - perhaps merely by thickening the paint mass a bit?

BothHands
09-19-2014, 11:54 AM
opainter ==

Thanks for your excellent suggestions. I've avoided the notion of using gesso in the painting process (other than as a substrate prep) because I think I can get the approximate result by employing Titanium White or Carbon Black and some medium for flow. You mention a clear gesso, and that's a new concept for me so I will research this further. Again, thanks.

BothHands
09-19-2014, 12:01 PM
Have you considered gel opaque medium. Thanks, Howard. That's something I've never heard of...

I Googled up THIS (http://www.utrechtart.com/Utrecht-Gel-Opaque-Medium---MP-02029-003-i1000243.utrecht) Utrecht Gel Opaque Medium. Is that what you mean? Based on the last line of the product description, it dries to "a glossy opaque finish" and assume that means white.

If that's true, I think it would shift the value of my color mixes similarly to adding white paint to the mix. I want to avoid that in certain instances, particularly when mixing reds. I'll research it further though. Thanks.

BothHands
09-19-2014, 12:23 PM
waterhousey ==

Wow. Excellent mini-treatise on paints and pigments! Thank you.

I will look deeper into modifying "modern" transparent colors with related more-opaque "mineral" colors. An interesting (exciting) approach to the issue. And you're spot on in your example regarding Reds and Oranges, which have been particularly challenging of late.

I've resisted underpainting with T White or other opaque-ish colors and then glazing with the intended mix as you suggest for problematic Yellows, but I may have to break down and start doing that (sniff).

And yes, it's terribly lazy of you to refer to Golden color names rather than cross referencing each to its Chroma Atelier counterpart. :evil: But let us overlook it this once since YOU SHOULD BE PAINTING(!). :D Hahaha! But seriously, I much appreciate your lending time and expertise to helping me sort this out.

BothHands
09-19-2014, 12:41 PM
Mythrill ==

As always, a very helpful and detailed reply from you. Thank you.

I am fully stocked in terms of paint at present, but will research heavy body paints more, per your suggestion. I don't think Chroma Atelier makes any, so it will require expanding beyond that particular product line - but I'm interested in Golden paints too, so maybe it'll all work out.

I understand about opaque pigments vs. transparent, and will definitely pay more attention to that as I use up and replace existing paint colors.

And as Megan/waterhousey suggested above, I will indeed be looking into not only mixing related opaque and transparent paints, but also underpainting with the opaque/mineral version and then glazing atop that with the more transparent/modern version.

I especially appreciate your highlighting the progression: Transparent-to- Opaque and Light-to-Dark.
My natural tendency is to paint Transparent-to-Opaque as you suggest, BUT...I feel most comfortable painting from Dark-to-Light. I'll have to experiment with your suggested approach, Light-to-Dark. Also, while I do tend to paint Dark-to-Light, there's an awful lot of painting some areas "up and then down, and then up again" until they suit me. So maybe it won't be so difficult a transition...:D

Again, thank you for such a thoughtful, detailed reply.

Davkin
09-19-2014, 01:48 PM
Mythrill ==

I am fully stocked in terms of paint at present, but will research heavy body paints more, per your suggestion. I don't think Chroma Atelier makes any, so it will require expanding beyond that particular product line - but I'm interested in Golden paints too, so maybe it'll all work out.

Chroma may not use the term "heavy body" but it's paint that comes in tubes is "heavy body".



I understand about opaque pigments vs. transparent, and will definitely pay more attention to that as I use up and replace existing paint colors.


No matter which pigment you buy acrylic paint will not be as opaque as oil paint because the molecules in the binder for acrylic paint are bigger than the molecules in linseed oil. In other words, per same volume there is less pigment in acrylic than in oil paint, even artist grade. Yellow ochre (oxide) is considered an opaque pigment but I still have to apply it thickly or in several layers to cover up anything that is dark.

David

janinco
09-19-2014, 02:01 PM
If I need to obscure an area I paint over it with gesso and let dry, even lines or a little mistake I want to cover. Then I can use any color over it without having to mix with titanium white.

I have seen some artists spray their underpainting or go over it with a medium to seal the drawing. Once that's done you could put a coat of gesso over it to tone down dark lines but still let them show through.

Jan

WaltWally
09-20-2014, 12:55 AM
All good advice, so far. (and then there is me...:lol: )

I am an unapologetic advocate of Golden Acrylics, for lots of reasons, some of them even making sense (being paid to do it is not one of the reasons, alas).

I've been using acrylics since the '60's, which means I started with other brands, some of which no longer exist. I won't knock other brands, since personal taste is a big factor. But I do discourage my students from using 'student grade' paints.

One big reason I like Golden is their extensive support of artists, with website info and support by phone. But also, the way they maximize pigment load makes me suspect their opaques are about as opaque as that particular pigment can get.

I'm currently exploring using their OPEN (slower-drying) series with their Heavy Body line, which are fully compatible with each other.

Having started with oils, I naturally missed the subtle blending allowed thereby, but I now see that successive glazing can give just as subtle results, plus the advantage of greater control, by allowing one to 'sneak up' on the final color effect.

Especially with reds and yellows, the luminosity that comes from transparent glazes over an opaque undercoat, can be terrific.

If you want to see how brilliant Golden acrylics can be, check out Terrance Osborne's work (http://terranceosborne.com/). Especially note that he paints from dark to light, yet his colors are brilliant.

Hope this helps.

Andrew
09-20-2014, 09:12 AM
I'm using Chroma Atelier acrylics, primarily. I think they're of excellent quality and I usually appreciate their "unusual qualities", too. But I have so much trouble getting them to cover opaquely.

Specifically, I find it nearly impossible to paint out (obscure) heavy dark lines appearing in my under drawing. I know, each individual paint color is rated in terms of Opacity, but nearly all of mine function like watercolors rather than oils. Sometimes I need opaque paint, too. Adding Titanium White boosts opacity, but in most cases does not render the color mixtures I need.

Is there some way to increase opacity other than adding Titanium White?

Thanks

I keep coming back to your original post. I think you have gotten some great guidance so far. But I need to ask what are you diluting your colours with, and by how much? I have painted with acrylic for years and need to thin them out a great deal with water or water/medium mixture to get anything resembling watercolour.

For strongly transparent pigments, Opaque gel or Modeling paste are solid options. Yes they will shift your colour, as they are a white, but they behave differently than acrylic gesso or white acrylic.

Even if you stick to acrylics with traditional natural pigments (like oils), they will still be more transparent than oils. This is just the nature of how the particles of pigment behave in the very transparent acrylic vehicle. Either adapt and learn to use it as the advantage it is, or pursue more opaque water soluble mediums like gouache, tempera, poster paint, that already have an opaque quality to the dry pigment and use minimal water to be fluid.

Andrew

BothHands
09-21-2014, 12:51 PM
If I need to obscure an area I paint over it with gesso and let dry, even lines or a little mistake I want to cover. Then I can use any color over it without having to mix with titanium white. I have seen some artists spray their underpainting or go over it with a medium to seal the drawing. Once that's done you could put a coat of gesso over it to tone down dark lines but still let them show through.
Hey, Jan. Thanks for your suggestions, but I want to avoid using gesso except as a ground/prep for my panels. I can't claim to paint in "bravura strokes" (yet) but the idea of painting a "white shape" and then filling it in with colors takes the fun/creativity out of painting (for me, anyway). Having said that, I'm sure it's only a matter of time before I resort to doing exactly what you suggest... :eek::(:o
Never say never, right? :D Oh, well...

I hope all is well. Look for email from me soon.

idylbrush
09-21-2014, 01:33 PM
You may not have an interest in this, but, I have a series of videos on youtube with most available acrylic mediums. Use the link in my signature line and take a look if you care to.

BothHands
09-21-2014, 02:07 PM
WaltWally ==

Thanks a lot for your detailed reply. I appreciate the information on Golden Paints. I thought I would be a life-long user and advocated of Chroma Atelier (and that may be, ultimately) but I've been interested in Golden products, too - especially at times when my current paints and mediums perform differently than expected.

That said, the problem might simply be that I do not (yet) fully understand current/modern acrylic paints. In college I painted in oils but experimented with acrylics on the side. I don't recall struggling with lack-of-opacity in those days...but then Time tends to soften recollections of past difficulties (except where DIVORCE is concerned, HA! :D)

I share your interest in the Golden OPEN series, and will look into their Heavy Body line as well. Thanks for emphasizing both.

FWIW, I think the ability to reactivate Chroma paints with water after they've dried is both a blessing and a curse - a curse when I need to paint over existing paint but don't want to reactivate the underlying paint. There are specific reasons why this is a problem for me (and not everyone) based on my particular (or peculiar?) methods, so I don't mean to criticize Chroma. In many instances I just wish Chroma paints would become water resistant more quickly - and I wonder if Golden OPEN might work better for me in that regard.

I looked at the Terrence Osborne site and am glad to see good results of painting UP from dark to light, as is my own preference. On the other hand, YIKES! :eek: I looked at his "original paintings" page and saw asking prices of from $45,000 to $75,000!!! Maybe those astronomical prices actually reflect the vast amount of work and time needed to paint from dark to light with (dratted) translucent acrylics... Haha :D

BothHands
09-21-2014, 02:47 PM
...I need to ask what are you diluting your colors with, and by how much? Good question. I paint thinly; I glaze and scumble when appropriate instead of mixing exact colors, so I often work with thinned paint. And I do tend to use water more than I should, but lately I've been very consciously adding clear mediums and less water - which seems to have no affect on improved opacity.

I have painted with acrylic for years and need to thin them out a great deal with water or water/medium mixture to get anything resembling watercolor. Lucky you. I have 14 colors at present and at least half of them pose opacity problems for me. Perhaps you use watercolor in an unusually thick/heavy method?

For strongly transparent pigments, Opaque gel or Modeling paste are solid options. Yes they will shift your colour, as they are a white, but they behave differently than acrylic gesso or white acrylic. I don't attempt impasto, so I'll pass on the modeling paste, but maybe some sort of opaque gel will help. I don't see how it can avoid turning Red paint to Pink though...

Either adapt and learn to use it as the advantage it is, or pursue more opaque water soluble mediums like gouache, tempera, poster paint, that already have an opaque quality to the dry pigment and use minimal water to be fluid. Whether transparency is an advantage or not is determined by each specific operation within the varied techniques emplyed in a single painting. In some instances, Transparency GOOOD. In others, Transparency BAAAD.

I've used gouache as an illustrator and loved it, though it was limited to opaque "dry application" techniques. Based on my research prior to jumping into Chroma Atelier, I thought these paints and mediums could imitate all the paints you mentioned - and they probably could, if only the opacity scale weren't so far flung.

BothHands
09-21-2014, 02:52 PM
You may not have an interest in this, but, I have a series of videos on youtube with most available acrylic mediums. Use the link in my signature line and take a look if you care to. Thanks, Howard. I've watched several of your YouTube videos in the past and found them helpful. I will set aside an hour to watch your multi-part "Acrylic Mediums (http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=48hlc48&page=1)" series - hopefully later today.

WaltWally
09-22-2014, 01:19 AM
WaltWally ==
I share your interest in the Golden OPEN series, and will look into their Heavy Body line as well. Thanks for emphasizing both.

FWIW, I think the ability to reactivate Chroma paints with water after they've dried is both a blessing and a curse - a curse when I need to paint over existing paint but don't want to reactivate the underlying paint. There are specific reasons why this is a problem for me (and not everyone) based on my particular (or peculiar?) methods, so I don't mean to criticize Chroma. In many instances I just wish Chroma paints would become water resistant more quickly - and I wonder if Golden OPEN might work better for me in that regard.I don't think the OPENs are at all reworkable; they just dry more slowly than 'regular' acrylics.

I have this :
Introductory Set of 6, Modern Colors This set contains .75 oz (22 ml) tubes of 6 modern colors, including one each of Hansa Yellow Opaque, Pyrrole Red, Quinacridone Magenta, Phthalo Blue (Green Shade), Phthalo Green (Blue Shade), and Titanium White.
I find it a good gamut, all pigments rated lightfastness I, fully compatible with their Heavy Body line. A modest investment to compare it to the Chroma Atelier line.

Dontcha just wish we could 'dial up' the characteristics we want and have them exist all in one product?? (I have to laugh as I type this; modern paints and mediums put us so far ahead of what the old masters had to put up with, it's embarassing we aren't all turning out mind-blowing stuff!)

I looked at the Terrence Osborne site and am glad to see good results of painting UP from dark to light, as is my own preference. On the other hand, YIKES! :eek: I looked at his "original paintings" page and saw asking prices of from $45,000 to $75,000!!! Maybe those astronomical prices actually reflect the vast amount of work and time needed to paint from dark to light with (dratted) translucent acrylics... Haha :DHis posters are reasonable, though.
His work captures so much of that unique 'New Orleans' character, he's a bit of a local celebrity. He is very generous with his time (spent over an hour talking to our art class and showing them how he mixes colors - he volunteered to do this ten minutes after meeting me and my wife in the art store!!) and donates signed prints to fundraisers.

inkslinger69
09-22-2014, 01:33 AM
I'm pretty new to acrylics bothhands, but I was just reading something by Yarnell, which I'd heard before and tried. Using white heavy body gesso make the colors more opaque. I've tried it and it does work. Apparently the white acrylics are all very transparent, but I've had great success with the gesso. Another trick I've been told of is to use a layer or two of clear gesso over your under drawing. I just got some in the mail from "little jerry" today, and I'm going to start anew painting tomorrow just to see how it works! I'll let you know the results. Hope this helps.

Andrew
09-22-2014, 09:43 AM
Good question. I paint thinly; I glaze and scumble when appropriate instead of mixing exact colors, so I often work with thinned paint. And I do tend to use water more than I should, but lately I've been very consciously adding clear mediums and less water - which seems to have no affect on improved opacity.

Lucky you. I have 14 colors at present and at least half of them pose opacity problems for me. Perhaps you use watercolor in an unusually thick/heavy method?

I don't attempt impasto, so I'll pass on the modeling paste, but maybe some sort of opaque gel will help. I don't see how it can avoid turning Red paint to Pink though...

Whether transparency is an advantage or not is determined by each specific operation within the varied techniques emplyed in a single painting. In some instances, Transparency GOOOD. In others, Transparency BAAAD.

I've used gouache as an illustrator and loved it, though it was limited to opaque "dry application" techniques. Based on my research prior to jumping into Chroma Atelier, I thought these paints and mediums could imitate all the paints you mentioned - and they probably could, if only the opacity scale weren't so far flung.

Perhaps it is merely the consistency and formulation of the Chroma Atelier brand. I don't use them and can't say. I do use several varieties of heavy bodied acrylics, and I can say there are some differences in opacity, between different formulations.

Acrylics with single natural pigments are far more likely to be opaque, compared to those made from synthetic pigments for the same hue, which in turn are more likely to be less transparent than those derived from a mixture of pigments.

Acrylics have a great deal of advantages, and yet some of those same good points are also disadvantages. There is a brand of acrylic based gouache by Holbein (I think Lascaux also makes a line too) that are very opaque, and yet have the quick drying and permanence of acrylics.

I have also found my Utrecht and LUKAS pastos to be quite opaque as well, but both are 70+% solids in acrylic vehicle and maintain excellent applications with very little water or medium. Derivan also has a line of heavy bodied acrylics and have several options that have traditional pigments. They are a little lighter in the solids, and not quite as opaque as the previous two lines. But, even with a small amount of water (and/or medium) on the brush, they still go on with an opacity similar to WN or Pelikan gouache.

If opacity is your determining factor for your process, you may have to go outside the atelier line to get there.

Andrew

BothHands
09-22-2014, 11:47 AM
WaltWally (AKA Ron?)

Thanks for the further information on the Golden OPEN paints, and particularly the Introductory Set. And thanks to our member Waterhousey, I now recognize the importance of the term "Modern" Colors in the product description. THANKS to ALL contributors here.

Dontcha just wish we could 'dial up' the characteristics we want and have them exist all in one product?? (I have to laugh as I type this; modern paints and mediums put us so far ahead of what the old masters had to put up with, it's embarassing we aren't all turning out mind-blowing stuff!)
An excellent point, and a devastating Reality Check. L:DL! On the other hand, the Masters had advantages we don't have. They were, in many instances, surrounded by guild members with whom they could exchange technical information. Also, most came up through intense apprentice programs and/or formal training curricula. For most of us in "Modern Times", it's a case of working independently and gleaning what you can from online, books, videos, etc. But I do get your point (ouch!) and will try to keep it in mind. Thanks.

His posters are reasonable, though. His work captures so much of that unique 'New Orleans' character, he's a bit of a local celebrity. He is very generous with his time [...] he volunteered to do this ten minutes after meeting me and my wife in the art store!!
For the record, I didn't mean to criticize Mr. Osborne. I was just stunned by his asking prices and used that to make my point about the potential difficulties in painting dark-to-light with less-than-opaque media. I don't imagine TO's work commands anywhere close to his asking prices, but I admire his HUTZPA :eek:, and will keep it in mind for my own endeavors. :D. As for his volunteering upon meeting you and your wife, you seem to be a very congenial and engaging sort - so I attribute 50% of that to his generosity and the other 50% to your likeability. :thumbsup:

BothHands
09-22-2014, 11:56 AM
Using white heavy body gesso make the colors more opaque. I've tried it and it does work. Apparently the white acrylics are all very transparent, but I've had great success with the gesso. Thanks, inkslinger. When you use the white heavy body gesso, does it turn your Reds into Pinks? I think it would have to... By chance, does it "pinkify" less than adding Titanium White acrylic paint?

Another trick I've been told of is to use a layer or two of clear gesso over your under drawing. [...] I'll let you know the results. Chroma Atelier makes a clear medium called Fast Binder/Medium that works well for this purpose. It's very thin compared to most gesso products and can be thinned a bit with water, too. I don't see why it couldn't be used with any acrylic paint - not just Chroma brand paints.

BothHands
09-22-2014, 12:05 PM
Perhaps it is merely the consistency and formulation of the Chroma Atelier brand. [...] I can say there are some differences in opacity, between different formulations.

Acrylics with single natural pigments are far more likely to be opaque, compared to those made from synthetic pigments for the same hue, which in turn are more likely to be less transparent than those derived from a mixture of pigments.

There is a brand of acrylic based gouache by Holbein (I think Lascaux also makes a line too) that are very opaque, and yet have the quick drying and permanence of acrylics.

I have also found my Utrecht and LUKAS pastos to be quite opaque as well [...] maintain excellent applications with very little water or medium. Derivan also has a line of heavy bodied acrylics [...] They are a little lighter in the solids, and not quite as opaque [...] even with a small amount of water (and/or medium) on the brush, they still go on with an opacity similar to WN or Pelikan gouache.

If opacity is your determining factor for your process, you may have to go outside the atelier line to get there. THANKS, Andrew, and I'm sorry to chop up your remarks. I read and digested every word, but trimmed the quoted comments down so as to emphasize certain points. I'll be "Googling my brains out" every evening for the remainder of this week based on the treasure trove of suggestions you've provided. I appreciate it very much!

WaltWally
09-23-2014, 03:39 AM
WaltWally (AKA Ron?)Well, you can call me Ron, or you can call me Walt, or you can call me Wally...just don't call me Late For Supper!:lol: Dontcha just wish we could 'dial up' the characteristics we want and have them exist all in one product?? (I have to laugh as I type this; modern paints and mediums put us so far ahead of what the old masters had to put up with, it's embarassing we aren't all turning out mind-blowing stuff!)

An excellent point, and a devastating Reality Check. L:DL! On the other hand, the Masters had advantages we don't have. They were, in many instances, surrounded by guild members with whom they could exchange technical information. Also, most came up through intense apprentice programs and/or formal training curricula. For most of us in "Modern Times", it's a case of working independently and gleaning what you can from online, books, videos, etc. But I do get your point (ouch!) and will try to keep it in mind. Thanks.By George, you're right! I never thought of all that! An insightful response that actually makes me feel better about not having set the world on fire!:D For the record, I didn't mean to criticize Mr. Osborne. I was just stunned by his asking prices and used that to make my point about the potential difficulties in painting dark-to-light with less-than-opaque media. I don't imagine TO's work commands anywhere close to his asking prices, but I admire his HUTZPA :eek:, and will keep it in mind for my own endeavors. :D. I understand, and I take no umbrage at your comments; they are very reasonable. What is not obvious from these remarks is that TO was invited to make the official New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival ("Jazzfest") Poster several times in the past several years. The annual Jazzfest is one heckuva Big Deal in the Big Easy -- people come from all over the country for it. Jazzfest paid him $65K for the repro rights in a recent year, and a local person gladly paid him the same amount for the original. Not a guy in my neighborhood!

So it's more like Precedent than Chutzpah -TO pretty much has to ask outrageous prices for his originals! For all I know, he might make most of his income from the prints he sells!

As for his volunteering upon meeting you and your wife, you seem to be a very congenial and engaging sort - so I attribute 50% of that to his generosity and the other 50% to your likeability. :thumbsup:My wife is likeable; I'm only 'likeable-by-association'!:rolleyes: But thanks for your kindness!

BothHands
09-23-2014, 03:58 PM
LOL!

:lol: By George, you're right! I never thought of all that! An insightful response that actually makes me feel better about not having set the world on fire!:D Another point along those lines: Sometimes limitations are very helpful to Creativity and getting work done. Those guys had just a handful of very organic colors ('dirt' as a pigment...not really, but might as well have been, compared to the amazing materials we work with today). They had one or maybe two choices of medium and I don't even want to think about how their brushes were constructed. That may sound awful, but I disagree.

On the plus side, they worked within a hard-and-fast set of rules, techniques, methods. They used a limited set of materials. They were taught the principles of their trade over an extended period of time, and could feel confident in employing those specific methods (combined with personal creativity) throughout an entire career. An entire life's work based on a specific set of rules and requirements. Far easier to grasp and employ and manipulate than our current complex and seemingly limitless "modern possibilities".

Frankly, I've just been trying to figure out what works so I can forget about all the other possibilities and just work. So far, I still haven't figured out my tool kit...

So it's more like Precedent than Chutzpah -TO pretty much has to ask outrageous prices for his originals! For all I know, he might make most of his income from the prints he sells! WOW. Thanks for those insights. For many, it's a whole different way of thinking about painting and its earning potential.

My wife is likeable; I'm only 'likeable-by-association'!:rolleyes: But thanks for your kindness! HA! I doubt that. I'll bet your wife is a real peach, and I'll bet the two of you are a BLAST! to be around. ROCK ON!

WaltWally
09-24-2014, 01:13 AM
Another point along those lines: Sometimes limitations are very helpful to Creativity and getting work done. Tell me about it!! I have a tendency to get so wrapped up in theory, I get almost nothing done!!

As the old saying goes, a painting in the hand is worth ten in the head! (that iS how that saying goes, right...?)
Those guys had just a handful of very organic colors ('dirt' as a pigment...not really, but might as well have been, compared to the amazing materials we work with today). They had one or maybe two choices of medium and I don't even want to think about how their brushes were constructed. That may sound awful, but I disagree.

On the plus side, they worked within a hard-and-fast set of rules, techniques, methods. They used a limited set of materials. They were taught the principles of their trade over an extended period of time, and could feel confident in employing those specific methods (combined with personal creativity) throughout an entire career. An entire life's work based on a specific set of rules and requirements. Far easier to grasp and employ and manipulate than our current complex and seemingly limitless "modern possibilities". Exactly! Too many options!

The rabbit escapes danger by running; it's the only way he knows.
The fox, being very clever, knows several ways, and gets caught while trying to choose...Frankly, I've just been trying to figure out what works so I can forget about all the other possibilities and just work. So far, I still haven't figured out my tool kit... Keep at it! You've got the right attitude! WOW. Thanks for those insights. For many, it's a whole different way of thinking about painting and its earning potential.It's refreshing to see someone use "it's" and "its" properly in the same sentence!!

I admit I have never been faced with the problem of having to set prices after selling a piece for five figures...:( :eek:

I have to constantly remind myself that people who buy art don't think about money the same way artists do!!
HA! I doubt that. I'll bet your wife is a real peach, and I'll bet the two of you are a BLAST! to be around. ROCK ON!Well, our students seem to like us! And if you check my photo on my website, you will see it can't be for my looks!
OTOH, my wife...
http://jacqueline-juge.artistwebsites.com

dhinky
09-25-2014, 12:12 PM
I use a layer or two of gesso as my first layer. Actually you may have to two layers of gesso to cover a line. Another thing I like about gesso is that it will make the colors much brighter.:clap:

RickinNM
09-26-2014, 10:50 PM
I use pastel pencils for the sketch on canvas light blue on the sky and clouds light tan or other light colors for other areas that seems to help.

I know some colors are fairly opaque like the umber's , Sienna's even the cads if you scrumble them in a dry brush they go transparent or thin them, again they go transparent.

I have been experimenting with some techniques of some of the wildlife artists who use opaque under painting and then use transparent glazes . Need lotso practice:)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hs5qvvcfA5k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-kLXe5Enmw&list=PLaZxH7ZFWv9eBWqBJSNKBlBp5b1mvmaRT

Maybe these might add to your techniques tool box .

LHolmack
09-27-2014, 04:03 PM
I get more coverage by using more than one layer....heck...I did a painting of Monument Valley where I lost track of how many layers I put on the the focal point of the painting.

When I am painting flowers...I usually add some Golden Gesso to my paint....and apply the paint/gesso mixture quite heavily. Still...it usually takes several layers for the desired effect to come forth.

jennifervs
10-02-2014, 11:54 AM
Ohhhhhh, if painting could be easy.... :lol:

There are excellent suggestions in this thread - and I encourage you to try them and see what works for you.

Just to reiterate what has been said:

1. Lighten up on the pencil lines. Try a nice sharp high H pencil. Watercolor pencils are an option, as the color will work itself into 1st layer of paint. I use vine charcoal, and then lightly brush it off so only a hint remains on the surface.

2. Huge advocate of knowing your pigments and paints! Paint a swatch of Cad Red Medium, then a swatch of Quin Magenta, and then a swatch of Cad Red Medium (opaque) glazed or scumbled with Quin Magenta (transparent). Do this with a lot analogous colors that are opaque/semi-transparent/transparent. You should see noticeable differences between swatches.

3. If you don't have an extensive palette of opaque/semi-transparent/transparent colors, then use the tip of painting a tint of the color, and then glazing or scumbling the same color on top.

4. I think the best advice I've read is just to paint some more! Do some solid studies, knowing full well that they are practice paintings, for learning, not to show or sell. If you can lose the "masterpiece" fear - that every painting you do has to look great because of the money and time spent...or even the frustration that can come with thinking you are "wasting" time, money and supplies, you will will learn tons. You will be able to build on that knowledge in the next painting, and the next, and the next, encountering new and exciting challenges materially and pictorially.

Painting is NOT an easy mistress, and she does need to be served. Yet she rewards those who put in time - at least this is what I have seen and experienced.

6. And if anyone finds a way to create great paintings quickly and consistently - PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know! :)

SteveNunez
10-03-2014, 08:33 PM
I suggest trying Lascaux, they are the most opaque acrylics you'll find beside Createx Paint.........believe it or not, crafts acrylics found in small plastic bottles such as Americana are super opaque- give them a shot- but if you want top quality artist's grade- go for the Lascaux- but they're pricey due to high pigment content and purity.

WaltWally
10-04-2014, 12:19 AM
Has anyone here run an actual side-by-side opacity comparison between Lascaux and Golden? It would have to cover twice as well to be worth the difference in cost, IMO.

Of course, there are other factors in choosing a paint, and everyone is entitled to their preference.

Myself, I like the control offered by successive glazes, which lets me 'sneak up' on my final result, especially since I frequently don't know where I'm going until I'm almost all the way there!! :lol:

Aspsusa
10-04-2014, 03:32 AM
Can't resist, even though I don't really have the time:

As noted _pigment_ is the thing to look for. This is a basic truth.

But what then of inexpensive house and craft paints? They are usually pretty opaque. But we know that many of the most opaque pigments, like the cadmiums, are rather expensive, and not used in technical paints, so how do they manage to do that?

The answer is what is often derisively called "fillers", or sometimes colourless pigments. Chalk would be a well known example.

When it comes to artist grade acrylics they are usually made only with the actual colour pigments, no "fillers" to help with opacity.

So what to do when more opacity is needed? Gesso has been mentioned, and gesso is usually a mix of several different white pigments/fillers.
To avoid hue-shifts and pastels we probably want to stay clear of the most overpowering white of them all, titanium dioxide. So where to look?

Various matte mediums is one idea. A very fluid matte medium instead of water might be help quite a bit. Golden also makes a "Super Loaded Matte medium", which is so loaded with matting agents (=colourless pigment/"filler") that they warn against using too much of it.

Golden also makes a line called Matte Fluids, which might be worth a look. Can be a bit difficult to find (I know they don't stock it in Europe at all for instance). The two samples I've tried were extremely opaque.

idylbrush
10-04-2014, 08:55 AM
You might find this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wO4q5QMhjE) helpful.

BothHands
10-12-2014, 04:52 PM
I'm the OP for this thread (OP = Original Poster).For reasons I don't understand, sometimes I do not receive email notification telling me someone has replied to my thread. And once that glitch occurs, the system seems to never reset UNLESS I happen to return to the thread by chance. To me, it just appears as though interest in the thread died out, and the topic sank below the upper pages of the forum.
That's what occurred here. I never received e-notification of the last four or five posts. I just happened to revisit this thread today and found posts I had never seen. I appreciate every reply, so I try to acknowledge and respond to each.

I'll do that now...

BothHands
10-12-2014, 05:33 PM
I have a tendency to get so wrapped up in theory, I get almost nothing done!!

As the old saying goes, a painting in the hand is worth ten in the head!
Exactly! Too many options!

The rabbit escapes danger by running; it's the only way he knows.
The fox, being very clever, knows several ways, and gets caught while trying to choose...
Some real Pearls of Wisdom there, and I'll commit the fox parable to memory. Very enlightening. Thanks, Ron.

It's refreshing to see someone use "it's" and "its" properly in the same sentence!!
HA! :D Truth be told, that one confounded me forever. Maybe ten years ago my Mom finally made it clear to me (shes a fine writer). She said, "You know how to use the contraction it's to mean it is. On the other hand, think of its as a possessive pronoun along with his, hers, theirs and ours. What belongs to her is hers; what belongs to it is its." After decades of "taking my best guess", it finally made sense - and I hope others who read this now benefit by this explanation, as I have. Thanks, Mom. :heart:

I have to constantly remind myself that people who buy art don't think about money the same way artists do!!
Another KILLER Lesson, Ron! The tendency to think that everyone sees money the way I do has been a recurring stumbling block for me, and I much appreciate this reminder. EVERYONE ELSE, THINK SERIOUSLY ABOUT THIS AS IT APPLIES TO YOUR OWN SELF-LIMITING tendencies. Thank you, Ron.

Well, our students seem to like us! And if you check my photo on my website, you will see it can't be for my looks!
OTOH, my wife...http://jacqueline-juge.artistwebsites.com You know what? Anybody older than 30 is "a shadow of his/her former self" to some extent, and I've come to understand that real attractiveness has a LOT to do with what you EXPRESS. Case in point: I learned on Friday that four exceptional 8th-grade female students just LOVE the 1980s heavy metal band AC-DC. These are smart, friendly, attractive, good girls - so I was very surprised. :eek: The guys in AC-DC are well into their 60s and most look like "10 miles of bad road", so the girls don't have crushes on them. They just have a profound regard for the guys who make that music. So I say, just keep on keepin' on! :thumbsup:

As for your wife, Jacqueline, I'm not able to view the linked page unless I "sign up for Fine Art America premium features" or so says the page...

BothHands
10-12-2014, 05:43 PM
I use a layer or two of gesso as my first layer. Actually you may have to two layers of gesso to cover a line. Another thing I like about gesso is that it will make the colors much brighter.:clap:
But Amy, if you cover your lines with two layers of gesso, how do SEE the lines so they can guide your early applications of paint? :D

BothHands
10-12-2014, 06:32 PM
I use pastel pencils for the sketch on canvas: light blue on the sky and clouds, light tan or other light colors for other areas. That seems to help.

I know some colors are fairly opaque like the umber's , Sienna's even the cads if you scrumble them in a dry brush they go transparent or thin them, again they go transparent.

I have been experimenting with some techniques of some of the wildlife artists who use opaque under painting and then use transparent glazes. Thanks, Rick. I watched both videos all the way to the end - even the 14:36 one. It was great. I know those techniques and use them, BUT...it was helpful to watch someone else do it. Sort of a vindication or a corroboration that makes my own experiences a little more "instructive" for me. In other words, I can see my own 'lessons' better after someone else shows me his version of the same thing. Does that make sense...:confused:

As for using pencils in colors similar to the underpainting colors, THANK YOU. That's a great insight. Underpainting and blocking in with colors similar to the preliminary line drawing should help hide those lines a lot better than if I had drawn them in black.

BothHands
10-12-2014, 06:42 PM
I get more coverage by using more than one layer....heck...I did a painting of Monument Valley where I lost track of how many layers I put on the the focal point of the painting.

When I am painting flowers...I usually add some Golden Gesso to my paint....and apply the paint/gesso mixture quite heavily. Still...it usually takes several layers for the desired effect to come forth. I have NO idea how many layers are in my work. Thanks to the fast drying time of acrylics (sped up even more by my trusty blow dryer) I'm in a constant, continuing process of painting on top of whatever was there already. Sometimes its glazes. Then it's scumble. Opaque when or if it's possible. I frequently paint things up (in value) and then back down...and then maybe up a little more... And then the colors/hues are always improving along the way.

Actually I LOVE the transparency afforded by acrylics, BUT...sometimes I need OPACITY, too. And that's been a headache.

Clearly I'm going to have to break down and start using a lot more WHITE (or gesso?) in my underpainting. The opacity just isn't there in most colors...

BothHands
10-12-2014, 06:53 PM
1. Lighten up on the pencil lines. Watercolor pencils are an option, as the color will work itself into 1st layer of paint.

2. Huge advocate of knowing your pigments and paints! Paint swatches of [...] lots of analogous colors that are opaque/semi-transparent/transparent. You should see noticeable differences between swatches.

3. If you don't have an extensive palette of opaque/semi-transparent/transparent colors, then use the tip of painting a tint of the color, and then glazing or scumbling the same color on top.

4. Just to paint some more! If you can lose the "masterpiece" fear - that every painting you do has to look great because of the money and time spent...or even the frustration that can come with thinking you are "wasting" time, money and supplies, you will will learn tons. You will be able to build on that knowledge... All good points, Jen. I do hate to "waste" time or materials. Just gonna have to lighten up a bit and experiment more. My next non-painting "experiment" will be a lot of "black lines" with lots of paint swatches covering those lines. Pure color from the tube next to tints and some mixtures with hopefully more-opaque color-wheel neighbors. We'll see. Thanks.

BothHands
10-12-2014, 06:57 PM
I suggest trying Lascaux, they are the most opaque acrylics you'll find beside Createx Paint.........believe it or not, crafts acrylics found in small plastic bottles such as Americana are super opaque- give them a shot- but if you want top quality artist's grade- go for the Lascaux- but they're pricey due to high pigment content and purity.
Steve, thanks very much. I'll look into Lascaux, and might buy just the several colors that will server me best - typically areas receiving some amount of glazing subsequently. I'll also look into the inexpensive crafts acrylics you mention (for the same type of use).

BothHands
10-12-2014, 07:03 PM
Myself, I like the control offered by successive glazes, which lets me 'sneak up' on my final result, especially since I frequently don't know where I'm going until I'm almost all the way there!! :lol:
I went to a lecture last Sunday on Matisse and the Fauves. I know I have a strong Impressionist bent (more of a desire than a technique at present) but I think there might be a bit of The Fauve in my blood, as well. :D Yeah, sometimes I just want to slap on some OPAQUE COLOR without all the reworking and strategizing. You know?

BothHands
10-12-2014, 07:16 PM
Various matte mediums is one idea. A very fluid matte medium instead of water might be help quite a bit. Golden also makes a "Super Loaded Matte medium", which is so loaded with matting agents (=colourless pigment/"filler") that they warn against using too much of it.

Golden also makes a line called Matte Fluids, which might be worth a look. Can be a bit difficult to find (I know they don't stock it in Europe at all for instance). The two samples I've tried were extremely opaque. Hey, Tona ==

Interesting coincidence: I had a good, very instructive discussion with a Golden TechSupport rep recently. She made a couple of recommendations for gels and mediums. I'll try them, with fingers crossed.

The Golden Matte Fluids you suggest can be purchased HERE (http://www.dickblick.com/products/golden-matte-fluid-acrylics/) at Dick Blick in the US. It's a fairly limited palette, but enough to serve my needs. You REALLY know the Golden product line. Thanks for such helpful suggestions, as always. :D :thumbsup:

BothHands
10-12-2014, 07:29 PM
You might find this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wO4q5QMhjE) helpful. Thanks, Howard. I watched the video and might buy one of the Magic Palette products to use as a de-mystifier of sorts... I think it would help move things in the proper direction sometimes. :thumbsup:

FWIW, I watched THIS YOUTUBE VIDEO (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYZWDEmLR90) several weeks ago and found it to be a great refresher for making well-informed use of the color wheel. It's entitled: Color wheel chart mixing theory painting tutorial by PaintBasket.

Mythrill
10-13-2014, 11:28 PM
Well, here's the idea of glazing + underpainting in practice.

This is Lapis Lazuli in acrylics. The point is that Lapis is very transparent, so you might want to build a tint of another paint before.

Here, the underpainting (left) is Phthalo Blue Red Shade (PB 15:1).

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Oct-2014/96427-Ultramarine_-_pure_vs_glaze.jpg

There's a change in hue, but overall, the phthalo-tint underlayer looks a lot more vibrant.

You can also see the Lapis vs Ultramarine comparison at the Color Threory forum: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?p=20243550

Sketchee
10-14-2014, 01:42 PM
But Amy, if you cover your lines with two layers of gesso, how do SEE the lines so they can guide your early applications of paint? :D

Acrylic gesso is semi-transparent, it'll just make it look like you have a lighter drawing. Then you can paint as if you started with a light drawing. The other benefit of this is that you don't have to worry anymore about the wetness of the next layers, since the pencil is seals.

Do some tests on some scrap paper? You'll see that the pencil will show through the first gesso layer. And even the second. With this technique you might not have to worry about opacity, titanium white, or gesso again after gessoing!

I either do this or I just skip pencil altogether and "sketch" in an underpainting in thinned out acrylic painting. Sometimes I mix gesso into the underpainting layer if opacity continues to be an issue

Or sometimes I'll have something I love in my sketchbook and want to use as a basis for a painting. I add a grid in photoshop and use a pencilled in transfer grid. Cover the grid in gesso so that it's light enough that I won't constantly have to keep trying to cover it. (I've made that mistake before!) Then "sketch" with thin acrylic.

If all else fails, do some tests that you don't feel too invested in and have fun with experimenting. Those tests might give you some ideas on how to work when you're ready for something more "serious". Hope some of these ideas are helpful.

Sketchee
10-14-2014, 01:42 PM
But Amy, if you cover your lines with two layers of gesso, how do SEE the lines so they can guide your early applications of paint? :D

Acrylic gesso is semi-transparent, it'll just make it look like you have a lighter drawing. Then you can paint as if you started with a light drawing. The other benefit of this is that you don't have to worry anymore about the wetness of the next layers, since the pencil is seals.

Do some tests on some scrap paper? You'll see that the pencil will show through the first gesso layer. And even the second. With this technique you might not have to worry about opacity, titanium white, or gesso again after gessoing!

I either do this or I just skip pencil altogether and "sketch" in an underpainting in thinned out acrylic painting. Sometimes I mix gesso into the underpainting layer if opacity continues to be an issue

Or sometimes I'll have something I love in my sketchbook and want to use as a basis for a painting. I add a grid in photoshop and use a pencilled in transfer grid. Cover the grid in gesso so that it's light enough that I won't constantly have to keep trying to cover it. (I've made that mistake before!) Then "sketch" with thin acrylic.

If all else fails, do some tests that you don't feel too invested in and have fun with experimenting. Those tests might give you some ideas on how to work when you're ready for something more "serious". Hope some of these ideas are helpful.