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Skywatcher416
03-16-2015, 08:01 PM
I have been trying to get started with acrylics but am very frustrated. I have tried numerous mediums to slow it down and this doesn't help. I get a couple brush strokes done and the paint is already to tacky. I have sprayed a mist of water on it as well but still is a problem. I find that I am using a lot of paint and not getting good results. Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated. The canvas panels I am using say they are primed but they seem to almost instantly suck the moisture out of the paint. Should I apply another coat of gesso before starting to paint? Thank you in advance for any hep.

airplanz
03-16-2015, 11:37 PM
Hi Skywatcher416 :) ,

It's time to make yourself a 'sta-wet' palette! It is basically a shallow food container or plate with an airtight lid. The one I made uses cheap kitchen sponges cut to fit the bottom. On top of this I place a sheet or two of cooking parchment paper that is likewise cut to fit. Toss in a couple of pre-1982 US pennies or any small thing made of real copper (to prevent mildew) and you're done.

When I'm ready to paint I wet the sponges and squeeze out any excess water, lay them in the container and lay the parchment paper on top. The paper is my mixing surface for the paint, and absorbs enough moisture from the sponges to keep acrylics soft for weeks. Just remember to replace the lid when you're not mixing or painting and you're good to go :thumbsup: .

There are well over a hundred threads about this topic here. Go back to the Acrylics start page and enter sta-wet in the search box. Many artists have many different creative ways of making these things, so browse a little. You might already have most of what you need to put one together.

Have fun with it :-) ,


Jim (airplanz)

Cindy Schnackel
03-17-2015, 12:03 AM
I live in the desert and paint dries very fast here most of the time. I've learned to work fast. When I do want a bit more wet time I use Golden paint's "Open" acrylic medium, not water. I also have a sta-wet palette and that keeps the paint on the palette from drying out so fast. Most of my work is done with Golden fluid acrylics. There are also 'glazing mediums' that give you more working time. If you're starting with student grade paint that can also be part of the problem. The lower grades of paint aren't usually as strongly pigmented and new painters may fuss with them and the paint dries while they fuss.

Explorer45
03-17-2015, 05:08 AM
I use an old baking tray as a wet pallette lined with absorbent kitchen paper which I then moisten with tap water, draining off the excess. I then cover this with a sheet of cooking parchment. The parchment is a semi-permeable membrane that allows moisture through very slowly to the surface, and that keeps the paint moist. I don't use a lid as I tend not to store, and mix only enough paint for my needs over the next hour, and it is fine without one. In fact the paint tends to get more fluid after about an hour as more moisture is absorbed into it, to the point where a loss of opacity can occur.

idylbrush
03-17-2015, 06:52 AM
I use glazing medium when I want a bit of time extension. Also take a look at Palette Wetting Spray (http://www.dickblick.com/products/liquitex-palette-wetting-spray/).

It does take time to get accustomed to acrylics. Having said that, don't be to harsh on yourself or the paints while on the learning curve.

cliff.kachinske
03-17-2015, 09:05 AM
And you are keeping the paint in piles as much as possible, right? Thin layers of paint on your palette dry just as fast as the paint on the painting.

Charlie's Mum
03-17-2015, 12:36 PM
Take a look at the first thread here (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=329) - lots of versions of stay-wet palettes.

Also - try an extra coat of gesso on the panel
- try a thinnish coat of an under-colour to help act as a seal.
- continue to do as you're doing - spraying the surface to keep the panel moist
- make sure the brush is damp before adding paint and have the brush well-loaded.

Sorry if you live in a hot lace ....... humidifiers? :)

You will get used to the fast drying time - to the extent that if you then use oils, you'll find the s-l-o-w drying tedious!:)

Skywatcher416
03-17-2015, 04:02 PM
Thanks for all the help. I am using a stay wet pallett and it helps keep the paint from drying out. But the paint seems to dry to fast on my canvas board to even work with. The panels say they are primed but I will try putting another coat of gesso on them before I start to paint. Thanks again to all.

cliff.kachinske
03-17-2015, 05:53 PM
You can mist the panels with water, you can mist them with palette spray, you can put your easel out of and air currents, you can increase the humidity around the easel.

You can get a dab of gloss medium on your brush tip before you pick up the paint, then work the brush back and forth on a surface to mix it in.

Or you can do what a lot of us do, which is to tweak the paint in the next layer.

airplanz
03-17-2015, 06:14 PM
Skywatcher416, I gather that you are coming from an oil painting background and desire more wet time with acrylics in order to blend colors together on the canvas....is that correct?

I seriously doubt that commercial pre-primed canvas panels are the problem. You can re-gesso if you wish but would consider that only a last resort.

You didn't mention your painting environment re relative humidity. Dry air produced by cental heating and AC can suck the moisture out of acrylics very quickly. Cindy S. offered some excellent advice about acrylic painting in extremely dry Arizona in her post. +1 on her use of the Golden "Open" medium. Another you might try is Liquitex Slow-Dri Blending Fluid Medium, I've used it for wet-blending on the canvas with very good results.

Keep in mind that there are lots of specialized acrylic mediums available today and some will work much better for your intended use than others :) .


Jim (airplanz)

Skywatcher416
03-17-2015, 07:36 PM
I will give these ideas a try. I am coming from an oil painting background and watercolor as well.The humidity or dry air is not an issue where I paint. It could be I have just not gotten use to the speed at which they dry and have not found the correct technique. May stick with oils. Thank you all for the kind help.

Jon Bradley
03-17-2015, 08:15 PM
Echoing everyone else with the sta-wet palette, namely the Masterson one. I could not work without it.

Keep those brushes at a good/desired moisture consistency and use that sprayer!

JamieWG
03-17-2015, 08:27 PM
Thanks for all the help. I am using a stay wet pallett and it helps keep the paint from drying out. But the paint seems to dry to fast on my canvas board to even work with. The panels say they are primed but I will try putting another coat of gesso on them before I start to paint. Thanks again to all.

Gesso is absorbent. Instead of gesso, try a base coat or two of an acrylic polymer medium. You can apply it right over the gesso that's already there. Golden GAC100 works really well to seal canvas or paper that is absorbing too quickly. Golden Fluid Matte Medium is another favorite of mine for that purpose. This enables more of the moisture to stay in the paint, and not be wicked away by the support.

oramasha
03-26-2015, 12:02 PM
Gesso is absorbent. Instead of gesso, try a base coat or two of an acrylic polymer medium. You can apply it right over the gesso that's already there. Golden GAC100 works really well to seal canvas or paper that is absorbing too quickly. Golden Fluid Matte Medium is another favorite of mine for that purpose. This enables more of the moisture to stay in the paint, and not be wicked away by the support.

This is very helpful info for me, too! Thank you, Jamie. What is your secret to knowing this info? Idylbrush, I saved your formula, too, in case polymer medium isn't effective. I usually work quickly.

Sketchee
03-26-2015, 03:58 PM
All great tips! Just to add, you may also want to practice some building up with layers. Just on some scrap. Acrylic is so different than oil. The drying time is a plus if you work in layers and just get used to painting over it. I don't use mediums and still find it stays wet longer than I'd expect. Hope this helps in some way =)

oramasha
03-27-2015, 12:50 PM
Echoing everyone else with the sta-wet palette, namely the Masterson one. I could not work without it.

Keep those brushes at a good/desired moisture consistency and use that sprayer!

Ditto and ditto. I paint for hours and even mist my paints, especially the cadmiums, on my stay wet palette. Like Jon, I could not paint in acrylic heavy body without the stay-wet palette.

talisman
03-27-2015, 01:25 PM
Toss in a couple of pre-1982 US pennies or any small thing made of real copper (to prevent mildew) and you're done.

I never knew this one. Great advice!

EnPassant
03-27-2015, 02:39 PM
Ultimately you have to accept the quick drying and learn to work with it. I recently changed over from oils and I know from experience it is exasperating. Try to paint in layers. Thin layers on first and build things up. You'll have much less work to do on each layer. Also, dry brush is worth learning. Use glazes too. Plan your work before you start and figure out how each layer is going to go. You'll get there...

Also, when learning a new technique I find it is best to keep it simple. Just paint an orange or some leaves or whatever. If you plan a huge 50 x 100 feet painting and it goes wrong...

keep it simple and try one simple thing at a time.

Phil Bourgeois
04-18-2015, 12:32 PM
If you're just moving from Oils and Watercolors to Acrylics I would advise that you immediately invest in the new interactive acrylic paints and those new acrylics that let you re-open a paint to blend back into....it will probably make your life a lot happier and longer! Wish they had been around many years ago when I was gifted with my first acrylics.. So..Just stop what you're doing right now...and read up on the new acrylics...and you won't end up hating and loving acrylics and finding that sometimes you just want to dig up the inventors bones, pound them into dust and "P#ss on them! :)

Fox_eNova
04-18-2015, 09:19 PM
store bought primed canvases could use a fresh coat of gesso IMHO. I do 2 or 3 coats on them, depending on how smooth a surface I want.

Alanpaints
04-18-2015, 10:19 PM
There are acrylics called "Golden Open Acrylics". They have a slow drying time similar to oils, I would try and check them out.

Investing in a stay wet palette is also a good idea like the other posters have suggested.