View Full Version : Dot painting on rocks-Artist grade Acrylics

05-31-2015, 07:20 PM
I've been working on painting on rocks..I know...lame compared to what everyone else is doing, but have you seen Elspath McClane's work? Not lame at all.

She says her paint dries really fast, and she can make one rock in 45 minutes. My Liquitex takes nearly 2 hours, then it might not be completely dry.

The rocks are painted in a mandala, with dots. Thousands of dots, I'll find a link for you to see what I'm describing. It won't let me post a link. Can someone google her?

I am completely fascinated with these. I have the Liquitex colors. I can't figure out the best paint to use to make the dots. Liquitex is fine, but the dots take a long time to dry.I don't dare paint a different color dot, it will run into the other dot. So I end up waiting hours, if not a day or two for a couple of dots to dry before I paint a different color.

I saw another mandala made by someone else on Etsy. She says she uses artists acrylics. What are artist acrylics?

The picture I posted here doesn't look like my Liquitex dots.I saw someone with a dot painting on FB, which was and it looks like my dots.

I prime my rocks with Liquitex Mat finish. But I think the missing link to me doing this type of painting is a different paint. The paint needs to be thick enough to hold the dot, which I make with a size 00 brush. What acrylic dries fast, and looks like the paint in the picture?


Edit by Charlie's Mum
Here's (https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Elspeth+McLean&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=9cFsVZz0NMKsUYibgYAE&ved=0CDEQsAQ&biw=1368&bih=709)a link to images of her work

05-31-2015, 07:29 PM
artist acrylics is most likely the pro stuff.
drying can be greatly hastened with heat guns or heat lamps

"LATEX TRAFFIC PAINT Drying Time: Dries to "no track" in 10 minutes or in 2 minutes or less
with 130F heat. Not affected by humidity as much as other latex
traffic paints.
Clean-up: Water / Alcohol"

oh shellac is very fast also

05-31-2015, 07:32 PM
And I do buy my paints at Coldsnow or Dick Blick, so I'm familiar with artists grade paint. It's all I use. Hmm...maybe I need to invest in a heat gun.

05-31-2015, 08:12 PM
Oh pointillism! Always a fun style to play with. When it comes to how fast you paint is drying it will be determined usually by 2 main factors.
1. How thick is your paint
2. How humid is your painting environment.
The thicker the paint and more humid your environment the longer the drying time will be.

Artist's Acrylics are a grade of paint. For acrylics there are 3 main grades: Student, Artists, and Professional.
Acrylic paint is made MAINLY with a pigment and acrylic polymer binder. Student grade paint often contains less pigment, additional water, and fillers to mimic the consistency of higher quality paint. Artists and Professional grade acrylics use little to no fillers and have a higher concentration of pigment.

You say you use Liquitex, but Liquitex is a brand, not a grade. Liquitex Basics are Student Grade Paint (and not one I recommend in most cases). They also make Professional paints that usually have big words on them that say "heavy body" or "acrylic professional."

Also. Go ahead and let you're dots push together. Pointillism is a difficult and meticulous process. It's not going to be perfect the first several times you try it.

05-31-2015, 08:28 PM
I don't use Liquitex basics, they don't sell that at Coldsnow art supplies. I use either soft body or Heavy body. Keith Coldsnow is where the Art Institute students shop.

And I've figured out how to do dots with a brush. It's fun.I'm painting something on a canvas, and am going to fill it in with raised dots.

06-01-2015, 06:17 AM
Could there possibly be moisture in the rocks? Some rocks are porous and will absorb and retain moisture for a long time. Acrylic paint on a moist substrate would act as you describe.

If you suspect moisture in the rocks DO NOT expose them to a lot of heat. If the moisture converts to steam, the rocks can explode. A friend of mine who is also an EMT told me about someone who had this happen and required a trip to the emergency room.

06-01-2015, 10:36 AM
Thats very possible. I'm ordering beach stones so they are not so porous and are dry. I'm also going to try different paint.

06-01-2015, 01:51 PM
I use DecoArt Patio Paint to paint on rocks.


06-01-2015, 02:37 PM
I'm going to go to Hobby Lobby after work and get some Decoart Patio paint and a circle stencil. Do you prime the rocks before you paint them?

Charlie's Mum
06-01-2015, 04:41 PM
Here's (https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Elspeth+McLean&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=9cFsVZz0NMKsUYibgYAE&ved=0CDEQsAQ&biw=1368&bih=709)a link to images by Elspeth McLean

Use any good quality heavy body paint - soft body is unlikely to hold the shape you want. You do want paint with high pigment I'd think, if you want the colours Elspeth gets.
You could try gesso fist to give you a bright white for the colours on top - and seal them when finished with an isolation coat of medium and then a varnish - if you're putting them outside.:)

06-02-2015, 10:32 AM
I'm going to go to Hobby Lobby after work and get some Decoart Patio paint and a circle stencil. Do you prime the rocks before you paint them?

I don't prime them. I just start painting. I do varnish them after I've finished.

Zerby Pirkel
11-20-2016, 09:55 PM
I have fallen in love with Elspeth's work, too. Her sense of color is most excellent. When I look at other people who have made mandalas on stones, their sense of color might not even be there. I can tell Elspeth's work from most others. There is one other Etsy artist that is in the same league as Elspeth. I hope to find more.

I have taken one of Elspeth's designs, desaturated the colors in Gimp, and will print it out on Canson Mix Media paper. That will be my outline to "color" with dots. I am using student grade paints. I was thinking of investing in artist grade paints for Christmas. I think practicing with what I have will have to hold me over, until after Christmas!

Let me attach a picture of what Elspeth's "Love" mandala is. http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/20-Nov-2016/1991845-Love.jpgSave