View Full Version : Paints, Canvas or Me?

04-29-2009, 10:50 PM
Hello everyone,

I am VERY new to painting (just started a few days ago) and have a question. Basicaly, I would like to know how blending works? I currently have Galeria Acrylic paints and I am painting on thick type of paper. I have a few videos on how to paint with acrylics but I am wondering how one does it so easily? When I put two colors close to one another, the paint drys soooo fast that I can't blend at all. I tried today and it looked awful.

1) Is it the cheap paint I am using?
2) Is it the cheap paper I am using?

The video I own shows a man using masonite hard board, sands it off and and then paints gesso/paint/water mixture 3-4 times. Does this help when blending? I am guessing the overwhelming answer is going to be yes ha. Sorry for the silly question, I am really quite new to this. Thanks!

04-29-2009, 11:25 PM
I started with Galeria paints, too, a couple years ago. They're a bit transparent, so you'll have to build up with layers and learn how to scumble. I also picked up a technique to paint an opaque color (intended color plus white) first, when it's dry then put your real intended color on top of that.

For blending, be generous with the paint. Adding medium will help and having paintbrush in one hand, water sprayer in the other helps alot. But basically, mix the color you want on your palette, with a palette knife, not with the brush. This will also extend the life of your brushes by not pushing paint up in the ferrules.

You can paint acrylics on almost any surface. Your paint's drying quickly because the paper is sucking moisture off the first couple layers. Prepare your paper with a layer of gesso. Or just keep putting more paint on top until it's right. You'll want to prepare masonite the same way or deal with the extra fast drying until the surface is covered once or twice.

This was one of my first questions on this forum too. Hang in there, you'll figure it out as you get more brush mileage.

04-30-2009, 04:43 AM
As Wabbit stated it is a matter of mileage. Paint 500 paintings and something is bound to come about. Just keep practicing the process. You can add some glazing medium or slo-dri medium to assist if you feel you need it.

The paper, if not gessoed, can absorb moisture and cause the paint to dry rapidly. The option might be to gesso the paper first and then apply the paint. Some like using wet gesso for blending and that is certainly a viable option. Scumbling is also an option as is using a soft blender brush.

The secret is to paint a great deal and then when you think you got it, paint a couple hundred more just to refine the process that works for you.

04-30-2009, 01:57 PM
TY for your replies.

I did some research it it seems as though gesso is used to make the painting surface smoother. It also stops paint from soaking through a canvas, which is why mine seems to be doing. I am hoping that buy gessoing a painting surface (I am going to try a much harder surface) that the paint will not dry as fast so I can blend a little easier? I also saw how artists use a hair blower to dry paint (gesso) so the project can begin sooner. Anyone try this?

Right now, I am working on techniques for painting animals but would also enjoy painting people (thats where the blending comes in).

Bright Eyes
04-30-2009, 04:47 PM
The gesso itself will suck the moisture out of the paint. I usually have to paint on a couple layers before it stops doing this. Blending with acrylics can be done but its nothing like blending with oils. Layering is usually the way to go with acrylic. I use lots of transparent layers. If your looking for quick results you may want to try layering and slowly bring in blending. And I second the use of a fine mister. Comes in very handy with acrylic. I often spray my painting surface with water then add the paint. Helps it move around a lot better.

As for blow drying it does work well if you have thin layers. If the layers are really thick then you risk the chance of them cracking (and yes acrylic does crack when dried too fast, personal experience). For gesso your better off letting it sit for a day to dry.

04-30-2009, 07:10 PM
I think a layer of gloss medium on top of the gesso (or on plain paper) makes blending easier still. It has to be gloss, though. Matte medium is more absorbent, less slippery. Just my two cents.

04-30-2009, 08:00 PM
It's probably just as mentioned, a matter of putting in time and gaining experience. It takes a long time to develop into a good painter, and really, the journey never ends :-)
I find, with acrylic, the heavy body from Golden worked best for me, and I use a blending fluid for them, in lieu of very much water. Acrylics on paper can need a very masterful hand and a good ability to drybrush and "drag" and make use of texture. Otherwise on paper, you can use them thinned and washy, more like watercolour, but of course they are permanent when dry.
Just keep at it.
Try primed hardboard with a teeney bit of tooth, where you can layer and glaze strokes over strokes. Or, give canvas a shot, where you can layer or "rub" in a drybrush method, thin strokes over strokes too.
I'd also suggest monochrome practice studies on chosen surface, until a comfortableness using paint comes, then move into colour.
However, don't expect it to take a few days, or even weeks, it takes time to build up a comfortableness with your medium and to develop via trial and error.

05-01-2009, 01:51 PM
Ahhh the age old question of blending with acrylics. If you listen close you can still hear the echo of the first artist asking that very same question. And yet the problem persists.

Acrylics are a unique animal. Their strength, they dry fast. Their weakness . . . well . . . they dry fast. But fear not young adventurer, all hope is yet not lost. There are several means to blend acrylics. And to start I would recommend an excellent introductory book on acrylics, The Acrylics Book: Materials and Techniques for Today's Artist by Barclay Sheaks. He is an oil painter that adapted to acrylics. I also would recommend checking out Roger Bansemer (http://www.bansemer.com), an artist who uses acrylics on location. He has several online video demos that are a pleasure to watch. You may want to check out Jerry Yarnell (http://www.yarnellart.com) another primarily acrylic painter, who has a entirely different technical approach than Mr. Bansemer. I tend to find Mr. Yarnell's landscapes a tad to syrupy and saccharin, but his approach to acrylics is worth observing.

Wet-into-wet blending is effect, but takes practice and a certain amount of speed. You can add mediums to the paint to slow the drying process, but I don't recommend it to beginners. It is too easy to over medium, and then the paints never dry right. But to paint upon a thin fill of water or water and a little medium can keep the surface workable for several minutes. A light and experienced hand can blend airbrush like effects with out the airbrush.

The more traditional approach to blending acrylics is some form of optical blending. Either by glazing, scumbling, velaturas (half opaque glazes), dry brushing, and so on. I lean towards scumbling and drybrushing as they are quick and dirty, and it gives my growing collection of worn brushes something to do, which does wonders for their self-esteem. Painting on bare paper will speed the drying somewhat, as it quite porus, so going the drybrush route would be the way to go if you are painting opaquely, or wash-like glazes if you are going watercolour-esque. At least that would be my suggestion.

Good Luck,