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Jtownsend
10-22-2010, 03:21 AM
So I've started on my portrait of my girlfriend--the problem is that it looks like this so far:

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs463.ash2/73669_135104116541588_120832857968714_209056_2060861_n.jpg

The problem I'm having is that I'm leaning on the canvas as I work and I'm completely oblivious to the fact that I'm doing it. I tend to hyper-focus when I start to paint and I'm worried that my skin's grease will cause problems down the line.

dances_with_oils
10-22-2010, 04:32 AM
Use a mahl bridge. (http://mahlbridge.com/)

idylbrush
10-22-2010, 06:02 AM
If you don't like the mahl bridge, then maybe a mahl stick (http://www.jerrysartarama.com/Painting-Supplies/Mahl-Sticks) would work.

Einion
10-22-2010, 06:25 AM
Using a mahl stick is the traditional approach. You can also think about wearing gloves - nitrile or vinyl, or cotton if you can find them.

If you find gloves too sweaty over long periods or you don't like not being able to feel the brush properly you can snip the fingers off*, I do that sometimes with my nitrile gloves.

*Keep the cut-offs though, you can use them as finger cots!

Einion

OkeeKat
10-22-2010, 10:52 AM
Are you smudging the gridlines or just soiled from your hands? I use a fixative on my sketches so the paint doesnt pick up the pencil lines and alter the colors. Using just your pinky finger to support/steady your hand when your painting migh aleviate some of that rather then the whole hand smudge. and yes Finger cots are great for that... small fingertips of gloves.

TheDuck
10-22-2010, 12:05 PM
Sorry jumping in here... hopefully this will help the OP too... what kind of fixative are you using OkeeKat? I assume this is something you spray on prior to starting the painting but after the sketch has been made/transferred?

OkeeKat
10-23-2010, 02:09 AM
Yes I use krylon workable fixatif, I find it at michaels. its for pencil,pastel and chalk.. prevents smudging. after sketch is done.. spray it on.. if put on too heavy I lightly sand it just to be sure the paint will grab it.. on rare occasion it sometimes during the underpainting it takes a bit to stick or cover, it it does, just keep going back and repaintingbrushing over again as it starts to dry, you'll see if it does how easily it adheres and doesnt smudge.
GOOD LUCK!! I've been using it on all my paintings since day one almost 3 yrs ago.

eyepaint
10-23-2010, 09:44 PM
The problem I'm having is that I'm leaning on the canvas as I work and I'm completely oblivious to the fact that I'm doing it. I tend to hyper-focus when I start to paint and I'm worried that my skin's grease will cause problems down the line.

You could try painting by standing back/sitting back at arm-length from the canvas and holding the brush at the tip (far end from bristles) :)