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New Painter Needs Help & Advice

Discussion in 'Just starting...' started by MinervaMini, Jul 20, 2008.

  1. MinervaMini New Member

    Hello to all...I am hoping to get your thoughts on a problem I am having painting with acrylics. On occasion, no matter how much I shake the paint, or the proportion of the mix, I get a residue at the edges of brush strokes.

    It seems like I apply a stroke of paint, the center liquid evaporates and leaves behind a line of pigment that is then near impossible to blend. I wind up having to add large amounts of water and/or a stiff brush to remove the resulting line.

    I take care to keep the paint in my pallette well mixed and unload my brush before application. I have had this happen both in thicker ratios 1:2 and in very thin ratios 1:10 or higher. Does anyone have any ideas? Is it a mixing problem? A brush problem? Or simply the result of something that I am not doing properly? Please help!! I keep having to re-do painted areas to remove these residue lines.:confused:

    Thank you for your advice - Regards, Julia
  2. Jamie Stokes Well-Known Member

    Hello there...

    what brand of paints are you using? And are they new, old, dug out of storage, been in the shop for goodness knows how long?

    IS it a few persistant colours, or mixes? (I am looking for a few common culprits - every now and then all of us will get a bottle/tin/tube of bad paint)

    Thats the paint thing.

    Thinning - what are you thinning with? I use distilled water, rather then tap water, so as to eliminate any variations of chemicals (Flouride, chlorine, rain water etc) being mixed with my paint.

    The third element I would look at is enviroment. You say you are in Miami? Humidity, tempreature, can have an effect on paint. I know I'll never try and paint a house during summer ever again - lotsa brush marks.......

    Another element would be the brushes - age, wear, any residues.....

    TO sum up; the four elements
    Type & brand of acrylics, and age. subset, is it a few paints, or all paints?
    Thinning agent - tap water, distilled, etc
    Environment; heat & humidty
    Brushes - age, type, brand.....

    ANd a thought- it seems you are getting it right some of the time also. what, if any, is the difference in technique you are doing (mixing etc)

    The idea is to eliminate one set of potential problems at a time, rather then ten things at once. one thing at a time, we know what we did. Ten things at once (or even two things at once) begs the question, which one worked?

    Any chance of a pic of the problem; would help the senior hands here a lot.
  3. tonydawe A Fixture

    My questions is what are you unloading your paint on to?

    I used to wipe off excess paint from my brush onto a dirty old towel until I realised the towel was adding small bits of fluff and lint into my paint mix and I was putting them straight onto my painting surface.

    Your problems sounds like the paint has partially dried in the bottle, but its difficult to make a proper diagnosis without pics and more info.

    If you can't fix the problem, the solutions to buy several different typesof acrylic paints until you find a brand that you like and provides the right coverage and blending for you.

    I'm sure someone on the Planet will have the right answers for you.

  4. MinervaMini New Member

    Jamie and Tony,

    First, let me thank you both for taking the time to offer such a thorough response to my question. I have been using Vallejo acrylics and unfortunately, seem to have had the problem with more than one particular color and they are of varying ages.

    Never thought about the surface I was unloading my brush on o, and took your advice changing to paper towels instead of a terry towel. I think part of it may be that I've mixed too thin - and who knows about barometric pressure - i can certainly see where too hot or high pressure would change the properties of the paint.

    I may also be handling the figure too much and leaving behind invisible prints or other oils that create a problem with water-based paint. Definitely going back to using only distilled water and have replaced all my old brushes.

    Next time it happens, I'll send pics in private message and perhaps you can offer additional observations. Again, much appreciation for your time

    Kind regards,
  5. AJLaFleche Well-Known Member

    Why not post them in the forum? Jamie and Tony gave you good advice, but there are a lot of us out here who might be able to help.
  6. Jamie Stokes Well-Known Member

    Handling figures....

    Hi Julia,
    regarding handling figures, many of us will temporally mount a figure on a block of wood, or anything else that suits, so as to handle figures (or corresponding bits) without handling them too much.

    Attached is how I mounted some fine detail flowers onto some dowelling, with some blu tack (like silly putty) and bits of paperclip.

    My chinese lady is actually temporarily mounted onto a bit of brass tubing stuck in some plaster of paris. lets me work the figure at any angle I can manage, without either rubbing off paint, or worse, leaving behind trace elements of skin oils.

    ask in the forum, or search, and you'll find many a figure painter has had a delightful paint finish fail because I....err, they, haven't washed a figure properly. And once washed, a bit of forethought will keep it free of oils, dust, etc.

    Vallejo; I use it currently, and enjoy using it. Sometimes the pigment has settled, so (with the lid on) I'll give the bottle a flick a few times to get the pigment to the nozzle. Or, turn the bottle upside down or on its side a day ahead of time. Gravity will do its thing.

    New brushes, Distilled water, good stuff. Eliminates a lot of variables. Paper towelling rather then terry towelling avoids fluff....Tony rides again.....:D

    Currently winter here, so rather then work in a chilly room, I'll pop a small heater on, shut the door, make a cuppa, and then check after 10 minutes or so.

    A $3.00 thermometer hangs in my workspace, so at least I can have an idea of how hot/ cold it is.......but thats just me.Too hot, time to drink beer, or work on construction.

    Any photos, well, PMs accepted, bit I have posted goofs on here, and all are helpful here.

    Keep going......like your flying students, anyone can fly and land a plane, first go......to do so as to walk away and reuse the plane takes some learning.......:D


    Attached Files:

  7. MinervaMini New Member


    Many thanks for the educational (and entertaining) response.:D Love the pictures of the flowers and the mounting advice is well taken.

    You are absolutely correct in your aviation analogy...like any other skill, development takes time and patience. Next time I sit to paint I'll pay attention to the temperature and the weather (we pilots are weather freaks anyway) and make note if there is an effect.

    The collective here has already offered several considerations that I should take into account - and it's truly appreciated. I'm also thinking some of my problem may be that the paint is well mixed when I take it from the bottle, but begins to settle in the tray before I realize it, especially at an 8:1 dilution.

    I promise to post pictures here if (or when) I have the problem again. Better that future painters benefit from the expertise offered.

    Kind regards,

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