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Exploring and choosing mediums.

This week I would like to talk about exploring what kinds of mediums that are available to us.

This was what we were talking about in class this week amongst other things. So for those people who sadly didnt make it to class, we missed you and send our love and hope you enjoy this post.

All paints are made with powdered pigments that are either naturally sourced by grinding different coloured earths and rocks, metal oxides or chemically man made colours.

These fall into 3 main paint types water colour, acrylic and oil.

Pigment can also be mixed with various binders to make pastels,oil pastels and wax crayons and pencils. Pastels can be hard or soft the soft ones have more pigment and less binder so they are easier to smudge and are intense in hue. Hard pastels have more binder and less pigment and stay reliatively sharp so they are ideal for tight detail, as are coloured pencils.

Water colour pigments are made with pigment and the water soluble binder gum arabic or it can be a synthetic glycol these come in solid bricks or liquid tubes.

Water colours are water soluble when wet and when dry. Water colour paint dries by evaporation so drying is quick and a matter of minutes.The great thing about this medium is there is no wasted pigment as it can be left to use on the pallette for another time.

To clean up brushes use warm water.

Acrylic inks and paint are a plastic based paint that contains pigment and an acrylic polymer to form an emulsion that is water soluble when wet and permanent when dry.

It is possible to add a variety of different texture mediums , to bulk out the acrylic paint and give it different textures these come in a number of different finishes from smooth and shiny to sandy.

Acrylics dry by evaporation so this makes them very versatile because they dry so quickly.

clean up for acrylic is with warm soapy water.

Oil paint consists of pigment mixed with cold pressed linseed oil or poppy oil held in suspension.

Oil paints dry by oxidation when paint has contact with the air. Oil is slow drying so the surface is open for a few days sometimes weeks before its skinned over and will take 6 to 12 months to dry completely.

Oil paint can be used in thin layers or thickly in an impasto way.

Its readily available in tubes and oil bars or sticks, these contain a drying oil within them and can be used like a giant marker.

Thick Liquin bought in a tube can be added to oil to bulk it out and help thick layers dry more quickly.

Liquin original or stand oil is used in oil paint to speed up the drying time and is often used in conjunction with an odourless thinner[Zest it, Gamsol, Sennelier mineral spirit, Sandor] to form what is called a medium and this is then added to the oil paint to improve drying time and flow.

Cold wax can be added to the oil paint to give an extra matt texture that can be scratched into when wet or dry and is super for building up interesting layers of colour and texture.

It is possible to paint with oils without thinner and to just use a small amount of extra oil to improve flow, but this does mean that the painting will need plenty of time to dry.

When thinking about cleaning brushes at the end of the painting session you will need to consider a product to do this as washing directly with normal soap does not work

My preferred cleaner andTconditioner for brushes is

Wood soap' Murphy s' or turpenoid. The oily brushes are dipped in one of these and then the solution is worked through the bristles and then you are able to wash this out with hot soapy water. Both of these products condition the brushes. These are then left to dry. Of course if you are using painting knives this stage is not necessary as these can simply be wiped clean with a rag.

Oil is the most durable of mediums.The most light fast and there is no colour change from wet to dry.

You do need to make sure that the surface you intend to paint on is primed with a few layers of either a gesso ,acrylic layer or shellac and make sure this is fully dry before adding oil layer to ensure a stable surface as possible.

Happy painting....I am always happy to hear from you ...

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