Monthly Archives: March 2017

Acrylic Water Based Paint Options For Painting

Acrylic water-based paints are great for artists for several reasons. It is one of the most flexible paints available and has a lot of other benefits. For starters, acrylic water based paints can be used to paint on just about any surface from paper to canvas board. One feature of acrylic that some consider a con is the fact that acrylic water-based paint dries very quickly. Some artists use no more than 15% of a retarder to slow down this quick drying process. Others use a stay wet palette while they paint.

Different Kinds of Acrylic Water Based Paint for Artists to Choose From

As previously stated, acrylic water-based paint offers up a lot of flexibility including the different kinds that are available to artists, from students to professionals. Although similar in grade to the kind of acrylics used by professionals, student acrylics tend to be lower in pigmentation, have less colors to choose from, and formulas that are less expensive than acrylic water paints used by professionals. Professional acrylics have more options and are as a rule more expensive. Professional water-based acrylic paint options also are more resistant to chemical and water exposure.

Additionally, water-based acrylic paints are classified by their ‘body’, which is a term used to indicate its consistency. Some are soft or medium bodied, others are heavy-bodied, and others still are super heavy or extra-bodied. Below we look at some of this acrylic water based paint varieties and grades and what they mean for student and professional artists alike.

1. Pigments, pricing, and color range

True paint pigments are expensive. Hues, which are an imitation of the authentic pigment are much more affordable. Student grade acrylics are usually available as hues. As for professional acrylics, pigments are grouped into series by numbers (counting from 1 onwards) and letters (moving from A upwards). The higher the series number, or farther away from A the letter is, the richer the pigment and the more expensive it is likely to be. As a rule, professional artist grade acrylic water based paint will have more real colors available in their range, and will be more expensive than those available to student artists.

2. Opacity

Acrylic water based paint options that are more opaque are easier to cover and be covered over by other colors. As such, these options are great for students who may be more prone to making mistakes that they will need to cover up.

3. Consistency or body of the available options

As mentioned before, water based acrylic paints are available in different consistencies including mediums and heavy paints. Professional artist grade acrylic paints will have a wider range of consistency available, while the student options will have less. Importantly, there are binders that can be mixed with the different consistencies, allowing the artist to control how thick or thin the paint is, without losing the richness of the pigment.

4. Tinting Strength and Color Shift

Tinting refers to how much paint is needed in order to alter the color of white paint. The higher the tinting strength of the paint, the less paint is needed to change the color of the white paint. This is something for student artists in particular to bear in mind.

Color shift is something that naturally takes place when using acrylic water based paint. This is due mainly to the fact that the paint goes darker after it is dried. The acrylic emulsion becomes clear as the paint dries (it is white when wet) and in this way darkens the color of the paint. In student quality acrylic water based paint, the binder used is white, as such the color shift from lighter to darker is usually greater than in professional grade paint options. The cheaper the student artist acrylic paint option, the whiter the binder used, and therefore the greater the color shift.

All the above characteristics serve as a rule of thumb guide for both student and professional artists alike. They should be considered when deciding which acrylic paint to use or not use to get the job done. Remember that acrylic water based paint is very flexible, but student grade options less so. The more you wish to do with the paint, including using binders and different chemical mixes, the more necessary it will be to get professional grade options.

This Review of What “Fugitive” Colors Means

You were so proud of your watercolor painting of some roses. You had achieved a good drawing as a foundation to the painting. You loved the composition and how it encompassed the picture plane.. The light spread across the roses giving you just the effect you were after in balancing shadows from very dark to beautiful bright red highlights. It was one of your best pieces to date. In fact, it sold very quickly and that made you even happier.

But a couple of months later, the buyer contacts you. Something had changed in the painting. The buyer said that it has lost some of its brightness. You agree to look at the painting and you’re shocked at what you find. It appears much less vibrant to you. Some of the red areas that were rich in color are now dull, watered down looking. You can’t believe what you’re seeing. What happened?

Fugitive colors—that’s what happened. The artist failed to read the labels on the paints she used and to truly understand the permanence of the colors she had chosen. Maybe it was the first time she had chosen those colors. She had no idea some of them were “fugitive” colors. In this article, we’ll briefly review what fugitive colors means and how to read paint labels to better understand what you’re buying, whether it be oils, acrylics, watercolors, gouache, or other paints.

A fugitive color is a paint that has a pigment that can change over time. Most times the changes are caused by exposure to strong light, especially sun light. Every manufacturer of better paints places a rating on the tube by the American Society for Testing of Materials (ASTM). You’ll also find this rating on better colored pencil brands. They rate lightfastness—the ability of the pigment to withstand exposure to light—on a scale of I-IV with I being Excellent and IV being Fugitive. Look for that number on your tubes of paint. It may look like this—ASTM IV or ASTM II. The higher the number the more fugitive the color. Always try to use those marked I or II no matter how much you love the color. Especially if you will be selling the work. Customers get unhappy when their paintings change over time!

Reds are the most fugitive colors, hence the rose painting example above. Historically, alizarin crimson has been fugitive, but now you should look for re-formulations like “Permanent Alizarin Crimson”. Re-formulations of fugitive colors are much more stable and can also be named “New” like some yellows. With fugitive colors like gamboge, again, look for “New Gamboge” since it’s a re-formulation. Any color with the name “madder” is also fugitive, such as Rose Madder.

Try and familiarize yourself with how different brands mark their tubes. On Winsor & Newton, for example, you’ll see permanence marked with AA for extremely permanent, A for permanent, and B for moderately permanent. They also show a Series number that relates to price with 1 being the lowest and 5 the highest. And finally, the lightfastness marked I, II, III, or IV.

Each manufacturer provides the same information in different ways. So, read your tubes and have fun with the colors you like. But be careful if you want permanence in your work.

Some Movement in Contemporary Still Life Paintings

Still Life is a class of paintings that goes back centuries, with well-known artists including Monet, Picasso, and Van Gogh. The subject of still life paintings has changed over time, but still life is still an imperative part of contemporary art. And one of the most important aspects of still life paintings is movement. While that may sound counterintuitive, it is absolutely true.

Movement in a painting can be described in many different ways. It can be the aspect that draws the eye to the subject of the painting or the sense of change within the painting that draws you through and makes the painting more active rather than passive. However it is described, movement brings a still life painting to life.

Taking a look at some still life works from modern artists, it is clear that the use of a variety of brushstrokes can create an incredible sense of movement. Seeing the different strokes, swipes, and sweeps draws your attention to the flow of a painting. In some of the backgrounds, you’ll see larger strokes that lead the eye to the subject of the painting. The subjects themselves have much smaller, more refined brushstrokes that do not take attention away from the still life. Having brushstrokes lead the eye can break our normal view of a painting. We may look at a painting like we would read a book: left to right, top to bottom. However, with the use of bold sweeping strokes, it can lead the gaze in new directions, causing a different reaction to a painting.

Studying the use of strokes in a painting can give us a good idea of the process an artist went through to create the piece. Bold strokes can indicate a more wild energy in the painting, leading a viewer to think that the piece may have been created with more energy. Smaller strokes that are more refined make us imagine a process that is more intricate, time-consuming, and thought-out. Using the idea of having a painting slowly reveal itself to the viewer, we can see how looking more closely at the energy and movement of a painting can reveal the intentions of the artist and even the process. It gives the viewer a better sense of connection with the artwork.

To give the viewer a connection and a reaction to a painting is important. Art has always been an expression of emotion and it continues to be in modern day. Using movement in a painting and creating an ebb and flow is critical and creates synergy in a painting, not only within the painting, but between the painting and its viewer.

About Salvador Dali’s Painting “The Persistence of Memory”

Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory is one of his most cherished works from a prolific lifetime. It was painted in 1931 long after he attended art school in Madrid and Barcelona. His early work throughout his education reflects an unusual aptitude for a wide variety of styles.

In the 1930’s Dali’s unparalleled ability as an artist was combined with his discovery of Sigmund Freud’s teachings about subconscious imagery, and his recognizable mature style was introduced to the world. Before painting The Persistence of Memory Dali had also become acquainted with the Paris Surrealists. He felt enabled to create groundbreaking art that would establish the reality within the subconscious.

The iconic imagery of the melting pocket watch has made The Persistence of Memory one of Dali’s most recognizable paintings. The painting is a splendid example of the contrast between sharp hard lines and melting softness. The watches themselves symbolize the concept of time past, and perhaps the irrelevance of time in the universe. Dali may have been commenting on the Surrealist interpretation of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Dali painted an abstract human figure in the middle of the composition that some interpret as a self-portrait. This bizarre figure is a recurring visitor in his work, and represents a soul that travels within both the realms of reality and the subconscious. Dali often drugged himself into hallucinatory states, and spent a great deal of time exploring his subconscious. The figure in the painting has only one closed eye which suggests a dream-state.

Ants crawl over a clock at the bottom left of the painting. Dali often painted ants to symbolize decay. This effectively ties in the mortal plane to work that is clearly a depiction of the subconscious.

It is likely that the clocks was used by Salvador Dali to symbolize mortality instead of literal time. And the cliffs that provide the backdrop are the impression of part of Catalonia, which was Dali’s childhood home.

This is rather a small painting, at least not as large as you would think. While this painting is one of Dali’s biggest triumphs, the actual size of this oil on canvas painting measures only 9 1/2″ x 13″.

This painting was first shown at the Julien Levy Gallery and has been part of the collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City since 1932, thanks to an anonymous donor.