Thursday 2 May 2019

Blending acrylic paints technique for DecoArt Media Design Team

I have a post up over on the DecoArt Mixed Media Blog today with a step by step outline of how I experimented with blending acrylic paints using a blending tool.
It all started when I made a vintage tag for Tag Friday on A Vintage Journey at the end of March. You may remember seeing it.

At the time I didn't record how I got that lovely creamy and smooth looking background with the media fluid acrylics, so I set about experimenting with different ways I could re-create it.

So if you have time to  be transported over to the DecoArt Mixed Media blog to see what I found out you'll find all the details there.


Updated from DecoArt blog

Instructions :

Here's what the original background photos looked like.
I started my exploration with some ordinary craft shipping tags. The tags on the left were not primed at all and the tags on the right were given a thin coat of gesso using a palette knife. I used the rectangular blending tool and foam, taking a small amount of each colour and blending from my craft mat onto the tag, just like you do with distress inks.

1. These were a mixture of both opaque and semi-translucent paints - Titan Buff, Cerulean Blue, Green Gold and Yellow Oxide although I mixed some Titan Buff with the 3 semi-translucent colours which made them more cloudier.
2. These were all translucent colours - Hansa Yellow Light, Cobalt Teal Hue, Phthalo Green-Blue and Cobalt Blue Hue.
3. In this neutral palette the acrylics were all opaques - Burnt Umber, Dark Grey Value 3, Medium Grey Value 6 and Titan Buff.
What I realized was that I used far too much paint on the blending foam, the paints moved around a lot but were easy to use. What I also noticed was that blending onto a gesso surface was much smoother and created more translucent colours. Mmmmm how could I improve on that?

I took a little time to think about what else we know about acrylic paints? They dry quickly, they are traditionally used by painters using brushes and these artists usually use sweeping strokes of colours to blend them together. They can be mixed with glazing medium to create more transparent layers which doesn't affect their drying time. Also, by experimenting with the blending tool and blending foam I found the pads hold the paint well, give good coverage and are washable so they can be used again. So I decided my next step was to add some glazing medium to see what difference that made.

I cut some card to fit one of my journals and scraped a gesso layer over with a palette knife and left them to dry. Gesso has a tooth to it to allow the paint to stick to it so I buffed the first piece with a soft cloth, it certainly gave it a bit more of a satin feel. I also swapped from the larger rectangular tool to the small circular tool and foam. I love the neutral palette so I chose Titan Buff, Medium Grey Value 6, Burnt Umber and Raw Umber.
4. The card on the left has two coats of Titan Buff. The card on the right has two coats of Titan Buff mixed 1:1 with glazing medium. When added to paint it gives more transparent layering effects and this just glided on with the foam pad and gives a much softer finish. I also started by rubbing with a soft cloth after each layer had dried but you’ll see what happened part way through.
5. For the next layer, I chose Medium Grey Value 6. Immediately you can see how thicker the paint stays on the surface even with only one coat (as the left-hand side). Because the paint is thicker you need more paint on the foam for it to cover. Whereas the mix of paint and glazing medium on the right-hand side has two coats and is still so soft and translucent and you need very little on the foam pad. I can see the benefits of using both of these techniques.
6. For the third colour I chose burnt umber and repeated Step 2 above but I forgot to rub the right-hand card with a soft cloth between the layers and the paint beneath gave more tooth for the second coat to hold onto giving a deeper tone.
7. I finished with Raw Umber applying it mostly around the edges to frame each background. Again I chose not to rub the right-hand card between the two layers of paint but I did rub both of them before I took each photo. On the right-hand card I also rubbed my finger around the edges when applying the wet paint to blend it to an even softer finish.
So you see the effects I got from raw card, gesso, media paint and glazing medium. You can see some of the cards have more texture than others from the gesso. I actually love all the effects.??
To summarise there are four different outcomes and effects.
1. Blended acrylics on raw card
2. Blended acrylics on gesso covered card
3. Blended acrylics on gessoed card with buffing between layers
4. Blended acrylics mixed with glazing medium and buffed between layers