Friday 26 July 2019

Blending media acrylic paints - DecoArt Creative Team

This is a DecoArt Media Tea Encore post
I was working on a tag earlier in the year and wanted to create a soft vintage look with my media acrylic paints. I had covered the greyboard tag with a coat of gesso using a palette knife when an idea came to me - let's try using a distress ink blending tool!
I made up the tag and was so pleased with the results but creating in the moment I hadn't written down any explanation of what I had done nor what I had used but here's what the background looked like.

So I started out experimenting with some card tags for this post. 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.
These were a mixture of both opaque and semi translucent paints - Titan Buff O, Cerulean Blue ST, Green Gold ST and Yellow Oxide ST although I mixed some Titan Buff with the 3 semi translucent colours which made them more cloudier. 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.

These were all translucent colours - Hansa Yellow Light, Cobalt Teal Hue, Phthalo Green/Blue and Cobalt Blue.

In this neutral palette were all opaques - Burnt Umber, Dark Grey V3, Medium Grey V6 and Titan Buff.

What I realised was that I used far too much paint on the blender foam, they moved around a lot and they 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?

So what else do we know about acrylic paints? They dry quickly, they are traditionally used by painters using brushes and these artists 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.

I cut some card to fit one of my journals and scraped a gesso layer over with a palette knife and left 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.

The card on the left has two coats of titan buff and was rubbed with a soft cloth after each layer had dried. The card on the right has two coats of titan buff mixed 50:50 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.

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 is. You need more paint on the foam for it to stick. 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 benefits for using both of these techniques.

For the third colour I chose burnt umber and repeated step two 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.

I finished with Raw Umber applying it mostly round 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 round 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 card has 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.

Have fun experimenting with other colours and if you want to see the original tag that started this all off you can find it here.

Here is a project made with one of the above samples. I introduced colour through the stamping and collage elements. You can see I stamped on the tag and painted in some of the swirls on the border.

Top Tip - the foam pads hold onto the paint really well so rub them off on dry paper kitchen towel or another dry cloth before moving on to the next colour.