Need Advice About Which Medium to Use

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Rayzen wrote
on 30 Nov 2014 3:31 PM

I am working on a painting of a cougar in a snow scene. It is a close-up, and I want the snow that has accumulated on the branches of the brush to appear three-dimensional (that is, to stand out thickly on the canvas, not "three-dimensional," in the 'perspective' sense of the word).

I have tried daubing thick paint, as well as first using gesso, then painting over the gesso, but no matter what I try, it eventually dries up, leaving a thin, shriveled-looking blob that has a sharp point in the middle of each blob. Is there any way to apply the globs of snow thickly onto the canvas so that they will dry, leaving a nice thick, round dabs of paint? I'm thinking there must be some medium/material that will dry without shrinking into a flat, shriveled remnant?

Imagine that you are trying to paint a drop of water that is resting on a flat sheet of glass, and you want the drop to still look like a nice, round drop, after the paint dries. You want it to actually stand out above the surface of the canvas. That's the idea I'm trying to convey, here.

Any ideas? I have never had an art class of any kind, so forgive my ignorance. Any help would be much appreciated.

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Jay Babina wrote
on 11 Dec 2014 2:59 PM

Acrylic paint tends to flatten out more than oil when you try to do impasto (textured) paintings. Probably because the water evaporates out of it before it hardens (a guess). Obviously, you want to use thick paint right out of the tube. (Forget building up with gesso). Take a glob of paint on a flat brush and gently put it where you want it. If you get a point or peak you don't want, take a soft clean brush, wet it with water and smooth off the peak. 

Acrylic paint out of the tube will not leave a shriveled up blob. It will dry as a hard smooth lump. Don't use any cheap house paint or gesso because you will get cracking and shrinking. I've had smooth blobs of artist (not soft body paint) dry in high smooth blobs on my pallet many, many times.

It's like squeezing a blob of toothpaste out on the sink and leaving it there. It's really that simple. Make sure you are using artist acrylic paint!

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Rayzen wrote
on 11 Dec 2014 11:43 PM

Hi Jay.

Thanks for that reply. I was beginning to wonder if there really was anybody in this forum.

Well, your answer sounds like it's a pretty straightforward, easy approach, so I'll give it a try, although I'm not so sure just what the difference is between "artist" acrylic paint and any other. When I get acrylic paints at the local craft store, am I not getting artist acrylic paint? Like I said in my original post, I've never had an art class, before, so I have even basic questions, such as that.

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