Tips and Techniques

Practice Tip For Strokes and Line Work:

Stroke practice

Stroke practice

It’s more fun to practice stroke work if you give yourself the project of creating different stroke borders. Each time come up with a different border using various brushes, strokes, and embellishments. Save these borders as future reference. Explore your creativity with borders and stroke embellishments.

You can use any paper for practicing your strokes and line work.  Some paper is very porous and has a lot of drag to it so just use plenty of paint.

One good idea for practicing is to use “write on” transparency film which you can find at any office supply store.  The film will stroke very smoothly and you can just wipe the paint off if you do this before it dries.  If you would like to save your practice for reference all it to dry.  These sheets will fit into sheet protectors to keep in a notebook.

Transparency film is good for trying out colors or placement for something like a ribbon or a stroke border.  Place the film over your surface, paint with a possible choice of color or technique, and see if you like it or want to try something different.

Enjoy practicing.



Grey Palette:

Have you tried the grey waxed palette, Grey Matters from Richeson? It’s very helpful in being able to judge how your paint is going to relate to your painting. How often have you prepared you paint on a white palette and when you get to your actual painting it looks different there? You can also see your light colors, especially white, on the grey palette. The quality of this palette is excellent. It doesn’t curl, it’s not too slick, or not slick enough.


Brush Tips from Liz:

When you are washing your brushes, work the soap into your bristles thoroughly, then holding the bristles in two fingers, wiggle the handle of your brush to work the paint out of the ferrule.

When using your brush use the grate in the bottom of the brush basin as a last resort and always pull the ferrule against the grate in one direction only, 3-4 times.Brush cleaning_edited-1

Never pull your liner or a brush with few hairs on the grate. Clean your liner by flicking it against the sides of your brush basin.

I would add to not store wet brushes with the ferrules up until they dry. Gravity will pull dirty paint water or soap water down into the ferrule causing your bristles to separate. Wait until they are dry to store standing up.
When you are storing your brushes in a brush tote, be sure that the bristles do not touch anything so that they will not be misshapen-ed.

DecoArt has a wonderful everyday brush cleaner: Deco Magic. Everyday cleaning with Deco Magic will keep your brushes in good condition. It’s great for cleaning out dried paint too. I load the brush with Deco Magic and let it sit for awhile to soften the dried paint. If the paint is dried into the ferrule, I let the brush soak in Deco Magic for 2 – 3 hrs then, I hold the bristles of the brush in one hand and wiggle the handle with the other to work the paint out of the ferrule.

If you acquire dried paint in the ferrule of your brush, Winsor & Newton also has an excellent cleaner for dried paint. Warning: It will eat cheap brushes. Be sure to use it in a glass container. It will dissolve plastic.

brushesBrush Tips from Scharff

Always clean your brushes immediately after every use.
Never let the paint dry on your brush.
Never use the cleaning tubs with a rippled bottom. This is not the proper way to clean your brushes. It is a very good way to ruin your brushes.
Do not let a brush stand in water or cleaning solvents for any length of time. This will cause the liquid to leach into the handle and swelling will occur in the wood. This will lead to the paint chipping off and the ferrule becoming loose.
Always clean your brushes with the appropriate solutions. Acrylics can be cleaned with a mild household liquid detergent. Many oil and lacquer materials will have a recommended cleaning solution for their particular products.
After thoroughly cleaning your brushes, store them lying flat or with the ferrules up. Never store your brushes on the hair.
A light coating of hair spray can be applied to the bristles to help hold the brush in shape for extended periods of storage.
Take care of your brush and it will perform well for many uses.


Acrylic Inks:

The easiest line work ever! That’s right. I’ve had a bottle of FW (Daler-Rowney) acrylic ink for quite a few years but had not used it very much. Recently, I painted a design by Willow Wolf where she used the acrylic inks and I was once again reminded how wonderful they are. Before I started the painting I started to research the inks and walked into Jerry’s Artarama where an artist was demonstrating them. ?? Coincidence? She uses the inks rather than watercolors. Fascinating… Of course I had to purchase a set… And they are as fun as they appeared.FW acrylic ink

Back to the line work… These inks are just the right consistency for excellent line work. One brush load goes for ever. (Just goes to show that when we say paint should be “inky” consistency for line work, we were absolutely right.) I used the Antelope Brown.

Inst: Shake well. With the applicator in the bottle place just a little on your palette and from this, draw out your liner brush load. Remember the secrets to good brush work are: 1) hold your brush perpendicular to the surface and 2)paint with your arm not your fingers. (#3 was to make sure your paint is an inky consistency.)

Remember that these inks are acrylic and therefore water based. The good news is that you can easily correct a line with just a damp brush. The bad news is that you can easily remove paints with a damp brush. After you complete your design work with the inks be sure to set the design with a spray sealer if you plan to paint over it or varnish.

Hope you checkout this product. Notice all the wonderful colors including Pearlescents.


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