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Another Painting Tip. . .

The latest item to join the ranks of stuff on my painting table. . .  Liquitex Flow-Aid.

The last couple of days and evenings have seen yours truly actually feel well enough to sit down to the painting table and get some things done, or just about done.  I've also started on the base with the painter, country gentleman, and his valet.  The usual Winsor&Newton alkyd oils thinned heavily with Liquin Original for the basic clothing colors.  

They'll need to dry overnight (I painted in my pajamas early this morning), but the effects will be, I think, some of the nicest yet.  The trick seems to be less paint and more Liquin, which, when mixed together on the palette paper, provides a really nice, thin puddle of color to spead around the figure surfaces with the brush and let it settle into folds, creases, etc.  I'll post an in-progress photo tomorrow or the next day.

The other items on this same base -- a chair, bench, bucket, and chest of our good artist's painting materials along with his easel -- were given their basic coats of acrylic Citadel hobby paints yesterday evening, and I got sneaky.  I've been looking around for a medium to make acrylic paints flow better, much like Liquin does for oils, and I found something on the shelf at our local arts and crafts store midweek, which is pictured above.  Liquitex Flow-Aid, which affects the surface tension of paints it is mixed with, thinning them, making them flow better, and extending their working time by just a wee bit.  Here's what the website has to say about the product:

  • Use in conjunction with any acrylic medium or acrylic color when increased flow and absorption and decreased film tension and friction are important.  
  • A flow enhancer that improves the flow, absorption and blending of any water-soluble paint (i.e. acrylic paint), medium, ink or dye.  
  • Minimizes brush marks by reducing friction of paint application.  
  • Does not contain binder. Over thinning of acrylic paint with Liquitex Flow-AidTM and applying to a non-absorbent surface (i.e. gessoed canvas) may result in poor adhesion. Always make a test piece for your particular application and surface.  
  • On non-absorbent surfaces, will increase the fluidity and open (drying) time of the paint.  
  • On absorbent surfaces, will act as a stain, dye or watercolor. 

Acrylic paints that have been mixed the stuff settle better into nooks and crannies on figures surfaces and thin slightly on raised areas (a white undercoat works best), and everything is dry in just a few minutes.  If you too are searching around for something that might make your painting a bit easier, you might want to give Flow-Aid a try and see if you like the results.

The long and short of this is that I used a Citadel dark brown (the former GW 'Scorched Brown') thinned with Flow-Aid for all of these wooden items.  It settled very nicely into the wood grain modeled by the sculptors, who originally produced the greens for these castings.  I'll dry brush with some gray paint to make everything resemble aged, weather wood a bit more, and then all of that should be done, and the figures themselves can be finished in fairly short order.

And what of the musicians, music stands, dogs, and etc?  Just a few minor touch-ups and a bit more judicious lining with dark brown (this evening after supper and the Young Master's bedtime), and they'll be ready for a coat of two of the glossy varnish.  I got busy yesterday afternoon and attached all of them to their permanent bases, which will then need a bit of terrain work (fine sand, a wash of dark brown acrylic paint, some Woodland Scenics grass scatter material and a tiny shrub or two).  

Then, I can turn my full attention to those frolicking aristocrats from Jackdaw.  I've already attached these to irregularly shaped bases of two-four figures each: people dancing, conversing, helping themselves to drinks from servants' trays, presenting themselves to ladies, children playing in front of the musical combo as they do, and so forth.  I can almost see Dame Maggie Smith dressed in mid-18th century gear, observing the events of the afternoon through her lorgnette. . .  and making cutting remarks! 


A J said…
Thanks for the tip. Liquitex sounds like it will be useful, especially in warmer weather when paint tends to dry too quickly.
Ken said…
As A J said, thank you for the tip. I have been in the habit of using distilled water to thin the Delta Ceramcoat craft-store acrylics I habitually use.

I get fairly good results (my amateur standing as a figure-painter is in no danger), and if nothing else the system is dead cheap, but I think I will give the Liquitex a try. The local craft store is well equipped with art supplies, usually at good prices.
marinergrim said…
I use Klear floor polish -does the same job at a fraction of the price. Windowlene window cleaner is also an excellent brush cleaner.

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