Friday, May 22, 2015

Old Creaky Bones

Dusting off the ol' pots

I'm about to start painting soon, I swear. Sorry for another wall of text but I wanted an update, and I'm bored at work.

I got my desk totally cleared and prepped for painting and will be adding a picture of my work-space soon. Here's what I consider essential to have at my painting area:

- Tile pallet        (awesome way to have a pallet as its so easy to clean)
- Paper Towels   (for blotting and dry brushing)
- Plain Paper      (to cover the surface and use for dry brushing)
- Plenty of light  (using two desk lamps on either side of my space)
- Water pot         (I use a small glass jar)
- Brushes            (I try to keep the selection limited so I can find things more quickly)
- Other tools       (knives, pin-vise, pliers, cutters, files, etc.)
- Minis on-deck (Again, only limited to what I'm currently painting)

I have found keeping things simple helps in several ways. First, it allows me to clean up. If company is coming I don't have much to put away. Second, it prevents me from getting overwhelmed, which I've found really helps me with my motivation to paint, and keeps productivity up. Its hard to want to sit down and paint if you have to clean up a bunch of crap first.

Fits and starts

After I got my station set-up I opened my box of paints, and suddenly realized I had a big problem. Most of my paints (probably about half) are older GW paints, in the old, flat top pots with the dimple on top (shown below). These paints are notorious for drying out, and after about 2 years of sitting in a cardboard box, that's exactly what happened.

Lucky for me I'm somewhat of a pro at revitalizing old, dried out paints. To speed the process I got a baby medicine syringe from the last time my son was sick, and used it to regulate the amount of water I added. After adding water to each pot I stirred it thoroughly with an old brush handle and so far most of them have come out no worse for wear.

Rectifying water based acrylics

It is almost always possible to save a pot of acrylic paint as long as it hasn't totally dried out. If it has its not worth wasting your time as the paint has chemically changed and water won't save it (to my knowledge). One trick I've always used with my paints is adding a chunk of metal, usually a large piece of flash, or base rail from a metal fig, to the pot. Some companies already do this in fact. Reaper uses a small plastic skull. The whole point is to have something in the pot to help mix the pigment and medium back to together after your paint has been sitting for awhile. All you do is pull it out, and assuming its not dried at all, give the pot a shake and mix the 2 parts back together. Voila!

So to summarize/recap the rectification process:
1. Always add something to help in mixing as soon as you get a new pot.
2. Always shake a pot thoroughly before use.
3. If paint seems a bit thick, slowly add drops of water (less is more)
4. Ideally wait until paint is on your pallet before thinning to avoid over-thinning the whole pot.
5. If paint dries out in the pot, slowly add drops of water (again, take your time to get it just right)
6. Mix well with a toothpick or other stick thingy.
7. Shake thoroughly again.


That's all for now. I should be done clean up my paints tonight, and ready to lay some brushstrokes this weekend.

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