1. Why would I use gesso in place of titanium white?
Grumbacher gesso is preferred because of its blending and opaque qualities. Grumbacher gesso is more opaque and covers more completely than titanium white. You will also use gesso to change values. Titanium white paint is good for highlights and accents.
2. What brand of gesso should I use?
Grumbacher Artist Acrylic Medium. It comes in a 16-oz jar and costs around $20.00.
3. When I blend my sky, the paint will come off in places the size of bb's or less. I try misting the paint but it does not help. What am I doing wrong?
You could be using a canvas that is not properly primed or the paint has become too dry to blend well. If you mist your canvas with water after the paint has become tacky, it will lift off the paint.
When blending your skies you need to first mist your canvas with water and apply a liberal coat of gesso to the wet canvas. Then you apply your color. Acrylics dry fast so you must not delay in your blending.
4. My hake brush is shedding when I use it. Is there something wrong with the brush?
It is normal for your hake brush to shed the first few times you use it. If you are using a hake brush with sewn bristles it will continuously shed. Do not use this brush with oil paints. It is designed for acrylics and watercolors only.
5. I cannot find Grumbacher acrylic paints where I live. What can I use as a substitute?
Liquitex and Winsor & Newton are comparable brands of acrylic paint.
6. I can not find thalo yellow green in other brands of paint. What color would substitute for this?
The Liquitex substitution is Brilliant Yellow Green or Vivid Lime Green. In the Winsor & Newton Finity line, you will use Cobalt Green Light.
Thalo is a Grumbacher trademark color.
7. When working with acrylics, how do I keep my paints moist?
Acrylics dry through evaporation. When working with acrylics you must keep a mister bottle handy and mist your paints to prevent them from drying out. Keeping them stored in a sta-wet palette saver will keep them moist until your next painting session.
8. What is the best way to keep my acrylics workable on the palette as mine seem to dry quickly?
Acrylics dry through evaporation so your palette can be on glass with wet paper towels to lay your paint on or use the sta-wet palette system (wet sponge & paper). You must keep a mister bottle available to mist your paints during your painting process to keep them from drying out. Mist well before you seal your air tight sta-wet palette saver to keep them moist between painting sessions.
9. When I try to correct an area on my painting, the colors do not quite match so I end up doing them repeatedly in a vicious circle. Can I use watercolor masking on my acrylic-painted areas to protect them when fixing the problem areas?
Yes, you can use miskit or some other watercolor mask, although it would be better to blend the new color into the old. Remember, even with miskit, when you peel it off there will be an edge that will have to be blended. Try using more of a wash when blending new colors on top of old. Repeat this several times until you achieve the color and value you want. Use this same technique when you brighten the other painting.
10. Are there any techniques or chemicals one can use with Acrylic paints that can make special effects for a background, like speckling etc.?
There are some clear acrylic gels available to help build texture. Some artists add sand or very small crushed gravel to create textured effects. Acrylic modeling paste is great for adding texture.
11. Can I mix acrylic craft bottles of paint with my fine art acrylic paints?
Do not mix any craft paints with professional grade paints. They not only weaken the pigments but also dramatically reduce the quality and light-fastness.
12. Can I use acrylics on watercolor paper? If so, is there a difference in preparing paper from canvas?
It depends on how you are using the acrylics. If you are using them as you would watercolor techniques of thin washes, there is no special preparation except that you may want to use a block instead of sheets.
If you are using the acrylics as an opaque medium, it is recommend you use 112 rough watercolor board or a heavy-duty illustration board.
13. Can I do a preliminary sketch on canvas with Prisma color pencils?
Yes, you can use acrylic paint over Prisma colored pencils. Be sure you sketch lightly so that you do not have a thick build up of color pencil. It is easier to cover up a lighter sketch.
14. Is it true that using Gesso in place of the color white will cause acrylic paintings to crack & turn yellow in the future?
Grumbacher has made it very clear that there is absolutely no problem with using gesso instead of white paint. Keep in mind that all canvas is sealed with gesso, whether you work with oil or acrylic. If it cracks or yellows, it would not be used for sealing canvas. Artists have been using tinted gesso for years to seal canvas.
15. I noticed that working with acrylics the color is dark. What can I do to help correct this problem?
Acrylics always dry a little bit darker. The secret is to apply your colors in layers, especially the highlights. You should not be concerned about acrylics drying darker. Simply apply 2 or 3 layers to achieve the brightness you want.
16. What is the difference between the Liquitex Soft Body Paints and the Liquitex Heavy Body paints?
The Liquitex Soft Body paints are their original acylic paint formulation. These paints have more intense color pigment than the Liquitex Basics line and flow more readily than the Liquitex Heavy Body line. The Soft Body paints have the advantage of the flow of the student paint and the intense pigment of the professional paint.