12. I want to paint a mural on the back of our travel trailer. It is fiberglass, and I don't know what I need to do or if there is anything to do to prime the surface.
First, lightly sand the area you are painting to get rid of any glossy surface, wax, etc. You will paint directly onto that sanded surface. Make sure you use the correct paint, Exterior Oil-Base Enamels. You will want to use large brushes from a #6 bristle on up. However, if you know how to use an airbrush that would be the best way to paint on this surface. Airbrushes are quick, easy to use and you can get detail.
13. I am red-green colorblind. I would like to paint but how would I manage color values and color choices?
You may want to consider working with pen and ink, ink washes, charcoal pencils, or use sepia tones for monochromatic paintings. These paintings can be done in oil, acrylic, or watercolors or even sepia-toned ink. Using these mediums, you do not have to worry about color mixing.
14. Can I apply the techniques of acrylic painting to other media?
Yes, you would apply the same techniques (composition, design, perspective, color mixing, values, etc.) to all mediums. The application is different, but the concept, from a technical point, of view is the same.
15. Is it all right to jump back and forth between two mediums, or should one stay with one until you develop some skills?
It is all right to jump from one medium to another as long as you do not get frustrated. If you start later in life, we recommend that you master the acrylics. They dry quickly, are non-toxic and are less expensive. They are very fun to work with once you get used to them.
16. I need help with shadows. Do I mix the complementary color with the color of the object casting the shadow, or what mixture do I use when casting a shadow?
First, you do not have to use the complement to create a shadow color. A complement may work in some cases, but the best rule to follow is to always add a little purple (dioxazine purple) to the shadow being cast. For example, if you have green grass, mix purple with that green grass mixture to be your shadow color. If you used an earth tone for dirt add a little purple to the dirt mixture and that will be your shadow color. All shadows have purple. This is a better formula than trying to use complements. It will work every time.
17. What is the difference between reflections and shadows?
Reflections and shadows are two completely different subjects. Shadows change with the direction of the sun and always follow the contour of the land. Shadows have nothing to do with where the reflections are located in a painting. Reflections, on the other hand, are constant. They have nothing to do with the direction of the sun or the contour of the land. This is why you may see a reflection in a painting in one direction and a shadow laying in another direction. They are in no way connected to each other.
18. It has been my belief that objects reflected in water should appear darker than their source, why?
The answer to your question is that there is no hard and fast rule as to the intensity of a reflection -- it is relative to the situation. Water conditions, such as rough, rippled or murky water, will cause the reflection to be less intense. Calm, clear water will create a more intense and possibly darker reflection depending on the atmospheric conditions (cloudy, sunlit, foggy, rainy, windy, etc). All reflections change when any of the above change. Nature is our best teacher, so spend some time on location and study reflections.
19. It is my understanding that using pure white will tend to become featureless. Shouldn't I add color to the white?
As far as using white paint, you are absolutely right. In fact, you should always use a tinted white as opposed to pure white.
20. How do I paint twisted, heavy fringe approximately 8 or 9 inches long and where each strand is the thickness of a pencil? The color is medium green. I don't want to show the fringe in great detail; but due to the thickness of the strands, I need to paint each strand separately. I am having trouble achieving the right look, which I want to be subtle.
Here are the basics; use a #4 round sable brush and underpaint the fringe in a dark color. Highlight the fringe with successive, thin layers of whatever highlight color you are working in using a very light, feather stroke following the contour of the twists. This is very much like painting hair or fur - it does take practice. You probably should have a fairly decent sketch of each fringe unless you are very skilled at drawing with your brush.
21. I am having problems with values. I understand it but am confused how light and dark to make each value. At times I just use my own idea but it is difficult.
Values almost always begin with the first layer of subjects that are against the sky such as mountains, trees, hills, etc. That first layer should be about 1 or 2 values darker than the sky. Then as you come forward into the middle background, middleground, middle foreground and foreground you continue to change the value so it is slightly darker than the previous value. Just remember there are numerous variables based on time-of-day, season, color-scheme, etc.
22. I am having problems with blending. I get all the colors and the when it comes to the final touch to blend, I find my hake brush and my hand leave brush strokes on the canvas. I blend and then it leaves a light or dark color even though I dry it and clean it.
Blending is a common problem and it sounds like you are having the same basic problem that most people have. This is fairly easy to fix. Your highlight mixture must be very creamy. Use a softer bristle brush. Load only a small amount of paint on the brush then use a very light feather stroke. This takes practice and patience. Practice different brush pressures and creamy mixtures. This will usually eliminate the problems you said you were having.
23. I have some turkey feathers that I would like to try to paint, but I don't know how to prepare them. Could I use acrylics after they are prepared and what would I use to preserve them?
First, seal these feathers with a clear acrylic sealer. It comes in a spray and is available in most art-supply stores (Grumbacher, Krylon or Winsor & Newton brands). Be sure you buy a matte finish. Hang the feathers and lightly spray them one or two times. Next, apply the acrylic paint. After you paint on the feathers' surface you can spray them again with the acrylic sealer, but it isn't necessary. Acrylics are self-sealing.