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Brushstrokes in Acrylic Paint: Layering Techniques
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I have a small spray bottle that is used to mist the canvas and/or palette with distilled water. In less than a week I have visible tufts of mold in the bottom of the bottle. I have since made a point to empty the bottle at least twice weekly and rinse it with isopropyl alcohol before refilling.
There are qualified voices out there that state you should never mix or dilute more acrylic paint than you can use in one session, especially if you dip your brush into the mixture. There is nothing in acrylic paint to specifically prevent mold, so prevention is the key. If you use jar colours, do not dip the brush into the jar; remove paint with a cleaned knife or pour it onto the palette. Do not return unused paint to the jar.
The Sta Wet palette does help maintain moisture, but even when the top paper layer is changed fairly often the lower sponge gets discoloured and grungy. Perhaps I am wrong, but I assumed this to be mold at work. After two painting sessions I removed the top paper and let the sponge layer dry completely before reuse. I also tried using heavy porous paper for the lower layer and eliminated the sponge completely. Finally did away with the Sta Wet altogether. Now I use a neutral gray card/sheet inside a heavyweight page protector. This provides a double sided water resistant palette that is easily cleaned, has a nice value for judging mixed colours, and allows periodic spritzing as needed. And did I mention cheap? I typically get two weeks out of a single page protector and can usually just transfer the gray sheet when the time comes.
I use mainly tube colours, but some of my volume pigments are purchased in jars. Some tubes are more than 15 years old. Mold has not been an issue for me other than that mister. Golden states on their website that mold can be an issue with jar colours depending upon how you use them. I also have been known to transfer jar colours to bulk tubes; can be a bit messy, but provides substantial savings over retail tubes.
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