Charles Eisener's Blog (13)

Acrylic drying time

This has been mentioned in several earlier blogs, but the latest Golden newsletter has another article on the topic, so maybe it is time to share an "update".

Acrylic paint dries due to the loss of water, either by evaporation or by absorption.  The former can be controlled somewhat in the studio, but is harder to deal with en plein air.  Two common devices are misters and the application of a moist film on the canvas, whether water or a medium of some type.

Absorption of water…


Added by Charles Eisener on May 24, 2018 at 5:24pm — No Comments

Hansa Yellows & Zinc White

Golden's latest newsletter is an eye-opener.  As a direct result of their own research, they are discontinuing the use of Zinc Oxide in their oil colours.  This is due to the extreme cracking and delamination noted in relatively fresh paint films (2 years and 10 years).  Even dilution of Zinc White to under 2% in mixtures still produced the same degree of failure.  Part of this is due to the interaction of the pigment with the fatty acids normally present in oil paints.



Added by Charles Eisener on February 23, 2018 at 6:04pm — 2 Comments

Golden Crackle Paste

Think I noted previously that I like playing with shapes and textures; this comes from my photography background.  One product…


Added by Charles Eisener on June 15, 2017 at 6:30pm — 4 Comments

The nature of Light

The main problem we seem to have with light is figuring out the quality of the source and how that affects everything else.  The reason this is such a problem is because we do not see things as they are; we see what we have been conditioned to see.  What colour is a banana? Or grass?  Or an asphalt roadway?  Conditioning gives us answers of yellow, green, and black, respectfully.  In reality, these answers are often wrong.

CFL and traditional fluorescent tubes have a notable green…


Added by Charles Eisener on August 19, 2016 at 10:00pm — 11 Comments

Cadmiums and Cadmium Hues

This also came up in Paul's post and I don't recall doing an update.  In early 2015 The jury was still out regards the future availability of cadmium based pigments.  There was a formal proposal in Europe that would have completely banned cadmiums due to health and environmental concerns.

Later in the year the proposal was rejected, partially based upon submissions from artists, professional organizations, and manufacturers.  Had it been passed, these pigments would likely have…


Added by Charles Eisener on July 10, 2016 at 8:14pm — 4 Comments

Muddy colours

Once upon a time, when acrylics were relatively new to artists, we had problems mixing our colours.  Not only was there this strange colour shift as the paint dried, but our mixes got muddy (as in Yuk!) very quickly.

Reference to this can be found in many books and videos, and is often repeated by those of us who started out in oils and never had problems before.  So what gives?

Some sources suggest that limiting the number of pigments that are present in a given mixture will…


Added by Charles Eisener on July 9, 2016 at 11:36am — 1 Comment

Got the Blues? Part 3

This will only make sense if you have read Parts 1 and 2.

Cerulean Blue was at one point my primary blue for skies and water, and I could not understand why it was not more popular among artists. The obvious teal hue makes me wonder now why I was so slow to catch on. If you look at the mass tint, it is also clear that Cerulean will never result in a decent dark blue, the intensity just isn't there. The same applies to Cobalt Blue. Their relatively low tinting strength also makes them…


Added by Charles Eisener on May 14, 2015 at 7:07pm — 4 Comments

Got the Blues? Part 2

Please read Part 1 if you have not already; it serves as an introduction and covers some basics.

Using the pigment numbers and CI numbers, we can compare, to some extent, the paints from different manufacturers. Sap Green Hue, for example, has different pigments from one brand to another, so switching brands…


Added by Charles Eisener on May 14, 2015 at 6:26pm — 2 Comments

Got the Blues? Part 1

Another artist has a studio at the building where mine is located. A short time ago we had a discussion about pigments and colour choices, and she lamented the lack of a good, rich, pure blue. Her next best option was Windsor Blue, which is not a common label. So what is it and why does she like it? That's what…


Added by Charles Eisener on May 13, 2015 at 12:13pm — 6 Comments

Conservation Issues - ( part 2 of 2)

Acrylic paint films have properties completely unlike any other medium, and these properties have to be respected in order to produce a quality product. They also vary considerably between manufacturers; the actual polymers may not be "acrylics" per se, but polyurethanes, vinyl acetates, and/or acrylic/styrene co-polymers either singly or in mixtures with actual acrylic polymers. The chemistry and film properties vary accordingly, so one brand may not react the same as another.



Added by Charles Eisener on December 12, 2014 at 5:09pm — No Comments

Conservation issues (1 of 2 parts)

As noted in some of my other comments, a number of my earlier acrylic works were basically destroyed by SID (Substrate Induced Discoloration). This results from the water in the applied paint dissolving acids or impurities in the painting support and transferring these chemicals to the paint film as it dries. The end product can be nasty stains that are impossible to remove. I also noted that without a final sealer, the acrylic film remains somewhat "tacky" and any surface dust or dirt can…


Added by Charles Eisener on December 12, 2014 at 3:06pm — No Comments

Line drawing of photos using Photoshop

Don't know about the rest of you, but I find it harder to produce a decent line drawing from a photo than from life. Some shapes, like boat hulls, can be a real pain trying to figure out the perspective. I found a quick way to produce a line "drawing" from a photo using Photoshop. My software is nearly 10 years old, and apparently this works many versions, so you do not need the latest and greatest.

Just remember to save the line image with a new or modified file name so you do not…


Added by Charles Eisener on December 10, 2014 at 10:39am — 3 Comments

Reduce the drying effect of your painting surface

Several individuals have noted that acrylics seem to be absorbed by the surface of the substrate, whether canvas, faux canvas, or paper. Gesso surfaces are porous by nature, and the water does sometimes seem to prefer the gesso to the paint! There is, however, a very easy fix that works on all substrates, and chance are you already have some in your painting area.

The magic potion is matte medium. Give the painting surface a complete coat of matte medium and then let it dry overnight…


Added by Charles Eisener on October 2, 2014 at 7:35pm — 6 Comments

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