Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tools of the Trade

Coast Guard Dog Tag paining in progress

Righpen 213c

It’s pretty interesting how the style of painting and the materials that we choose to paint with really ends up governing how our studio runs. This recent string of miniature paintings and the effect that it had on my workspace is a great example of that. First, thanks to the generosity of the folks at Createx Colors, I have had the opportunity to use their Wicked Paint line in my monthly Intro to Airbrush classes and then throughout my studio. The paint is an ultra-high performance, multi-surface airbrush paint that comes in two pigment grinds. One line for more opaque coverage and one for more detailed airbrushing. The spray characteristics of both lines have proven to work well through my Richpen 213 airbrush.

Watercolor and Liner brushes
In these recent small paintings, I have been incorporating more and more traditional brush work. What I have found was that for my style of painting, my liner and watercolor brushes have worked the best. These colors are intended to be used through an airbrush so the dry time on the paint is lightning fast. Dry times like this are not always conducive with paint brush work. To counter this, I have used the Wicked Reducer mixed with a Retarder that is from the Createx Colors line. This has slowed the dry time enough to pull the lines and details I need from the paint.

One of the things that I have enjoyed about this paint is that once it is dry, it cannot be reactivated unlike Gouache, Watercolors or Urethanes. This makes it possible to add washes of color with a paint brush and not affect the layers below. This is important when it comes to blurring airbrush and paint brush strokes together for a more seamless painting.

The airbrush that is used with these paintings was also determined by the paint. Out of the bottle, these paints are vibrant and fairly heavy viscosity. Even with the reducer, they tend to hold a thickness that allows the slightly larger .3mm nozzle of the 213 to excel. Atomization of color through this brush allows me more control than my smaller .2mm airbrushes.

Frankenstein's Lab

My workspace itself has also transformed with all these micro paintings. Proper lighting has always been the goal however now it has become paramount. Low light makes painting these kinds of details impossible. As a result, I have built two rails for my drafting table that can be slid in and out. The clip on goose neck lamps can now be positioned anywhere on the surface of the drafting table. These prototypes were made out of scrap wood yet they have proven to work well so now I will make them out of better wood and even add small storage spaces on them for commonly used tools.

Finally the framing of these small paintings have again determined a change in my workspace. Because of the paintings unique size and shape, I ended up working with my father to design a custom frame for them. My brother in law is fantastic with woodworking and made the first four prototypes which worked out perfectly. With the plans for the show in January and 10 new paintings looming, I made the decision to start collecting the tools to make the frames here as well to take the burden off him a little.
With all these adjustments in place, things have started to move together smoothly. Given that there are still several small paintings that need to be started and finished before the show in January…..smooth it just what I need right now!

Thanks for checking in this week!!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the info. It sounds pretty user friendly. I guess I’ll pick one up for fun. Thank u.

    Air Tools