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A Demonstration by Dianna Shyne

One of the biggest difficulties for any painter trying out acrylic for the first time is the rapid drying time of the paint. There are products on the market that address this, but when I switched from oil to acrylic, I found that nothing was quite right for me. I wanted my mixtures on the palette to stay open for the entire painting session, and I was tired of throwing away unused pools of dried out tube paint. After much experimentation, I have found a solution that meets my needs.

first step

Prepare Your Paint Tray

1. Take 3 sheets of paper towel, wad them up and immerse them in water. Squeeze out enough water until the towel stops dripping but is still very wet

2. Line your paint pan with two layers of towels and smooth out the wrinkles

3. Moisten a piece of palette paper on both sides with a mist spray and smooth it onto the paper towels in the bottom of the pan. Smooth out all the lumps and bubbles.

Trust me as long as the paper towel stays wet, the paint mixtures will stay wet too! Cover this tray with plastic wrap to save mixtures overnight.

Preparing your Paint/Tackle Box

1. Set up the tackle box into sections.

2. Cut a Masterson's palette sponge to to fit exactly into the lid of the box.

3. Immerse the sponge, squeeze out the dripping water, and put it into the lid of the box.

Mid step

Simply open the box when you are ready to paint, and dip into the wells. Close it up tight when finished. Keep the wells filled up and the sponge damp. The paint in my own box has stayed wet for years and I never have to throw away unused pools of paint from the palette.

In this demo I have squeezed out some of my favorite Daniel Smith colors: Titanium White, Phthalo Blue GS, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Anthraquinoid Red, Cadmium Red Medium (Hue), New Gamboge, Hansa Yellow Light, Quinacridone Gold. (Note to keep more moisture in the box, I have cut some small pieces of the Sta-wet sponge, soaked them with water and placed them in an empty well).

Now it's time to paint!

I like to paint on a canvas that is heavily textured with Daniel Smith Acrylic Gesso and Golden Molding Paste. When the texture is dry, I am ready to paint. The paints on the palette stay wet, but dry quickly on the canvas.

Adding Shapes and Values
Put down an initial wash and while the paint is still wet, use a damp shop towel to wipe away the areas that will be light. This gives you an instant glimpse at the overall composition. If you do not like the composition, simply wipe off the wash and try again.

last step

On your prepared palette, find the overall colors of the 3 or 4 big shapes of the image. Block them in. Stay with these shapes until the color, value and shape are what you want.


Adding the Details
The only thing left to do is paint the details. Think in terms of layers. With each layer of paint, add details and finish strokes. The beauty of the fast drying time of acrylics is you can keep painting, making corrections as you go. Glazes can be done in one paint session.