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  #1  
Old 03-26-2013, 10:38 AM
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Default Basics to Painting

Basics to Painting

I had a question here in Author's Questions about using acrylics over an oil base. During that discussion I thought it might be easiest for me to explain buy doing a small tutorial.

I am going to take you through the very basic steps to painting your carving. These same techniques can be used on your pyrography projects and gourds. There are no surprise instructions here or secret techniques, just the basics that will help you create a strong, clean painting each and every time.

My sample projects have been worked on a Whittle Fish decoy. These are quick, easy, and very innovative little carvings that can be adapted to all of the painting styles that we will explore. The supply list will be given with each Whittle Fish project.

For more on Whittle Fish carving, please visit the thread Whittle Fish Seminar, here on the forum.

We will walk through the projects below, but not in the order shown.

Acrylics over Linseed Oil (top, first on left)
Detressed Vintage Painting (top, second from left)
Cheat Painting (top, third left) - P.osts #18 -#23
Dry Brushing Acrylics over Oil Stain (top, fourth left) - P.osts #39 - #43
Marblizing (bottom, first left) - P.osts #35 - #38
Simple Acrylic Blending (bottom, middle) - P.osts #5 - #12
Dry Brushing Dark over Light (bottom, right) P.osts #32 - #33
Burnishing Raw Wood (not shown) - P.osts #2 - #4
How to Load Your Brushes (not Shown) - P.osts #25 - #31

We have more in-depth tutorials on painting both carvings and pyro work on my blog, LSIrish.com and some great patterns to use with them on our pattern site, Art Designs Studio. Hope you will stop by and visit our sites.

EDITED - Apr. 20, 2013

So that you can easily print this tutorial for use around your studio I have posted this article to my blog at LSIrish.com. You will find it in the top nav bar under Tutorials/Coloring YOur Projects/Basics to Painting.
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Last edited by Irish; 10-13-2013 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:41 AM
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Default Re: Basics to Painting

I have worked a small grouping of basswood Whittle Fish bodies using 1 1/4" x 1 1/4" x 3" practice blocks, a bench knife, a v-gouge, a large round gouge, and 220-grit sandpaper.

Wood is terribly rough on paint brushes; it ruins their edge and simple wears them away. So I use inexpensive synthetic paint brush sets and throw them into my scrub brush jar when they start to lose their shape. The photo shows two sets that I am using through this teaching. Both came from WalMart at about $6.00 per set ... cheap disposables!

I also work off of gloss-coated paper plates as my paint palette, it makes for easy clean-up at the end of the day. As we work through these steps you will be able to see how I load the brush with color, how much media I add to the color, and how that color flows off the brush.

In many of the photos you will see a ball-head straight pin in the base of the tail. This well-set pin can be slid into a cut in a cardboard box flap that allows the Whittle Fish to hang freely while drying. I have several books inside of the box to keep it from tipping.

Susan

1-LSIrish-1710.jpg
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3A-LSIrish-1731.jpg
4A-LSIrish-1840.jpg
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File Type: jpg 3A-LSIrish-1731.jpg (63.2 KB, 36 views)
File Type: jpg 4A-LSIrish-1840.jpg (58.7 KB, 38 views)
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  #3  
Old 03-26-2013, 10:47 AM
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Default Re: Basics to Painting

Let's get some of the intro stuff out of the way first.

Any painting session combines several factors that lead to success.

How you prepare the wood.
The woods that we paint tend to be very porous; they absorb water, oils, and colors quickly. Basswood, the most common wood for character carving and fish decoys, is extremely absorbent and will need some pre-treatment before any painting steps to create the smoothest paint finish possible. Each project here will look at a specific pre-treatment process.

Pre-treatments for wood can include:
1. Flat plane carving or fine shaved carving.
2. Sanding with 220- to 32-grit sandpaper.
3. Two light coats of sanding sealer.
4. Two light coats of 1/2 linseed oil mixed with 1/2 turpentine.
5. Two light coats of spray sealer or brush-on polyurethane.
6. Hand buffing with a soft cloth.
7. Burnishing.


How you prepare the paint.
All paints are color pigment mixed with a float media. The float can be water, acrylic base, or oil. If you are using colored pencils the base or float is clear wax for artist quality pencils or a white clay for student quality. As we work through the coloring each paint type will be mixed on the palette with its appropriate float.

How you combine sealing steps with painting steps.
Any pre-treatment for the wood can be used with any paint type. This means you can use acrylic craft paints over a linseed oil finish, oil paints over an acrylic antiquing, and even oil paints over a spray sealed colored pencil base.

What final finish you use.
Both your wood and paint will need a final sealer or finishing coat to protect it from the environment and from UV rays. We will look at several choices you can use.

Final finishes can include:
1. Spray or brush-on polyurethane sealer.
2. Linseed oil mixed with turpentine.
3. Tung oil or Danish oil.
4. Brush-on acrylic sealer.
5. Hand buffing with a soft cloth.
6. Rub and buff wax finish - I use TreWax Claer Paste Wax

How the wood will ages.
Wood develops a patina with age, it is unavoidable and any painting you place over that wood will be effected by that aging.

A classic example is a white pine chest. Its called white pine because when fresh cut the wood has a very white coloring. Within a few years that chest will be a light golden yellow, add a few more years and it will turn a golden-orange. In a decade that chest can have a dark maple tone.

Any paint that you apply over that wood is effected by the chemical changes that patina the wood. So time is darkening everything behind the painting.

Light fades any coloring that we use. The UV rays break some colors down faster than other, some paint manufacturer's do provide a UV listing for their color lines. Each time you clean a painted carving you remove just a very little bit of paint. Over time our painting is getting thinner and paler.

Eventually you end up with an antique carving that has become black with age with just a hint of paint on its surface ... a beautiful effect that only comes with time.

So, whatever you do today will not be what it looks like ten years from now. Don't hesitate to be a little bolder, a little braver with your color choices as those may be the very colors that survive the aging process.

Susan

5A-LSIrish-1717.jpg
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Last edited by Irish; 03-26-2013 at 10:50 AM.
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  #4  
Old 03-26-2013, 10:55 AM
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Default Re: Basics to Painting

Project one - Burnishing

I know that we are talking about painting through this tutorial but sometimes the very best finish is no finish. This Whittle Fish for some reason just sat on my table throughout my working steps. Its not that I ignored it or avoided it; I never came to a painting process that seemed right for this particular body.

The body shape is so streamlined, that it seemed any painting steps would take away from its simple form. So I decided to use as simple a finish as possible - burnishing - to compliment that simple shape.

Use a small piece of wood, in this case a wooden spoon, to rub over the entire surface of your carving. Use a medium pressure. You should feel the push against the wood but your fingers and hand should not feel cramped. Rub over everything several times until your Whittle Fish has an even, smooth-feeling, soft sheen.

There is a set of clay sculpturing wooden tools that work wonderfully for burnishing and are made to get into the sharp angles and deep carved areas of your project.

Burnishing works best when the burnisher is one or two steps harder than the carving wood. So for our practice pieces in basswood the poplar wooden spoon works very well. If I were burnishing walnut I would use a piece of maple.

This process is wonderful for any carving that will be heavily handled, it just feels great in your hand.

EDIT - For those doing Whittle Fish the fins for this fish were sanded using a medium grit foam core finger nail file.

5A-LSIrish-1717.jpg - Middle fish in the previous post.
6A-LSIrish-1797.jpg
7A-LSIrish-1798.jpg
8A-LSIrish-2043.jpg
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File Type: jpg 8A-LSIrish-2043.jpg (55.9 KB, 28 views)
File Type: jpg 9A-LSIrish-2039.jpg (47.7 KB, 27 views)
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Last edited by Irish; 03-26-2013 at 10:58 AM.
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  #5  
Old 03-26-2013, 11:02 AM
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Default Re: Basics to Painting

Project Two - Simple Blending for Acrylics

Blending acrylic or craft paints on basswood is so much easier when the wood is saturated with water. The colors slide over the water film in the wood instead of grabbing to quickly on dry wood. With this technique you can create an even graduated coloration, without gaps or brush strokes.

Supplies:
1 Whittle Fish body with diamond scales
6" 30-gauge copper sheeting for fins
super glue to set the fins

Craft Paints:
Apple Barrel Craft Paints
20584 Lemon Chiffon
20760 King's Gold
21342 caterpillar Green
20530 Wedgewood Green
21177 Summer Sunset Pale Rust
20590 Cardinal Crimson Red
20592 Tapestry Wine
Titanimun White
Carbon Black

Antiquing Paints:
Hooker's green oil paint
Linseed oil
Turpentine
Clean soft, dry cloths
latex gloves
tin foil
plastic bag

Step 1: Carve a Whittle Fish out of a 1 1/4" x 1 1/4" x 3" basswood practice block. With a v-gouge or your bench knife cut a diamond scale pattern to the back. Detail the gills and create a up-ended round gouge eye. Lightly sand using 220-grit sandpaper.

Step 2: Wood Pre-treatment

After any work session I often find that my carving may have dirt from my hands, pencil marks, and even pencil eraser over it. So I take my piece to the sink and using Dawn dish washing detergent give the carving a bath. For heavily dirtied pieces I will add a synthetic scrub brush to the process. Rinse well, then light pat dry with a clean dish towel.

If I intend to do more carving or use another painting technique I allow the project to dry overnight before working any other steps.

Step 3: While the wood is still freshly damp I rub the wood carving in my hands. This smooths the fine fibers that have risen because of the scrubbing process, its a soft version of burnishing. Work the piece well until you have a smooth finish. I go directly to my painting table with the wet carving for this technique.

Susan

LSIrish-2030-031.jpg
LSIrish-2033-032.jpg
LSIrish-1718-002.jpg - finished carving
LSIrish-1720-003.jpg - after a good scrubbing in the sink
LSIrish-1725-004.jpg
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File Type: jpg LSIrish-2030-031.jpg (49.0 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg LSIrish-2033-032.jpg (58.4 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg LSIrish-1718-002.jpg (64.3 KB, 26 views)
File Type: jpg LSirish-1720-003.jpg (67.3 KB, 25 views)
File Type: jpg LSIrish-1725-004.jpg (81.9 KB, 25 views)
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Last edited by Irish; 03-26-2013 at 11:06 AM.
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  #6  
Old 03-26-2013, 11:08 AM
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Default Re: Basics to Painting

Step 4: Paint Pre-Treatment

On a tile or gloss-coated paper plate lay a small drop each of lemon yellow, golden yellow, pale green, and medium green craft paint. Dip a medium to large flat synthetic shader brush in clean water, touch the brush on a paper towel to remove the excess water from the tip.

Mix a small brush full of lemon yellow with a drop of water ... you can see the thinness of the mix if you look at the red tulip petal.

SECRET - I said there are no secrets, but I got your attention, didn't I. Paint should be worked INTO the brush, not picked up on the brush bristles. This lets the entire brush work for you, instead of against you.

Step 5: Starting on the belly of your fish, paint the bottom one half with a coating of the lemon yellow. Where possible work your brush with the wood grain. This first coat is thin enough that you will be able to see the grain lines of the wood.

Step 6: Mix your golden yellow with water and apply this to the fish, overlapping into the lemon yellow area. Because the wood is wet, damp from the washing, the lemon yellow has not had time to dry. Where the golden yellow goes over the lemon they will naturally become a mid-toned hue.

Step 6: Follow right away with the pale green, overlapping it into the golden yellow area.

Susan

LSIrish-1730-005.jpg
LSIrish-1732-006.jpg
LSIrish-1735-007.jpg
LSIrish-1738-008.jpg
LSIrish-1740-009.jpg
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File Type: jpg LSIrish-1735-007.jpg (74.1 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg LSIrish-1738-008.jpg (66.1 KB, 22 views)
File Type: jpg LSIrish-1740-009.jpg (71.3 KB, 21 views)
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  #7  
Old 03-26-2013, 11:15 AM
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Default Re: Basics to Painting

Step 7: Finish up with the medium green for the top of the fish, this will blend it into the pale green area. If I want a more intense appearance to the coloring I will repeat these application steps right away ... while everything is still damp.

Step 8: If you are finished with the blending steps let your carving dry for a little bit, about 15 minutes or nuke it in the microwave for 15 seconds.

SECRET - 15 seconds on high in the microwave is equal to 15 minutes of air drying. Use this only on wood that has no pre-treatment or water treatments and only with acrylics, acrylic craft paints, and water colors. Do not nuke anything that has oil, turp, or chemical treatement or content ... don't spray seal it then throw it in the microwave !!!!

Step 9: The inside of the mouth gets several coats of medium green. By using a large flat shader I can lay the brush against the roof of the mouth and pull the brush straight out from the mouth to create a perfect finished edge of green along the lip area.

Step 10: Lets decorate the diamond scale pattern by adding small brush handle dots. Place a small puddle of pale rust on your palette. Dip the tip of the brush handle in the puddle then tap it on your palette to test the size of circle it makes. Don't push the handle, just touch it to the plate. The handle will make a perfect small dot.

For my fish I did pale rust dots in the back half of the diamonds, red in the mid-section, and finished in the head area with maroon.

You can get several dots out of one color load, but each dot will be slightly smaller. So I did the center diamond dots first, then one diamond to the left or right, then one more to make the dots decrease in size.

A pencil is perfect for this easy technique. You can sharpen it to a point for a very fine dot or blunt it on a piece of paper for wide dots.


Susan


LSIrish-1743-010.jpg - first coating
LSIrish-1746-011.jpg - second coating
LSIrish-1751-012.jpg - green mouth
LSIrish-1753-013.jpg - brush handle dots
LSIrish-1756-014.jpg - graduated color dots
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File Type: jpg LSIrish-1743-010.jpg (69.1 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg LSIrish-1746-011.jpg (58.8 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg LSIrish-1751-012.jpg (72.9 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg LSIrish-1753-013.jpg (78.0 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg LSirish-1756-014.jpg (73.8 KB, 19 views)
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Last edited by Irish; 03-26-2013 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:16 AM
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Default Re: Basics to Painting

Step 11: Dry brush red along the gill edges. Pick up a small amount of red on your brush, work the brush two or three times in a clean area on your palette, this leaves just a small amount of color in the bristles. Touch the tip of the brush against the edge of each gill and pull a short, quick stroke. That will leave a ragged-edged thin trim line along the gills.

We will look more closely at dry brushing when we do the turtle.

Susan

LSIrish-1760-015.jpg - dry brush the gills
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Last edited by Irish; 03-26-2013 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:21 AM
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Default Re: Basics to Painting

SECRET - Just about anything can be used as a stamp in our painting - soda straws, brush handles, paper clips, cut pieces of thin cardboard. Those stamps make repeating a painted shape very easy and very even.

Step 12: With a new (un-used) eraser, make a perfect little circle of white for the eyes of your Whittle Fish. Touch the eraser into the paint, test on your palette, then apply to the carving. Repeat for the second eye.

My larger dot did not completely cover in the center of the dot, but I have a very nice circle shape along the edge. So I can use a small round brush to pull the color already applied to evenly coat the center section.

Susan

LSirish-1762-016.jpg
LSIrish-1764-017.jpg - test dot
LSIrish-1766-018.jpg - white dot on fish
LSirish-1767-019.jpg - repainted center of dot
LSirish-1769-020.jpg
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File Type: jpg LSIrish-1764-017.jpg (92.1 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg LSIrish-1766-018.jpg (75.3 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg LSIrish-1767-019.jpg (83.5 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg LSirish-1769-020.jpg (73.0 KB, 15 views)
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:25 AM
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Default Re: Basics to Painting

Step 13: A large soda straw makes great open circles. Using black I can touch the straw into the paint, test on my palette then touch to the carving. Since my fish's face is curved my straw made a 3/4 circle.

Back to the brush handle for a black iris dot in each eye.

Step 14: I had a pack of chewing gum on my table and cut a small, 3/8" wide strip of cardboard from it. I can use that cardboard as a stamp to make easy, quick lines of medium green along the large, outer gill.

Step 15: And the acrylic painting steps are done! Only once in this project did I use the brush to make a specific, controlled brush stroke and that was when I dry brushed the red to the gills.

Step 16: Its time to allow the carving to dry well and then apply two light, even coats of spray sealer. Some sprays are polyurethane, some are acrylics, I had not found much difference between the two so I use whatever I have at hand. This one is a gloss acrylic.

Spray outside, holding the can about 12" from the carving. Several light coats do better for me than one heavy coat. Let this dry well, at least one hour, over night is so much better.

Susan

LSIrish-1771-022.jpg - there is no -021.jpg
LSIrish-1779-023.jpg - iris dot
LSIrish-1783-024.jpg - cadboard gill lines
LSIrish-1787-025.jpg - finished acylic steps
LSIrish-1789-026.jpg - spray sealer coatings
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File Type: jpg LSirish-1774-022.jpg (72.4 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg LSIrish-1779-023.jpg (75.4 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg LSIrish-1783-024.jpg (73.7 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg LSIrish-1787-025.jpg (67.2 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg LSIrish-1789-026.jpg (58.0 KB, 19 views)
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