The moment when I pause, brush in hand, poised above the canvas, is the moment my mind becomes calm. The whole ritual of preparing to paint moves me closer to this point of transition; making a cup of tea, laying out my brushes, mixing the paint, each step helping to slow my busy mind.
This how-to series will help prepare you to add this calming ritual to your life. Of course, you’ll probably add your own twist, maybe a glass of wine instead of tea (I might have to try this), possibly a little jazz playing in the background. You will no doubt find what works best for you.
Let’s start the series with a review of three common paint types:
- Water based.
- Can be used in various densities (easily diluted with water).
- Can be mixed with other mediums to produce texture (i.e. sand or plaster)
- Used on canvas panel, paper designed for acrylics, and wood.
- Leftover paint can be covered with plastic wrap and used again.
- Brushes are cleaned with soap and water.
- Dries fast and can be layered easily without muddying the ones below.
- Very little odor.
- Will stain, so wear old clothes and be careful around surfaces.
- Mixed with water.
- Used on paper specific for watercolor application.
- Extra paint squeezed from the tube can be used if re-wetted.
- Brushes easily cleaned with water.
- Paint can be lifted off by re-wetting.
- Difficult to rectify mistakes.
- Cheapest of the paint mediums.
- Very little odor.
- With the exception of red, it is unlikely to stain.
- Must be preserved under glass (not required for oil or acrylic).
- Used on paper specific for oil paint, canvas, along with other surfaces such as wood and metal.
- Very slow to dry (minimum of 2 weeks and can be up to months).
- Due to the slow drying time it is easier to rectify mistakes.
- More difficult to layer.
- Very textural.
- Colors are luminous.
- Most expensive of the paint mediums.
- Requires solvent to clean brushes.
I find acrylic super easy to work with. It dries fast and lets me play with layering and textures. I have always avoided using oil due to it’s lack of ease in these respects; however, after hearing artist Johanna Rachel describe the luminous and rich colors oil imparts, particularly when used on linen I may have to give it a try. It has been said that painting with the butter like medium is nothing short of a sensual experience.