Thursday, January 19, 2012

Happy birthday - heres diffusing

Never drink and blog. I somehow typed 1979 instead of 1976. Unfortunately the tardis could not take me back to change the date of my birth to comply with my blog as I had already visited that timeline and would cause a world ending paradox.
Instead I have to post a correction instead. Thus stealing away the smug satisfaction of correcting someone on the Internet for my dear readers!
Though being a horse would be kinda cool (works for sarah Jessica parker) I am still a rabbit.
Mind you, the dreaded beast of Antioch was a rabbit too.

So I rewarded myself yesterday with a day off to sit and paint something and kinda discovered a neat new painting technique that I will be using a great deal from here on in.
It's getting pretty steamy here in Sydney, so I dragged out the retarder to keep my paint from drying on the brush. I decided to make up a batch of some ready mix retarded, flow improved matte medium- elsewhere I think its known as gunk. I can't remember the link- battle bunker perhaps.
Anyway, I thought I would use this to practice wet blending. Normally I use a glaze technique to build up layers of shading, but this can take a bit of time. I never nailed blending before- its always eluded me.
Normally you either go wet onto wet, a highlight onto mid tone for example, or wet next to wet and use a damp brush to transition. Both can cause hard edged if you stray too much into the shadow portion of your models, or if you lift off too much paint with your brush work. I decided to try wet on wet, and it occurred to me that what I really needed to do was just diffuse the brush strokes edges. Imagine the difference drawing an ink line on two sheets of paper- a dry one and a wet one. The ink line on the wet one would diffuse as the edges dilute.
So here's what I did. Load and wipe one brush with retarded paint. Then load and wipe another brush with water/flow aid/retarder/matte medium.
Stroke brush 2 over the surface to moisten in, the apply brush 1 on the highlight. The paint edges blur!
A little coaxing with brush 2 will soften the edge further, then whilst you wash brush 2 and reload it, the strokes are dry. The matte medium helps the damp brush liquid stick to the surface, the retardant stops the whole thing evaporating and the flow aid breaks the paint tension and lets the paint diffuse.

Apart from avoiding the hard edges, this technique makes hard edging really nice and blended!
I looked around but this does not seem to be a discussed technique, so I am calling it diffusing.
Pics once I master the technique.


  1. I could go for the smug satisfaction of pointing out it it was the Hand Grenade of Antioch, the rabbit was in England. ;)

  2. Oh, thanks for the "Oil" on converting artist's acrylics for mini work, going to give it a go. Heaps cheaper.

    Are Derivan paints any good? I've heard conflicting reports.

  3. It depends on the paint- some pigments will be transparent by nature and people often mistake that for poor quality. I don't have any of that brand at my local store, so I don't know Personally.