|With Soltek clipped on
I had a visitor to the studio today. I showed her my set up and we got to discussing a number of practical things. One of the things she asked was how much paint did I waste. The answer was - nearly none. The methods I use were new to her so I thought I might share them.
I often refer to the fact that I have had the good fortune to study with many fine artists. And that if there is something they had recommended in common that it would be foolish not to think it worth paying attention to. One such thing was - putting out lots of paint. In my first few years I often scrimped on paint and, as my instructors said would happen, in the midst of a painting I often made do with what was there instead of stopping to reload. The results spoke for themselves. Now, whether oils or acrylics I put out lots of paint and have developed strategies that work for me to avoid wasting what I don't use.
|My new Coulter Art Box
|Guerilla box and palette with oils
|Easy L with palette attached with velcro
When using acrylics I also have a holding palette and a mixing palette whether plein air or studio. For plein air I use the same Masterson Sta-Wet palette as above but add the sponge and paper to keep the paints moist. I generally squeeze my tube colours onto that palette (mostly opaques). My transparents are generally liquids and I squeeze them onto the mixing palette as needed.
|Using the Alla Prima System with acrylics
So with acrylics, the paints stay active in the Sta-Wet for many days to weeks and I use most of what I put out. When I need to change the Sta-Wet and there is paint left over I have two uses: I either use it to apply (adding either mat or gloss medium) to the surface of a group of pre-made panels creating an under-painting for future use or I store it. I normally have up to 20 or more small jars with acrylic paint in pre-mixed grays that I commonly use - sky mixes, typical warm grass colours etc etc. I paint the top of the jar with whats inside and then know the colour and final value I will get and have a value reference point from which to work back from often modifying the temperature while holding the value as required. So the old paint is placed into these containers. White added as required to adjust value and staining colours added to change the hue, complements added to modify the saturation etc etc - the paint lasts pretty much indefinetly as with normal jared acrylics if managed correctly.
|My studio palette setup for acrylics
I'm sure there are as many solutions to saving paint as there are artists. This is what works for me.
Oh, and I don't want to hear anything about the number of plein air systems I have - get enough of that at home !