Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Picking The "Right" Brush Makes All The Difference

Art for me, painting in particular, is a journey. Some of what I do is self taught, either just picking up some tool and using it then seeing what happens, sometimes it changes by something that I read and another time from a class that I take. Most of the time though it's a lesson I learned by using a brush and either liking or disliking what I did with it. Those lessons last the longest!

Since I never really had any formal art training as an adult, just what a teacher might say or what I see on a YouTube demo or read in a book, brushes are a kind of mystery.

Painting with DecoArt's Satin Acrylic Paints
When DecoArt sent me their new Satin Paints, I wanted to make a Christmas gift for a friend who has anything he wants. This would be my artistic gift, one he couldn't buy anywhere else. He wanted 6 tulip glasses with my own designs and my painting.

To start, I purchased a $1 wine glass from the 99¢ Store to try out a pattern and the paint. It didn't look very good. When I showed it to my teacher she pointed out that you needed a very soft brush when using acrylic paint on the smooth, slick surface of the glass. I had put several coats of paint on the glass but it looked, well, amateurish.

My second through seventh attempts were better and in fact got much better as I used a very soft  and longer bristled teklon brush quickly learning to use the brush and the paints to my advantage. Some people like a flat but I favor filbert brushes because the rounded front edge isn't so harsh. I found that you really needed to load the brush with paint and use a gentle touch to avoid leaving streaks. For me, at least, the long tongued filbert gave me more wiggle room. Sometimes I had to go back for a second coat but by the last glass I felt that all in all they looked pretty good. Remember, I wanted only a design that was used on both sides of the glass as I didn't want to completely cover the entire glass. That would have been a lot easier! That will be next!

I should point out though, that I did use a round liner brush for some of the scroll work but most of the painting was done with several different filbert brushes.

The Satin paints while pretty cool do require a learning curve. Like I said, they are easy to streak and require thicker loads on brushes than many of us are accustomed to or are comfortable with. A little practice helps and you will soon find the best way for you to completely cover the surface you are working on.

While you can let them air dry for a week or so to make them dishwasher proof, you can also put them in the over and cure them at around 300ยบ for 30 minutes then letting them cool in the oven with the door open. That also seems to level out the paint and give you a smoother, more professional finish.

I found that once the base coat was on, you could pretty much treat the glass just like a piece of wood or other paintable surface. It would even allow texture and thickness to show making sure everyone realized this wasn't just a print on a glass; it was your hand painted original design.

Be sure to visit for a wide selection of craft and fine art hand painted items.

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