☰ Menu

FAQs about Jerry’s “Answer Library”

What do the numbers and letters mean on the handle of a brush, example #12B or #12F?

The numbers refer to the size of the bristles on the brush. The letter B (bright) means shorter bristles and usually is preferred by oil artists. The letter F (flat) means longer bristles and is usually preferred by acrylic and watercolor artists. On your sable brushes, you will have a B or R. The B means bright or flat and the R means round. These brushes are used for oils and acrylics alike.

How do I clean my brushes?

You can use brush soap or Lava hand soap. Brush soap can be found in most art stores. Wipe any paint from the brush and rinse in the appropriate thinner (water for most paints; distilled solvent for oils). Rinse with water and work the brush gently on the soap to make a lather; rinse and repeat until clean. Dry with a clean towel and reshape the hairs. It is best to lay brushes flat until they dry.

How do you break in brand new brushes?

Simply rinse the bristle brushes with water to remove the corn-starchy like stiffness.

Can I use the same brushes for oils and acrylics?

Yes, but we recommend a separate set for each medium. Oil paints can leave a residue on your brush that can affect your acrylics.

Do you use the hake brush with oils?

No, the hake brush was designed to be used only with acrylic-based or water-based paints. Oil-based paints will ruin the glue used to attach the bristles.

Why am I unable to keep a chiseled edge when using my bristle brushes?

Bristle brushes are not designed to hold a true chiseled edge. They are designed for rough blocking work. The hake brush and sable brushes are designed to hold a sharp chisel. However, any brush will loose its edge if it has a build up of paint at the heel of the bristles. So, keep your brushes clean if you are not using them.

Do the numbers on the brush vary from brand to brand? For example, is a #10 bristle brush the same size in different brands of brushes?

Make sure you buy fine art brushes not craft brushes. Craft brushes will vary in the size of the bristles. Fine art brands include Robert Simmons, Winsor & Newton, Grumbacher, Langnickel, and Loew Cornell. Fine art bristle brushes will remain the same in size and sable brushes may vary. The handles may vary in length and size but the bristle size will remain the same

My hake brush is behaving strangely - it splits into small sections. I cannot use it to make a smooth wash or blending. What am I doing wrong?

This is a very common, but very simple, problem to fix. It is not the brush. The hake brush works beautifully if you use enough water to hold the bristles together. It is not designed for dry brush painting. You will need to use more paint and water than you think you should. Practice and you will get used to it.

I try fluffing out my bristle brush by hammering it on a hard surface, but it immediately regains its chiseled edge. I cannot get the feathery edge to leaf a tree. What am I doing wrong?

It could be the brush. However, it is usually the touch. Even if the bristles reform to a semi-chiseled edge you can, with the right amount of pressure and practice, create beautiful tree leaves. Keep working with the brush and eventually it will form like you want.

I am having a horrible time using the #4 script brush! How can I get more branches out of one load? I am lucky to get two or three and they are ALWAYS too heavy. Is it possible that I am using a poor quality brush?

This is a common problem with the script brush. It is easy to solve. When you mix your color be sure the mixture is very thin, like ink. Then roll the brush around in the mixture several times until the brush forms a point. When you paint the limbs, keep the brush angled slightly downward so the paint will keep flowing to the tip. A poor quality brush will affect the outcome. Always use a sable, not a nylon or synthetic brush.

My brushes are so hard, I am having a difficult time using them. I have washed them several times, but the large one separates in the center. It is like the quick dry doesn't wash out.

It is too late to save these brushes to the point of making them soft again. The reason for any brush to separate is because there is dried paint embedded deep down near the metal ferrule. If you are working with water-miscible oils, it is critical that you clean your brushes very well immediately after each painting session with soap and water.

When I try to use the #10 bristle to do the grassy meadow, my brush doesn't stay flat -- it twists and there is no chisel edge. Does the brush take some breaking in? I have discovered that if I wash it and form a flat brush with my fingers and pinch the end, I get a brush that looks like yours, but when I go to use it, it twists. Help!

This is a common problem. Bristle brushes are not made for water; they’re made for oil so it’s normal for them to twist. It’s all about the angle and the pressure when it hits the canvas. It doesn’t matter if it twists when you’re doing grass. A bristle brush will never hold an exact chisel edge.

Are your flat bristle brushes the same as the commonly known filbert brushes?

No, they are not.  A filbert is a rounded brush designed to create softer blends.

My brushes are traditional  flat-shaped brushes, and are therefore called flat….. please don’t get the two confused as you can buy filberts and you can buy flats.

I wear my flat brushes down so that sometimes on my TV show they appear in the shape of a filbert over time — and some assume these worn brushes are filberts — but they are not.

Why would I use gesso in place of titanium white?

Grumbacher gesso is preferred because of its blending and opaque qualities.  Grumbacher gesso is more opaque and covers more completely than titanium white.  You will also use gesso to change values. Titanium white paint is good for highlights and accents.

What brand of gesso should I use?

Grumbacher Artist Acrylic Medium. It comes in a 16-oz jar and costs around $18.00.

How do I prime and prepare a canvas before the under painting?

You only coat the canvas with gesso if it is not a pre primed canvas — most canvases come pre primed with 2 or more coats of gesso. However if someone wants a little extra texture they can apply a heavier coat of gesso leaving intentional brush strokes.

Also, related to priming/undercoating, when I try to do the clouds I am still seeing the texture of the canvas on the top and it seems to be catching and causing the paint to look like canvas holes instead of soft, smooth, and wispy like yours are in your Snippet #2 on Clouds… am I not putting enough Gesso on the canvas from the start?

Your problem is very common for a new student as we see this every day and in every class …. You’re not getting the mixture correct when you begin painting …. Paint should be the consistency of soft butter … you are painting too dry …..and with a little practice you’ll be able to blend your mixture into the background leaving it smoother and no holes.

When I blend my sky, the paint will come off in places the size of bb's or less. I try misting the paint but it does not help. What am I doing wrong?

You could be using a canvas that is not properly primed or the paint has become too dry to blend well.  If you mist your canvas with water after the paint has become tacky, it will lift off the paint.

My hake brush is shedding when I use it. Is there something wrong with the brush?

It is normal for your hake brush to shed the first few times you use it.  If you are using a hake brush with sewn bristles it will continuously shed. Do not use this brush with oil paints. It is designed for acrylics and watercolors only.

I have tested many brushes – all hake brushes shed. And while there are many other brushes you can use to blend large areas for skies, I have discovered that the hake brush made of goat hair gives me the most satisfactory results in terms of blending to create smooth, soft skies. While shedding has always been an issue with me and other artists who use hake brushes, I prefer to deal with the shedding because I can achieve the results that I want – a much higher, professional level result than I can get otherwise with any other brush/hair type.

Overall while shedding is frustrating to some, the desired effects far outweigh any inconvenience. Someday maybe a hake brush will be invented that will shed less and still deliver the fine-art, archival-type results I insist upon. In the meantime, I have not found one that works any better than my signature hake. While you can purchase a brush made of different hairs, and they may shed less, you do not get the same results — so each person will have to make a choice as to what works best for him/her – as for me, I’m sticking with my hake brush.

Why do some hake brushes shed more than others?

Often due to improper care and cleaning — i.e., if any dried paint gets down toward the metal ferrule – because these brushes have such fine goat hair — they have a tendency to break off. Sometimes too much water will loosen the glue that the hairs are attached to — if left in water too long – causing the brush to lose hairs.

I cannot find Grumbacher acrylic paints where I live. What can I use as a substitute?

Liquitex and Winsor & Newton are comparable brands of acrylic paint.

I can not find thalo yellow green in other brands of paint. What color would substitute for this?

The Liquitex substitution is Brilliant Yellow Green or Vivid Lime Green.  In the Winsor & Newton Finity line, you will use Cobalt Green Light.

Thalo is a Grumbacher trademark color.

I see Jerry uses the sta-wet palette saver when he’s conducting workshops. Can you tell me the process he uses for setting his palette up from the start?

Basically, dampen the sponge, place it in the sta-wet palette, then place a piece of palette paper on top of the dampened sponge. Then fold paper towels lengthwise, mist with water, and lay your acrylic paints on top. Then depending on humidity of your location, you must keep paints moist by misting periodically with your mister bottle. Jerry illustrates this method along with several other techniques in his new Snippet #1 – Getting Started.

When working with acrylics, how do I keep my paints moist?

Acrylics dry through evaporation. When working with acrylics you must keep a mister bottle handy and mist your paints to prevent them from drying out. Keeping them stored in a sta-wet palette saver will keep them moist until your next painting session.

What is the best way to keep my acrylics workable on the palette as mine seem to dry quickly?

Acrylics dry through evaporation so your palette can be on glass with wet paper towels to lay your paint on or use the sta-wet palette system (wet sponge & paper). You must keep a mister bottle available to mist your paints during your painting process to keep them from drying out. Mist well before you seal your air tight sta-wet palette saver to keep them moist between painting sessions.

When I try to correct an area on my painting, the colors do not quite match so I end up doing them repeatedly in a vicious circle. Can I use watercolor masking on my acrylic-painted areas to protect them when fixing the problem areas?

Yes, you can use miskit or some other watercolor mask, although it would be better to blend the new color into the old.  Remember, even with miskit, when you peel it off there will be an edge that will have to be blended.  Try using more of a wash when blending new colors on top of old.  Repeat this several times until you achieve the color and value you want.  Use this same technique when you brighten the other painting.

Are there any techniques or chemicals one can use with Acrylic paints that can make special effects for a background, like speckling etc.?

There are some clear acrylic gels available to help build texture. Some artists add sand or very small crushed gravel to create textured effects.  Acrylic modeling paste is great for adding texture.

Can I mix acrylic craft bottles of paint with my fine art acrylic paints?

Do not mix any craft paints with professional grade paints.  They not only weaken the pigments but also dramatically reduce the quality and light-fastness.

Can I use acrylics on watercolor paper? If so, is there a difference in preparing paper from canvas?

It depends on how you are using the acrylics. If you are using them as you would watercolor techniques of thin washes, there is no special preparation except that you may want to use a block instead of sheets.

If you are using the acrylics as an opaque medium, it is recommend you use 112 rough watercolor board or a heavy-duty illustration board.

Can I do a preliminary sketch on canvas with Prisma color pencils?

Yes, you can use acrylic paint over Prisma colored pencils.  Be sure you sketch lightly so that you do not have a thick build up of color pencil.  It is easier to cover up a lighter sketch.

Is it true that using Gesso in place of the color white will cause acrylic paintings to crack & turn yellow in the future?

Grumbacher has made it very clear that there is absolutely no problem with using gesso instead of white paint.  Keep in mind that all canvas is sealed with gesso, whether you work with oil or acrylic.  If it cracks or yellows, it would not be used for sealing canvas.  Artists have been using tinted gesso for years to seal canvas

I noticed that working with acrylics the color is dark. What can I do to help correct this problem?

Acrylics always dry a little bit darker.  The secret is to apply your colors in layers, especially the highlights.  You should not be concerned about acrylics drying darker.  Simply apply 2 or 3 layers to achieve the brightness you want.

What is your opinion on Open Acrylics?

Open acrylics are the market’s current answer for those students who are having trouble with their acrylics drying too fast. I do not use these. Once students learn how to use my techniques with acrylics, they understand how to keep their paints moist. Secondly, the pigment in these paints is not the quality that I insist upon – so it takes more paint to acquire a professional result. Using my technique of using glazes, drying time is not an issue. I do not think there is any benefit in using open acrylics.

What are the aesthetic differences between oil and acrylic paints?

The differences are mostly in the texture and luster of the finished product. If you prefer oils and the look of oils, you can achieve the same aesthetic appeal if you know the proper techniques in acrylics.

Are the colors equally saturated in oil and acrylic paints?

The difference is that acrylics dry through evaporation and they become more transparent. You may need to layer acrylics to achieve the intense colors of oil paints.

What are the technical differences in oil and acrylic paintings?

There is really only one main difference. That difference is blending. Acrylics use a wet-on-dry technique and oils use wet-on-wet or wet-on-dry technique. However, techniques vary from artist to artist, so keep an open mind.

When I am leafing it looks like blobs of paint. What am I doing wrong?

More than likely your canvas is too loose. You need a tight canvas. To tighten a canvas you can mist the back of it with water. You can blow it dry with a hand dryer.  When it dries it will be tight as a drum.

You could also have too much paint on your brush and/or be applying too much pressure to your canvas. Your brush should be dry with small amounts of paint on the tip of the bristles.

Can I apply the techniques of acrylic painting to pastel painting?

Absolutely, you would apply the same techniques (composition, design, perspective, color mixing, values, etc.) to all mediums. The application is different but the concept, from a technical point of view, is the same.

What type of paper is best to use pastels on?

When using pastels, It is recommend you use a high quality drawing paper. This can be found at most good art stores.

I was given a set of oil pastels. I know nothing about them - they look like crayons. How do I use them?

Oil pastels can be frustrating to work with and there are no shortcuts or tricks. You actually do use them sort of like crayons. The only difference is that you can smudge them with your finger to blend them. You can also use a little bit of medium like linseed oil, or turpentine or any other oil-based medium to help soften and blend them. You can also use a bristle brush to blend or even a paper towel or a paper stump that artists use to blend regular pastels. The best thing to do is just experiment and find what works best for you.

I have a question about framing pastels. I did not use a fixative as I did not feel it required this during the process of painting the pastel. Now I am faced with how to transport it to get it framed. How do you frame a pastel painting?

You must apply a fixative to the painting before you can frame it. The painting should be matted or have a spacer between the pastel and the glass. The glass cannot touch the surface of the painting.

What are the paintings surfaces recommended for pastels?

You can use colored charcoal paper and drawing paper, vellum, untempered masonite, 300 lb. Arches watercolor paper, 112 rough watercolor board and hot press watercolor board or illustration board.

Regarding the conte pencil, I have some white charcoal pencils...will these work instead of the conte pastel or does it have to be pastel?

Yes, the white charcoal pencils will work just fine.

When birds are flying over water, will they always have a reflection in the water?

If they are flying far above the reflective range, you will not paint a reflection. Most likely you are standing above eye level from the horizon or they are flying from above eye level of the horizon. If your birds were closer to the water, or just taking off from the water, there would be a reflection.

How do I mix flesh tones?

You begin with the same two basic colors, alizarin crimson and thalo yellow green. You will add white to these two colors to create a Caucasian skin tone. To create darker skin tones you will add Prussian blue, burnt sienna, and dioxazine purple. All flesh tones vary so you will need to experiment with the various mixtures of paints. For a redder skin tone, you will add more burnt sienna. If you need a lighter skin tone, add white.

Can I mix different brands of paint together?

You can mix different brands of paint. The difference between brands is the strength of the pigment. A different pigment may change the color. It does not hurt to mix as long as they are both water-based or oil-based. You cannot mix oil and acrylics together.

Can I use Masonite board to paint acrylics or oils on?

Yes, Masonite boards can be used with these two mediums. It can be more affordable than canvas and you may prefer the surface to canvas. Most importantly, use untempered Masonite board and you must apply at least two coats of gesso to prime the surface. Sand between each coat with fine sandpaper.

Use untempered hardboard (masonite) because tempered hardboard contains an oily resin that in time could impair the adhesion of the gesso.

Masonite is a company. By calling a smooth one side, grid the other side, masonite is like calling a tissue a Kleenex.  To check if the hardboard is treated is to take a piece of masking tape to a smooth untempered surface, right away fibers will stick to it, if it’s tempered it won’t. If it’s the masonite it has a wax coat, tape will take a while before the sticky reacts with the wax.

Duron is a hardboard that is untempered. You can buy it from a building supplier. The sheets were untempered 3/8x 4′ x 9′. Very smooth both sides fairly dark, very subtle small pattern can be seen (not felt) on the surface.  You will not find this product at Home Depot, but they may special order the product.

I have a hard time painting on Masonite boards. My paint streaks and appears to dry very rapidly. What am I doing wrong?

Keep in mind that panels do not have a tooth like canvas. The paint cannot adhere the same way. When you work on a smooth surface, you have to build up the painting in layers (glazing). You may have to go over an area 4 or 5 times before you get good coverage. Also, be sure the paint has had time to cure, about 30 minutes between coats. The paint tends to dry fast and that is why putting one thin layer on top of another is the best approach.

I would like to know if a canvas drop cloth can be used to paint on? If so how do you prepare it for a painting. I was thinking of cutting it into different sizes, because thise would be a cheap way for study paintings. What do you think?

Yes, you can use a canvas drop cloth, however they are not PH balanced and properly sized according to museum standards – but it will be fine for study paintings. First, stretch the canvas on whatever stretcher bar sizes you wish. Once the canvas is stretched, lightly sand the roughness off. Then apply 3 coats of gesso lightly sanding between each coat. Then you’re ready to go.

What colors are in the color wheel?

Primary colors – red, yellow, blue; Secondary colors – orange (red & yellow), violet (red & blue), green (blue & yellow).

If you mix every color on your color wheel together, you get a rich brown color. This becomes your base color. If you add red to your base color (brown), you create a sienna color. By adding red or orange to your base color, you create the fall colors. Add yellow to your base color & you create an ochre color.

Remember we are not changing the value of color. Value is what you do to change the intensity of your color, or the lightness and darkness of a color.

Add green to your base color, which makes a nice olive color. Add blue to your base color and you create a stronger intense brown. Add purple to your base color and you create a nice burgundy color. This is very important in creating shadow areas.

You use the color wheel to create the mood of your painting. If you want to have a warm mood to your painting, add the warm colors red, orange, and yellow.  For a cooler mood, add the cool colors purple, blue, and green. The more blue you add, the cooler it becomes; and the more green you add, the more spring-like it becomes.

Color Ranges: If you mix blue & green = blue-green, mix green & yellow = yellow-green or thalo yellow green, yellow & orange = yellow-orange, orange & red = red-orange, red & violet = red-violet. By mixing these colors, you create your different shades of color.

You always go to the opposite color on your color wheel to find its compliment. For example: green’s compliment is red, blue-green’s compliment is red-orange,yellow-green’s compliment is red-violet. This is how you compose a painting correctly by using the compliments of color.

This basic color wheel is used for landscape and wildlife artists. Remember color composition is the key to a good painting.

How do I paint a chrome look, such as bumpers on a car?

Chrome is similar to painting water. It picks up the colors that surround it. Begin with a dark gray color and gradually add lighter colors to the area, such as, whitish green, bluish white, tan, rust, etc. Your highlight color depends on your color scheme. Use horizontal and vertical strokes and gradually work your way to a bright yellowish white for the accents. This takes practice and is difficult to explain so you will need to experiment.

I am having a difficult time creating graceful naked or dead trees. The more trees I attempt the worse they look. How can I master simple trees?

This problem is solved with practice. Of course you must use the correct brush (#4 script liner brush), the right amount of paint and water (inky substance), and with a light touch you can create beautiful trees. Remember, always start from the bottom, go up from the trunk of the tree, then go out to attach branches and always retrace your steps.

How do I make rain in a painting?

Put a light coat of water over the entire surface; mix in a small amount of white to create a light soft transparent glaze. While the surface is wet, take your script liner brush and load it with white paint. Make quick angled vertical strokes all through the painting of various lengths. They will blur a little into the wet background creating a soft rain like effect. It looks beautiful when done properly.

What are the true colors of the rainbow and how do I blend them into each other on my painting?

Begin with alizarin crimson, then overlap the crimson with cobalt blue; overlap the cobalt with cadmium yellow light. If using acrylics you will use a dry brush stroke with thin washes. You may have to use two or three washes to get the colors to work.

I want to paint a mural on the back of our travel trailer. It is fiberglass, and I don't know what I need to do or if there is anything to do to prime the surface.

First, lightly sand the area you are painting to get rid of any glossy surface, wax, etc. You will paint directly onto that sanded surface. Make sure you use the correct paint, Exterior Oil-Base Enamels. You will want to use large brushes from a #6 bristle on up. However, if you know how to use an airbrush that would be the best way to paint on this surface. Airbrushes are quick, easy to use and you can get detail.

I am red-green colorblind. I would like to paint but how would I manage color values and color choices?

You may want to consider working with pen and ink, ink washes, charcoal pencils, or use sepia tones for monochromatic paintings. These paintings can be done in oil, acrylic, or watercolors or even sepia-toned ink. Using these mediums, you do not have to worry about color mixing.

Can I apply the techniques of acrylic painting to other media?

Yes, you would apply the same techniques (composition, design, perspective, color mixing, values, etc.) to all mediums. The application is different, but the concept, from a technical point, of view is the same.

Is it all right to jump back and forth between two mediums, or should one stay with one until you develop some skills?

It is all right to jump from one medium to another as long as you do not get frustrated. If you start later in life, we recommend that you master the acrylics. They dry quickly, are non-toxic and are less expensive. They are very fun to work with once you get used to them.

I need help with shadows. Do I mix the complementary color with the color of the object casting the shadow, or what mixture do I use when casting a shadow?

First, you do not have to use the complement to create a shadow color. A complement may work in some cases, but the best rule to follow is to always add a little purple (dioxazine purple) to the shadow being cast. For example, if you have green grass, mix purple with that green grass mixture to be your shadow color. If you used an earth tone for dirt add a little purple to the dirt mixture and that will be your shadow color. All shadows have purple. This is a better formula than trying to use complements. It will work every time.

What is the difference between reflections and shadows?

Reflections and shadows are two completely different subjects. Shadows change with the direction of the sun and always follow the contour of the land. Shadows have nothing to do with where the reflections are located in a painting.  Reflections, on the other hand, are constant. They have nothing to do with the direction of the sun or the contour of the land. This is why you may see a reflection in a painting in one direction and a shadow laying in another direction. They are in no way connected to each other.

It has been my belief that objects reflected in water should appear darker than their source, why?

The answer to your question is that there is no hard and fast rule as to the intensity of a reflection — it is relative to the situation. Water conditions, such as rough, rippled or murky water, will cause the reflection to be less intense. Calm, clear water will create a more intense and possibly darker reflection depending on the atmospheric conditions (cloudy, sunlit, foggy, rainy, windy, etc). All reflections change when any of the above change. Nature is our best teacher, so spend some time on location and study reflections.

It is my understanding that using pure white will tend to become featureless. Shouldn't I add color to the white?

As far as using white paint, you are absolutely right. In fact, you should always use a tinted white as opposed to pure white.

How do I paint twisted, heavy fringe approximately 8 or 9 inches long and where each strand is the thickness of a pencil? The color is medium green. I don't want to show the fringe in great detail; but due to the thickness of the strands, I need to paint each strand separately. I am having trouble achieving the right look, which I want to be subtle.

Here are the basics; use a #4 round sable brush and underpaint the fringe in a dark color. Highlight the fringe with successive, thin layers of whatever highlight color you are working in using a very light, feather stroke following the contour of the twists. This is very much like painting hair or fur – it does take practice. You probably should have a fairly decent sketch of each fringe unless you are very skilled at drawing with your brush.

I am having problems with values. I understand it but am confused how light and dark to make each value. At times I just use my own idea but it is difficult.

Values almost always begin with the first layer of subjects that are against the sky such as mountains, trees, hills, etc. That first layer should be about 1 or 2 values darker than the sky. Then as you come forward into the middle background, middleground, middle foreground and foreground you continue to change the value so it is slightly darker than the previous value. Just remember there are numerous variables based on time-of-day, season, color-scheme, etc.

I am having problems with blending. I get all the colors and the when it comes to the final touch to blend, I find my hake brush and my hand leave brush strokes on the canvas. I blend and then it leaves a light or dark color even though I dry it and clean it.

Blending is a common problem and it sounds like you are having the same basic problem that most people have. This is fairly easy to fix. Your highlight mixture must be very creamy. Use a softer bristle brush. Load only a small amount of paint on the brush then use a very light feather stroke. This takes practice and patience. Practice different brush pressures and creamy mixtures. This will usually eliminate the problems you said you were having.

I have some turkey feathers that I would like to try to paint, but I don't know how to prepare them. Could I use acrylics after they are prepared and what would I use to preserve them?

First, seal these feathers with a clear acrylic sealer.  It comes in a spray and is available in most art-supply stores (Grumbacher, Krylon or Winsor & Newton brands).  Be sure you buy a matte finish. Hang the feathers and lightly spray them one or two times. Next, apply the acrylic paint.  After you paint on the feathers’ surface you can spray them again with the acrylic sealer, but it isn’t necessary. Acrylics are self-sealing.

What combination of colors do I use to make beach sand, both wet and dry?

The best beach color is burnt sienna with a touch of cadmium yellow light with a touch of white. Depending on what hue you want you can add a touch of dioxazine purple and/or burnt umber. Some artists even put a little ultramarine blue in the mixture. There can be many different shades of sand so you will have to experiment. The more white you add the lighter the sand color.

For wet sand, it is not about mixing a color as much as it is about reflecting small objects onto the sand, such as, sea shells, pebbles, etc. After you add these objects you apply a thin transparent glaze of white with a little yellow. This technique will make the sand look wet.

How do I mix a bronze color?

You can mix various hues and shades of bronze by mixing burnt sienna, cadmium yellow light, with touches of cadmium orange. Bronze has green in it as well, so you can add a touch of burnt umber which has green in it and/or a touch of hooker’s green. You will need to experiment with the mixture to get the desired effect.

How would I mix Prussian blue from a limited palette?

The basic mixture is: Ultramarine Blue + 50% of Hooker’s Green and a small amount of Dioxazine Purple. If you want a warmer tone, add a touch of burnt sienna. Be careful not to add too much purple.

I want to create the effect of twinkling stars in a night sky. How would I do this?

The best way to create twinkling stars is to take a stiff toothbrush and load it with a very creamy mixture of white with a touch of Cadmium Yellow Light. Then carefully, with your finger, flick the paint in the sky area. Be very careful not to make it look like snow. Have a wet paper towel handy to wipe off any excess splatters. This takes practice to get the right mixture.  It is recommended that you practice on a scrap canvas first.

When painting on art board, do I use a different technique than on canvas? Washes perhaps?

There is absolutely no difference in painting on board as opposed to canvas.  Just be sure the board is gessoed 2 or 3 times before you paint on it – you can get a smoother effect. Many wildlife artists use board because they can get more detail.  Also, sable brushes work great on board.

Is there a difference between the focal point and the center of interest?

There is no real difference between a focal point and the center of interest.  However, there is a difference between a center of interest and a focal area. The center of interest is a specific object (a person, building, animal, etc.) that your eye is led directly to.  A focal area is an area within a landscape painting where you want your eye to end up but which doesn’t have a specific object to focus on.  It could be just a light area or a winding road, pathway, or river that leads you somewhere toward the center of the painting.

I want to paint a painting with a wolf in the foreground with a shadow spirit of a spread-winged eagle in the background. How do I achieve this technique?

The way you create these types of images is by using very thin transparent washes of color which creates a ghostly image. You start with water or oil depending on your medium. Then, add small amounts of white and whatever color you want, if any, for your image. This creates a milky glaze and looks very transparent.  This technique works very well for the effect you are after. Also, it works best if you use soft sable brushes.

I need to paint a landscape on deer skin. I would really like to paint it on the suede side, as it is prettier. I was thinking of using acrylic first and then finishing it with oil. However, leather shrinks when wet.

You can use acrylic on leather as long as you use a very dry brush technique. It will only shrink if it gets fairly saturated with water.  As long as the paints are not thin or watery you should be okay.  However, if the leather is very thin and the paint is very wet you will have some minor wrinkling.

I find Dioxazine Purple is too strong for my liking. What can I use for a substitute?

Dioxazine is a very strong color.  There are many different purples you can use, but they are all from the dioxazine family.  To fix your problem, pre-mix a softer, lighter version of the dioxazine purple before you begin each painting.  On your palette, add a mixture of purple (about 25% white to 75% purple).  Use this mixture as your purple, then add whatever you need for the color scheme (red, blue, etc.) to this mixture.

Often when I scumble an under paint color onto the canvas, the white canvas shows through. What am I doing wrong?

It is best if you tint your canvas in advance with a light middle-tone gray (a mixture of  burnt sienna, ultramarine blue, and white (gesso).

Then let it cure for a few minutes … then it’s easier to apply the underpaint without the canvas showing through.

Does gesso crack with time?

Since Acrylic gesso has been in use for 40 years there has never been any evidence of it cracking or turning yellow.  With the acrylic base, it is flexible which allows the canvas to contract and expand.  Acrylic gesso will probably outlast oil gesso 10 to 1.  Oil gesso will crack over time and turn yellow.

What watercolors should I use on my palette and what are my basic brushes and supplies?

Grumbacher Academy watercolors are a mid-grade of paints and they come in affordable tubes. The colors used in your palette should be: Chinese white, cadmium yellow light, cadmium orange, cadmium red light, sap green, burnt sienna, burnt umber, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, mauve, alizarin crimson, and thalo yellow green.

The brushes you use with watercolors are sable. You will also use a hake brush with watercolors. Your basic brushes are: 2 inch hake brush,  1 inch sable and one/half inch sable, #4 round sable brush, #4 flat sable brush, and #4 script liner brush.

Other basic supplies: plastic deep-well palette saver, mister bottle, natural sponge, paper towels, HB hard lead pencil, frisket or Miskit (for masking), water container, and kneaded eraser.

Watercolor paper suggestions include: #112 cold press rough watercolor board (Crescent brand), 300lb. Arches watercolor paper or 140lb. watercolor block.

Can I apply your fine art lessons to watercolors as far as brush strokes, color mixing, and blending?

Absolutely, all technical applications are interchangeable with all mediums.

I am trying to mix flesh tones, but I can not find thalo yellow green in Gouache watercolors. What can I substitute for thalo yellow green?

Gouache is a great medium to work with. The combination of colors you could use would be a mixture of cadmium yellow light with a touch of ultramarine blue to create a similar color to thalo yellow green. Mix with thalo crimson, or other reds in the crimson family, and add white (and any other color you need) to adjust the skin tone.

How do I create a misty or foggy effect when using watercolors? I cannot seem to get soft edges without turning the paint to mud or the whole painting looking flat and dull. I want more of a luminescent effect.

In watercolor, you must begin with a very light wash and gradually build the darker colors on top of one another. To achieve the value and softness you want it may take 10 to 12 washes. Make sure not to cover the area where the mist or fog is to be placed, or it will get muddy. You want to blend darker layers around your mist and fog. This is difficult to explain without seeing a demonstration.

How can I keep my paper flat after I have finished a watercolor painting?

Before you begin a watercolor painting, you must pre-stretch your watercolor paper. You completely soak your watercolor paper and lay it flat using paper tape to hold down the edges. Once it has completely dried you can begin your painting. Follow the manufacturer’s directions before you begin painting on your watercolor paper.

Can I use acrylic paint on watercolor paper?

Yes, you can use acrylic paint on any weight watercolor paper. You can also use acrylics on other types of paper such as rice paper, watercolor board, illustration board, etc. 300lb. Arches watercolor paper is preferred.

What type of watercolor paper should I use?

Buy 112 rough watercolor board by Strathmore or full sheets of 300lb. watercolor paper.

Can I use gesso with watercolor as a base for doing a painting?

You can use gesso with watercolor, but you can no longer call it a true watercolor. It will become opaque and permanent, unlike watercolor, which is transparent and temporary. By adding gesso, you are creating a gouache-like medium, which is a French opaque watercolor and is widely used.

I am using 140lb. watercolor paper and I want to create a morning mist. Can I achieve this with watercolors?

Achieving mist as an atmospheric condition is accomplished by building one layer on top of another until you get your desired effect. With watercolors, you must use a wet-on-wet technique.

Are there any special techniques for watercolor pencils?

Use a light touch (feather-like). Watercolor pencils have a tendency to hold a hard edge if you are not careful.  Use a light touch and create layers of color.

I paint with watercolors. How can I get water to look wet?

Wet the area where the water is to located. Allow the moisture to evaporate just enough so there are no puddles. Use the reflected color, quickly applying this color to the reflected area of water. Let it bleed until it becomes blurred. If it is too wet, it will bleed too much; if it is too dry, it will not bleed enough to create softness. You will need to experiment a time or two before applying the technique to your painting. After the water dries completely, take a sharp exact knife and use the point to scratch some horizontal highlights across the surface of your water. This is a very professional and effective technique.

Can I do watercolors on a stretched canvas?

To do watercolors on canvas is only possible if you use very thin washes of acrylics. The effect is the same and it is permanent. Regular watercolors will not adhere to any canvas surface. The reason watercolor paper works best is because the watercolor absorbs into the paper and creates a dye-like characteristic. On canvas, the watercolor only sits on the surface

How can I get a glow in my paintings' windows like you do with acrylics?

The key to creating the glow with watercolors is to be sure the watercolor paper in the area is clean and white. You will use pure, clean color of yellow and/or orange in thin layers until you build up the brightness you desire.

Do I need to apply an undercoat first before painting faces in watercolor. Which color should I apply when painting white people?

The only undercoat you would want to use for a white person is a very thin wash of yellow ochre mixed with a touch of thalo yellow green. Remember, this is only a tint – the color would be barely visible on the paper. The purpose of tinting the paper is so, when you leave the paper showing through, your highlights will not be stark white. This tint will create a nice, warm natural-highlight tone.

How do I paint a wool effect with watercolor? I am painting a bird which has its feet more woolly than feathery.

It is best to take a filbert-shaped bristle brush and use a straight-on, dabbing stroke to create the wool effect. Use light, delicate motions with the tip of the brush going in different directions.

How do I get a proper mist, fog or hazy effect with watercolors? I tried glazing with Chinese white on the dry part but it does not give me a nice result.

For creating a haze or mist in watercolor you cannot use a glaze like you just indicated. That only works if you are working with opaque mediums. In watercolor, you work with very thin colored washes. Layer one wash on top of another until the object begins to appear out of the white paper. You are actually building in the haze or mist as you go. Just be careful and use very thin layers

About warm and cool colors, I know the difference on the color wheel, but how about cobalt blue, Prussian blue, phtalo indigo, cerulean blue and ultramarine blue? What is the order of warmest, let alone the green the yellow and so on? In order to use, for instance, lemon yellow for a cooler effect than gamboge and so on.

As a general rule, cool colors cause objects to recede and warm colors cause objects to come forward. If you take a color like Prussian blue, which has a green tone, it would be considered a cool color. True, greens and yellows are traditionally cool; but if you add a touch of orange, red, or purple to any of these colors, they then border on the warm side. The truth is, you just have to experiment.

Can I use Miskit (liquid frisket) on watercolor paper or canvas board? My jar has been around for awhile, will it still be useful?

You can use Miskit on canvas board. Use a rubber-type eraser to remove the Miskit from the board. If the jar of Miskit has hardened or separated, it will be useless.

I am painting a watercolor of my grandfather. I have a violet background, and to paint the hair, I used blue and grayed it with orange. It turned green. I took the colors off with water and mixed a gray with black and white. Again, it turned green

The best color for the hair would be Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna and white. You can create a multitude of grays with this mixture.  Do not know what caused the hair to turn green because you can only get green with shades of yellows and blues, which of course, the blue and orange fit this.

I just purchased DaVinci brand permanent watercolor tubes. I do not understand the difference between them and artists watercolors. I tried to lift the color, some do and some do not. Hope you can help.

DaVinci watercolors claim to have a higher concentration of pigment than other brands. Richer pigments are harder to lift with certain colors such as blues and greens. Also, the rougher the paper you use the more difficult it is to lift color. You might try a 140 lb. watercolor block or even some illustration board (cold press).

I am painting a house that is all white and wasn't sure how to go about it.

Watercolor artists paint white objects by leaving the paper showing through. There are two ways to achieve this. First, you can mask the area with a substance called Misket. It is similar to rubber cement but made for watercolor artists. You paint the Misket over the area you want to be white. Allow the Misket to dry, then you can paint over it with your watercolor paints. You rub the Misket off with your finger or with a kneaded eraser. The second way is to paint around the object carefully and leave the white paper.

How do I keep watercolors from fading?

You need to keep them out of direct sunlight.  Also the quality of the paint determines the lightfastness.  Look for permanent pigment listed on the tubes.

I love to draw, but painting really is not my strong suit and I prefer sketching. How can I receive the training I need to work as an illustrator?

It is much easier to find work as an illustrator than as a fine-art artist.  To achieve your goals, you need to take about 6 to 12 months of good basic, intermediate and advanced drawing classes.  It is crucial to become proficient in rendering in ink, pencil and gouache (an illustrators medium that is very forgiving).  There are many art schools that specialize in these areas and a private instructor would be most helpful.  You can contact a successful commercial studio in your area to inquire about private instructors and/or recommended schools.

I would like to build a simple easel. Are there plans to be had?

Go to the following web sites www.am-wood.com/july97/easel.html  and www.bengrosser.com/easel   You will find simple plans to build your own easel at an affordable price.

How can I keep mold from growing inside my Sta-wet palette saver?

You can stop mold from growing in your palette by putting a sugar cube in a small plastic container and, in another container, put cotton balls with a small amount of vinegar then place both containers in your palette.  This should eliminate mold from growing in it for days.

Also, use distilled water to prevent mold from growing on your palette.

I am confused about gels and retarders?

Purist do not recommend these products.  Gels or retarders will weaken the pigment of your paint and may cause them to yellow over time.

What type of art sells the best?

If you want to sell, you must paint what the public wants – usually a trend.  Look at the Thomas Kincaid success story.  He uses bright colors, flower gardens, pathways, and extreme light to create drama. You should keep your paintings light, cheerful, and colorful to attract this type of art collector.

How does one go about getting a gallery to show ones work?

Send them a sleeve of good quality slides of a variety of your work or digital images.  Depending on what the gallery requires.  You can also rent space in some galleries.  Be prepared to pay high commissions.

Are arts & craft shows worthwhile?

Only if you sell art work less than $500.00. You can spend up to $1000.00 for your display in these shows and your traveling costs can be expensive.

I am thinking about submitting my artwork to a gallery that requires a representation fee of $1850.00. Is this recommended?

These types of galleries are nice and have professional, experienced employees. Unfortunately, they make most of their money from the artists. I f they do sell any of your artwork, they normally charge a high commission as well.  You may want to stay away from fee galleries and stick with galleries that charge a commission if they sell your artwork.

Does having brush hair left in a painting diminish its quality or value in general?

Do not pick off brush hair or any other debris on the painting once you have completed the painting. During the painting process, you can rub these hairs off the canvas easily. Removing these items once the painting is completed will damage the finish of the painting. Go to a museum and look at the master’s work. You will find brush hairs and other debris throughout the painting.

Why do some artists use a glass palette instead of the palette paper and sponge?

You can use both glass and palette paper with sponge.  Some prefer to use glass because the discolored palette saver shows through the glass. Some claim this helps achieve the correct values when mixing paints. In addition, the glass is more durable and easy to clean by misting it with water and scraping it off with a razor blade. In place of the paper, fold paper towels lengthwise, soak with water, and lay your acrylic paints on top.

I sketched in a subject and tried to wipe off the charcoal with a damp paper towel. It would not come off. How can I remove charcoal sketches from my painting?

First, you need to use #2 soft vine charcoal when making your sketch, and you only want to make a suggestion of your object — no dark shades or hard lines. If you cannot remove the charcoal with a damp paper towel, then you need to use a mixture of denatured alcohol and water. Make sure the alcohol is diluted and wipe with a clean soft cloth.

Do you need to be proficient in drawing to become a good painter?

Depending on the type of art you do, painting and drawing can be as unrelated as night and day. On the other hand, your painting is only as good as your drawing. If you are a realist and love doing birds, animals, people, etc., an accurate knowledge of drawing is necessary. Not that you need to draw the object, but you must be able to accurately render the objects with your brush. If you are unable to do that, your painting will be out of proportion. On the other hand, if you are a modern or impressionistic artist you work with color, form and composition. Drawing is not important.

Can you use a toned canvas and what are the benefits?

Most landscape artists do not use a toned canvas. However, portrait, still life, and figure artists often use them.

Where is the best place to sign your work, and does color matter?

Color does matter. It is best to sign your name in the compliment or form of the compliment of the overall color scheme. The signature can be used to fill a void, like an eye stopper. However, your signature should not overpower the painting. If it is the first thing you notice when you look at a painting then you know you have overdone the signature. Also, never sign your painting at an angle. This will appear that you have cut off the corner of the painting.

Can I sign my painting with ink?

Yes, you can sign acrylic, oil and watercolors with ink.  Do not sign pastels with ink.

Can you recommend helpful artist web sites?

askART  is a site that values works of art. They have good information, but some information on acrylics is incorrect.
Webshots is a good source of reference material.

Both sites below have great pictures of African Wildlife to use as subject matter for your paintings.

African Wildlife Picture Gallery
African Wildlife Foundation

Are there any rules of thumb or recommendations regarding whether it is better to stand or sit in front of the easel and what height the easel should be?

Sitting or standing varies from one artist to another and depends what each individual artist prefers. It can be a combination of both. You must find your most comfortable position when painting. Whichever position you choose, your eyes should be level with the center of your canvas.

I read how reds will fade with exposure to light. Should I switch from alizarin crimson to quinacridone red instead?

You should change only if the crimson is exposed to consistent sunlight. All reds, especially alizarin crimson, fade more quickly when exposed to sunlight. You really would not need to change the paint, just don’t hang the artwork in direct-sunlight areas.

What does lightfastness on the acrylic tube of paint mean and the number 1, 2, 3 after it?

Lightfastness has to do with the fading quality of the paint when exposed to ultraviolet light. The higher the number the better the lightfastness of the paint. In other words, the higher the number the less likely the paint will fade when exposed to ultraviolet light.

How do you go about choosing the size of canvas for your paintings? Is there a rule to follow?

In reference to canvas size, there is no rule — your composition effects the shape and size of the canvas you choose. For instance, if you have an object or group of objects that stretch across in a horizontal format, a long horizontal canvas may be what you need. A long vertical waterfall would require a long vertical canvas. Most generic landscapes that contain no specific subjects which require a long vertical or horizontal canvas do better on canvases the size of 8 x 10, 16 x 20, 18 x 24, 12 x 16, 14 x 18, 12 x 24, 30 x 40, or 24 x 36.

Some of the more odd sizes for vertical or horizontal formats are 8 x 16, 10 x 20, 12 x 24, 15 x 30, and 24 x 48.

Remember everything depends on what composition you are using.

I have tried to make a gray scale and can't seem to grasp the concept. Can you help me?

Start with a swatch of black. Then, add a small touch of white. To that mixture add another touch of white. Continue until you have a wide range of gray values. This is the same process you use when changing the values of dark colors. Try it with a blue or brown and you will see how well it works. It is much easier than they make it out to be.

When I applied varnish to one of my paintings, I noticed that after it dried, it had puddled in a number of places. How can I correct this?

Be sure the painting is lying completely flat. Brush evenly as you apply a very thin coat of varnish. Brush first in one direction and then the other. It is important to be sure your canvas is fairly tight. A sagging canvas will cause the varnish to puddle. The other option is to use spray varnish and apply 2 or 3 light coats letting each coat dry thoroughly.

I stored my paintings where moisture got in between several of the canvases and caused mold to grow. Is there a way of cleaning the mold without causing damage to my oil painting?

You have a problem. Mold on a canvas is its worst enemy. If any of the canvases have begun to rot or are very brittle they cannot be saved.  If not, use a mild liquid hand soap. Make a soapy solution, then take a soft scrub brush and scrub the molded area. Rinse with clear, clean water and pat dry with a towel. Then, take linseed oil and apply a very light coat to the entire painted side of the canvas.

I am using the Martin Weber brand of paint and, after a couple of years, my paintings develop a slight greenish cast. Please help me understand what is happening.

Martin Weber paints are low-grade with low pigmentation. They do not hold up to museum standards. It is recommended that you switch to a higher-quality grade of paint, such as Windsor & Newton, Grumbacher, or Liquitex.

I often get a somewhat noticeable crease line where the canvas has been constantly pushed up against the inside edge of the stretcher bars. Any suggestions for (1) how to get rid if it once it's there, and (2) how to avoid it?

(1) As far as getting rid of the existing line, all you can do is tighten the canvas as describe below and repaint that area. (2) To prevent it from happening, wet the back of the canvas. As it dries, the canvas will shrink and become very tight. This helps greatly. The other thing is to take the small triangle-shaped pegs that usually come with the stretched canvas and drive them securely into each of the corners. This will also tighten the canvas.

Since the canvas is stretched over a wooden frame, how do I frame these? Do I need a special deep frame? I paint with oils, so the rule is no glass (right?)

It does take a special frame for a canvas painting. Most moldings are cut with a recessed lip that the canvas fits into firmly. Then, you attach the canvas with either bar clips or small finishing nails. You can also buy ready-made frames at most large art stores. You do not put oil paintings under glass

How do Bob Ross Oils compare to other oil paints?

They are low in pigmentation, which means it takes more of each color to achieve the desired effect. They work alright for underpainting, but I would definitely finish with a more professional-grade like Winsor & Newton, Liquitex or Grumbacher oil paint.

I have several canvas boards that are bowed. Any suggestions on flattening them out?

This is very common. Cardboard absorbs moisture which can cause it to concave or convex. It is difficult to keep these boards flat unless you put a backing on them. When framing a canvas board, place a 1/8 inch masonite board behind the painting. You can actually glue the canvas board to the masonite without placing a frame on the painting.

I have a tear on a finished painting. I could paint over the damage, if only I could mend the tear.

Mending a tear in a painting canvas is done by taking a clean piece of white cotton artist canvas. Cut it about one inch bigger than the tear. Then, use a high-quality glue for bonding fabric and glue the patch onto the back of the canvas. Lay something heavy on top of the patch to press it flat. When the bonded patch dries, lightly sand the torn area on the front. Next, fill in the area with gesso and lightly sand again.

What canvas is best for portrait paintings?

You should probably use a linen portrait canvas, which is smooth, for painting portraits.

What information do you have on polyester canvas?

It has a similar feel to cotton, but it is more elastic and has a tendency to not always hold its form. Very few art stores carry it.

What are the pros and cons of the new Fredrix Watercolor Canvas?

The watercolor canvas is a great invention. The con is that it has not stood the test of time in terms of the archival quality.

I will be traveling overseas and don't know what to take -- acrylics or watercolors. I want acrylics, but cannot take canvases. What else could I paint on?

You can use your acrylics and paint on a 140 lb. watercolor block. A watercolor block is perfect for traveling because the paper is glued around the edges into a block form. You can get these blocks in different sizes, and you do not have to do anything special to the paper to prepare it. Just start painting on the paper, then tear it off and start another one.  Archer watercolor blocks are very popular.

How would one stretch linen for oils?
I am painting a still life and need help creating a soft edge. I have the background, but now I need to push some of the bouquet back into it. I want a flower to look fresh but faded into the darkness behind.

The best way to create soft edges on an existing object and to push it back is to apply one or two transparent glazes. You do this by taking water with a little bit of white paint and whatever color you want for the glaze. This should be a very thin, transparent glaze. Now take a soft brush, preferably a hake brush, and apply this glaze over the area which you want to soften – then let it dry. Repeat, applying the glaze as many times as you wish until you get the desired effect.

I want to paint a background for the baptistry in our church. Since I have never painted on walls before, is there a special process I need to follow?

If you paint directly on the wall, you must gesso the wall first with one or two coats of gesso. Or you can attach untempered masonite to the wall then gesso the masonite. You can also paint the mural on a masonite panel in your studio then attach it to the wall. There are many different ways to do this depending on the size of the mural.

What are Certificates of Authenticity, and where can the form be obtained?

The main reason for a certificate is mostly for reproduction of prints because there is more opportunity for fraud in that area of the art world.  You can make our own certificates on different computer programs.  Search and look at other certificates to help you create your own.

What setup is recommended for plein air painting?

For outdoor work there are many different set-ups. The main thing you need is a good tripod easel. The French easel is very popular. It is a combination easel and painting box. It folds up into a rectangular box that hold all of your supplies. They are found in most art stores. An umbrella attached to the box to control the sun is very helpful to cut down on the glare.

What are the copyright laws protecting works of art?

Helpful information on copyrights can be found on this web site http://www.whatiscopyright.org

I can't draw. What can I do to transfer an image on my canvas?

There is a machine called an opaque projector that artists use to enlarge objects on their canvases if they are unable to draw. You can find these in most art stores and art catalogs. Projectors come in a variety of sizes and price ranges. They work very well for transferring drawings.

How do I price my artwork?

There are two ways to price any form of artwork. First, by the popularity of the artist. Second, artwork is priced based on where you are in relation to your peers’ artwork. You usually know this by which galleries or art shows accept your work. Most beginning artists price artwork under $500.00. If you can create a demand, your prices could double.

What does the word hue mean on a tube of paint?

Hue means color.  It has nothing to do with the quality of the paint.  The word Hue is an attribute that permits them to be classed as red, yellow, green, blue, or an intermediate color.

What is the difference between professional and student grade of paints?

Professional grades of paint, such as, Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylics and MAX water miscible oils, have full concentration of color pigment.  Student grade of paints, such as, Grumbacher Academy Acrylics, Liquitex Basic Acrylics and MAX2 water miscible oil paints lack color pigment are inferior.

What are the advantages of using professional grade of paint?

Less paint is required to achieve deeper color and coverage.  Using the professional paints are the better value for artists who paint frequently.

I painted a mural on a BQ grill. What do I seal it with?

Use an exterior shellac marine varnish.  Like they use on boats.

What is the best way to photograph my artwork?

Hang your artwork at eye level on a flat surface.  You do not want to tilt the painting.  Photograph in full shade or on a cloudy day with a good quality film.  Do not use a flash it will cause a glare on your photo.  This technique is best for capturing a true image.

I am having a hard time closing and opening my sta-wet palette saver. Do you have any suggestions?

If you apply Vaseline or some type of petroleum jelly to the inside edge of the lid it will become easier to get on and off.

Also, when you seal the lid, start at one corner and seal it; them progress down the side of the box pressing the sealing the lid as you go.  Seal each corner and side in turn until you have gone around the entire perimeter of the box.

What do you think about interference colors?

I really don’t like them – as  they don’t work well for me plus lots of my students complain about them.  In my opinion, students are best to get the professional grade standard acrylic or oil, i.e., Liquitex and/or MAX. Again, this is just my opinion.

Can I sign my name to a painting although I painted it from an art book, video, or photograph of one of Jerry's paintings? What is the policy on selling work created from Jerry's instructions? What about copyrights?

Yes, if it is one of his instructional materials and NOT one of his personal Gallery paintings. However, Jerry requests that you please:

• Sign your name to your art work
• Give instructor credit.
• Change the ‘name’ of the painting from the title that Jerry has used when you are entering your art into a competition, show, or gallery.
• If you are selling or showing your art, make sure you change the painting SIGNIFICANTLY from Jerry’s instructional copy.
Can I copyright “my” version of these paintings?  We don’t mind if you copyright your own pieces if it does not look so similar to Jerry’s that everyone can recognize work taken from one of his instructional materials. Just like with music — change it enough so that it’s clear the work is yours.
How can I adapt the acrylic videos to be used with water miscible oils and traditional oils?

Acrylics dry very quickly and most oil painters get frustrated trying to do the same painting. All oil or acrylic paintings begin the same: with a basic underpainting of darker values then adding lighter values on top until you reach the desired effect. When you paint with acrylics, you put on layer after layer of paint because they dry quickly.

Since oils dry slowly, you need to speed up the drying time by adding a few drops of alkyd painting medium. Within hours, the underpainting is tacky enough for you to begin the next step, just as if you were painting with acrylics. It takes a little more patience to work with oils. You may want to have several paintings going at the same time and at different stages.

What do I use in place of gesso?

In place of gesso, mix a large batch of titanium white and water. You want the consistency to be that of whipped butter. Apply this mixture to your canvas as you would gesso. This mixture is for blending in your backgrounds. For a faster drying time, add alkyd to the mixture. You should keep this mixture readily available.

When mixing my MAX oils, it is difficult to mix the colors. What am I doing wrong?

Remember there is oil in MAX paints and it requires more mixing than acrylics or traditional oils. You must thoroughly mix until they are of a creamy consistency. (Like soft creamy butter.) A touch of water or linseed oil is the key.

If you are mixing MAX oils with traditional oil paint, they will mix with ratio of 2/3 MAX oils to 1/3 traditional oils. As long as this ratio is used you can still clean and mix with water. A larger ratio of traditional oil will change the chemical makeup of the MAX oils and will need to be treated as traditional oils. Turpentine or liquin must be used to thin the paint and clean up is with turpentine.

Also, you may be trying to mix MAX oils with acrylic paints. These two mediums will not mix.

Can I combine the mediums of acrylic and oils?

You can use acrylics for your underpainting and apply your oils on top. Your acrylic underpainting must be completely dry (about one hour) before you apply your oil paint. Remember fat (oil) over lean (acrylic) never lean (acrylic) over fat (oil).

When working with water-miscible oils can I start a painting, leave it for a week or two and come back, and blend new paint with the old paint?

You can buy re-touch varnish and spray the dry oil paint. It will loosen the paint so you can blend the new paint with the old paint.

I have an old oil painting that is stained with nicotine. How would I clean an oil painting to remove nicotine and other stains?

First, remove the painting from its frame. Mix a solution of water and a few drops of liquid soap. Lay the painting flat and apply the soapy water with a bristle brush, lightly scrubbing in a circular motion. Test a small area before applying to the entire canvas. Let set for two minutes. Using a mister bottle spray with clean water. Blot with a dry towel. Repeat the spray and blotting. You can repeat the entire process 2 or 3 times if needed.

How do I apply a glaze with traditional oils?

Use a mixture of purified linseed oil and mineral spirits, it should be a 50/50 mixture. Then, add small amounts of color to create a glaze. You can also use a fast drying agent (e.g., Liquin) with color to glaze, but only on a dry painted surface. Liquin is made by Winsor & Newton.

What medium is recommended, Liquin or what substitute?

Liquin is the best preferred medium on the market – especially for quick-drying and thinning your paints.

How long should I wait after applying the different shades before blending my colors?

You usually wait until your paint has become tacky or dry to the touch.

Can modeling paste be used on an oil underpainted canvas and still adhere?

You can apply oil-based modeling paste to the same base surface. Oil paste to oil base surface and acrylic paste to acrylic base surfaces. Remember that modeling paste will crack if you apply a thick coat. You should apply thin layers until you achieve the desired thickness.

Here are a few tips for enjoying painting with MAX oils:

Use MAX in every way identically to the way you would use conventional oil paints, except use water to thin and clean up with.

MAX has the same drying time as conventional oils. Depending on the colors, this will take from several hours to a week or more.

DO NOT OVER DILUTE with water. You only need to add a few drops at a time and mix thoroughly. Some people slosh the water on as if they are using watercolors. Doing this will make it harder for you to get a smooth consistency.

If you want a very thin or flowing mixture, I suggest you add a little linseed oil. Alternatively, you can add alkyd painting medium that will speed drying as well.
MAX can be mixed with traditional oil colors and mediums. Its ability to thin and clean with water will be retained if you keep the proportions at two parts MAX to one-part traditional paint. If you exceed this proportion, you may have to use some brush soap, or a little odorless thinner, to cleanup.

I have an oil painting I did about 20 years ago and never finished. I would like to brighten the background, but now I use water-miscible oils instead of traditional oils. Can I use the water-based oils over this painting?

Yes, you can use water miscible oils to paint over traditional oils.

I am not happy with water-miscible oils. I find that they clump up on my brush and I have trouble drawing out a fine line. What am I doing wrong?

You need to take several drops of water and mix until you create a very creamy consistency. Then you are ready to paint. Most people quit mixing before it becomes creamy. Do not give up too quickly. Once you get used to the mixing you will prefer them to traditional oils.The best varnish to use would be Damar picture varnish. You find it in liquid or spray.  Most museums would recommend that you use the liquid brush on varnish.

What varnish can I use to cover an antique oil painting that is heavily restored that will mask the heavily restored areas?

The best varnish to use would be Damar picture varnish. You find it in liquid or spray.  Most museums would recommend that you use the liquid brush on varnish.

I paint with traditional oils. What do I have to do to make the dress look like satin?

The procedure is to paint layer upon layer of a thin wash.

I paint in oils. How do I soften the shadows?

You would use your complimentary color system to soften a shadow. It is referred to as graying a color. For example, a purplish shadow would be grayed or softened with its compliment of yellow – blue with orange, red with green, etc. Check your compliment on a color wheel. This should solve your problem.

Liquin appears to have the consistency of honey. Is this normal, and if so, how much would I use with oils to hasten drying?

Yes, Liquin is thick and it will weaken the pigment of your paint. You should only use a few drops in your mixtures. Liquin does three things: 1) it shortens drying time, 2) it thins paint, and 3) when mixed in, it will make the paint creamy and give the paint a sheen (glossy appearance).

Please explain the process of using a rag on an oil painting?

The process is called rub-outs. After the background has been painted you take a rag and rub off the paint in certain areas to allow the canvas or masonite board to show through. This gives the painting a dramatic contrast of dark and light. It does take some experimenting to get the desired effect.

What will happen if you add quick dry alkyd to oil paints? Will it cause the painting to crack over time?

Over time any medium you add to your oils will cause them to break down, crack or even turn yellow. If possible, it is best not to use any mediums. Try to be as much of a purist as possible, and in the end, you will be happier with your artwork

I finished an oil painting about 3 weeks ago, and it is dry. However, in the last stages of the painting, I used Liquin to help with the flow of paint, and now those areas are very glossy and the rest of the painting is matte.

This is a common problem. However, it is very fixable. In this case, you want to use Damar Picture Varnish for oils. You can buy either the brush-on kind or the spray. You can find it in mosGrumbacher assures that all of their mixtures with the modified linseed oil were of archival standards (museum quality).t art stores.

Are water-miscible oils artist-quality paints?

Grumbacher assures that all of their mixtures with the modified linseed oil were of archival standards (museum quality).Keeping the lids on tightly will help.  You can store them in a fridge or freezer.  If the seem dry, add linseed oil to refresh them.

How do I keep my oil paints from drying out?

Keeping the lids on tightly will help.  You can store them in a fridge or freezer.  If the seem dry, add linseed oil to refresh them.

Can I reconstitute hardened oil paint in tubes?

If you can squeeze the paint out of the tube, you can reconstitute them with any good linseed oil.  If you can not squeeze them out of the tube, they can not be salvaged.

Can I sign my name to a painting although I painted it from an art book, video, or photograph of one of Jerry's paintings? Can I use a pseudonym to sign my paintings?

Yes,  as long as it is one of his instructional materials and NOT one of his personal fine art paintings.

Jerry requests:
-Sign your name to your art work and not Jerry’s name (yes, sadly this has happened!)
-He appreciates very much if you give him credit on the back of your painting – but this is not a requirement.
-When entering into a competition, show, or gallery – you need to change the ‘name’ of the painting from the title that Jerry has used.

You cannot use a pseudonym on original works of art.  It is best if you name them or at least catalog your work with a numbering system and description.

Can I copyright "my" version of these paintings?

We don’t mind if you copyright your own pieces — as long as it does not look so similar to Jerry’s that everyone can recognize it was taken from one of his instructional materials. Just like with music — change it up enough so that it’s clear that the work is yours. Then sell the heck out of it!

What easel is recommended?

An aluminum easel – Stanrite #500 (make sure you get the 500, the legs are sturdier).  You can purchase it from our online store by clicking here.

What type of varnish is recommended? My varnish has become very thick. Can I thin it?

You can use a variety of varnishes.  Damar picture varnish is good and so is Liquin varnish. Make sure you use a varnish that is applicable to your medium – acrylic varnish for acrylic paintings and oil varnish for oil paintings.  You can purchase a spray or a liquid varnish depending on your preference.

For oil varnish, you can thin a thick liquid varnish with turpentine to breakdown the thickness. Add small amounts of turpentine and mix thoroughly before you apply the thinned varnish to your painting.

When can I varnish my painting?

For oils, you need to wait 4 to 6 months for light texture.  For heavily textured oil paintings, wait 6 to 8 months before applying a varnish.  One or two coats of varnish are sufficient for oil paintings.

For acrylics, you need only to wait about one hour after completing your painting. You will also apply one or two coats. A varnish is not necessary for acrylic paintings because they are self-sealing, but a varnish can give acrylics the shiny look of oils.

What is a 3-in-1 lens on a camera?

This particular lens (usually a 28-80mm lens or a 20-200mm lens) will allow you to zoom in on your subjects and alsoJoining your local art club is a great place to start. They usually have monthly or quarterly meetings which will give you access to art resources in your area.  They may have a couple of showings a year and the yearly fees are usually very affordable.

You can also post your own website over the Internet.  You can reach many more interested persons than you can locally.  Post your website address on search engines to increase your market potential. gives you a wide angle.

How do I start marketing and selling my work?

Joining your local art club is a great place to start. They usually have monthly or quarterly meetings which will give you access to art resources in your area.  They may have a couple of showings a year and the yearly fees are usually very affordable.

You can also post your own website over the Internet.  You can reach many more interested persons than you can locally.  Post your website address on search engines to increase your market potential.

What are artist glasses?

Artist glasses are designed to help an artist focus on the palette while mixing and then have the same focus as you move to the canvas.  While they are much like bifocals, they are specifically designed to have a larger field of vision in the two lenses.

How can I get prints made of my original works of art?

You need to look for companies in your area that do digital scans or Giclee prints of fine art. These are copies made from any form of artwork – the original, slides or transparencies are used.  Your artwork or pictures are scanned on a computer and usually filed on a disc.  A digitized copy of your work will allow you to make various size copies of your artwork but will never change the original.

Can I reuse a canvas?

A canvas can be reused.  The rule is about 3 times.  Once you loose the tooth of your canvas it is not reusable.  If your painted surface is rough, you will need to lightly sandpaper your canvas to remove the rough edges.  Wipe of any residue before you apply a thick layer of gesso.  You may need to apply more than one coat of gesso before it will completely cover the painted surface.  Allow the gesso to dry completely before beginning a new painting.  You can use this technique on acrylics and oils.

Is there a problem with copyright or patent infringement if I add a can of Pepsi to a still life or have done a portrait from the cover of a magazine?

Any time you use a product that has a patent or a published photograph that has a copyright in your painting it is an infringement and a copyright violation.  You must first get permission before you use copyrighted or patented materials in your paintings.  If you profit from your artwork, you can be subject to a lawsuit.  This same rule applies to items that are licensed – logos and company trademarks for example.

How can I remove varnish from a painting?

Removing varnish is tricky. The best approach for an acrylic painting would be to use fine sandpaper.  Lightly go over the painting’s surface with the fine-grain sandpaper. Wipe off the varnish dust with a damp cotton rag.  After you remove the varnish, you will be able to re-paint on the surface.
If you are removing a varnish from an oil painting, lightly sand the painting’s surface.  Then, take turpentine and rub the background to clean the surface.  Then, re-paint as normal. There are chemicals available for removing varnishes but they are expensive and mostly used by museums.

Should one be able to see the texture (waffle or weave) of the canvas showing through to the surface of the painting, or is this considered an inferior application of medium by the painter?

It is very desirable to be able to see the texture of the canvas below your painting. You just do not want to see the white canvas showing through a missed area or a thin layer of paint.

Why are you putting videos with all different types of mediums? Will it confuse me if I watch acrylic, oil, and watercolor?

For the last 35 years, Jerry has focused mostly on acrylic techniques…. and along the way has received hundreds if not thousands of requests for the other mediums…. watercolor, oil, and even pastels. In order for us to be a truly functional and well-rounded art school, we feel it is only fair to expand our horizons…. to include everyone not just a select few. Although we will continue our primary focus on acrylic… from time to time we will throw in different mediums to help everyone experience the enjoyment of the art that we’ve all come to love.  Remember, all the mediums regardless of which you prefer have the same technical components: design, perspective, values, color, etc. and can therefore be adapted to any media.  Just remember, that is why we call it “School” so that we can reach everyone. We hope you will continue to enjoy what we have to offer now and in the future.

What is the comparable water-miscible oil color for acrylic Hooker's Green?

Use Sap Green.  If you need to lighten/brighten this color, add blue.  If you want to darken/make warmer, use Burnt Sienna.