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Ok, I'll try this again:

Hi fellow artists.

My name is Tom David. I retired in October of 2003 after a successful career as a public school administrator. In April of 2006, I retired from my second career as a senior warrant officer (CW5) in the Illinois Army National Guard where I served in the personnel field for over 36 years.

I began my formal training at Eastern Illinois University where I earned a B.S. in Education majoring in studio art with a concentration in pottery and sculpture. Following graduation I taught art in various public schools in east-central Illinois. After eleven years in the classroom, I was employed as a school administrator, serving first as an elementary principal for four years and then as an assistant superintendent for human resources during my last sixteen years in public education. During my years in the field of education, I continued to attend school earning an M.A. in Art Education and a Specialist Degree in School Administration at Eastern Illinois University and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Illinois. I recently completed my study of advanced figure drawing and painting under the guidance of Ke-Hsin Jenny Chi, Chris Kahler, and Robert Horvath at Eastern Illinois University.

You can view one of my Artist's statements, learn more about me, and see some of my work on my artist web cite at .

In 2004 I decided to retrain in the 2-d field. Interestingly for me though, some of my artist friends who have seen me paint tell me that I "carve" with paint. I work in oils, acrylics, pastel, pencil, and silverpoint. Lately, however, I have been working mostly in acrylics. A new product from Golden Acrylics is their "open acrylics". If you haven't used them yet, give them a try. The are a bit "soupy" but otherwise fell a lot like oils. I have found that I can mix a little of the traditional, fast drying acrylics to give them a bit more "tooth" or "drag" feel to them. I have been able to keep the Open Acrylics wet and useable for several days by putting them in an air-tight container. I often will put the paint on a plastic lid, put a bit of water in the lid's container and them snap the lid on the container, suspending the paint upside-down above the water. There probably is a better solution for a large quantity of paint, but this system works fine for small amounts. A retarder can be used to keep the Open Acrylics wet and fluid for even longer periods of time. A wetting solution is also available if you like to thin the paint to a water-color like consistency. Of course a spray bottle to mist your canvas helps at times to, depending on your need.

I have found that acrylic paint, unlike oil paint, does not cover India ink at all. It bleeds through. I suppose everyone knows that with acrylics artists do not have to be concerned with the fat over lean and thick over thin principles that are very important when working in oils. I also think another advantage of acrylic over oils is that you can easily include other materials, e.g., graphite, pastel, etc. and transferring images from print material is much easier with acrylics. Acrylics are less toxic as well. Something that too many artists don't take seriously enough. Handle oil paints and solvents as though they were rat poison.

A characteristic of traditional acrylics is that they dry so darn fast. For me, this is sometimes an asset because if forces me to work faster. Plus, if I don't like something, I can wait 30 minutes and paint over it. Wet on wet is much more difficult than with oils,; however, Golden's Open Acrylic addresses this problem quite well.

I sometimes find staring at a linen canvas to be somewhat intimidating. But painting on heavy paper (BFK, 140# watercolor paper, etc) that I have put on a couple coats of gesso have the opposite effect. Some of my best work is on paper.

If you haven't tried drawing with silverpoint, give it a try. Few artists work in this medium. Golden has just marketed a silverpoint ground that is very good. I have tried other acrylic silverpoint grounds as well as rabbit-skin glue grounds, but I think Golden has a superior product

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I finally found where I'm to chime in.
I've not had any formal training, so much of what you've told us is new to me. Thanks for the heads up on covering ink with acrylic or should I say the inability to. I suppose it would make sense as I've come up against something similar when painting walls that had water stains. My work is pen & ink Pointillism and just recently tried to incorporate acrylics to it. I did see the bleed through though it worked in my case, however, how would I be able to keep it from bleeding through without using oils or 1-2-3 Bullseye? Is there an 'artistically correct', quick drying product available?

I also appreciated the tips on keeping the paint from drying out when storing it, though I find the dabs of paint get a skin on them quickly while I'm working with them... guess I have to paint faster!

Barb
Hi Barb:

I'm surprised that so many in our group have not had any formal training in art. At the same time, I'm reminded of the comments of some of the great artist of the past who have lamented that they needed to "unlearn" everything they had previously learned. I interpret the meaning of this to be that when artist's techniques or whatever become a formula (e.g., the French Academy) creativity and originality suffer.

The fact that pencil lines or India ink underdrawings bleed through acrylic paint can be used or incorporated into the painting. So, in this regard its something we can use to advantage. If I don't want this effect, I use oil paint to cover it up. I would recommend contacting technical support at the Gamblin or Golden web site for advise about this problem. Or contact either by phone. I have found both companies to be very accommodating and helpful to artists. I contacted Golden a couple of years ago about their take on adding zinc oxide to gesso in order to create a silverpoint ground. They didn't have such a product but thought my solution would probably work satisfactorily. Recently, Golden has marketed a silverpoint ground that is much better than my formula. The point is, they want to hear from us.

I have found that Golden's "Open Acrylics" don't skin over nearly as quickly as traditional acrylics. A drop of retarder to Open Acrylics further delays the skinning effect. Liquitex makes a palette wetting spray to combat this problem but the spray nozzle easily and quickly becomes clogged. And I'm not sure that a water mister doesn't do about as good.
Hi Tom,

Thanks for the info. I've written to ask for help on the ink bleeding problem per your suggestion. I've never heard of silverpoint - adding zinc oxide to gesso. I'll share what I find out.

You mentioned that you were surprised at how many of us haven't had formal training. I suppose there are various reasons but mine is that I didn't want it. Now this is just my take on it, but I was concerned that my style, direction, or whatever you call it, would have been pulled off direction before I figured it out. It's the same reason I avoided art publications, galleries, and museums in hopes I would not be influenced, which I easily am and knew this about myself. I think kids have it right. They just do whatever they are inclined to do and are not bothered with whether it is correct or not. I'm not saying that training isn't very useful as I've proved by querying you for help. It's now that I would like to get the knowledge/tools to better express or discover new ways to present my style. You've been very helpful and thanks for taking the time to answer my question.
Barb
FYI
Here is the info I received on covering India ink with acrylic so it doesn't show through:
They recommend getting a quality white acrylic paint that is really opaque. Such as Golden Heavy Body Acrylic in Titanium White. You will want Titanium White no matter which brand you choose, this white is the most opaque. Zinc or mixing white tend to be slightly transparent. If you are wanting to put color in you works. You may want to put down a layer of white first and then the color. This is especially important when it comes to certain yellows, blues, and even reds.
I tried using acrylic titanium white but the ink still bled through. At least I think I did.

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