Saturday, May 4, 2013

Preserving Paints

Painting is a beautiful art form, but it has its challenges. Practical aspects of storing paints and preserving them for future use are always a concern to the artist—especially when resources are limited. Who wants to toss away unusedpaint that is no longer usable?
Unfortunately, for most artists, throwing away dried paint is just one of the costs of the trade but. At some point in time, it's going to happen. But there are some things you can do to help you preserve your paints. The first suggestion is simply to avoid buying more than you need at any one time. This is a tough one, we know. It's easy to say you want 50 paint colors in whatever medium you may be working in. A watercolor kit, for instance, might be enticing and can be more cost-effective. The question is, how much are you painting?
It helps to prime your work surface with a product such as gesso so that your paint supply will stretch a bit more. Gesso primes any surface for painting, creating a surface that is somewhat textured. Without it, paint would soak into whatever you are painting—a canvas for instance. Using gesso on unprimed surfaces can keep you from having to buy as much paint at the start of your project.
Another way to preserve your paint is with proper storage. Keep your paints in a cool area away from heaters and blowers. The more airtight the better. Remember that all plastic containers are slightly porous and allow a small amount of water vapor to escape. Clean the threads of lids and jars. If paint accumulates there, the tops will not seal properly and the paints will begin to dry out.
Because of the versatility of acrylics, they are widely used by artists. They can also quickly dry out if not sealed tightly. An issue with acrylics, too, is drying too quickly while they are being used. Paint additives can be helpful in keeping acrylics from drying to quickly. Another option is to use a non-absorbent palette. Glass works well, as do plastics such as polyethylene. In addition, a small amount of retarder can keep paint from forming a skin for up to six hours, depending on the temperature and humidity. You can also simply mist the paint on your palette with something like a plant mister. Be careful not to use too much, though.
If you abide by these tips, you should do well in keeping your paint preserved and fresh for your next project.

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