D.I.Y.Tuesdays! - How to keep your paint wet

In an attempt to keep this blog updated on some sort of consistent basis I know dub tuesdays, D.I.Y. Tuesdays!  Ever week (or two) I'll post some sort of tutorial or tip about art-making and my process.  This gives me an excuse to do things I haven't done in a while like printmaking, yay! For this week I'll start off with something simple, something I didn't learn this from school, but from a buddy of mine April.

How to keep your acrylic paints wet on your palette:
I use acrylic gouache for my paintings, it's this stuff Holbein makes called Acryla, I love this stuff it dries quickly and feels like gouache and dries matte, which makes things easier when scanning in the artwork.  A problem I found when first using this paint though, was that it would dry out on my palette way too quickly.  You can buy a Stay-Wet palette that has a sponge underneath, but that costs like 15 bucks and you have to buy their special palette paper-pad every time it runs out.  Screw that, you can make one yourself using stuff you probably already have.
This is what you'll need: a butcher's tray, some paper towels, and wax paper.

Fold and place a sheet of paper towel into the tray

Next add water (just enough for the paper to be completely damp, don't over do it)

Cover with a sheet of wax paper.  The wax paper acts as a layer between the paint and water, it's poreus enough that is give the paint a continuous supply of moisture, while at the same time not allowing the paint to bleed everywhere.

Add your paints and start painting!  As long as the paper towel is moist you can continue to use your perfectly wet paints for as long time, up to a few days (or until the palette gets too muddy from mixing) Cover it with a piece of saran wrap if your'e leaving it out overnight. 

This works great for acrylics and gouache.  One of my former mentors also gave me this tip: using a cosmetics bottle you can spray the paints with water, to extend the wetness of the paints (you can get one at your local CVS, Duane Reade, Walgreens, etc in the travel section).  I also like to reuse the paper towels once they dry; after a while the paints will bleed through the wax paper and onto the paper towel, at which point I use it as a rag to wipe my brushes with.

Sweet, I hope this is useful for someone.  Next week, I walk you through how to print without a press,  prepare a linoleum cut, and maybe some two color registration? we'll see.  I have a bunch of ideas for future posts, but if you guys have any suggestions or questions, just shot me an email or leave it in the comments box.  later.


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