How to Paint - Hints & Tips
A Newcastle Arts Centre Guide

For Paper,Wood, Canvas, Plaster, Glass, Ceramics, Metal, Plastics, Textiles.

at Newcastle Arts Centre we stock paints by: -

Winsor & Newton, Daler-Rowney, Talens, Pebeo, Liquitex, Humbrol, Marabu Textil.

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Choosing the right medium:

To be sure of a good finish it is important to chose the right paint for the job,
Once a upon a time Paints used either water or oil as the medium. Today there are
dozens of paints to chose from each with their own special character. It is necessary
to know and understand something about the 'medium'. A medium is a fluid that
carries binds and 'glues' the colour to a surface.
A medium defines the the Paint - Oil Paint uses linseed or poppy oil as a medium,
Alkyd is named after a resin like sustance that is a good fast drying substitute for Oil.
Acrylic is a water-soluble plastic. Watercolour uses water and gum arabic.
Enamels and Lacquers
use a wide range of specialist mediums which each have their own solvent.

Because of this diversity, mixing different types of paints, mediums and solvents
should be avoided. Also be aware that the over use of a solvent to dilute a colour can
damage the paint. When thinning a colour it is wise to use some of the original medium
to maintain the performance of the paint. More information is in manufactures leaflets
available from our shop or the makers websites.

Professional or Student grade?

In the UK the quality of colour products is roughly divided into three groups :-

  • Professional - traditionally known as Artists Quality the better makers have always called their top grade colours 'Artists' quality but this term is often abused by makers of cheap poor quality colour and now causes confusion. Artists quality colours sold at
    Newcastle Arts Centre is always the best of that make and are priced to reflect the quality of colour and manufacture. For this reason colours are divided into different price groups or series determined by the cost of the genuine colour or pigment.
  • Student or Amateur Grade
    These are good quality colours made to a single price range. Expensive pigments are
    substituted for cheaper colours often named as 'hues', for example ' Cadmium red hue' is a colour that looks like Cadmium Red but does not contain any of that pigment.
  • School Grade Colours

    Very cheap colours that generally do not mix well and are not light fast. We avoid them.

    Painting Tips:

    Oil Painting is a slow process but you can speed it up by underpainting with Acrylic
    and finishing with oil, but make sure that the surface has been primed with acrylic gesso. Remember the 'fat over lean' rule which means that you cannot apply acrylic over oil.

    Acrylic Varnish? - Although acrylic varnishes are available we don't recommend them because they are not removable, remember that the easiest way to clean a painting should be to remove the varnish with white spirit, however the varnish must be soluble. Modern varnishes made with Keytone resin are recommended.

    Water soluble oils. - Water mixable oil colours such as Winsor & Newton's 'Artisan' are now popular because they don't use smelly solvents; but are you aware that 'Turpenoid natural' is not only a non toxic brush restorer, but can be used as a solvent for any oil or Alkyd paint rendering the colour water soluble.

    Brushes for acrylics - The most common mistake is to chose natural hair brushes such as Hog or Sable for Acrylic painting. Acrylic paints use a plastic in a solution of water as the medium for the colour but once this is dry it is waterproof. Brushes made from natural fibres absorb the acrylic and quickly become useless. Always choose brushes of man made fibres for Acrylic.

    Colour Mixing - Keep it simple!
    In theory you should be able to mix most colours from Cyan, Magenta and Yellow as most print and photographic processes achieve 'full colour' from these primaries. Its well worth practicing with such a set to get to know the basics of colour mixing and only buy additional single pigment colours colours that you find hard to mix.

    Detergents and Watercolours dont mix.
    Ever blamed a watercolour paper for uneven washes? Well it may be down to the use of washing up liquid on your brushes, water jar, or palette. The tiniest amount of detergent can spoil brushes, paper and colour. Clean only with clean water when working with watercolour.

  or Phone 0191 261 5999

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details, Newcastle Arts Centre, 67 Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SG. phone 0191 2615999