The color listings apply whether you are using watercolors, oils, or acrylics and even colored pencils and pastels. Paint manufacturers work very hard to adhere to a color chip standard for each color tone no matter what media the color is created in. So if burnt umber acrylic and burnt umber oil paint are placed side by side on a palette you should not see any difference in color between the two.
Jim asked for an oil listing. I use oils when I need absolute control over blending color tones and when I want colors that are semi-transparent to transparent.
Control: Since oils do take several days to dry you have plenty of time to mix a new color on your palette and then blend that color into one that you have already applied. So for Jim's skin tone colors this means I can apply a base coat of the skin tone in oils to the entire face. I can now add some white to the mix to make a highlighting color that I would use over the bridge of the nose, forehead, and along the tops of the cheekbones. Since they are oils this new color does not go on as a brush stroke but blends into the base skin color. I could next add some burnt umber to the base coat to darken it slightly and brush along the sides of the nose, in the eyelid areas, and along the jaw line ... Again it will instantly blend to create shadows. So lots of color but very few brush strokes. When I add the cheek blush of orange I have added my fourth color to the face.
Semi-Transparent or Transparent: Oils can also be used over a carving that has already been stained. You can stain the piece with burnt umber first, allow it to dry then add a coat of polyurethane spray. Over the spray you can brush oil paints that have been thinned with a mixture of turpentine and stand oil (linseed oil). This thinned oil color lets all of the stain work show through but gives a coloring over top. When oils are used directly over the wood you will be able to still see some of the grain lines of the wood through the color.
For oil paint clean up I prefer to use freezer paper as my palette. It's cheap and it's disposable! Plus if I don't finish the painting in one day I can pull off another piece and lays that right on top of the palette piece. This keeps the oils fresh until the next day when I peel the two papers apart. Use a palette knife to pick up any from the top paper, put it back on the palette paper and start into painting. So the only thing left is that I wash my brush in turp instead of water as I would with acrylics.
I also use a lot of acrylics. They are great for how fast they dry and are ready for your sealer. Plus if you use a wet on wet technique ... Which just means that you work fast when blending so that the base coat is still wet when you add the highlights or shadow colors ... You can get a very similar blending effect as oils. You can get a semi-transparent effect with acrylics by thinning them with water dramatically, however it is never as clear as oils. The biggest advantage that acrylics have in painting is when you want an opaque effect ... Solid, strong color. Santa Clauses are perfect examples of a carving that I would go directly to acrylics! I want Santa's suit red, no streaks, no thin areas, just good strong red!
Ok ... While I am on my teaching soapbox :)
Opaque = solid color, you can not see through to the wood below. A painted wall is opaque in that you cannot see beyond the wall.
Transparent = color that you can see through clearly as a piece of colored cellophane that they put over Easter Baskets where you can see the pink cellophane but also see the chocolate bunny in the basket. A colored wine glass where you can see the liquid.
a piece of frosted or textured glass in a
stain glass window where you can see the sunshine coming through the
the shadows of moving people outside but can not actual see the shape
of the people.
Hope this helped!
Lots of great information...thank you!
I have just one thing to add. I have been painting my carvings with oil paints with Minwax natural stain as the medium. My personal preference in most cases is to be able to see the wood through the paint, so I do like the transparency. One nice little advantage to using the natural stain is that is speeds the drying time considerably. I can paint several "neighboring" colors in a day with just an hour or two drying time in between. Normally it takes 3-4 days for me to paint a bunch of carvings, depending on the number of colors. Day one I get the largest color masses done.....then go back and do highlighting and shading. Day two.....smaller areas and shading those areas. Day 3 I can usually antique (which is burnt umber oil paint thinned with the minwax stain) on the 4th day I usually spray with Krylon matte and do any additional finishing. I paint directly on the unsealed wood, so this is more of a stain, sinking into the wood, than a paint, which sits on top of it.
South China, Maine
OK, when either of those two last responders write their next book, make sure you buy a copy because they gave it to you here, this time, for free. It's just the right thing to do.
OK, Gang, until next issue, be good and...
Keep on Carvin'
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Editor's Note: Disclaimers and Cautions