Painting for September 9

Face Study no.4 – acrylic on panel, 6″ x 8″

Can you ever use too much matte medium?  Apparently YES.

Back in art school, I only ever mixed my acrylic paints with water.  I’m sure the teachers told us about mediums, but I think most of us were too  broke (or too cheap) to actually go out and buy them.  Because my life can always be more complicated, I thought I’d use this 30 in 30 Challenge to experiment with a few.  So far, I’ve tried slow-dri medium, and extra heavy gel.  On the menu tonight: matte medium.

And it was… not easy to work with.  Maybe I added too much medium to my paint, but I found that the colour practically slid off the panel with every brushstroke.  It could also be that I’m just using cheap-y panels, and their “tooth” would be improved by a few extra coats of gesso and some sanding – but, honestly, who has time for that?  I’m pretty disappointed because I was counting on matte medium becoming my all-purpose, go-to, workhorse medium of choice, and thus far, it has under-performed.  Drat.

What I’m happy with:

  • surprisingly, I like her hair on the right side.  I didn’t have time to do anything detailed, but it works well enough.  I’ve noticed that I keep falling back on dry-brushing (which might be the Universe’s way of telling me to chuck the paints and go back to drawing, but there’s never been a good idea yet that I haven’t found the strength to resist, so …)

What I’m less happy with:

  • her dead, dead, dead skin tone.

What I learned with this painting:

  • some mediums are better than others.  Also, read the damn label.

What I’m starting to suspect:

  • the fat, buttery, wet-in-wet look that I’d love to achieve is only possible with oil paints.


2 thoughts on “Painting for September 9

  1. What drew me to this painting is how you captured her expression. Her eyes speak to me. The faint color on her right cheek maybe could also be put on the other, but your venture into “medium” explorations was well explored.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Laurelle! Thank you for your comment! As a former character animator, I’m so happy that you feel that I did a good job with her facial expression because that’s very important to me. I worked on this painting late at night and the lighting wasn’t optimal, so I definitely muddied the values (and cheek colour) a bit. Something to think about for next time!


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