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I have yet to post photos of my work (am needing digital camera and working on it) However, whenever I look at anyone's work in the Showcase, at least one person posting will advise that painter to thin his/her paint. I have begun trying to hit on the right vicosity, making it necessary to work in layers rather than simply trying to bury the piece with several brush strokes. Infact, as proud as I was of some pieces, I now believe that they could be called 'M&M soldiers', i.e. covered in a thick candy shell.
On the other hand, the other day I diluted Dwarf Bronze so badly that it was thin as fruit juice. The GW text on painting says if this happens, simply pour off excess water, but I just know that it's not just water going down the drain.
If I have half a bottle of paint and add a quarter of a bottle of water and shake well, I think it needs still more. . .What to do?
As always, I appreciate all of your help and patience (remember, I'm old, dammit!;o)
I only thin paint on a palette (for which I use a spray can lid). I take paint from the pot and add water from a source other than that I've been washing brushes in. I find that if you can't see the palette through the paint when it is standing but that you can when it is "pulled" then the consistency is about right. For washes and glazes I like to be able to see the palette through the paint.
Up, up and away!
Yeah I second the notion of thinning on the pallete vs. the pot. Not all paints are the same thickness and once you thin too much in the pot you will have a hard time getting them back into shape...
When you drain the pot off you also drain some of the pigment and binders not to mention it is more wastefull than simply mixing on the pallete.
The best way I can describe the perfect mix of paint - it is that point where you dip the brush into the paint and it is just right where it would start falling off the brush. Takes a while to get the right feel. Many (including myself) would describe it as the consistency of cream.
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My more pragmatic rule of thumb is if I get pooling and you can see rings of pigment where paint dried I thinned it too much =) Of course at that point it's a bit late! Such is life. Thinning on the palette is the way to go. Unless you go to the paint factory and get an entire set of bottles all from the same test lot, there is no magic ratio you can figure out to pour into the bottle.
The big problem here is that there's really no way to cover the issue of paint mixing well without pages and pages of discussion - statements like this are a good starting point, but there are so many variables for each and every different type of paint that you've really got to spend the time to practice and see what works for you.
Case in point: I've got a Vallejo green and a very pale grey that will both paint on beautifully when thinned to nearly the consistency of water. Try that with most GW, and even other Vallejo paints and you'll never get it to work. On the other hand, some paints can be applied at a syrupy consistency and still smooth out wonderfully, while others just end up a lumpy mess. Different brands, different colours, different levels of gloss, different batches, even the different amounts of time your various paints spend exposed to air over the years can all affect how any given paint reacts to thinning, and how thin it can go.
I definitely advise you to thin only what you need once it's on the pallette - the only thinning I do in the bottle is to add some water if a whole bottle is quite thick to start with, but still stopping short of a "ready to paint" consistency. Thinning the whole bottle means you either get it all right or all wrong, all at once... Much better to thin a few drops at a time, as you need it.
The trouble with the cream measure is that there are different thicknesses of cream. >_< Thin cream, a bit thicker than milk, is right anyway.
Also it's good to have a bit of soap in your water, it helps with the surface tension.
Up, up and away!
As I mentioned, I recently diluted Dwarf Bronze right in the bottle & so blew it. When finished shaking it up, it was a thin, bubbly mess and the little reservoir under the cap was filled with a layer of white, which I suppose is the binder. Taking GW's advice, I tried pouring a little off and saw both this white stuff as well as pigment going down the drain.
I suppose that there are going to be different rules of thumb for metallics, i.e. bronze, brass, boltgun, etc.
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Last edited by Sartorious; May 3rd, 2008 at 11:33.
Surface Tension - basically the tendency of water to stick together and bead up, rather than spreading out nice and evenly.
And yeah, metallics tend to behave differently than most paints because their color comes from tiny little flecks of metallic pigments suspended in the fluid medium - you can probably see what I mean with that over-thinned paint. When there's too much clear stuff (the paint medium plus the water) and not enough metallic pigment, the metallic flecks spread out too thinly and can't cover the surface properly anymore.
Now, all paints are colored with tiny bits of pigment, but due to their very nature, metallics use much more coarsely ground pigments that separate much sooner than the ultra-fine pigments in normal coloured paints. Metallics with finer pigments tend to withstand more thinning, while coarser metallics get messed up more easily.