By Wendon Blake
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Additional resources for Acrylic Watercolor Painting
The wells or divisions in the smaller palette will keep one color from running into another, while the tray becomes the surface on which you do your mixing when you want colors to run into one another. For really big washes, it’s convenient to have several little saucers in which you can mix enough liquid color to cover a whole sheet of watercolor paper if necessary. Covered porcelain dishes are practical because the covers will keep the wash from drying out for a while. As usual, the kitchen is a wonderful source of improvised equipment.
But be sure to wash them thoroughly in soap and water to eliminate any trace of oil or turpentine; as you know, oil and water don’t mix, and even a slightly oily brush will have trouble holding water based paint. Bristle brushes come in four shapes. Long flat bristle brushes—which are generally called flats— have long, resilient bristles, which will hold plenty of fluid acrylic paint and which feel reasonably comfortable on watercolor paper. However, the short bristle brushes—called brights—are just too stiff and stumpy; they’ll hold plenty of oil paint, but not nearly enough fluid acrylic.
This plastic sheet is the same sort of stuff used to make illuminated signs or the bubble-shaped skylight on the roof of my studio. A sheet of Plexiglas is another form of acrylic. To make acrylic paint for artists, this liquid plastic emulsion is mixed with most of the pigments and dyes used to make the older forms of paint, although science has also developed a number of new pigments and dyes which are particularly suitable for acrylic painting materials. The solvent for acrylic paints and for the acrylic emulsion is water, as you’ve already guessed.