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Paint Skin Experiments and Other Notes

March 7, 2009

Here is a continuation of what I’ve learned from making my first paint skin, but with an apology for not showing you the entire piece after I peeled it up from the garbage bag. I got carried away and cut it up, as you’ll see below.

First is the piece that I cut to cover an entire box, along with the scraps that were left. I laid these on top of a piece of plexi so you can see their translucency.


And here’s another shot of the scraps, showing the larger pieces flipped over, showing how the opposite sides are different. These will be stored for future use.


I wanted this piece to be translucent, so I poured self-leveling clear gel first and added paint drips, then swirled it, then dripped some more.  But you could just as easily just use liquid acrylics without the clear gel.

I tried to make the thickness as uniform as possible, spreading it out a little with my big painting knife.

After it was completely dry, it was very easy to remove the paint skin from the black garbage bag. All I had to do was loosen the edges and then it came right up.

I love to look at translucent bright colors. They make me think of gummy candies and that’s always good for a smile.

A couple of readers asked me about the interlocking plastic plates that I use for palettes, so I’ve included the link. I love these because they lock together, one plate used upside down as a lid, and are great for keeping paints moist. Once the dried paints accumulate, I just soak the plate in a tub of water for maybe a half hour, and then it peels cleanly away from the plate. I save all of these too. Anything that keeps me from adding to the landfill makes me happy.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2009 2:26 pm

    How cool was this experiment? I love the results. Will have to try this, thanks to your explanation.

  2. Sherrill Pearson permalink
    March 7, 2009 4:22 pm

    Thanks for that Martha. You are really generous with your time.

    Out I go tomorrow for some self-levelling gel. I also love the jewel-like quality of the beautiful colours on the transparent gel. The last one you made is just so gorgeous. I love orange and turquoise together.

    If I make something presentable I’ll send you a picture Martha.

  3. March 8, 2009 6:01 am

    You’ve piqued my curiosity, Martha. I know about acrylic skins but I’ve never tried one, but that will change soon. I have saved scrapings from my palette over time but these do not have the flexibility and flatness of created skins.

    Do you know if all liquid acrylic mediums are self -leveling or does it have to state that specifically on the product? I was also wondering if you might get a clearer view of what you are doing, colour wise, on a white garbage bag or does it make any difference.

    • March 8, 2009 8:24 am

      Margaret, I imagine that the other mediums would work just as well, except that I find Golden’s clear acrylic medium takes a little longer to dry when thick than the self-leveling clear gel. And that takes a day already.

      I said black garbage bag simply because that was what I used. In response to your question, I googled the bags that I buy and learned that they are made of polyethylene (thought so, but had to be sure.) That’s also the material used in the manufacture of plastic sheeting from the hardware store. So I can say that polyethylene works.

      Also, pretty sure that plexiglas would not, since it is acrylic and bonds to acrylic.

      One artist uses sheets of glass. Haven’t tried that yet.

  4. March 8, 2009 1:22 pm

    When I was teaching, I sometimes used those little plastic trays that have about 8 holes for keeping paint. Sometimes, I would leave the acryllic paint in the little holes to dry overnight. The next day, they peeled right out of the holes, in almost perfect little circles. If there was quite a bit of paint, it would dry like a little dome. Sometimes we glued those onto earring backs and made earrrings and jewelry from them. I didn’t think about using them in paintings, but they would have worked, I’m sure.

  5. March 8, 2009 2:43 pm

    These are beautiful and I love how you have displayed these to show the translucency. Just around two weeks ago I received Al Razza’a book “The Artwork Of Al Razza” and have thoroughly enjoyed reading about his expreiences and techniques plus seeing his work thoughout the book.

    • March 9, 2009 8:33 am

      Mary, we might end up selling a bunch of Al’s books. I don’t know him, but was intrigued by his wonderfully detailed description on Wet Canvas and really do like his work. I think I’ve got to get the book myself.

  6. March 8, 2009 6:49 pm

    I have known about paint skins for a long time and the whole process just never interested me – YOU have made them interesting! Very interesting – and I think I may just give them a try now. Thanks

    • March 9, 2009 8:36 am

      Nathalie, that is the best compliment. I’m glad to know this has piqued your interest.

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