Does anyone use masking fluid?
I work with fluid acrylics, and once I do a drawing I do the color work from the back to the front. When I paint a large area of background, I want to be able to paint with large strokes without getting paint on the foreground and ruining my line work or my ablility to use transparent colors in the foreground.
Right now what I do is get a tiny brush and outline the foreground and work out from there, but this tends to halo the foreground objects, especially when the color has any transparency. This leads to a alot of work to get the big areas of color to smooth out around the edges.
I've heard masking fluid works, but everyone I know says not to use it if you dont have to. ( I dont know why, but this has me scared to experiment with it)
What do any of you traditional artists do to keep large areas of background (like sky) from lapping over the characters in the foreground?
Should I even bother with the masking fluid?
I don't know this for sure (since I've never used it before), but it's probably not a good idea to use masking fluid with acrylics, especially if you're doing thick applications. If this is the case, you're better off using masking tape or frisket film.
However, masking is not always necessary. Try using these approaches:
1) To preserve the drawing, tone the the canvas transparently. This gives you a simple background to work on. Block in the major shapes of the foreground, and work on the background separately, starting at the edge of the canvas, and working your way towards centre. When you're about halfway through the render, work on the surrounding background area (right where it touches the foreground) as carefully as possible. Finish rendering the entire composition.
2) Transparent colours look good, but I feel it's best to apply as many layers of paint as you can (especially acrylics). For one thing, an opaque underpainting eliminates the unsightly texture from appearing in the glaze. And since you're working with acrylics, it's best to work in layers. First, block in the major colour areas, then achieve your midtones, then continue working in this way until you've gotten a smooth colour gradation. Then do wet-on-wet colour blending by focusing on one area at a time, and then finish with fine detail work. One of the great advantages that acrylic has over oil is glazing (ie you don't have to wait a few days before proceeding with the next layer), so use that to ajust colours, achieve gradations and enrich the tonality. At the end, glaze whatever colours you feel would best liven up the composition. Especially if you use vibrant, intense colours (ie pthalo blue/green, nickel azo yellow, alizarin crimson, quinacridone burnt orange, etc), which will create brilliant colours over light areas.
However, if you want to work exclusively in glazes, why not just paint the foreground white? Do your background, and paint any foreground edges you want to clean up. Then you can glaze the whole thing, and it will look really intense.
Thank you all for your suggestions. Here is a picture of how I work. I like to paint directly over a drawing. I avoid underpaintings because if I leave the white behind the paint, it adds a brilliant luminosity to the painting. All my underpaintings look subdued in comparison. In the picture I've attached, you can see where the blue I'm using in the background leaves a thicker line near the edges of the arm.
you can really notice it in the space between her body and her arm. I know I can build up this area till it is a single blue color and get rid of that texture that the brush created, but then the luminosity will be gone. You can tell a difference in the paint at the top edge of this picture and the paint near the edge of the arm, because the more paint I add, the duller it becomes.
Ive never heard of frisket film before, would that work in this case?
would masking fluid or this tape or frisket pull off my underdrawing?
Thank you Dan, it makes a lot of sense now, you have to use very thin washes of acryliques to avoid everything peeling off with the mask (if you thin with medium or apply thick paint.) It's an awesome tut too.
Thanks Dan thats exactly what I need. Thats really cool how the background is painted right over the foreground and then he just pulls it off and boom!
thanks to everyone for all your great advice, I am going to pick up some of that masking fluid after all and give it a go. I love this place.