If you are like I am, and tend to get paint all over your hands at times, you should be aware of some health hazards. When products say “non-toxic”, it means when they are used in the manner that is usual for them. Artist paints are not meant to be painted onto your skin. Certain pigments, such as phthalos and cadmiums, contain toxic chemicals that can be absorbed into your skin and be detrimental to your health. Wearing gloves is one good solution. I don’t like to wear gloves when painting, and so instead I use a silicone barrier cream on my hands. This comes in a tube in the baby department of the drug store – they sell it to put on babies’ bottoms. You need to see the word “silicone” on the tube. Putting this on like a hand cream before painting helps your skin not absorb paint. Make sure that your hands are very dry after putting it on, before touching your canvas or your watercolour paper or you will make some spots that may resist paint there too!
It’s about controlling those mixtures. Certain colours mixed together are going to make mud. It happens easily… here are some of the common reasons that mud happens: 1. Too many colours on the palette – and they are doing their own mixing with very little help from you. 2. The brush didn’t get completely clean, and you are mixing colours without even knowing it 3. The rinse water is – well – muddy. Even just a little. 4. Using a black pigment in mixtures. Since black is already a mix of several colours, it’s a recipe for disaster in most mixtures. 5. You are painting a swamp scene :). And here’s an important point that flows from #5 – there are definitely times you want muddy colours. They can be beautifully expressive and give a lovely contrast when used near more intense colour. It’s about being able to control when the mud happens – that’s what makes for happy painters and pleasing paintings.
When it comes to being creative, having a playful attitude can really help the creative mode kick in. What would have to happen for you to have a more playful attitude when painting? Here are some suggestions: 1. Work smaller than usual so that it’s not a ‘big’ project. 2. Work larger than usual and only let yourself use much bigger brushes. 3. Choose a subject that you have never tackled before, and tell yourself it’s just for fun. 4. Put on some lively music and paint in time to it. 5. Paint holding the brush with the other hand. 6. Play with colours and shapes and no subject in mind. 7. Start with some scribbled lines and add colour after. 8. Start with some colourful shapes and add lines after. Do you like the idea of more playful painting?