Mopping up

Correcting mistakes

It’s frustrating and annoying when the paint goes where you don’t want it to go –  for example, outside the area you’re trying very carefully to paint – or when your brush accidentally touches another part of the figure. Even if you regularly protect your paintwork with Dullcote it won’t help unless you act quickly. Acrylic paints, in particular, dry very fast and then become hard to shift.

The impulse is to rinse out your painting brush and try to dab it off  – and I often do. But the problem is that  (a) you’re losing the paint you’ve loaded on the brush and (b) often the brush – or the dirty water you’re trying to clean it with – is still not clean enough so you end up with a horrible smeary mess.

A much better idea, I’ve discovered, is to invest in a Water Brush Ben like the ones made by Pentel. It has nylon bristles which sweep up the spilt paint and you squeeze fresh clean water on to it at the same time. If you need to get rid of the water you can soak it up with a soft dry brush or a cotton bud.

‘Mopping’ paint and creating textures

I’ve also started using cotton buds and soft brushes to mop up excess paint and washes that are too watery. A chisel tip brush works in small areas but, for a lot of paint, a make up or ‘blusher’ brush also works well.

At first I did this from necessity but now I consciously use it as a technique. Cotton buds create nice stippled textures and a flat brush can, for instance, be used to create wavy grain patterns.

David Clough© 2014