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Winning my battle with metallic paints
psyberwolfe1 posted a topic in Tips & Advice: PaintingOver in the Show Off section, I made an offhand remark about winning my war with metallic paint. A couple of replies came in asking how I did it. I decided, instead of letting it get buried in Show Off, I would put my answer in Painting Tips & Advice. So a little background, in 2007 I took a true metals class with Jeramie Bonamont-Teboul. After that class I discovered more articles on CMoN about the technique. At first I was toddling along perfectly happy living with the RMS metallic paints, but my skills were improving and I was discovering that the RMS metallics had some problems. Now in the steel colors the problems aren’t as pronounced but the gold triads and bright silvers were a nightmare. The main problem I was having was with dilution. Thinner paints make for smoother coats, but when you thin RMS metallic paints with water the pigment falls out of solution in minutes. The effect makes the metallic look less shiny and clouded, and therefore defeats the purpose of using the metallic paint. It also makes the metallic look grittier and less like a solid piece of metal. I asked Anne, a year ago, about this and she verified this is a known effect of metallic paints in general. The fix is to just use the metallic paints straight from the bottle. However, the fix doesn’t fix the graininess issue of using undiluted paints. I thought this was an RMS issue so I started playing with metallic paints from other companies and discovered that Anne was correct. This is a general issue with metallic paints. This issue explains why many high end painters opt to paint Non Metallic Metal. I had just about given up on metallic paint when a month ago, while airbrushing, I discovered the fix. I was airbrushing Liquitex soft body Payne’s Grey on a model as the foundation color. Liquitex recommends using their Airbrush Medium to thin their soft body paints for airbrush use. I love their Airbrush Medium because everything stays in solution. That is when I had my “ah ha” moment. I wrapped up my project, and mixed the Liquitex Airbrush Medium with RMS New Gold on my palette. Success! I could even thin for thin glazing layers. Once the dilution problem was conquered the chalky metallic highlights quickly resolved because now I could mix RMS Pearl White in with the base color metallic in exact amounts or I could bump colors using other colors on the triad. The metallic paint even flows better from the brush so no more clumpiness or gritty paint layers. So now that it is too late I’ll say, “The long and the short of it is: use Liquitex Airbrush Medium to thin your metallic paints.”