My question is in reference to “Paint Strings”. I’ve never heard this term before. Is this an oil painting technique? (I’m just learning to paint and I’m using slow drying acrylics if that makes a difference.) Can you one day do a blog posting about making paint strings.
Thanks, Michael. “Paint string” is an oil painting term because other kinds of paint dry too fast for it to be practical. What it means is to pre-mix a series of colors in a gradation from one color to another. Usually, the string goes from high value to low value at a single hue. Typically, chroma is highest in the middle of the range, because that mimics the progression of chroma across objects in the real world, and because that’s easiest to mix.
You can use paint strings in a couple of different ways. At one extreme is to just mix one or two strings that you think you’re likely to use. For example, you could have a string of neutral grays that you use to decrease chroma in mixtures (the best way to decrease chroma with minimal effect on other aspects of chroma is to mix in a neutral gray of the same value). You could also mix a string of “average” flesh color in preparation for working on a figure. Personally, this is usually how I work with paint strings.
At another extreme is a “set palette.” This means that you carefully plan out the colors you will be using and mix them all out before you begin painting. That way, you don’t worry about mixing as you work because the colors are right in front of you. Frank Reilly, for example, was a 20th century artist who taught a set palette method. Artists who work with set palettes often tube a bunch of their most commonly used mixtures so that they don’t have to spend so much time at the beginning of each painting session.
You can pre-mix color with water media, but you need to do something to preserve them over the course of your painting session. I have not tried the new slow-dry acrylic paints and have no real sense of how they behave. With oil paint, it just works that way naturally.