Too Much Magic White™
Tom says Sin #1 is, “Applying too much Magic White™. It should be very thin.”
Bill warns us at the beginning of almost all his videos not to apply too much Magic White™ to the canvas. If the Magic White™ layer is too thick, the next layer of paint is going to slide, or worse – create mud. Bill also cautions us that you can’t make a thicker paint stick to a thinner paint.
Wait a minute…that seems inconsistent, doesn’t it? Magic White™ is a thin paint. If you’ve applied Magic White the right way, why doesn’t the next layer slide? Bill answers that question in one of his videos. He explains that the canvas will soak up the oil in the Magic White™ and leave behind a thicker paint. Now you are ready to mix your colors on the canvas rather than on the palette. Now, you understand the genius behind Bill’s technique.
The proper test for Magic White™ is the “fingerprint test”. Bill uses his “big brush” to remove excess Magic White™ and Tom uses the palette knife as well. Both techniques work.
Tom says sin #2 is, “Not putting the paint out intrinsically – in other words, it should be ‘light to dark’ (yellow, red, and then, blue).” Why would this make a difference? Bill answers that question, too, in many of his videos.
When you are painting, you need to know the location of your colors each time, every time! You do not want to be loading the wrong color onto your brush.
Straight from the tube, Sap Green looks a lot like Prussian Blue. In low light, Prussian Blue looks a lot like Ivory Black. Imagine loading up your 2 1/2″ brush with Sap Green thinking it was Prussian Blue. The next thing you know, you’ve started painting a nice green sky. Perhaps, that’s fine for abstract work, but it’s, most likely, not what you wanted!
Placing colors, in the correct order, on your palette is also going to help when it comes time to mix your colors. If you want an orange color you shouldn’t be traveling back and forth across the palette. Yellow and Red should be right next to each other. Tom also recommends that his students put out two dollops of white paint. One near the light colors on the left side of the palette and one near the dark colors on the right side of the palette. This helps with mixing and saves paint! By the way, Rembrandt used this technique for his white paint.
Incorrect Brush Loading
According to Tom, the final sin that beginners commit is ‘Loading the brush incorrectly.’ They pound the brush into the palette, instead of holding it at a 45-degree angle and patting it.
How many times have you seen painters on YouTube banging their brushes into the palette? Worse, how many of them have you seen beating their brushes on the legs of their easel to remove the paint thinner?
Okay, in all fairness, Bill did clean his big brush using a “splatter box”. However, he used his roll of paper towels as much or more than he used the box.
You’ll also notice he used two brushes: one for light colors and one for dark colors. This meant that he didn’t need to clean his brushes as much. As Tom points out in our Master Class, leaving color in your brushes is fine.
The reason Bill cleaned his brushes at all in this manner was because he had so little time to complete a painting. He had to use every means he could in order to get his brush clean as fast as possible. You can bet that when Bill was painting, in his studio, he was not beating his brushes to death! Like a true artist, Bill respected his tools. He realized that the more you work with a brush, the more that brush becomes a part of you.
Like to know what the top three “sins” of experienced artists are? Click here to find out!