Testing acrylic paints

13 05 2022

I purchased a set of 24 metallic acrylic paints from Amazon (Ohuhu brand; link to the Amazon Australia site: https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B08PPCCM2D/r) and decided to test them out on some sample popsticks.

The idea of using popsticks is that you have a ready reference for your colours without having to lift every paint pot out of the boxes you have them stored in (I saw this trick on YouTube!). I wrote the brand and colour name on each stick, kept one end ‘naked’, and painted the other end of each stick with black gesso because I wanted to see how the colours worked on a black background. Would the black bleed through or would the colours remain strong and opaque? Was there any difference in the colours? (in some of my early dotting, I’ve found that yellow can react badly on black and almost disappear, even when other paint colours from the same brand work well). After prepping my sticks, I ‘painted’ each end (using a dotting tool) with the same colour. Simplistically, this is what I did—the reality is that it took several days to create these samples while I waited for paint to dry 🙂

Well, the metallic colours of this set of paints are great. And the colour seems to give good coverage with no bleeding through. But, and there’s a big ‘but’ here… these paints are very thick and ‘goopy’. They aren’t suitable at all for dotting straight from the bottle. Some practitioners (via their YouTube videos) suggest the paint for dotting should be the consistency of runny honey. These paints are nowhere near that. You can see from the photos below that when you take the top off the bottle, the paint peak remains (green paint bottle). And it stays like this for ages. You can also see the goopiness of the (green) paint on the practice dotting tool, and later I dabbed the tool into the yellow and held it suspended for more than 30 seconds. The drop didn’t move—it stayed peaked like that. For dotting, it should form a drop within a few seconds, even if the drop doesn’t actually drop off.

But now that I know these paints are thick, I won’t use them straight from the bottle. Instead I’ll add them to a paint palette and add pouring medium to them to give me the consistency I need.

The peak remained on the paint for as long as I had the bottle open.


The dotting tool is very ‘goopy’ with this thick paint.

The dotting tool with a peak of paint—it didn’t move.

The full range of 24 metallic colours, on plain and black-painted ends.

The colours on black gesso. The coverage is good, but the paint’s thickness means that the coverage wasn’t even.

Some of the colours on the ‘naked’ ends of the popsticks. Again, the colours are good, but the thickness means there are a lot of bumps of paint.

Dotted coasters and magnets

8 05 2022

My latest foray into the dotting world had me dotting some plain fridge magnets (super quick!), and applying black paint to 10 cm (4 inch) wooden coasters then dotting them too. I started with one coaster a couple of weeks ago, then have slowly been doing the others in the same colourway. I finished the final two today. I’d guess I’ve spent 6 hours on the coasters, perhaps a bit more. The designs were all out of my head.

I still have to apply the glazing medium to the coasters but I likely won’t do that until I’ve put some sort of protective backing on them as they are raw MDF at the moment.

Dotted animals

3 05 2022

After doing several mandalas and other dotted art pieces, I decided to try some animals. The turtle is on a piece of 15 x 15 cm (6 x 6 inch) black paper, and the kangaroo is on a black painted canvas, which is actually a large fridge magnet (about 10 x 10 cm; 4 x 4 inch). I added a glazing medium to the kangaroo after I finished doing the dots. Note: The magnet is meant to be placed on the fridge (or hung) on the diagonal so that the kangaroo is correct in the horizontal plane.


Marine turtle swimming in the ocean


Paints used for creating the turtle


Partly finished kangaroo—final dots to be added, and the glazing medium


Finished kangaroo fridge magnet, with glazing added


Paints used for the kangaroo


Going dotty

24 04 2022

I’m still practising dotting art on black art paper. Yellows don’t come out well—they tend to turn green and I have to redot them after they are dry. I’ve yet to try a surface I’ve painted black—I would really like to use yellow without having to go over it every time. But I won’t try on those black painted surfaces until the set of dotting tools I’ve ordered arrive (I ordered them on 31 March, and it’s now 24 April and they still haven’t arrived… they first went to Tampa then to Miami [2 days], then it was another 5 days to New York, another 2 before they checked back in, in New York. After their holiday in New York, it took them another 4 days to fly to Japan [why Japan??? Australia’s borders are now open] where they had a mini holiday for 2 days before arriving in Brisbane. They left Brisbane on 20 April, but haven’t been checked in anywhere else yet. We have a long weekend this weekend, so I’m not expecting to see further tracking information until Tuesday. And this is despite paying $22USD for postage for a small parcel! Between them, USPS and AusPost are pretty bloody inefficient!)

The top two are a small gift card size; the bottom two are suitable for framing and are not made as cards. The bottom right one is on a 6 x 6 inch square piece; the left is slightly bigger and rectangular.

Trying dotting

15 04 2022

I’m trying dot art for the first time. My initial attempt was a few weeks ago, but I’ve learnt a bit more now (thanks YouTube!) and have practised some techniques. Doing these mandalas is very focusing, so it’s good for mental health. I still have to get the paint consistency right, but these were some I did yesterday and today. All are on one half of black card suitable for a greeting card. Some were still wet when I took the photos so the chalk registration marks are still visible—I’ll erase those when the paint dries, and likely add more dots on top of the existing dots. The one with the page fully covered is from earlier in the week, and I added more dots over the other dots, pretty much filling the black card. The hardest thing at the moment is getting that centre dot perfectly lined up. More practice needed there, as the position of the centre dot dictates how accurate the placement of the others dots is. At the moment I’m using mainly the ends of things I already have — various paint brushes, pencil eraser ends, satay sticks, and a set of dotting tools for nail art, which create VERY small dots. I’m waiting on delivery of a range of tools developed just for dotting, in a range of sizes, and I think I’ll mark registration marks on the bigger tools so I can centre more precisely. I’ve also been using some quilting stencils I have to get the shapes 🙂 And I haven’t yet put anything on canvas so it will be interesting to see how prepped canvas takes the acrylic paint compared to the mixed media black card

Update a day later: I’ve added photos of the updated mandalas after adding further dots and erasing the chalk marks, plus another non-mandala—a free-form one that I think of as a cell (it was still very wet when I took the photo, so I may have to go over some of the yellows as they fade into the paper).

Is my creative mojo returning?

7 03 2022

Is my creative mojo starting to return? I lost it for more than 12 months (COVID Blues?) and just couldn’t find the motivation to create anything at all. No quilting, no sewing, no art (not that I did much of that). But today I had an urge to do something. I created 2 small (A5 paper) colour washes then experimented with putting different sized white dots over them, in a nod to Aboriginal dot paintings. It’s a start…

They’re still drying, so I’m not sure how the white dots will look once they’ve dried. I used fabric paints for the washes and the dots, even though they were on paper.