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Questions & Answers #1

Sep 23, 2019

 (Please note: The time-stamp is about 45 seconds ahead of video)

Welcome To The First Q&A!

 0:00:45 Jed: Alright. Well, welcome friends, to the first live question and answer time. I don't know what you guys are up to right now, but it's kind of grey, cloudy here in the Pacific Northwest. Kind of crazy. We had a super, super nice summer and it just came to really an abrupt end, just like, I don't know, maybe about a week ago. It was sunny, sunny, nice, and everything like that. And then all of a sudden, it was cold and kinda rainy and wet. So getting used to summer being over, I had to buy a tarp for our boat, because I was... We have a kind of a canvas cover and I realized that it had some zippers on it, and they don't keep the rain out really. So I quickly went out a couple days ago, and bought a... Hey, glad you're here, Stacy. Bought a cover and a big tarp to cover that so we're getting used to the rainy weather and everything.

 0:02:01 Jed: Super excited to have a Q&A time. This is actually an idea I got from another guy. His name is Matt Tommy. We're in a group that he does and thought it was a really cool idea to let people ask a question and then put out the answers a couple of days later, that gives a little bit of time in between and it makes it so that you're not having to... Oh yeah, it's warm in Kentucky. I see that. Yeah, that's... Yeah, it's probably about 70 here. Maybe if it gets warm right now, I think it'll be about 65 today, but not 90. But we're excited to have this, because it means that you can put out a question. You don't have to necessarily be here live to be able to have your question answered. We're gonna post this to the normal... Sheesh, what do we have? Acrylic University website so we'll put it on there and we'll... I think I'm just gonna make a course that has all of them so you can go back through if you missed something, you can go back through and we'll probably try to tag what the questions were and that kind of thing. So that's cool.

Art Access - Youth

 0:03:18 Jed: I wanted to say, too, that I've got a couple shows happening that I'm excited about. One actually starts tomorrow, at a gallery that's kind of close by here, it's called Cole Gallery. And then in about three weeks or so, or two weeks, I've got another show opening at my brother's gallery. And the thing that is cool about that one is that that's called Sunny Shore Studio. And the thing that's really cool, I don't know if you know but here at Acrylic University, we really care about young people being able to access art. And so we know that there are a lot of schools... For one thing, there's a lot of schools that are cutting art programs.

 0:04:02 Jed: Secondly, there's a lot of kids that don't [have opportunity]... They're super creative, they're super talented, but they don't necessarily have the ability to have art instruction because either their financial situation, they can't pay for extra instruction, or there's something going on that's making it hard for them, but they have this creative interest, they're super gifted. And so anyways, we have something that we're piloting this year called The Art Access Program. And my brother's heading it up and we have a limited number of spots that we're getting kids to apply and we're going to provide them with three things, we're gonna give them high quality instruction that's gonna be through Acrylic University, so we're gonna give them that. We're gonna give them a backpack full of supplies, so we're gonna actually put together a backpack that will have everything that they need: Paints, brushes, a mini palette. Just basically anything that we have in our course supply list that they would need, we're gonna ship that to them with a backpack. We're also gonna be helping them be connected to somebody, like a mentor, there local so that they can make sure that they're getting everything and all that kind of stuff, so that's super cool.

 0:05:31 Jed: And the last thing that we're really giving them is a community, a support of community and that's where you guys come in because we'll have a handful of kids on in a few... I don't know exactly when it's gonna be able to start. We're trying to raise the money through the art show. So that's one way. If you wanted to help support these kids, you definitely could look at that as a way that if you wanted to purchase a painting from me, we're gonna give 10% of the gross money that comes in and help buy the supplies for those kids, so that's super cool.

 0:06:09 Jed: But also, I'd love it if we all could wrap our arms around these kids as they're getting involved. I don't know exactly what their involvement on the community will look like, but we're gonna encourage them to be involved on the Facebook community page and to... So if you see somebody that comes on there, that's a young person, make sure you go out of your way to reach out to them and show them your support and encouragement, just to encourage them on the way because they're gonna be needing that as they're venturing out into this uncharted territory. So anyways, something else that I'm super excited about it.

 0:06:47 Jed: And so again, this is the first Q&A, and I just wanted to say I'll probably say this all the time, but yeah, I'm excited about it. So ask any question that you feel like you want to have answered. I'll do my best to answer them, I can't guarantee that I have a good answer for everything, but I'll do my best. And if we need to look stuff up, we'll be doing research and stuff like that, too. But also, try to... If you're on the Facebook community page, make sure that you ask your questions on the actual post where it says, Question Day. We'll put that up regularly so that you can say... You'll see the "It's question day" post. Just go on there and write your question in that comment section, 'cause it helps us. We're making a lot of allowances this week, 'cause people have asked questions at different points and we're kinda like pulling them in from other places and putting them into this. But in the future, if we could put them all on that community. That one post, it'll be there regularly. We'll put it up and just put it on there and that way it'll help us not have to look all over.

 0:08:07 Jed: If you're not on Facebook and you're one of the people that would rather not be there, we understand, that's fine. Please, just use their email response, that'll be easy enough for us to get there. But if you are on Facebook... Hey, Kim. Good to see you. Daniella, great to have you. But if you're not on there, then feel free to use that.

Bowing Canvases

 0:08:33 Jed: So I'm gonna just get started here. We've got quite a few questions which is super cool. And so, here's one from, actually from you, Kim, it was this: "Do you have any suggestions for keeping larger canvases from bowing? I painted on a three foot by four inexpensive canvas and after a few weeks, two of the corners came up off the wall." And that's a really good question. I think your... If... When you say inexpensive, I'm guessing you might mean that it was a three-quarter inch frame around the canvas. And I've had a lot of problems... I've found that the thicker the wood is for the canvas frame, the better it is for holding it's shape. So I never really buy... I almost never buy the thinner three-quarter inch canvas-wrapped things because I just think that it's too easy for it to warp. Although, I still find warped ones... When I'm looking, what I always do is I look at the... I look at the edge of the canvases when I'm buying them, if I can, if I'm buying them in a store. I really try to pay attention to it, because you can tell usually... A lot of times, you can see that they already are warped or there's a bow in one of the edges. So I usually try to pay a lot of attention to that and I try my best to buy the straightest, the truest ones.

0:10:15 Jed: But man, I wish that there was an easy answer to know, how to fix it, or anything like that. I've had a few canvases over the years that have bowed, I have one actually at my brother-in-law's house right now. I painted for him and it totally did the same thing, it bowed out. One of the corners is kind of... Yeah, it's just kind of off the wall. And I don't really know exactly what to do, besides to take the canvas off there. Or if it was mine, I might try bending it a little bit myself or tightening it or something like that, but. There's not a real good answer that I have for that, besides preventatively trying to find canvases that aren't bowed and buying thicker ones that won't bow as easily.

 Favorite Colors

0:11:04 Jed: Okay, second question: "Do you have any super-favorite mixed-color combinations that make an awesome single-color that you like to use? For example, with my water colors, permanent Alizarin Crimson and Windsor green make beautiful grays, which I use a lot." So, good question. I have a lot of things that I kinda know when they mix together, what they do. One that I like to use sometimes to make a dark color is I'll take my Phthalo green, and I'll take my... It's quinacridone magenta or what I'm actually starting to use more again now is quinacridone red and I'll put those together and it's a pretty nice dark color. And then if you mix a little bit of white into that, it will become a neat grey, so that's one.

 0:12:11 Jed: For me, I don't have... I have a couple neutral... There's one color that I don't know if I've told you about, I might have but it's called Vancouver grey. And it's a color that you buy from a paint company called Kroma, that's Kroma, with a K. K-R-O-M-A, and it's in Vancouver, BC. And they make their own paints and they... They have this thing where... They have... Whatever they mix their paints in, some will spill out every batch they do. And so they gather this paint... So say, they mixed ultramarine blue, they take all that ultramarine blue and they put it in another bucket. And then the next day, they mix some red, they mix some yellow, they make all these different colors and then whenever... They're scooping up the excess paint and whenever they have enough, they pull out that bucket, that's all that mixed paint, and they actually put that in the mixer and they mix it and it's what they call Vancouver grey. So it's from Vancouver, Canada, where we used to live. That's how I know about it.

 0:13:19 Jed: But the color is really cool because it's a very complex color, it's probably 20 different colors that are put together, or more, that make this really interesting grey. And it's slightly different, every time because the batches are different. But it's a fun color, and I really love it and love what it represents because it's not one pigment, it's like 30 pigments, and they're all intermingling. And if you look at it under a microscope, you see all the individual colors. But when they come together, and you just look at them from a distance, they look kind of like this really cool warm grey.

 0:13:58 Jed: So anyways, I use that color frequently, because I find it's a neutral but it's also... It's got usually a bit of warmth to it. And it's just a really cool color. So you have to kind of be on their mailing list 'cause they don't make it that often, and then people are big fans of it so you kinda have to reach out to them. So anyways, if you were interested, it's Kroma Acrylic Paints, with a K. K-R-O-M-A. And they're in Vancouver, BC, and you can look it up and see if they have an in-stock but...

Alternate Colors

 0:14:32 Jed: Okay, third question: "Can you recommend any alternate colors to the list of paints you gave us that will cover the warms and cools?" So are there any alternates from the Phthalo Blue and the ultramarine blue and the Quinacridone magenta and the naphthol red or cadmium red or, well, I just said one, naphthol red. [chuckle] That's... That's very similar to cadmium red, or the cadmium yellow light, or the cadmium yellow deep. So there are definitely a lot of colors that you can look at. And what I should do is... I'm just thinking. There are some color wheels that I've seen that instead of seeing just the normal hue color, they'll actually put on there, the names of different colors. So they might say Naples yellow and put kind of where that color would fall. Or, hansa yellow, or arylide yellow. And they would put that on the color wheel, where they think that it falls. And that would be an actually really helpful thing for you if you're trying to figure out what color might be a good substitute.

 0:15:50 Jed: The thing that I found with yellows, specifically yellows are a tricky color because... And orange sometimes, too. The colors that I've found as alternatives usually don't have as much... They don't cover as well. I haven't found one yet. They're usually a little bit more transparent or something like that. And so then I find that I have to use more of that paint and stuff like that, so that's why I've kind of stuck with the cadmiums. Although, I do have a cadmium-free yellow light that is actually working really well. So they're figuring out ways of making these colors without that one pigment and it's working fine, so. Man, that screen just got really dark, didnt it? Anyways... Let's see if I can get a little bit more light on this. But it's...

 0:16:51 Jed: Yeah, the colors themselves are not... Quinacridone red is one, that I was saying too recently, that I'm starting to use because of something else. Okay, so I'll show you real quick. So I've got these three colors. I don't know if you saw a post that I made recently, but I'm super excited about these three colors because this is ultramarine blue, this is Quinacridone red and this is the cadmium-free yellow light, so basically, cadmium yellow light. These are all the colors that you would have seen in Acrylic 101, if you went through. Except for this. I used to use Quinacridone Magenta and I still have that in most of my palates, but I found this color because I was starting to try to think...

 0:17:48 Jed: We have somebody who goes through Acrylic University, she's a member here. And she also lives close by, and she's an art teacher at the high school. And she's been trying to figure out the best things that she can apply from Acrylic University, what she can use in her classroom and even showing the videos and stuff like that. So I've been kind of talking with her about how can we make things more simple, for somebody who doesn't know anything? And I've just been thinking about the colors and thinking, "Well, is there a way to use three colors, like just use the three primaries?

 0:18:29 Jed: The thing that I've been hesitant with in the past is that I haven't found colors that were good enough to create... If it created a nice purple, it wouldn't create a good orange. If it would create a good orange, it wouldn't create a good... Like if the two red, the red and the yellow would create a nice orange then that red probably wouldn't create a good purple. And so I've been hesitant. But I feel like these three colors, when I substituted Quinacridone Red and when I mixed... 'Cause this is gonna be on the cooler side and this is gonna be on the... This is like a nice bright yellow. It's actually not really cool, it's just, it's a nice clean yellow, and it actually... They'll make a pretty good orange in there. But this will definitely make a really vibrant purple... Violet color. And this blue with this really bright yellow will make a pretty decent pretty bright green, too. And then, of course, I have white and I'm putting black in there, too.

 0:19:35 Jed: And I'm having a lot of fun because when I think about color and color theory, I'm planning to do a color course with these three colors. I might experiment with a couple other colors to see, but. I'm finding that what's great about that is that you get such a simple color choice and I feel like it would be helpful for a lot of us. Because what happens is, if you only have three colors and you having to mix all the colors in-between, you're automatically going to be getting a lot of... Just a lot of color harmony in your painting, just by virtue of that you're mixing all those colors together to make all the intermediate colors. So that's pretty much what I can say on those colors. I'm gonna... But thank you, Kim, for those questions.

Varnishing Paintings

 0:20:38 Jed: Okay, so here's a question from Allison Burrus: "Do you ever seal or varnish your paintings?" And the answer is, yes. Okay, moving on. Just joking. I imagine that you're wanting to know a little bit more than yes or no. So I'll give you a bit more of an answer. I do varnish my painting. There had been a lot of times in the past when... Especially early on, I would just forego that. I would just be too busy and I just, sometimes I wouldn't do it. Sometimes, I'd had people come into my studio... At one time, I was in a studio that was part of a art center. And the director of the art center would give tours of the building and they would come into my studio, every once in a while. And I remember, one time when I had like two paintings that I wasn't even done with, and they were on the ground. And I came in later in the day and they were gone and I'm thinking, "What happened?" And they told me, "Oh yeah, some people came in and they bought your paintings." And I thought, "Oh, that's crazy, that's cool. But I wasn't done with them and they didn't have varnish, or anything like that."

 0:21:49 Jed: So I like to varnish because varnish will definitely protect better and it will... Especially, for things like... Acrylic paints, we have to say, they're awesome. This is one of the reasons I love it, is like every oil painting out there will be an acrylic painting eventually, if it's good enough and people care about it enough. Because you know what they use to fix the oil paintings from hundreds of years ago? Acrylic paints because what will stick and last like acrylics? There's really nothing. Oil becomes brittle like glass and that's why it cracks, and it does all the things. There's nothing else that's gonna stick to it. So acrylic paints long-term will be pretty awesome, even by themselves. But if you wanna provide a UV protection, then find a good varnish. What I've been using now is, I have this Liquitex stuff that I brush on. And what I found, I usually brush on the smaller paintings and it's a gloss and it's a varnish and a medium. So you can mix it in your paints while you're painting and if you put it on and you wanna touch something up, you can; you can paint over it and then you can put it on again and then that's totally fine.

 0:23:09 Jed: But what I do with bigger paintings is, I usually spray them because I don't... That glossy, really, really glossy finish I find looks good on smaller paintings, but it doesn't... It looks too glossy on the big paintings. So, I usually spray them with a aerosol can of... There's quite a few different options there, but if you looked up varnish, there's different ones from art stores that are the name brand ones. And then you can find ones even with Krylon, the spray paint company, so they make some UV archival sprays there, too. So that's what I do with that. Good question.

Other Artists

 0:23:53 Jed: Okay, from Andrea Meld: "Who are your favorite artists? Do you ever paint portraits or animals or do you prefer landscapes? And what do you think about Josef Alber's color studies and Hans Hofmann?" Okay, so one at a time, who are your favorite artists? Boy, there's so many good artists in the world. Especially current, when you just look around and you go, "My goodness. I can't believe how many amazing artists there are." In the past, one of my heroes was Mike Svob, he was the reason that I started painting in acrylics, and then Robert Genn. Those are the two people that really inspired me when I was early, early on. And Mike is still around, Robert's passed away, but I still love Mike and his work, it's amazing.

 0:24:47 Jed: Other artists are... Oh man, an older guy that is gone now, Sergei Bongart. He was a Russian impressionist, he lived in the States, but his paintings are so big and colorful and huge brush strokes. And the kind of confidence that you... You have to have a ton of confidence I think to do what he does. So that... That was... He's definitely one of the people that I've looked up to a lot because it's so incredible. Another person who recently passed away, this is super, super sad to me. He wasn't that old, he died of... He had a, I guess, he had a drug addiction, but his name was Michael O'Toole. And he worked in acrylics. And he was... Man, his use of color and light to me was super amazing. And I was able to see a couple of his paintings, he was from Canada, also. I found that a lot of great acrylic painters are not from the United States, they actually have worked elsewhere. Those are a few. There's definitely tons more. You can look at classic artists. It's tons that I look up to. And one right now, that comes to mind is Edgar Payne, just... Man, he's so good at color and value and simplicity of design and yet, composing these really cool paintings. I love his work, yeah.

 0:26:38 Jed: Okay. No, I don't really ever paint animals. I have painted some portraits. One of the hardest workshops I ever took was a portrait-painting workshop with Carolyn Anderson and it just kicked my butt. I'm telling you, everyday, I was in there, just thinking, "This is the hardest thing I've ever done." And I would love to do it again because it challenged me and it grew me a ton, and I thought it was awesome and I would love to be able to paint people with confidence. So that's something that I would like to do more.

 0:27:15 Jed: And Josef Albers color studies and Hans Hofmann? So I didn't even know who those people were. So, thanks for throwing those names out. I think I've heard of Josef Albers but Hans Hofmann, I don't know. And I actually don't even still know who Hans Hofmann is, but we did look up Josef Albers yesterday, and I think that some of the stuff that he was saying was really cool. 'Cause honestly, if you know me, what I'm trying to do with you is, I'm not trying to teach you how to paint ultimately, 'cause one of the things that Josef Albers said was... I'm gonna move over here. I can't stand the way that this lighting is. Okay, there, that's a little bit better.

 0:27:58 Jed: Joseph Albers said something like, that all colors, basically, it's all relative. It's not about the actual color, that's not as important, it's about how it relates to the other colors around it. And he had a lot to say about color, and our eyes, and how we see things. And so I think that that's something true. When I think about what I'm trying to do, the way that I... What thrills me about painting is that I've learned so much, and when I look at the world now and I look outside... In fact, I'm just gonna open this blind up. There's a little bit more light. When I look out and I see the trees, I look at the way that they touch the sky and how it interacts and all that kind of stuff. Because after having tried to paint it a ton of times, I'm really interested in what it actually looks like.

New Eyes

 0:28:58 Jed: And so I feel like that's the way it is with everything. I walk around and I look at stuff now with new eyes because I'm trying to discover something and that's what I want for you guys, and that's what I know will happen because I've seen it happen so many times is that... And you're probably already experiencing, if you've been painting at all for a little while, is you look around and you go like, "Oh my goodness, look how beautiful that is." There's so many times when I'm driving around and I'm seeing a sunset or I'm seeing this distant mountain or something. And I'm thinking about, "My goodness, it's so close in value to the sky, it's very, very light. But it's distinct from the sky as well." But just trying to figure out how does that work, how do those values actually, actually work?

 0:29:51 Jed: So I'm excited for everybody who becomes part of Acrylic University because I know that over time, the way that you see the world will totally change and you're gonna become a kid again, in so many ways. It's like when I'm walking with our daughter, Willow, and she stops and stoops down and looks at the ground and she starts scooping into the grass or whatever, and she's grabbing something that I had walked past. And it's very interesting to her because she has young eyes, she has fresh eyes. And so that's what happens to us when we start to see with the eyes of an artist is that, we see the world with fresh eyes again. And so that's what I'm super excited for you all in that. And so in terms of Josef Albers, I totally agreed with some of that that he was talking about. So thanks, Andrea.

Entering Shows

 0:30:44 Jed: Okay, from Lydia Davis... Lydia Crouch. So she says: "How do you pick up... How do you pick which shows you take part in?" So, good question, Lydia. How do we know, as an artist, when a show... We should be part of it? And I think it really depends on what you're after and where you're at as an artist. There's a lot of times when I don't enter shows that often right now. Because I've got too much going on. And it takes too much time and energy for me to keep track of shows, and so... But if you're a young artist and you're looking to figure out how to... "How does my work compare to other work and what do I need to do to grow?" Entering things is actually a really good way of seeing where you're at. And it's a really good way of getting some exposure. And it's a way of having some outside feedback on your work.

 0:31:49 Jed: So if I was a young artist, I would start looking at smaller shows or smaller things, maybe even local that I could be part of that would get my work out there in front of other people. So for instance, where I'm from, there are little things like local fairs, even, or local art shows that happen in a smaller community that are way easier to get in than entering a big national show. If you throw your... If you're not... If you haven't been painting very long and you're not... This is subjective but I'm just gonna say, if you're not that good, you're not gonna get in the big national show, you're gonna waste your money and it's gonna discourage you. But if you get into a smaller, local show, it will actually be a cool thing. You're gonna get out there, you're gonna get exposure, gonna meet some people and you're gonna be able to network a little bit and you're gonna have the experience of what got in and what didn't get in.

 0:32:58 Jed: I was listening to a podcast the other day by an artist, and he was saying, every one of us who's been painting for any amount of time has a whole drawer full of rejection letters. My dad's been a professional artist for a long time, and he enters shows pretty regularly and he gets rejection letters all the time, because there's a lot of artists out there. And say, there's 1000 artists that are trying to get into a show that has 50 spots, that's a lot of people that get a rejection letter, versus not that many people that actually get in. So I would kind of judge it on where you're at as an artist and what kinda makes sense and what you have for a budget. Because usually, when you enter a show, it costs money.

 0:33:46 Jed: And the nice thing is now for me, what I've been starting to think about is that the complication sometimes with shows is that, if you get in a show... If I enter a painting into a show, then I can't do anything with that painting. I can't sell that painting, I can't even really show that painting because what if it gets in that show and that show might be in another city, another town, another state, another country, right? Could be anywhere. And I have to... If I get in that show... Say, that show is in New York City, then I have to ship my painting to New York City, and I can't have done anything with it, so I have to wait until I receive word. I can't even enter it into another show. So you have to have a really kind of disciplined tracking system for your paintings because what if you... [chuckle] What if you sell your painting that was supposed to go in that show? That kind of thing.

 0:34:43 Jed: So I think... But now, one of the neat things is that there are a lot of shows that are online shows and they don't require you to send in your painting, physically. And so what that does is it totally opens up... You don't even have to have your painting anymore. So I can enter paintings that I painted a year ago, into a show that is happening in a month and they don't care that I don't have the painting anymore, or anything like that. So I would totally check those kind of shows out, especially trying to figure out... There's some cool places. I think you can find websites. I don't have one on my mind right now, but I remember finding one before that was like... It had a list of all these shows, and by date, when they were coming up and you could kinda see where they were and what it would take to get in. And I would just look at something like that and try to make educated guesses as to thinking about where you are as an artist, what you're willing to sacrifice, in terms of: Is it gonna hold my painting back for three months, until I hear? Or, is it an online thing, where I can do anything I want with my painting?

 0:36:03 Jed: It is good to enter shows because one of the things it forces you to do is, it forces you to get organized, take pictures of your work. And if you have pictures, good quality pictures of your paintings, that will help you long-term. I've made the mistake over the years of not taking good quality pictures of all my paintings. And so I have a very haphazard kind of list and catalog of old paintings. Now, we do it regularly, but in the past, we were not as diligent. And there's a lot of paintings I have out there that I don't have good records of. And so, entering shows is one way that can kind of force you into keeping track of what you're doing and it's a great thing. So good question, Lydia.

Unfinished vs. Overdone Paintings

 0:37:01 Jed: Okay, this is from Daniella, and this is one that... This might be kind of... Okay, here's the question: "In one of his videos, Jed, you talk about unfinished and overdone. I find the subject very interesting and important. Where does the line go and who can put that line? Can't one painting contain both? Thank you for your thoughts." Okay, so the question basically is referring to a quote that I use from Robert Genn, one of my first instructors, where he said, "It's better to leave a painting 10% unfinished, rather than 1% overdone." And I always have to think about that. I've said it wrong before. But it's better to have a painting that's 10% unfinished, rather than one percent overdone. And I think that that's a really complicated and hard question to answer. It's not gonna be a straight forward answer because so much depends on you as an artist. So much depends on where the painting is actually at and some of it depends on what your goal is for your painting.

 0:38:33 Jed: So where you're at as an artist, and what do you struggle with? Some of us tend to struggle with being really, really detailed. Which means, we might want to put in every blade of grass. And if we're given enough time, we're going to. We're gonna start just, "Okay, I made it through the painting. Oh wait, look, I have more time. I'm gonna start putting in these details, I'm gonna start... " And pretty soon, you end up with... Maybe you had a painting that had some freshness to it and it had some qualities that were painterly, like not every detail was filled in. There was something left for your imagination. But then in an hour or two, or a week, you have enough time that you go in and you completely make it as much like a photograph as you can, which in my opinion, isn't the goal of painting. I think that if we're wanting to have a photograph, let's just take a photograph. But if we want it to be a painting, let it be a little bit painterly.

 0:39:45 Jed: And so, if that's your tendency, then I would really think about, "Okay, if I can hold myself back, maybe I need to be really careful when I get it to a certain point. I need to be really careful that I don't go in and I don't get really, really, really tight and try to make it like a photograph." So that's one thought on overdone versus unfinished. So that's why you draw the line at 10% because it's real easy to get over... The 1% over. I mean, heck, some of us like to go and we're in like 130%. It's not 1% overdone, it's 30% overdone. We've been working on that thing for a long time, since we should have stopped. Okay, so that's the first thing. The second thing is, so where you're at as an artist... The second thing is where the painting is actually at. And that's kind of a harder question to answer, straight up, because where is the painting at?

 0:41:05 Jed: I'll tell you a little bit about some of what I've done in the past and my experience recently at a workshop that I took. So I think... Recently... Early on, when I was painting, I think I used to leave my paintings... They were really loose and rough, and they were... And part of it was the style, but part of it was also that I didn't actually know how to make them better. I didn't know what to do to make them more refined without getting too detailed or something, so I would just leave them. And sometimes when I look back at them, I think, "Wow, that was really, really good." And then sometimes I look back at them and I think, "I just didn't know what I was doing." And so it's hard to know where a painting is at, but where I look at it is, if I can't see one thing that I know for sure I can do, sometimes I just let it sit. And I look at it and I let my... I might get feedback from other people, and I might take some time away from it because when I get caught up in the process, it's too easy for me to not see what I'm actually looking at.

 0:42:30 Jed: But here's the thing that happened to me in a workshop in the spring that I was at. John Poon, great artist, I'd love for him to be part of Acrylic University. You can pray with me that that will happen. But he totally doesn't worry about overworking a painting, because he is such a good artist, that he doesn't get too detailed. He actually has figured out a way that he can keep working on something, and he can keep the freshness to it. And that's where I think he's thinking big picture, not small detail. And that's where I'd encourage you, if you're struggling with that idea of: How do I know where my painting is at? One of the biggest things is to think what does the overall design look like? What is... Usually, if a painting works, you can step back from it and you can squint your eyes and it will work. It's not because of the little tiny brush strokes on there that it's working, it's because the big shapes and the big values are working. And usually, that kind of stuff is like, you can tell that over time from a distance and you can tell it by looking not at the fine, fine, fine things so much, but kind of stepping back and thinking about the painting as a whole.

 0:44:10 Jed: And I think that that's one of the big, big things is that we get focused in on one thing and it might just be one little part of our painting. But for whatever reason, it's got our attention and we're so caught up in that that we want to, "Oh, I just gotta get that right, I gotta get that right." And it ends up taking a ton of time and a ton of energy and it actually doesn't help the overall painting. Because the overall painting might have one or two other issues going on and we're focused on, "Did I get the cat's face right?" And the cat's just one little part of this painting or something, but it got us into this focus on one part of the painting instead of thinking about the painting as a whole.

 0:45:06 Jed: And so, I think that leads me to the third point. So the first thing is: Where are you at as a artist and being self-aware and thinking, "Okay, do I tend to overwork things, do I tend to keep working, working, working?" Second is: Try and really evaluate, where is this painting at? Does it need something specific? And then keeping the big picture in mind. And then the third thing is: Thinking through, what is my goal in my art right now?

 0:45:40 Jed: It's easy to stop. In some ways, it's easy to stop. But sometimes what I feel like... One of the bad reasons to stop is fear. We're afraid because we don't know what to do or we're afraid because we might have an idea, but we don't know... So for instance, I was teaching a class recently and I was walking around and this woman had stopped and she was just sitting there, and I said... I don't remember what I asked her, but she said, "Well, I don't really wanna do anything, I don't wanna... I'm just waiting 'cause I don't wanna screw something up." And I hadn't carried on with my demonstration. So she felt like she couldn't do anything more. And so, but anyways, eventually, I came back to her. And I hadn't done anything else on my painting but she'd done a ton of stuff and she'd actually... Her painting was looking really cool. And she'd experimented with these different colors that I had not used at all, or anything like that. And I said, "Oh, what happened? And she's like, "Well, I decided that I would try out these colors in this." And I felt like it was a huge step for her because she actually went past some of the fears and some of the things that were holding her back, and she experimented and grew a ton, I think she grew quite a bit because she did something that she didn't know what the outcome would be. It wasn't like...

 0:47:16 Jed: So that's the thing. When we're experimenting, we don't know what the outcome will be. And we're trying something and it's causing us to step out and it actually will do two things: We're gonna fail but we're also gonna grow. We're opening the door that this might totally suck. I do this all the time. I painted yesterday for like all day. I worked on four or five different paintings trying to get them ready for one of these shows coming up and I'm telling you, every one of them sucked, bad. They were... I was trying stuff sometimes on them, and I couldn't figure out... I mean, not everyone sucked as bad. There was one though that I worked on, and I kept... But I had to take risks because where it was at, I wasn't happy with and I didn't know exactly what to do and I just knew that I had to try something. But that is where you grow is by trying things and seeing what will happen when I do this.

 0:48:32 Jed: So think about where you're at, think about where your painting is at and think about your goal. If your goal is to... You're painting a commission for somebody, and this is a painting of their dog or something, and it's like, 99% good and you're wondering, "Well, what would happen if I did this?" And it's a pretty drastic change. Maybe it's not worth it, it might not be worth trying it because you've already got the painting 99% done, and you might do something that would push it too far, but then maybe your goal is on a different painting that you just wanna learn. You just wanna figure stuff out and you're just trying to grow, which is, I kinda think the best way to paint. If that's your goal then, I just say, "Push yourself every once in a while."

 0:49:30 Jed: And where sometimes too, I think, when you think big picture on a painting, the nice thing about that is that, it will encourage you and challenge you to make big changes. Sometimes we think. "Oh well, there's something not working." Usually, if it's not working, it's design. And usually design means, you don't have an established dominant value. Like is 70% of your painting dark and 10% of it light and 20% of it mid-tone? That's the ratio that would make an interesting painting or, is there a missing dominant value? Are the shapes, are you lacking... Like it's too much little things or not enough big shapes in there? Those are big design questions. And we're gonna have to get into design stuff here coming up soon so that we can talk about this stuff, but those are big picture questions and they often involve big picture, kinda scary, "Okay, I'm going for it." Because it might be taking a large chunk of area in your painting and painting it way darker.

 0:50:48 Jed: And when I do that kinda thing, I usually get my big brush out and I just go, "Okay, I've gotta see if this works." And I did that yesterday with a painting that's been sitting around and it's really done and it's a nice painting, and I just went over it yesterday because I had seen something that I thought, "I think this is gonna be better if I make this dark, this lower part here dark." 'Cause it was mid-tone, and I knew if it was darker, or at least I thought if it was darker, it might push your eye up into the area of interest better and I went for it. But it took some courage from me because I don't know for sure if it's gonna work. Anyway, good question about unfinished and overdone and it's really personal, but I hope that that was kind of helpful.

Impasto Effect

 0:51:43 Jed: Okay, from Matt Van Osdol: "What suggestions would you have for achieving an impasto style effect with acrylics and palette knife, tips on the right medium or extenders to use to achieve the right thickness of paint?" Well, good question, Matt. How do you get a really thick impasto look in acrylics? And they're definitely... One of the best ways is to mix in different mediums and one that I would try probably would be modeling paste because it's gonna... Or, a thick gel, those two things are gonna hold their form really well and they're going to be able to mix with the paint. So there's really two ways that you can do it.

 0:52:43 Jed: I've never done... I've never actually used modeling paste mixed in with paint, or heavy gel mixed in with paint. So I'm not speaking out of personal experience, but I do know this: You can do it two ways. You can actually draw your design on to your canvas and you can just paint with your clear thick modeling gel onto your drawing. And so what you would be doing is you would actually be... And you can do that with a palette knife, you can do it with a brush, if you wanted more of a brushed texture. But you'd be following your sketched on design and you'd be covering it up with a clear, just thick gel or modeling paste, then you could come back and paint over the top of it and you would have the texture underneath that would be really, really thick.

 0:53:51 Jed: It's gonna give it a little different look than what I think you're after. What I think you're after is actually mixing those things together. So I would try... And you probably need to get out a pretty big pile of modeling paste and pull from that and mix your different colors that you want to use, which would be another recommendation to possibly use a limited palette 'cause otherwise, you're gonna be mixing a lot of pools of paint with the modeling paste. And then you're just gonna use your palette knife to put that on.

 0:54:30 Jed: I was actually... I saw your message yesterday, this question, and I saw somebody else, Laura had actually asked about: How did this guy do this in a paint? And I actually just took my normal acrylic paints and I started trying to put them on very thick with a palette knife because that's what I have found is that if I wanna have something be really thick, a palette knife is way, way, way easier to use than a brush. It just lends itself to leaving big, big chunky stuff on the canvas, rather than a brush, which tends to drag it across and thin it down quite a bit more. But you can mix acrylic gel, thick heavy body gel, in with paint. End even if you're brushing, it will still leave brush strokes a lot more, similar to an oil, than if you're just using paint by itself. So, good question. And in terms of wet ones, I think Golden has... Either Golden or Liquitex, you can look at both of them and there's probably others, but I've seen lots of options. And if you're really looking for something thick, then look for the heavy gel, the heavy modeling paste and those will do really well.

Negative Shape Painting 

0:55:53 Jed: Okay, so from Laura Azletine: "Can we have an easy negative painting video?" I'm sorry, no. You can't. [chuckle] There's no such thing. I don't know, and I'm kind of joking, I will actually come up with one, I'll try to do something for you because I know that negative painting is challenging. But if you've paid attention, every time I do it, and every time I ever do it, I always say, "This is seriously hard." It's hard for me everytime. So I'll do my best to come up with something that will explain it and make it kind of as easy as possible to follow. But I'm telling you, negative painting has never become easy for me, it's something that requires a ton of thought and a ton of dedicated focus because... It's like I'm not painting the thing, I'm painting around the thing, and it's easier to do when you have something already painted in. So sometimes, it can be... I'll show you a couple of ways, but the easiest way I would think about doing it is like... Well, I'll just have to show you. Anyways, good question.

 0:57:19 Jed: If there was one brush that I could use for all my paintings that would work for all paintings, so this is our friend, who's a teacher. By the way, in terms of palette knives, I brought these out. So this is kind of your traditional palette knife here and that's pretty cool. You use that for a lot of stuff. This is another one that I think is... I actually really love this, I've used this for a lot of different things. This is a rubber... They call it a shaper, actually. But this is also... You can get quite a few different shapes of these and different palette knives and I think if you wanted to do thick and pass to work, I would definitely invest in a few different ones, because they're kinda limited.

 0:58:04 Jed: When I was doing yesterday, what I was working with, I only had this. And it was limiting me, in terms of what I could do 'cause it wouldn't do small things as easily as if I had a different shape, so. But in terms of brushes, I would definitely go with a square brush and I would either choose... If I had one brush for every painting, I would probably choose... This is a number 10, but I would probably choose a number eight or maybe a number 10, depending on how big my canvas was. But flats, to me, are the best because they can cover fair amount of ground and they can blend pretty well and they can do a straight line if you use it, like with the edge, they can do a pretty small straight line. So they're the most versatile, in my opinion. And I'm gonna just throw this out there because somebody, a long time go, asked a question and we haven't had time to do a how-to video yet. But I would encourage you guys to think about using your brushes in as many different ways as possible.

 0:59:20 Jed: So one of the ways that I like to use it is like, if I... Instead of just holding it like this and doing brush strokes that are always the same, turn your brush on the side, hold it like this and use the side of it sometimes. And it'll scratch, it'll kinda be like a scratchy feel, but it will give a different texture. I do that a lot when I'm trying to cover in an area, or if I'm trying to get a little bit of a thin nuanced feel in an area of a painting, I'll do that.

Modeling Paste, Glazes, Etc.

 0:59:55 Jed: Okay, good question: "How do I make my paint chunky?" We've just talked about that, actually. "How do painters use modeling paint, paste and glazes? Do you ever use them to give your paint texture? If so, can we have a demonstration?" Yes. I'll do... We actually, long time ago, in our first beta test, we had something on the modeling paste. And we took it out because we felt like for beginners, it wasn't that helpful. But I'll do something with that. And I actually might get somebody else... I have somebody that I might try to see if she can do a demonstration for us because she's kind of the... She's a representative for Golden paints and she knows tons about all this stuff. So I might see if we can do it. If not, I'll do it myself. "And what's the difference between... " Oh, "What's the difference between medium and... " I think she means cadmium medium and quinacridone red.

 1:00:58 Jed: So quinacridone red is gonna be cooler than cadmium red, and that's the big difference. They're both pretty strong colors, but cadmium red is also gonna be more opaque than quinacridone red. So quinacridone would be more easily used for a glaze or a wash because it will become transparent. Okay.

Different Blacks

And oh my goodness, I have one question left, I think that is from my mom, Ann Dorsey. She says: "I'm interested in someone else taking the time to tell me the difference in all the various blacks, like Mars Black, Ivory Black, Lamp Black." And she also has some Payne's Grey. And she has these from the past and she's just wondering how to use them.

 1:01:58 Jed: So, good question, mom. Mars Black is more opaque, it has something in it that will make it cover a little bit better. The reason I know this is because a lot of times, I paint the side of... If I have a big canvas, I usually don't frame it, I usually just paint the edges black. And the difference between... I'm just seeing here. Okay, cool. The difference between Mars Black and Ivory Black becomes really apparent when you're trying to cover something white. Because Ivory Black, it's really dark, it's super dark but it's thin. And if you're trying to cover it, it'll be really streaky, where Mars Black, tends to cover pretty well. So that's one of the big differences that I've seen. Lamp Black is a color that... Sometimes I don't know if it's actually any different than Mars Black. I think it might be the same. Sometimes what they do is they mix the two blacks together. I have a tube of paint in my studio right now, that is called Deep Black, Deep Black. And it's Ivory Black and Mars Black mixed together. So I think they're trying to get the best of both worlds and bring them together.

 1:03:33 Jed: Payne's Grey. The thing is, for me, Payne's Grey is essentially... I think if you look at the tube of paint, I think that it says either Mars Black or Ivory Black, and then it says a little bit of white and it says a little bit of ultramarine blue. I think that that's all that Payne's Grey is, is a mix of other colors. So there's a lot of colors that you can buy. That's why we have the essential palette and that's why I recommend something like that and I don't tell you to go get 30 different colors because almost all... There's a few colors that are made from pure pigments and then there's a ton of colors that they mix those pure colors together to make. So there's a ton of light violet colors, and all sorts of different things that they're actually not unique colors, they're just a mixture already. And so that's why I would... They're helpful sometimes 'cause it's easy to grab, but I don't usually recommend buying it because I don't... I wouldn't put it on my list of: You have to have this color, because you could mix it pretty easily with the colors that we already have.

 1:04:53 Jed: Alright, guys, I hope that you've had as much fun as I have. Thank you so much for being here and it's been fun. I'm looking forward to doing this... Let us know what you think, tell us if this was helpful or not. And we're looking forward to doing it on a regular basis, so make sure that you... If you weren't here at the beginning, I'll tell you the rules again, just because it's helpful for us, if you do have a question... It could be anything. It could be related to, or it could be related to being an artist as a career, it could be related to what t-shirt you wanna wear. I'm really good at helping. My daughter, Willow, pick out t-shirts in the morning, so whatever you want, I'm kind of joking about that. I probably don't have that good of style sense. Although, do you see this? This is a pretty awesome shirt, so. But keep your questions coming and put them on the Facebook post that is labeled, "Its question day," because that will be the helpful way for us to make sure that we have them all in one place.

 1:05:57 Jed: If you're not on Facebook and you're seeing this on our site, then feel free to email us back when we send out that email that it's question day. Remember guys: confidence will come with the hours that you put in, happy painting & be courageous!