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Page #1
HANDS ON
Paul M. Sass0 introduces his technique of using mutltiple layers of transparent water-based paint to build surfaces that have visual depth of interest and meaning. Using this technique, endless possibilities emerge to push past the notion of paint as merely a coating on wood. By multiple layering the builder can manipulate the surface with coatings that are sumptous and reflect the intellectual substance of the makers intent. He demonstrates this idea by painting a "star chart" of his own invention.
1. Meticulously preparing the wood surface is essential for any finish. I usually sand the wood with 220-grit sandpaper. Then I wet the surface with a sponge and, when it's dry, remove the raised grain with 320-grit sandpaper. I also prepare several panels to act as testing grounds. These panels are painted simultaneously with the real painting, thus keeping a record of the process. To begin the ground, a 1-inch or larger stiff white sable brush is wetted with water and dipped into the gesso. The trick here is to extend the amount of gesso on the brush to its maximum spreadability in one direction. This will be a very thin coat. This process is continued untill all surfaces are covered. When the first coat is dry, a second coat is applied at 90 degress to the first coat. One more coat is applied, again switching the direction of the brush strokes. Cross-brushing the gesso will develop "tooth" on the surface for the paint to cling to.
     
2. A lot of medium and very little pigment are mixed for transparency. My formula changes depending on what effect I'm after, but I generally add only about one to two percent color to the medium. 3. I have been usiing liquid acrylic color that makes mixing a breeze, although heavy body pigments (in tubes and jars) work just as well. You just have to work harder to  blend it into the medium. 4. After a thorough blending, the mixture is poured and strained through cheesecloth into the spray gun.
     
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