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Any help or advice on painting with airbrush?
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 Posted: Wed Mar 31st, 2010 04:52 pm
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Gene Mallard
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I was wondering if anyone could direct me to a tutorial on painting glass with an airbrush, or if they could give me a few pointers.

Recently my friend's father gave me a never used airbrush (same kind I had in college) and I simply can not get it to work with glass paint.  The only thing I can get it to spray is pure water or pure alcohol, and only when it's in the little cup.

I'm working with a Reusche bister brown and umber brow mix, and using denatured alcohol as my painting medium, and no matter how much I thin the paint, I can't get it to spray out. 

I am using the #5 tip as recommended for ceramic glaze, and I have experimented with every pressure from 5psi to 40psi.

I had really been counting on using this to lay a perfectly smooth matte on some moderately large pieces of glass, but it appears as though I might have to go back to the idea of using the badger brush.  That's been very frustrating, because on large pieces where perfect smoothness is desired, a badger brush often leaves a lot to be desired. 

Ironically I was best in my class with the airbrush painting, and I have extensive experience working with spray paints.  :-(  I'm almost tempted now to just turn to my automotive painting spray guns, but will wait to see if anyone has any helpful hints for me. 

If you don't feel like spending a half hour typing, email me for a phone number: genemallard@msn.com.

TIA,
Gene



 Posted: Thu Apr 1st, 2010 07:15 am
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Don Burt
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Best glass painter with an airbush out there is Raphael Schnepf of Milwaukee, Oregon. He has a website. He has videos and teaches. He's a really nice guy too. YOu can google him or ask questions on a forum he participates on: warmglass.com bulletin board.

I use an airbrush all the time with those exact paints you mention. Same alcohol medium. I'll bet its your choice of airbrush thats the problem. If its one of those Azteks, I'm not real sure about those. I have one and don't like it. I use a badger LG100 and a Iwata CR. Both are gravity feed cups rather than siphon, and internal mix trigger. THe tips are .035 and .050 mm orifice.

I add a little Klyrfire as a binder in my alcohol medium, but its not necessary. I mix the paint really well until when I stroke it with a palette knife it continues to flow for a second or two. Really thin. I've tried a number of acrylic airbush paint 'flow enhancers' or 'airbrush extender' products and didn't see any advantage.

SO try really thin alcohol and paint, maybe a little Klyrfire (diluted CMC)....  no gum arabic (at least no powdered gum arabic, in my experience) 

 

 



 Posted: Thu Apr 1st, 2010 10:59 am
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Gene Mallard
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Thanks Don, and thanks to everyone who emailed me or sent me private messages.

Just a quick note; I'll be in and out all day, but the airbrush I'm using is a Paasche, same one I had in school.   Yes, the gravity cup seemed to be the only thing that I could get to work to squirt ANY paint out of - yeah, when anything came out at all, squirt seemed to describe it best.  The instructions were useless btw.

What ticked me off finally was that I threw away the paint mixture before the thought occurred to me that I should at least have tested it out in my gravity feed automotive detail spray gun.  That thing is the real deal, not one of those 'sissy artist' contraptions, hahaha. lol

I heard from a bunch of you and I'll send some replies out once I can get back from my errands.



 Posted: Thu Apr 1st, 2010 09:12 pm
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Gene Mallard
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I had an interesting and fun conversation with Ken Leap today, who graciously emailed me with his phone number.

I think Ken has pretty well diagnosed what my problem was.  Simply that the paint needed to be filtered.  He recommended a 220 silk screen fabric, which I may have to order from my normal silk screen source in TX.

Ken uses water instead of alcohol, which suits me fine for my own purposes.  One less smelly solvent to be spraying around the studio.

Meanwhile, I went ahead and hand painted those pieces I described using the badger blender.  They're actually looking really good despite the annoying imperfections I was having to deal with.  By the time I lay the second layer of shading on them they should look quite acceptable.

I hope to have the spraying problems ironed out by the time I shade the back sides with my obscuring white mixture.

Thanks again to all who responded to me, and to Ken who really made an effort to clarify things for me.  This Board is such a great resource. 

Cheers, Gene



 Posted: Fri Apr 2nd, 2010 06:53 am
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Don Burt
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Thanks for providing the info from the phone conversation Gene.

 

 



 Posted: Sun Apr 11th, 2010 03:33 pm
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Hallie Monroe
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I'm a little slow in posting a solution, but I concur with Ken. I use water as my medium . Alcohol will evaporate faster and change you proportions of paint to medium. I use a LITTLE liquid gum. It is also really important to filter your paint and keep it stirred. Do not let it sit in the paint cup. Dump it back in your paint bottle and run water through the airbrush every time you stop.
Good luck!



 Posted: Sun Apr 11th, 2010 07:44 pm
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Don Burt
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I've never had to filter Reusche paint. I guess its because I use the thin alcohol medium. I've airbrushed with water, but instead opted for the quick drying time of alcohol. Its the waiting for the watery paint coat to dry enough to apply more that makes me dislike water. Certainly you can suspend more paint in water than in alcohol, but overall I find working thin with isopropyl alcohol an enjoyable way to work. Perhaps I trade a little more time spraying, for less of a hassle with filtering and stirring. I probably would reconsider if I was matting large areas. Most of the time I work pretty small. I never make a whole 'bottle' of paint at a time, only what I can mix-up and keep on a 12x12 glass palette.

 I sometimes hold a heat gun in my left hand while spraying with my right, to dry the paint more quickly. I do realize that scenario invokes images of flash alcohol explosions. 



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