Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Tutorial - Removing Paint with Alcohol

I have been in the encaustics obsessive mode this week, but did manage to make one little video tutorial. This is an edited version of a video that is included in my upcoming online class, Keys to Dynamic Composition.

If you have discarded or abandoned pieces of art done in acrylic paint, one way to resurrect them as backgrounds for new work is to remove some of the paint using regular rubbing alcohol. A piece can become particularly interesting if you have several layers of paint and collage to work with.

After removing some of the paint, you can apply gesso, more paint, collage, whatever you like, gradually building up layers of texture, color, and imagery. Here is the piece I worked on in the video:

I eventually cut it into a square and did a collage shape study on it:

This kind of study using cut out shapes is also in the online composition workshop. I did notice that the alcohol does not remove gloss gel or medium. I wonder why not.... But this means that you could prime your paper with gloss gel/medium, apply layers of acrylic paint, use alcohol to remove some of the paint, and the medium would protect the paper.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for more developments in encaustics.... I'm trying out different materials to create collage papers, and also some new (new to me) ways of creating texture. Thanks for visiting!


  1. Interesting, thanks for the video. I wonder if I've got any alcohol that's not intended for drinking to try this with... :-) Will look tomorrow.

  2. Thanks for the tutorial, Jane. love love the layers it reveals....have a good weekend!!

  3. Excellent tip Jane. It makes a beautiful background. Thanks

  4. I want to thank you for all that you share on your blog. I don't always get a chance to read, I don't often comment, but I am often here learning, admiring and appreciating your work and your instruction. Just wanted to say "Thank You!"

  5. Very cool! I knew that alcohol removed acrylic or latex paints since that's how you can test your walls prior to painting. Oil paint can go over latex but not the other way around. Have you ever tried dipping foam stamps in rubbing alcohol then printing on an acrylic painting to see if a pattern will emerge? I have not experimented myself and was wondering if you did and had success with it.

  6. Nice website - I like your tutorials - this one inspired me to add more layers to a collage/drawing I am doing right now.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

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  8. Wonderful Tutorial, thanks for putting this together! This is obviously one great post. Thanks for the valuable information.


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