I have been painting for years with a single action Paasche. I learned how to use the airbrush from a very talented artist by the name of Jack Reilly. Jack opened a whole new world for me. I studied with him for quite awhile, then eventually took over his studio. With the studio came students. I learned so much from all of the different types of artists coming to learn the airbrush from me. Model makers, special effects guys, fabric designers etc. It was great.
Jack was a conscientious artist, cost wise, he was efficient. He taught me how to make my own friskets out of photo mount and wax paper….brilliant if you were working on a huge painting. I always used acrylic, but instead of buying premixed airbrush colors, I mixed my own. I would mix the color and dilute it in a small PLASTIC cup. Don’t use paper you will get fibers in the paint and clog your airbrush needle. You have to mix the pain evenly, with as little bubble action as possible, the bubbles will make your paint flutter when spraying. It would honestly take me an hour or 2 to get my paint ready to begin spraying. Jack taught me to run the paint thru a screen, very fine, to get out any left over lumps.
Because the airbrush is such a technical tool, it is a beast at times. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to wing it across the studio…I think I did actually. Patience is the key, and keeping a clean water bottle handy to plug in and clean the gun. I love the airbrush, there are things you can do with it that no hand held brush can accomplish. I really learned when painting photo-realistically the key to success was …..if you thought you needed 10 colors for a leaf….it was probably more like 25 colors. The more colors layered finely will give you a more realistic piece. Don’t think for a minute you can spray a leaf with 3 colors and it will look real. I think I used about 50 plus colors on my banana leaf. I’ll add that pic for you to see.
Bottom line is the airbrush takes some work to accomplish, but is a fun and frustrating tool to paint with.