How to Solve Your Painting Problems

Take a clean, wet brush (a round one will do) and gently lift out the excess colour. Allow the water to diffuse the pigment and soften the edges with careful strokes.

If you create a dent in your canvas spray the back with warm (not hot) water. As the water begins to evaporate, the canvas should shrink into shape. Introduce the water gradually, repeating the step if necessary, but avoid saturating the material.

Oil paintings can take forever to dry  Try adding a fast-drying medium like Schmincke Rapid Medium or Winsor & Newton’s Liquin to your paint to speed things up – they also increase flow and transparency.

When stored incorrectly (particularly at the wrong temperature), masking fluid can go off. If this happens, it can become difficult to remove from the paper. Use the tip of a scalpel to carefully lift the edges of dried fluid and peel away slowly.

Prepare for a portrait painting by making a chart of potential skin tone swatches. This can act as your reference guide when you are struggling with the painting. Get the July issue for more practical palette tips on skin tones from Adele Wagstaff.

If you’ve introduced a pastel that’s too dark for subsequent layers, be patient. Instead go straight in with a regular rubber (such as a Staedtler Mars Plastic eraser). You could even remove excess pigment with a clean rag or tissue.

Overworked your coloured pencil drawing? Remove heavy areas of colour by gently pressing over them with a kneaded eraser.

To prevent the shape of your watercolour finishing on a hard edge try wetting the paper around it. This will prevent the pigment from pooling around the hard edges and leave a softer finish. Click here to find out how to save more of your watercolours paintings from the bin.

Acrylics tend to darken as they dry creating a sinking effect. To bring lightness to your painting, use sandpaper to gently pare back the paint until the brighter tone returns.

When charcoal dust interferes with your creative process, grab a soft brush (such as a baby’s hairbrush) to sweep away the fragments or blot them with a slice of white bread.

Add impact to your landscape by drawing in small figures at a far point in the painting (such as a hilltop or cliff). This can help to draw the viewer’s eye into the painting and also provide a sense of scale.

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