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Learning tools for artists


The technique ‘sgraffito’ is explained here, using acrylic paint and modelling paste. Sgraffito is the process of scratching through a surface to reveal the colours underneath; interesting effects can be achieved if modelling paste is used as well. To illustrate this, two areas of colour are painted out as a base, Professional Acrylics Azo Yellow Medium and Naphthol Red Medium. When dry, Acrylic Modeling Paste and Professional Acrylic Phthalo Blue (Red Shade) are mixed together and layered on top of the two earlier base colours, in a thick coat with a palette knife. Then, using the palette knife again, a variety of marks are made through the wet modelling paste and paint mixture to reveal the colours underneath. An interesting texture is created with the modelling paste on the surface since it retains the peaks and troughs from the gestural movements of the palette knife. Using modelling paste adds more drama and opportunities to experiment with the technique of sgraffito.