Volume 14, Number 6, April 2013

Published four times a year by The Paschal Group, Inc.
Publisher: Robert Paschal
Editor: Jeanne Paschal
Also see — The Newsletter for Visual Artists

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Transforming Metal Wall Art

By Janean S. Thompson
(Click on any photo for a larger view!)

Sometimes we find the coolest and most unusual things in unexpected places.  That is one reason why I enjoy the occasional quick pass through a couple of our local resale shops.  The shops always seem to have some item crying out for revamping into a new, more colorful, perhaps repurposed end result.  Furniture is one of the quickest and most impressive quick change projects you can take on.  Another perfect project is metal wall art, and that is what I have chosen for this article.  I will be transforming a set of contemporary, metal wall pieces to coordinate with a new location in my home.  (Photo 1) I found the items at a new resale shop and immediately knew they would make a great project to share.


Photo 1:  Metal art discovered at a local resale shop.

Begin by gathering the materials you will need to do the transformation.  The wire wall art is a simple style and will look very good redone in a brighter color scheme.  Along with the art pieces I will use an Iwata Revolution CR Double Action Airbrush - but their single action airbrush with side color cup would work equally as well for this application; my favorite and long-standing airbrush air supply, the Iwata Studio Series Smart Jet Compressor (quiet and very dependable); the airbrush acrylic colors you choose; in this case I think red, yellow and some rich blue tones would add the right amount of POP to the finished art.  For tidiness you might want to have an airbrush cleaning station, some cloths and perhaps a paint brush if you want to do any fine detail work.


Photo 2:  First step is cleaning well so the pigment will adhere to the surface.

Photo 3:  Foundation pigment is applied to the entire surface...a great base upon which to build.

Be sure the item is really clean and dust free.  (Photo 2)  A good rubdown with a cloth is all I need, as these items are really in great condition.  If more cleanup is needed for your selected project, sand off any lose pigment and then use a cloth or tack cloth to remove any paint chips, dust or debris.  Once the item is clean you are ready to begin applying the color.  Since my items are black, I will use a complete overcoat of one color, as this will give a good foundation for the pigments that I add later.  (Photo 3)  It may require two applications.


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With the base (two coats) on and dry, adding the other tones will give more appeal to the finished pieces once they are hung on the wall.  For added dimension, yellow is mingled onto the shapes to create an eye-catching combination.  (Photo 4) 


Photo 4:  Any colors that are complementary will "recreate" these wall decor pieces.

Photo 5:  Displayed and ready to enjoy!  Deep red and a whisper of blue for depth around the yellow center.

Hung on the wall, the smallest of the set of metal art pieces looks great.  It is clean in design, not too feminine or too masculine so it (actually the entire set) could be hung in nearly any environment.  (Photo 5)  In the future, if I should want to display the set in another location, it will be easy to refurb them into yet another color combination and make another spot perk up.  Another joy of reclaiming things. . . You are not afraid to take a few chances and see what you come up with.  Experimentation and fun is a great part of working with an airbrush.  The color application is unlike any other and the look is amazing.  So don't delay...find a project and DO IT!


Airbrush Painting on Gessobord


The airbrush artist is always searching for the ideal surface on which to paint. Depending on the size of the painting, Ampersand's Gessobord is one of the ideal surfaces on which to airbrush (maximum size available is 24" x 36"). Manufactured by the same company that gave you Claybord, Gessobord is comprised of a tempered hard board that is coated with high-quality gesso.

The hard board is unique; rather than being impregnated with the thick tempering oils normally used in hard board manufacturing, Gessobord contains a plant resin. The hard board is sealed with two applications of acrylic emulsion, coated with gesso, and then sanded to an even surface with a light tooth that is suitable for all types of painting techniques. Gessobord is durable and long lasting and, because of the plant resin, it eliminates the leaching and adhesive problems associated with traditional tempered hard board such as Masonite.

Although Gessobord is ready to use, some artists may elect to re-gesso the surface for their own particular purpose--high impasto, eggshell smoothness, etc. Unlike brush painting, the airbrush artist must work on a surface that is durable enough to hold up to repeated masking with self-adhering stencil materials such as frisket film and drafting or masking tape. When the masking material is removed from the surface, you don't want the adhesion to lift or pick the surface as is common when working on paper.

Unlike paper, Gessobord does not buckle with the application of wet paint. It will not tear or crease, although--as durable as it is--you would not want to drop it and damage an edge or corner. Gessobord has a neutral pH and will not yellow and gives extremely good adhesion for paint applications with acrylics, oils, and tempera or casein artist colors. The surface can be worked back into (scumbling), scratched through (scratchboard) and erased without damage.

A finished painting on Gessobord can be varnished or clear-coated for both oils and acrylics. And the end product is easy to frame, since it is available in several standard sizes. If collage is incorporated into the artwork, the board surface is receptive to gluing. Gessobord is easy to store because it is thin and flat, which also makes it convenient to ship artwork.

See your retailer and try airbrushing on Ampersand Gessobord. You'll find it to be a suitable and reliable surface for airbrush painting. Visit for more information.


Medea Com-Art Colours
All airbrush colours are not the same. Com-Art is considered to be one of the finest and most versatile professional airbrush colours in the world. Because of a common hydro-carbon base binder, Com-Art transparent and opaque colours can be used together without bleeding between colours. This non-toxic, ready to use paint is specifically formulated for use with an airbrush and never needs to be filtered or strained. Com-Art colours are heavily pigmented and light fast, allowing for accurate 4 colour separations. They provide superior atomization, smooth spraying, and they dry instantly.

Carfax Bat

By Wes Hawkins
Start Over/W.A.D. Productions
(Click on any photo for a larger view!)

Hello once again, everyone!  This time around I thought I'd bring you a neat little bust I like to call "Carfax Bat," which is a human/bat hybrid sort of creature.  As I demonstrated in a previous article, I'll be using about four colors to render this piece, and I'll explain a little about mixing colors while I'm at it.  Let's get to it, shall we?


Here's our subject primed and ready to go.  Priming is an important step in painting just about anything because it hides imperfection and, more importantly, gives the paint a better surface to adhere to. Always be sure to research your subject and get some reference material to look at.  There's nothing more frustrating than to finish something and learn after the fact that you used the wrong colors. I know this from experience.


Here I've taken a dark brown color and thinned it down at a ratio of 5:1 thinner/paint.  Some people think this is too thin, but I spray at around 4 psi, so there's little chance of spattering.  I prefer to use the Iwata HP-CS, which is a gravity feed brush.  This allows for lower pressure with continued paint flow.  After thinning, I sprayed into the recesses of the bust and paid close attention to where the shadows lay by using my reference pics.  A human head has a lot more shadows and highlights than one might think, and these subtle areas make or break the finished project.  One will know immediately that something is missing. The HP-CS worked like a charm here.  It fits well in my hand and is comfortable to hold. The color cup is large enough to hold a lot of paint but not so big that it unbalances the brush.  If you place it in an airbrush holder it won't roll over, even if the cup is full.


After rendering the shadows, I decided that the fades between the base and shadow color were too harsh, so I misted the shadow color on the entire bust to tie everything together.


Here I've begun rendering the highlights using a light gray and, as you can see, again I made the fade lines too harsh.  To fix this, I darkened my highlight color by pouring some of the shadow color into the color cup, placing the cap on the cup and giving the brush a few shakes. (If you try this, make sure you cover the little hole in the cap or you'll have a mess on your hands.)  These caps REALLY come in handy when I mix paint or noodle because my hand shakes the brush rather vigorously.  Now, let's finish our bat!


So, here are our highlights toned down and tied in with the shadows and base color.  I took my time here and literally sprayed one pass and held the bust away so I could judge whether or not I had sprayed enough.  You'd be surprised at the difference one pass too many or few can make. Just take your time and don't be in a hurry.  If you enter IPMS model shows like I do, you want your best work on the table for the judges and audience.


Finally, I sprayed the hair on the back with my shadow color and brought out the crevices with a dark wash.  The mouth, nose and eyes were done by hand with a brush.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I'll see you next issue! Thanks for reading!


Silentaire Technology
Silent compressors for use with airbrushes, spray guns, and air tools from Werther International.

New Airbrush Products

NEO AIR for Iwata Air Compressor

Anest Iwata-Medea Inc. has introduced the new NEO AIR for Iwata air compressor.  This new miniature compressor weighs only .95 pounds (.43kgs) and measures 5.1 x 3.9 x 2.5 inches.  It works great with most gravity feed airbrushes and is ideal for makeup application, hobbies and cake decoration.

The NEO AIR is compact, portable and has an on/off, three-speed control button for easy use and control of air flow (.37 cfm @ open flow, psi maximum: 1-15).  It comes with an airbrush holder, an Iwata fitting air hose and can be 110v to 240v power supply for overseas usage.  See your Anest Iwata-Medea distributor for the new NEO AIR and visit


Iwata Airbrushes
The professional Iwata Airbrush line is imported and manufactured exclusively by Medea Airbrush Products, along with commercial spray guns, Medea Textile Colours and Com-Art Airbrush Colours.

Airbrush Workshops

Basic Airbrush Techniques

6-Hour Hands-On Workshop
With Robert Paschal, MFA

Date: Saturday, May 18, 2013
Time: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-5 p.m.
Place: Beacon, NY
(65 miles north of NYC on the Metro North Line)

Here’s your opportunity to learn basic airbrush techniques!  It’s spring—time to put some original artwork on the tank of your bike, helmet, skateboard, outside sculpture, freshly baked cakes or cupcakes, fingernails, caps and wearing apparel (think outdoor art/craft festivals) and much more!

Robert has used this curriculum to teach thousands of students the basics of airbrush technique in this hands-on workshop.

Designed for the person who has never before used an airbrush or who has used one without success, this time-proven class has been taught throughout the U.S.   Students will learn how to handle and hook up an airbrush, air sources to use, compatible materials, suitable work surfaces and their preparation and the simple maintenance procedures that are required.  A high-quality Iwata airbrush will be used by students as they render a series of pre-printed exercises, while learning the fundamentals of airbrush technique.

All materials/equipment are supplied for use in class.  Seating is limited!

Information and Registration at:

Call:  845.831.1043


...the link between you, the visual artist, and the manufacturer of art materials.
ARTtalk is a monthly eight-page newsletter available FREE-OF-CHARGE from Participating Art Material Retailers in the U.S., Canada and Bermuda. Each month you'll find informative articles that deal with a variety of subjects such as painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, arts and crafts, and more. These explain various techniques—how to work and paint with watercolor, oils, or acrylics; use pastels or pen and ink, airbrush, and more. You'll find information on art history, current events and art world news, as well as an occasional "Kids' Korner." Subjects vary and change each month.






Look for your next issue of AirbrushTalk in July 2013!