Sunday, 30 January 2011

The Great Paint Drought

The image above is quite appropriate for this particular post. If you're regularly follow my blog, then you'll have noticed a decrease in posting recently. Work, Kids, Wife, Blah, Blah, Blah, you've heard them before and no doubt if you've been in the hobby a while, then you've experienced your own painting droughts at times.

For me, it's been over six months since I last dipped my brush within a paint pot, so I'm definitely suffering a painting drought. That doesn't mean I haven't been busy with hobby stuff. Actually, I've been busy with lots of different things. I've been reading quite a lot, at the moment it's a Ciaphas Cain books. I've finished the first two and I'm just loving them. It's strange to go from Commissar Gaunt to Commissar Cain, but I'm finding it quite refreshing to the doom and gloom of the Ghosts series. I've also been working heavily on the first of my campaign pdf's for my campaign focused blog, which hopefully should be ready for publishing next week.

But I digress, recently I've tried to jump start the painting side of my hobby and I've hit a bit of a problem. Unfortunately, after six months of not painting, the above image is quite adapt when it comes to describing most of my paints. Yep, they've dried up!

Quite a few are completely dried up and literally have solidified and cracked in the tub, some have just turned to a very thick sludge. So, I've got myself a load of glass beads from ebay and started the monumental task of sorting through them all. Some will be thrown, some will be revived, but hopefully, I'll have the majority rescued in the end.

I'm working on the ones I use most often to start with so that I can actually do some painting whilst I'm going through the rest. In the meantime, I'm working on a storage and maintenance plan to make sure this never happens again. Any tips would be gratefully received guys!  


CanolliCrusader said...

ive had some citadel paints for years...rarely do they dry up so should put a drop of water in the once a month.

Im eventually going to switch to valejo, its such a pain though cause i would have to do it with a new army to keep everything the same.

Rasmus Olesen said...

Indeed don't we all know it.... We wanna get stuff painted bad, but we just don't have the time or will to take out the paints and brush.. I wish you best of luck to get out of yours mate, god knows i had mine from time to time!

Blitzspear said...

This happens with the GW Blood Red all the time with me yet i have Citadel paints that are over 20 years old and there fine. Hope your dry spell ends soon.

davetaylor said...

Hey Colonel

One trick thats always worked for me for the GW paints is to store them upside down. That's a bit trickier now with the new pots but the theory is that it's tougher for the air to get in to the pot and dry out the paint. Seems to work for me. Also, as Canolli said, a bit of preventive maintenance is always good. If you find yourself in another extended funk, keep up the regimen of dropping in some water and giving them a shake, then returning them to their upside position.

Fingers crossed that'll work.


Unknown said...

Ah, that's too bad mate. It's a bit odd how your paints dried up like that. It has never happened to me and I swear I've had some of my paints for years. And the climate in Greece is obviously much drier and hotter than England.

I usually give the paint pot a good shake after I am done with it. This apparently seals any possible gaps with paint so not much air will get in. But as people say ideally you will store the paint pots upside down. If any of my paints appear a bit clumpy I've found that it's better to mix them with Windex than water. This brings them back to their old viscosity. Hope this helps and that we'll see you painting soon!

RAZ said...

I keep an eyedropper and a bottle of clean water on my desk, and every time I use one of my paints, I put a few drops of water in the pot before I close it.

If it's dry or thick when I open a pot, I put quite a bit of water in (three or four droppers-full), stir it up a bit, then give it a good shake (after closing the lid). If it's really dry I may let it sit for a day or so, as some paints are really stubborn about reconstituting. Bleached Bone and Blood Red seem to be the worst offenders for me.

But adding a little water to the pot every time it's open seems to keep most of my paints in a usable state.

The Inner Geek said...

Sorry to hear about your drought, and your paints. I had a spell last summer where almost half of my paints dried up within a month. No real change or reason I could find. I do tend to blame the pots as I have a couple paints that are from the early 1990's that are still good. But few besides those that have lived more than a year or two. I'll definitely be trying the upside down trick that's been mentioned here though.

Mephistopheles said...

hey man,

ive had the same problem with my paints. living in australia it gets damn hot at times, was just 40degrees celcius today, and in for more the rest of the week :S

what i use to either salvage or prolong my paints life is 'flow medium'. you can get it from pretty much any art store, and comes in varrying brands. the 1 you will mostly see used online is liquidex (unsure of spelling, as i use another).

add in a ratio of 2parts paint to 1 part flow medium to fresh paint to prolong life, and add equal parts, if not more flow medium to semi-completely dried out paint to bring it back to life. you may need more or less flow medium, so build it up slowly.

ive got a blog about it here:

Col. Corbane said...

@CanolliCrusader - I'm really surprised they've dried up as well as some of them I've had for over ten years without any problems. I've also thought about switching ranges, but I can't really do that and continue my guard mate :-(

@Rasmus Olesen - Hopefully I'll get my mojo back soon!

@Blitzspear - I've noticed the same with blood red, I always thought it was just my pot - lol

@DaveTaylor - I've started to store my rejuvenated ones upside down as well as putting glass beads in them as agitators, hopefully along with a bit of ongoing care, I won't have this problems again mate. Haven't tried the new pots yet, I might have to come up with a novel way of storing them when I get round to buying the new ones.

@The Antipope - I'm surprised too mate, I've heard that windex thing before, I think I'm going to have to give it a try.

@Chris - I've recently picked up a eyedropper although I've not added that much water to them. I'm a bit concerned that I'll water them down too much and they become unusable. Have you ever had this problem?

@The Inner Geek - I can't figure out why it's happened, they've not been stored a warm place and I haven't changed how I store them. Hopefully, with these preventative measures, it won't happen again.

@Mephistopheles - Thanks for the link mate, I think I'm going to have to give that flow medium a try. Does it really not effect the look of your paints on the models?

Thanks for all the great tips guys, hopefully I can come up with a new regime to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Mephistopheles said...

@Col. Corbane - nah, i use it all the time. ill give a rough explaination as to how it works, using terminology i learnt through my spray painting apprenticeship.

where flow medium is in a sense, a binder as well as a thinner, water is only a thinner.

the water changes the viscosity (rate of flow) of the paint, but as it has no binder (holds the pigment together) in it, the pain becomes overly thinned out. this also results in the life span of the paint shortening, as extra oxygen is added into it from the water.

flow medium changes the viscosity too, but, due to the fact it has the properties of a binder in it, the pigment is still held together. this means your paint will spread easier, and the pigment is better distributed. and due to the fact its not water, im not sure what it is really, it doesnt add oxygen to make it dry out quicker. this also means increased working time when your painting your miniature, as it wont dry out as quick on the pallet or model, great for wet blending.

once added, as long as you live the lid on when not in use, it should last for a lot longer than normal.
when you go to use it, simply use it like you normally would, ie, thin it down on a pallet with an amount of water, but not the normal amount of water, as the flow medium reduces the amount needed to achieve good results.

personally i use windex instead of water, but thats in the blog i listed before.

hope that wasnt too wordy yet useful.

Zzzzzz said...

Temperature variations must make a difference as well.