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Painting a Face: Oils over Acrylic
Once you start painting your figure, you will want to minimize touching the actual piece. To prevent doing that, I put a drop of CA glue onto an old soda bottle cap and attach the figure to it. Do not worry, it will be easily removed when you are finished painting. Other alternatives are to drill a hole into the underside of the neck and/or foot and insert a metal pin or rod. The benefit to doing this is that you will have an anchoring device already built in when it comes time to attach the head to the torso, and the figure to the eventual groundwork and base. It is really just a matter of preference.
Above you see the figure parts attached to their painting bases. You will note that I am opting to leave the head separate from the torso. I find it much easier to paint the inside of shirt collars and the neck, when the pieces are kept apart. If you feel you have a steady enough hand, you could attach the head right away. Once again, this is a matter of personal preference.
Also note that the bases are sitting on a clean sheet of paper towel. I change this out in my spray booth whenever I am going to prime a new figure. It cuts down on the dust that may become airborne and stick to your figure.
For priming figures I use Plasticote Sandable Automotive Primer. Why? Simply: because a friend of mine recommended it. I gave it a shot and it works well for me. It dries quickly and does not plug up detail. You may have your own preference for primer. Stick with what you know, and with what works for you. If this is all new to you try a few brands and see what you like.
Before priming a figure, I submerse the can of primer into a container of hot tap water for about two minutes. What this will do is raise the air pressure in the can. The reason you want to do that is by increasing the air pressure the paint will come out more atomized (finer) and leave a nicer finish on your figure.
Even though you've heated up your primer can, as always, you still need to shake it vigorously to mix it well.
With this particular primer I hold the can about 5-6 inches away from the subject. Remember to start spraying away from the figure and then make quick sweeping motions across the figure, letting up on the button after you've passed the figure. Remember TAKE YOUR TIME. If you rush it and try to prime the whole thing immediately, you'll end up with runs and plug up detail. I like to make a quick pass on the front, then turn the figure and make a pass on the side, turn, do the back, turn, do the other side, etc. This allows the initial application to dry before you go back and hit any spots you may have missed. Once I get all the way around, I'll then tip the figure and shoot from the bottom up to get under the folds and underside of limbs. I finish up by shooting from the top down to get the shoulders, top of head, etc. Right after I'm done priming, I'll inspect the figure for any fibers or hairs that may have attached themselves, or any dust specks. If I find some I take a fine needle and gently pick them off. If you mar the paint, just give it a quick shot of primer in that spot. Then set your figure aside to dry.
Voila! Here you see the primed figures.