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Hi, Is 1-shot lettering enamel alkyd based? Would artist's alkyd paint be compatible with this enamel?
While I'm here, does anyone have experience with the medium Smith's Cream? It has been recommended to me to use with lettering enamel.
I'm trying to decide what type of paint to use on a traditional landscape painting to be installed outdoors. ( I just can't manipulate acrylic and I'm afraid that the artist's alkyd paint is very much like acrylic to handle. ) So, I got a few considerations. The other artists may be protecting their work with uv protection and graffiti protection. Apparently, the 1-shot won't need this extra coating.
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Coincidently, I supplemented my early attempts at a career in painting by
working as a graphic artist and sign painter before heading off to art school,
so I am very familiar with the oil based One Shot colors, or at least those
that were used in the 90’s. It is entirely possible that the formulations have
changed. I will send a query to the manufacturer.
First, I would not combine artist’s alkyds with lettering
enamels. They may be compatible but their working properties are very different
in my experience. Artist’s alkyds have a light body and only become sticky when
they start to set, while lettering enamels are heavily viscous and are
extremely sticky right out of the can.
Here are just a few observations based on my experiences.
The lettering enamels set so quickly that blending in the traditional sense is
very difficult. Sign painters used to these materials develop specific working
methods to surmount and even exploit this quality. The paints also go on thickly and pile up
quickly. They require just the right amount of thinner to facilitate lettering
but do not like fastidious blending.
Have you experimented with lettering enamels? You mention
disliking the lack of workability of acrylic dispersion paints and alkyds. Certainly,
these three paint behave very differently, but they do share a relatively short
working time, with artist’s alkyds probably allowing the longest open time. There
have been real breakthroughs in making acrylic dispersion paints with much
longer open time but one should never exceed the recommended addition of retarder
as it can lead to a poor paint film.
It is certainly possible that the working properties of
lettering enamels are exactly what you are want. Additionally, these paints are
explicitly intended for use on rigid substrates that are installed outdoors. However,
those that I have used were very brittle. If the paint dried to a skin in the paint
can, you needed to pierce it to get to the useable paint below. This was like
cracking through layers of ice or glass. This is to say that such paints should
never be used on flexible supports. It is also helpful to remember that paints
like these were intended to survive in a very hostile environment but for a
limited timeframe. Seven years was the expected life of the outdoor painted
signs that we created in the 90’s. There were certainly examples that lasted
much longer but that was the intended life. There are different criteria for
paints meant to survive horrible conditions for a few years and those meant to
last for a very long time in moderate conditions.
As to Smith’s Cream, I am completely unfamiliar with that
product but it does not appear to be made any longer. A Google search reveals
that there are replacements. The label suggests that it was intended to
facilitate blending but there are also references to its use to replicate the decorative
effects of strewing smalt. This was originally done by creating a sticky paint
layer and then strewing a coarsely ground colored glass particle into the
sticky surface. The final effect broke up the light in an interesting manner. BTW
Smalt was a fugitive but brilliant blue cobalt glass pigment that has been universally
condemned for permanent painting.
Finally, lettering enamels tend to produce a very glossy surface,
which provides less of a “tooth” for graffiti to adhere to. To my knowledge,
this does not make them immune to graffiti but creates a surface that is less acceptable
to graffiti than some of the other mural mediums (at least when they remain uncoated).
Thanks so much, Brian. What a lot of interesting information, smalt, wow!
I have used One Shot just recently, while experimenting with some cans at least ten years old and like you say, had to crack though the skin. I started with a wash, a very thinned combo of colours, which is the way I usually start with my regular oils. It moved, it went far on the ground, and I felt I could get started 'properly'. I spoke with the people at Canadian Signcrafters ( a branch only, now, of a larger company) who recommended the Smith's Cream, not to smalt!, but to better blend, they said. So, I am waiting for an order to arrive, and I'll experiment more. (I hope they find their stock! being a discontinued product.)
I feel that you are warning me, and so I wonder 1) if using the oneshot not straight out of the can or in a lettering/signpainting fashion, is going to compromise the durability because then I may just as well go with my regular oils, which is not supposed to last well outdoors at all. Also, 2) if I can handle the application of a mix of oneshot and alkyd artist's colours, then, after a while, will the chemical makeup do something weird to the oneshot? Seven years would be good, I think! Not one or two though.
You are helping me think about it. Thank you.
you are comfortable with the handling properties of the One Shot and do not
expect more than 7 years, go ahead. I am less sure about mixing the lettering
enamel with artist’s alkyds, as I have no experience with this. If the One Shot
is alky or even straight oil based, there should be no incompatibility if
thoroughly mixed. No, artist’s oils do not fare well outside for a number of
reasons. This is one of my slight misgivings about using artist’s alkyds outside
as well. Outdoor paints tend to have a much higher percentage of binder while
high quality artist paints minimize the binder and maximize the pigment. These
are two very different materials that are optimized for very different tasks. Probably, artist’s alkyds would perform
admirably. I just am not sure. This is one of the great things about acrylic
dispersion paints, since they appear to perform well in either scenario, but
you need to like their handling properties
Gee, this is really encouraging, Brian. If I get my order and the expreriments go well, I'll go with the oneshot! (without the alkyd unless I need a touch of another colour). Thanks! Have a great weekend!
Oh! Guess what! I just heard from Louie at 1Shot.com who says that Smith's Cream has not been discontinued and I should ask my distributer to order it. Yes!