Milk paint is my favorite opaque finish for wood. I buy my milk paint powder form the 'Old fashion milk paint' company. I then mix it myself to the consistency I like; the more water you add the more diluted and "washy" it will be. With a thick layer of milk paint you can completely mask over the grain and the character of your workpiece. Diluting the solution will allow you to see through the paint and notice the grain, etc,. I will talk about milk paint in more details in the future.
To blend the basswood with what appeared to be ebony (the original African worrier sculpture) I mixed black milk paint with brown and 'drift wood' color. I painted the head and neck, then waited to it to dry. I put on a second coat and after it completely dried I buffed the surface with steel wool. Lastly applied a coat of Wax.