Monday, 4 April 2011

Acrylic Mediums

Every now and again as if by magic a new product appears which totally transforms the way you work.

I must admit that when I was asked to test the new Winsor & Newton acrylic mediums I was sceptical.

I’m happy as I am thanks, I thought.

But then I tried them, and indeed, my work was transformed.

Firstly the range of mediums is developed to maintain all of the benefits of the Artists’ Acrylic colour range, a bold claim, but an accurate one.

Artists Acrylic colours are the only acrylics to truly have no colour shift (that annoying shift in tone from wet to dry), and the mediums maintain that balance.

The usual problem with acrylic mediums is the fact that they are milky when wet; which in turn appears to water down your colour mixes making it difficult to judge colours accurately.

This is no longer a problem as the Artist Acrylic Mediums are clear or translucent therefore maintaining complete control of your colour mixing

Why bother using mediums at all? I hear you cry. Because they raise your game to a whole new level, and by working with mediums and exploring the possibilities, you regain that kind of mad childlike enthusiasm you had at school in your art lesson.

I found myself almost starting from scratch to see just what I could do with the paint, and as an artist that was exciting.

I found that I could extend the colour, vastly improve the flow (which is something that I had struggled to achieve previously), create brilliant glazes and alter the sheen of the finished work from dead matt to staggeringly intense gloss.

In my study sample I started with a white gesso primer, which was perfect for adding extra ‘tooth’ to my mdf board.

The primer also dried really quickly which was ideal.

Then, straight on to a little bash with some glazing medium over the sky area.

This is perfect for layering colours to create luminous, translucent effects.

Again the glazing medium is completely clear so no worries about colour change.

I should say at this point that I had a choice of working Matt or Gloss or in fact both (if I was feeling a little crazy) but chose to go glossy for the painting.

Adding a little Gloss Gel to the Artists Acrylic helped me to control the shine of the paint, to keep that shine but without changing the buttery texture of the paint itself. This is used in the distant foreshore.

Then on to my favourite of all, yummy modelling paste, which kind of looks so good, you could almost eat the stuff (but don’t or I’ll get into trouble!).

I add the modelling paste to the near foreshore using a bit of old card before adding some sand, stones and other tat that I tend to collect from the beach.

When dry I can scumble neat colour over the paste to create some fantastic textures.

For my sea area I try out some Flow Improver, this slows down the drying time a little and greatly adds to the ability to paint an acrylic wash in one go, which is no easy task.

When dry I simply spread, wash, flick, dribble and spatter additional tints mixed with the flow improver.

Finally, I’m almost finished and decide that the painting could do with a varnish to pull the whole thing together.

Again I have a choice of Matt, Satin or Gloss.

I choose the gloss to create the most jewel like colour.

Will I continue to use Artists’ Acrylic Mediums?

As long as I can have this much fun, you bet!