If you have worked with acrylic paint, then you might realize that they can dry out faster than you sometimes want. Or they don’t sculpt the same as oil paint. Maybe they paint you are using dries to a finish that wasn’t to your liking. Liquitex Acrylic Paint Mediums can be the solution to your problems.
I discussed gesso and it’s uses in a previous post called Preparing a Canvas for Acrylic Painting – The How and Why. Liquitex offers a few different types of gesso. They are all used for preparation of your painting surface, but they have some slightly different qualities.
Gesso is the standard gesso that has a matte white finish and is opaque. This surface prep will leave a solid white surface that won’t soak up the paint.
Clear Gesso is the same as the standard gesso, but it is clear and leaves your painting surface sealed but allows the natural color of the surface show. Good if you are painting wood or similar and want that to show.
Colored Gesso again is the same as the above but, Drum roll please………….. It is colored. Yup you guessed it, this gesso comes in colors. However you can easily just add paint to either of the above and get the same effect.
Super Heavy Gesso allows you to mold or sculpt the painting surface with texture because it is much thicker. It will seal the painting surface and adhere to it as well and is flexible to prevent cracking.
Liquitex offers the Basics Line of Gesso as well, which is just the less expensive version of the standard gesso.
If you find your paint is drying too fast for you or the paint is drying on the palette, then you can add a fluid medium to slow things down. Liquitex has a Slow-Dri Blending medium that can be mixed with the paint to slow drying by up to 40%. It contains acrylic resin, so it won’t affect the way the paint looks or adheres when dry. It is also meant to aid in blending colors. There is also a Palette Wetting Spray that is available to keep your paint from developing a film or skin while on the palette.
There are several fluid mediums to change the finish of the paint. These can be used to give a gloss finish or a varnish. There are mediums to give a matte finish or even an ultra matte finish. All of these mediums will help to remove brush strokes and increase the flow of the paint making it self leveling.
Gel mediums are thicker and can be used to accomplish the opposite of the self leveling fluid mediums and thicken the paint for molding or sculpting. They will still slow the drying time and they come in several finishes just like the fluid mediums.
There are a few more options in the gels mainly because they offer different thickness levels. The gels also contain acrylic resin so they will dry without affecting the paint or the adherence properties.
Effects mediums come in a very wide variety and are used for specific effects. The full list can be viewed here. A few of the more common effects mediums are the Slow-Dri Fluid Retarder, the Slow-Dri Gel Retarder, and the Liquithick Thickening Gel.
These products do what the names imply, and the act very much like the Mediums listed above. However, the difference is that these products do not contain acrylic resin and should be used in smaller amounts. 25% is the recommended maximum. If too much is used the paint may not dry at all.
There are mediums that contain aggregates that give the finish a texture like sand and more. These can be used as a prep to give the canvas a ground with an interesting texture. Your imagination is the only limiting factor.
A Cornucopia of Options
As you can see there are many ways to change the way your acrylic paint behaves. You can make it flow, you can thicken it up to keep texture and sculpt, you can change the finish. If you are looking for a way to slow the drying time or hate that film that develops on the paint on your palette, then there is a solution.
If you want you paint to feel like sand, then there is an answer for that as well. All of these products are designed to work with the Liquitex paints and won’t affect adherence. They remain flexible and won’t crack. What ever you are trying to accomplish there is probably an answer within the Liquitex Acrylic Paint Mediums.
I hope this gives some solutions to common problems and offers some ideas and inspiration. If you have questions or comments, please leave them below in the comments section. Thank you for reading and paint on!