What Are Acrylic Mediums

Acrylic mediums are substances that are added to acrylic paints to alter their properties and create different effects. They can be used to thin the paint, increase its transparency, change its texture, or extend its drying time. Some of the most common acrylic mediums include gloss medium, which adds shine to the paint, matte medium, which reduces the shine, and heavy body medium, which increases the paint’s thickness. Other mediums such as pouring medium, impasto medium, and gel medium are used to create specific effects such as smooth pours, 3D textures, and raised impasto brushstrokes. Acrylic mediums are versatile and easy to use. By using different combinations of acrylic paint and mediums, you can create a wide range of effects and styles, from traditional brush paintings to modern abstract art.

Some Commonly Used Mediums

Acrylic Matte Medium (recommended)

Acrylic matte medium is a versatile medium that can be used to change the properties of acrylic paint and improve the painting experience. Here are some of the ways that acrylic matte medium can help when painting with acrylics:

  1. Decrease shine: Acrylic matte medium can be used to reduce the shine of the paint and create a flat, non-glossy finish. This is useful for creating a more understated, natural look in your paintings, particularly for landscapes and still lifes.
  2. Extend drying time: Acrylic matte medium can be added to the paint to extend the drying time, giving you more time to work with the paint and make adjustments before it sets.
  3. Increase transparency: Acrylic matte medium can also be used to increase the transparency of the paint, which is useful for creating delicate glazes and washes.
  4. Improving brush handling: By adding acrylic matte medium to the paint, you can also improve the handling of the brush, making it easier to control the flow of the paint and produce fine details.
  5. Improving colour vibrancy: The flat finish of the acrylic matte medium can also enhance the vibrancy of the colours, making them appear more saturated and vivid.

Acrylic matte medium is an important tool for artists working with acrylic paint, as it can significantly enhance the quality of their paintings and make the painting process smoother and more enjoyable.

Heavy Gel Medium

A heavy gel medium for acrylics is a thick, translucent substance that is added to acrylic paint to change its consistency and create a heavier, more substantial body. The heavy gel medium increases the thickness of the paint, creating a thicker, more impasto-like consistency that is ideal for creating textured, three-dimensional effects. This type of medium is especially useful for artists who want to create paintings with a strong sense of depth and dimensionality, such as abstract landscapes, seascapes, or still lifes. When used in conjunction with a palette knife or other painting tool, heavy gel medium can also be used to create raised, sculptural effects that stand out from the surface of the painting. Additionally, heavy gel medium can be used to extend the drying time of the paint, allowing the artist to work with the paint for a longer period of time and make adjustments before it sets. Overall, heavy gel medium can be a great tool for artists working with acrylics, and can greatly enhance the visual impact of your paintings.

Liquid Retarder

Liquid retarder is a medium that is used in acrylic painting to slow down the drying time of the paint. It is a clear, water-based solution that is added to the paint to extend its working time, allowing the artist to blend, mix, and manipulate the paint for a longer period of time. This can be particularly useful for artists who prefer to work in a slower, more methodical manner, or for those who need more time to make adjustments and corrections to their paintings and in particular portrait artists. Liquid retarder is an important tool for artists working with acrylics, and can greatly enhance the painting experience by giving artists more time to work with the paint and produce better results.

Overall I would suggest you start with the above three or at least the liquid retarder and matte medium, though none are ‘essential’ you may find them helpful, especially if you live in a hot country as acrylics dry very quickly.

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