View Full Version : Problems with mixing acrylics

06-15-2015, 03:53 PM
Hi! I just paid a lot for a nice canvas and I'm afraid I have really messed up. I wanted to do heavy abstract brush strokes in black and it looked great while wet...but once dry, the black acrylic looks glossy in some areas and matte in others. Is this because I over diluted with water and then layered with more paint that wasn't watered down enough? I've never had a problem like this..any advice on what I can do to make the black design look even? Can I go over with more paint to make it blend? Thanks for your help!

06-15-2015, 04:01 PM
If you want to even out a surface after it has dried in acrylic you can choose one of the various acrylic " varnishes" to do so: matte, satin or gloss. You can get brush on or spray.
Good luck,

06-15-2015, 04:05 PM
Water will affect the sheen and even possibly make the color dull or cloudy. This is why I avoid getting water in the paint, if I need to dilute the paint I use glazing medium.

For your situation a coat of gloss or matt medium will even out the sheen again, as will a coat of varnish.

06-15-2015, 04:46 PM
Thanks so much for the tips!

06-15-2015, 04:49 PM
Can I use varnish to dilute the paint? If so, what ratio?

06-15-2015, 05:21 PM
No varnish is ONLY for coating....not to be added to paint.

Cindy Schnackel
06-15-2015, 07:42 PM
You may want to do an "isolation coat," of clear gloss acrylic medium. I like Golden fluid medium or their GAC 100, also Liquitex Varnish-Medium. All of those can be used as painting mediums. A true varnish can't. I thin my acrylic medium for an isolation coat with water. You need to get familiar with it. In my area, (desert southwest), it dries fast so I may water it down a lot so it floats out nice. I'd rather do a couple of thin coats than one thick one, as a lot of my work has a smooth surface. On textury work you can follow existing brushstrokes to avoid unwanted marks.

If you want a matte look, you might want to do it only as a final coat, because matte products can dry cloudy, especially if heavily applied. Golden makes a fluid matte medium. But if you're going to do an actual varnish you can do that as the final matte coat.

You can do varnish over an isolation coat if you want. For acrylics there are basically 2 kinds of actual varnish; removable and non removable.

If an even surface is what you're after, I find it's helpful to work fast, don't rework brushstrokes a lot, let it dry, and go back and carefully touch up if needed.

06-16-2015, 07:58 AM
So..... if the paints are drying up how do you keep them moist without getting water on them? My colors look matte too when dry, might just be that they're Galeria's.

06-16-2015, 09:54 AM
I just mist my paints with an atomizer. The goal is just to replace the moisture that has been lost not thin the paint. Also I only use distilled water in my atomizer. The minerals in tap water eventually will clog up the nozzle and I also suspect that the chemicals and minerals in tap water may have a negative effect on the paint so I only use tap water for rinsing brushes.

I'm not sure that your paint dries matt because it's student grade, but there are plenty of other reasons to avoid student grade. The matt finish can be solved with varnish, not a big deal. I'm more concerned with the fact that thinning acrylic paint with water seems to cause the color to go a bit cloudy or dull.

chammi kaiser
06-17-2015, 05:08 AM
I also use distilled water in my spray bottle. I never mix my paints with water - only with a glaze medium . I definitely find that when mixed with water, the acrylics become dull and chalky. I use a very good high quality paint and it also becomes milky when mixed with water.