View Full Version : Adapting The 'wet in wet' Technique

04-17-2007, 04:24 PM
Good evening (20:15 in the UK).

I have purchased a set of painting DVD's with the tutor 'Darrell Crow' showing how to do the 'Wet in Wet' oil painting technique. They are very good with lots and lots of clear information and well demonstrated.

I have also purchased the DVD 'Adapting the Technique for Acrylics'. I can not seem to get on as well with this method. Has anyone else in the WC community adapted the 'WiW' technique for acrylics? If you have, how did you do it?

My problem is the 'liquid medium' base (Acrylic Retarder + Flow Enhancer) seems to dry much quicker on my gesso grounds that it appears to on the DVD!

I paint on Gesso'd MDF and Gesso'd paper. I know Darrell paints on Canvas grounds. Would this make a difference to the absorbency rate? If that is the case, how can I overcome it?

Thanks for any help, advice, tips.


04-17-2007, 04:28 PM
Hi autoslip

You could possibly put a layer of acrylic medium over your gesso and let it dry. Then when you paint it won't be absorbed as quickly.


04-17-2007, 04:34 PM
That was quick Mandy.

I have tried putting on a layer of acrylic scumble (which is a clear coating) and letting it dry, but it does not help at all.

Did you have a specific medium in mind, the are loads of them.


04-17-2007, 06:02 PM
You could also spritz the area very lightly with water then try the wet in wet. Or, you could apply acrylic medium or glazing medium first on the area then painting wet in wet.

04-17-2007, 06:17 PM
I should have done a 'search' of the WC acrylics forum. I have just found a previous post about this very topic. The general opinion is that it is not very successful.

However. I don't want to produce paintings using a 'television artist's' methods. But I would like a bit more time to blend specific areas in my painting's. That is the reason for my post.

I have just applied a layer of 'Golden Soft Gel' to a gesso'd piece of MDF. If I get a chance I will have a go to see if the method works tomorrow. If it is successful I will post a reply.

Keep any suggestions coming. All will be welcomed.


04-17-2007, 06:54 PM

Do you let the acrylic medium or glazing medium dry before you begin the wet-in-wet process, or is the underlying layer still wet when you apply the paint on top?


P.S. Do you use Golden or Liquitex mediums?

04-17-2007, 07:01 PM
Hi autoslip

Yes, the soft gel is what I would have suggested. I hope it helps :-)


04-17-2007, 07:18 PM
No, the medium is still wet and will help keep your paints wet and flowing better. If the paint starts to drag then very lightly mist with water or medium/water mixture. The same for spritzing with water, go right in with paint, before the water dries. Try it on scrap paper and see if it works for you. You can change the amount of water or medium to get the flow you want on the canvas.

04-17-2007, 07:59 PM
Take a look at the wetting spray from liquitex. It may assist. You can read up on it on their web site.

I have found that it makes the surface rather "slick" and does prolong the drying a bit.

Might work for you but I would read up on it first.

04-17-2007, 09:12 PM
Thanks, Ann and Howard!


04-18-2007, 01:44 PM
Well, I do make my own gesso for grounds which absorb the colours to quick. I mix an acrylic wall colour with up to 30% of wood glue. I put on about 2- 3 layers of my "gesso" and after drying I sand it with a very fine paper. (Beware of the dust!) At least cleaning it carefully.
If I paint on wood, I do this on both sides, especially when I paint with acrylics. That prevents the board from bending.

cheers, Axel

04-18-2007, 03:09 PM
Good evening again.

Well I forced myself to finish working early so that I could try out the various ideas you have been kind enough to submit.

Whilst sealing the surface with an acrylic glaze improved (reduced) the absorbency rate a little it gave me another problem. Namely the first layer of paint I applied into the 'wet' surface (on top of the sealed surface) lifted as soon as I tried to add another layer of paint into it! It seems this is too 'slick'.

I purchased a pre-primed canvas today and tried the wet-in-wet technique on it. What struck me almost instantly was the way the brush 'glided across the surface'. I think it must be due to the depressions in the weave of the canvas holding more of the 'liquid clear' base coat, than the 'crest' (if that is the correct term) of the weave.

I tried to replicate this effect on some MDF, but the surface is too smooth. I dont think sanding it would improve matters. The obvious suggestion would be to bond a canvas sheet on to the MDF. But then I may as well use a 'proper' canvas support.

A thought has occurred to me that I might try and use a fine wood graining combe to produce 'criss-crossing' ridges in the top 'gesso' layer, trying to replicate the canvas weave.

OR. I could just accept that what I would like to achieve is just not practical.

Thank you all


04-18-2007, 08:36 PM
Check out this link as well, there are a lot of links with the same question. http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=412971
It is amazing what has been covered in this website, it is a fountain of knowledge.