View Full Version : Retarder

04-15-2000, 05:44 PM
Has anybody has any success using a retarder to slow drying times ? Or if you would like to blend colors with more time to "experiment" , what should do ? Thanks JD

04-19-2000, 03:15 PM
I have used a retarder to slow the drying time, but the drying time is still fast compared to oils....so don't expect to be able to work in an area for an hour with retarder added. The paint will stay wet for a little longer...long enough for blending..but not much longer. I mix it directly into the color on the palette and mix it in with a palette knife.

04-19-2000, 06:27 PM
Yes, same for me, I have used it and really liked it. It is different to oils though. You have to mix it something like 1 to 6 (1 being retarder) and it works fine.

04-20-2000, 02:38 PM
i've used retarders and mostly i've hated them. the only one that i can stand is made by Golden Paints and is called "acrylic glazing liquid." it's not really sold as a retarder, but it keeps acrylic paint open a lot longer and it's pretty good.

this is also another idea... i've actually mixed holbein's duo aqua oils (water soluble oil) with acrylic to keep the paint open a lot longer. it's an idea you might think about playing with, but you would be opening a whole box of pandoras....

04-20-2000, 06:57 PM
Smirky, I don't know what kind of long term results you have had with mixing water soluble oils with acrylics...but I would never do that. Water soluble oils are still oil based paints...and oil and water don't mix. The acrylic will dry quickly and the oil will not leaving your painting with wet and dry patches...and when the acrylic covers the oil...it might never dry.

04-25-2000, 09:43 AM
CHClements... In theory, your points are well-taken. I would never use acrylic to cover water soluble oils (at least for several months). Still... the fine folks at Holbein claim that mixing the two mediums is fine, and if I were to trust *any* manufacturer, it would be Holbein. They always seem to put out some of the highest quality stuff on the market; although, you tend to pay through the nose for it.

Like I said... a whole box of pandoras.

05-07-2000, 09:19 PM
carly,,,if retarders lenthen the wet time to over one hour,,,,,,,,i can make oils dry(more or less) in 15 minutes. soak the oiln in paints on newspaper,,,combine cobalt dryer and linseed as a medium......milt

05-07-2000, 11:00 PM
I've just started experimenting with artist acrylics and so am not an authority on retarders, but I did happen to catch of a few minutes of Mr. Yarnell on PBS and he said you don't need anything but plain water. He referenced the fact that he works under hot studio lights for his TV lessons and all he uses is water to keep his paints open.

05-17-2004, 10:56 PM
Golden Glazing medium is a medium that blends a retarder with other mediums. it is not a retarder. They do have a retarder but only 5% of the paint mixture should be retarder. the glzing medium is a diferent product

05-17-2004, 11:02 PM
I dislike using retarders immensely.

I find that it affects the consistency of the paint adversely and makes colors less opaque.

05-18-2004, 12:35 AM
JD (why do I feel like Turk when I write that? :D) I'm with Nina, I don't like to use retarder, for the two reasons she mentioned and also because it can make the paint dry tacky and sort of 'greasy' if you add a little too much. FWIW I think one should try to paint within acrylic's inherent properties as much as possible but you can certainly push this a bit and get away with it - like using a hairdryer to speed drying - and there are some very good acrylic painters for whom retarder is a key ingredient in their technique so they definitely have a place.

There are both liquid and gel types of retarder and the gel is the one to get if you want to try to keep your paint as close to its normal consistency as possible. If you can only get the liquid type where you are you can counteract the thinning with a very sparing addition of one of the thickening agents that Golden and Liquitex offer; this makes for a lot of mixing work with the knife but since you'll probably want to use one to mix in the retarder maybe not!

By the way, adding water doesn't really increase open time in acrylics and, importantly, it thins the paint so it's not the simple solution. Relative humidity has a strong effect on drying time and painting on grounds that are less absorbent - primed hardboard for example - rather than stretched canvas or paper will help as the paint will dry mostly by evaporation.

You might like to also do a search for previous threads that mention retarder, I know there have been a few over the past year or so, there might be some other worthwhile perspectives.


05-18-2004, 02:58 AM
:D:D:D Since I've been using a knife to paint with..I want my paints to dry FASTER...:D:D
I hate having to walk away from my painting till the layer is dry..at least for the look I go for right now anyway..
I bet retarder is useful working plein air though...

HRH Goldie
05-18-2004, 04:05 AM
I have tried retarder and the tube remains largely untouched. I much prefer using flow enhancer first then adding water thereafter. I here what your saying Einion and I know flow enhancer is exactly that (I mean you couldn't use knife after using it or you would get in a bit of a mess lol) but for me it does slow drying time cosiderably and I find when the paint on the pallette gets to that chewing gum state or crusty around the edges you might as well call it a day with that paint. Whereas keeping it wet I don't get that problem at all. In fact I can leave my pallette overnight with the paint sitting in a tiny puddle of water and it is perfect the next day. I also sometimes have two pallettes on the go. I decant the paint onto a water flooded pallette or plate so I can have easy access to these colours instead of keep stopping to open tubes. I then take what I need from these colours and mix and blend on a seperate pallette. I think it works really well and stops you getting frustrated when all you want to do is paint and can't find the tube you need amongst all the others. ;)

05-18-2004, 01:03 PM
I use retarders occasionally. When I started, I used them rather frequently. They will add a fair amount of working time to the acrylic. Most brands recommend limiting the amount of retarder to no more than 15% by weight. From personal experience, I keep it down to 10% or less, otherwise opacity is effected.

Adding a little water, or adding a wee bit of medium will also extend the drying time. They are not a catalyst to slow the polymerization, as a true retarder, but it does work. If you are just trying to increase your blending time on the canvas, there is an easy, non-additive solution. Try using a damp sponge and moisten the surface of the support, before painting. You don't want it dripping wet, just moist enough to keep the support from sucking the water out of the paint I am applying. I find that gives me 10-20 minutes of addtional blending time (more on really humid days), and keeps my application opaque.

If you are working on a harder surface (like hardboard), I have had good luck just thining a bit with water. I wet the paint to a consistency like gouache. The application is still opaque enough, but drys slow enough to buy me some blending, or scrap back time. I use thicker Utrecht and Golden acrylics, which are a bit more viscous, which gives me some thinning leeway.


05-19-2004, 07:04 PM
I use retarders for all life paintings within a 6 hour time frame. I would never use them on a painting that would span more than a day.