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DMSS 05-06-2014 07:13 PM

Golden Medium + Water; Watercolor Effects questions: Advice from Golden
 
I had recently started a thread about what to use to wet the paper when painting with acrylics in a watercolor style. This ultimately led me to email Golden's technical support department with several questions about using water and with their mediums and paints. With their permission, I am posting our email correspondence on this subject with the hope that it will be helpful to others as well. I have to say, the customer service at Golden rocks!

My initial questions:
Would you be willing to comment upon the following questions? Specifically, I want to know whether any of the following techniques that I am trying out will cause any problem with creating a stable paint film, or any other problem. And, also, whether the products I am using make sense for the applications I am describing, or whether you have products that you think may be better suited to what I am trying to accomplish.
>
>I have been experimenting with using Soft Gel Gloss Medium mixed 1:1 with water, and also Soft Gel Matte Medium mixed 1:1 with water. I am using these to make glazes, as a couch, and also just to dip my brush into instead of water. Is there any problem with using these mixtures for these various purposes? I am concerned that it might be putting too much water into the mix and could cause the paint film to have binding problems. I quite like using it this way instead of Acrylic Glazing Liquid, because I find the paint flows better than with AGL, and often I want to glaze and have it dry quickly, whereas with AGL my glaze stays open too long because of the retarder in the AGL. I do like the AGL when I want to extend my open time and blend. I have read one artist's blog, where he wrote that when making a glaze if you keep the mixture at least 50% acrylic, then you will be o.k., so that if you use a 1:1 medium-water mixture for your glazes (or, slightly more than 50% medium), then when you add that mixture to the paint you will necessarily have more than 50% acrylic polymer in the resulting mix.
>
>I also am experimenting with using airbrush medium in the same ways as described above, painting with paint and brushes, not with an airbrush. In other words, I am trying to use the airbrush medium as a replacement for water. Can I/should I mix the airbrush medium with water? Any problem with 1:1 airbrush medium to water?
>
>I also am looking for a good way to paint watercolor-like washes with fluid acrylics wet-in-wet. The question here is what to wet the paper with. I tried a matte gel gloss medium-water 1:1 mixture; 100% airbrush medium; and an airbrush medium-water 1:1 mixture. Then I saw a youtube video by Michelle Theberge, who said that if you are painting on an absorbent surface that has not been gessoed, like watercolor paper, there is no paint film problem caused by using 100% water. Is that correct?
>
>Or, given what I am trying to do, should I be trying a fluid medium instead?

Golden's reply
These mixtures can work fine as long as kept fairly thin. If you puddle up a thinned out paint or medium they can often craze. The term "couch" is typically used for oil painting, and is often some medium and solvent, and used to create a thin transparent layer or to lower the absorbency of the surface. For this, I can tell you that a thinned out medium will have more porosity and be more absorbent than one that is not thinned. If it is working for you, then I would say continue. 50% thinning should be fine. We often say that our paints can be thinned up to 50% and still dry to a very good and perfectly stable film. And our recommended isolation coat for pre-varnishing is Soft Gel (gloss) thinned with one third water. A little more, up to 50% is fine in thin layers.

I also do not understand exactly the purpose of dipping your brush into one of these mixtures. Water could work if you just wanted to keep the brush wet. But if you wanted some viscosity to the mixture, then I can understand.

You should not use our Airbrush Medium as a replacement for water. While it is possible to use it as a kind of Retarder, it is only meant to be used blended at least 50% with another acrylic product. If not, you can get increased water sensitivity and a tacky film for a long time. It dries too slowly. So,...No to the Airbrush Medium and water. If you want a nice very water thin medium try Airbrush Transparent Extender. You can use that all by itself and you wont need to thin it. Read the Airbrush Medium tech sheet here:

http://www.goldenpaints.com/technicaldata/abmedium.php

And Airbrush Transparent Extender:

http://www.goldenpaints.com/technicaldata/abtranex.php

You don't need to be so scared of using water with acrylics. The main thing is not to use a very thinned out paint or medium thickly, as you can get surface defects, and very thinned out paints will be weaker films that might allow pigment to move if the surface is aggressively brushed. But if you apply an isolation coat and then a varnish the surface will be perfectly consolidated.

For watercolor wash effects using our Fluids or our new High Flow colors, you would simply use water, just like with watercolor. Additions of medium will reduce the loose wash effects, and there is no need for it. Of course, paper pieces should be under glass as all watercolors should as well. There is no "paint film problem", because there is virtually no paint film with washes anyway. Just like with watercolor. Sure, at times, if you lay it on thicker then there will be a very thin and porous acrylic paint film, but that is no problem, unless you plan to keep the piece out or display it without glass. Then it is the paper that is the problem, because paper is so delicate and gets dirty easily. If you want to switch from making washes to glazes, then you would add in some medium, like our Fluid Matte Medium, or GAC 100 or Airbrush Transparent Extender.

Here is information about our new High Flow colors which will be ideal for making intense watercolor like washes - thinned easily with water:


High Flow Acrylic Colors:
http://www.goldenpaints.com/highflow...ColorChart.pdf

High Flow Acrylics Tech Sheet:
http://www.goldenpaints.com/technicaldata/highflow.php

Markers, Mops, Daubers and GOLDEN High Flow
http://justpaint.org/jp30/jp30article2.php

And here is another article by Amy McKinnon that may be helpful:

High Flow Acrylic Application: Pen and Markers
http://www.goldenpaints.com/justpaint/jp29article5.php

High Flow Acrylics for Airbrush, Striping, Textiles, Marbleizing and Staining:
http://www.goldenpaints.com/justpaint/jp29article6.php


My follow up question:
Is the following a fair summary:

1. To create a stable paint film, don't use more than 50% water in a mixture of water, medium and paint. If you want a thinner mixture than that, use either a lower viscosity paint or a lower viscosity medium.

2. If painting watercolor-like washes, you aren't creating a paint film anyway, so if you want to thin with a lot of water that is ok. Then, to make the wash stable, you can apply an isolation coat.

3. If you want a thin wash with more vibrant color, then start with a lower viscosity paint, I.e., either fluid or high flow lines.

So, then I guess that leaves me with this question (which maybe you answered, but I'm not sure): What do I wet watercolor paper with? I think you saying that straight water is fine, is that right?

Golden's Reply to my follow up question:
Here are your questions and my answers following:

1. To create a stable paint film, don't use more than 50% water in a mixture of water, medium and paint. If you want a thinner mixture than that, use either a lower viscosity paint or a lower viscosity medium.

A: That is generally true, if you are using Golden products, but the term "stable" is not really accurate. Acrylic is very stable in terms of UV light and that it is quite resistant to change. It is more about the porosity and absorbency of a very thinned out acrylic film, and how that "weaker" film can sometimes not hold on to pigments as efficiently. But, if you are painting in a watercolor like technique on paper or even an absorbent acrylic ground, then it is perfectly fine to use as much water as you like, just like you would with watercolor. And, as I mentioned, if not placed under glass, then just topcoat or varnish to consolidate the surface.

2. If painting watercolor-like washes, you aren't creating a paint film anyway, so if you want to thin with a lot of water that is ok. Then, to make the wash stable, you can apply an isolation coat.

A: Yes.

3. If you want a thin wash with more vibrant color, then start with a lower viscosity paint, I.e., either fluid or high flow lines.

A: Yes.

So, then I guess that leaves me with this question (which maybe you answered, but I'm not sure): What do I wet watercolor paper with? I think you saying that straight water is fine, is that right?

A: Water. And if you want to increase the absorbency of the liquid paint and washes into the substrate ( paper, canvas, absorbent grounds ), then you can play with small additions of our Acrylic Flow Release. Here is more information for you:

http://www.goldenpaints.com/technicaldata/flreleas.php

Make sure to watch the embedded video as well.

pastel65 05-06-2014 09:58 PM

Re: Golden Medium + Water; Watercolor Effects
 
Wow - lots of information. I will read again when not thinking about sleep:lol: Thanks Pam:wave:

Babli21 05-07-2014 07:31 AM

Re: Golden Medium + Water; Watercolor Effects
 
Thank you for sharing all this. I had seen a video (not a Golden video) that recommended airbrush medium instead of water to thin acrylic paint for toning canvases. It is interesting to see that he is not recommending that (beyond a 50/50 mix.) Always something new to learn!

Aspsusa 05-07-2014 05:24 PM

Re: Golden Medium + Water; Watercolor Effects
 
I think I saw that same video, and immediately had to try it. It's nice -ish, but the problem is that it foams something fierce, and being so thin doesn't really want to form a nice even film.
It's been on my list of things to ask Golden's fabulous guys about, but I just haven't gotten around to it. Good to know that the AB Tr. Extender should work better - which is such a Duh! thing, now when I think about it...

I often want a thin-ish viscosity, and transparancy (or even just "clear paint"). So I always have AGL (I like the extended drying) and GAC100 handy - I should really try the GAC<whatever> that is supposed to be thinner than the GAC100 (500? 700? too lazy to look it up right now).

Interesting the thing about dipping the brush in something besides water - I find AGL *very* useful for this when I don't want lots of water and am using extremely absorbent brushes - load the brush with medium, dip into colour. Keeps the brush "wet" (ie not in danger of lifting colour) but doesn't risk water where I don't want it. But then I tend to use absorbent and soft brushes, and am a bit neurotic about keeping them ultra-wet at all times.

Charlie's Mum 05-09-2014 07:39 AM

Re: Golden Medium + Water; Watercolor Effects
 
Thanks for sharing this David - as the info might be useful to others later too, I'll copy the thread to the Information Kiosk.


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