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Old 02-22-2019, 11:57 PM
mixedmess mixedmess is offline
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Airbrush Medium + Watercolor Paints = future paint layers on top of it crack?

I make mixed media work and have been learning how to use acrylic to suit my needs over the past 2 years.

I only started using various mediums about 6 months ago. Airbrush medium was one of the first ones I tried, though I apply it with a PAINT BRUSH. It allows me to be more fluid, but I think my first inclination to buying it/using it was because I read that mixing acrylic with airbrush medium is a more stable way to dilute it than with water. This would be useful for some wash layers.

I ended up mixing (Liquitex) airbrush medium with watercolor paint, which can actually look quite great. It has a more faint, ghostly effect when drawn on with a paintbrush. Or, you can basically drop in fluid into various shallow areas of a painting. Even thicker forms of fluid/airbrush medium+WC paint can look good and less "plastic" than when I mix acrylic paint with airbrush medium.


As I build up my painting, if I put any acrylic painting on top of these areas that have airbrush medium + watercolor - the acrylic paint, as it dries, starts to separate/crack. This of course looks terrible, and so I now have just stopped mixing watercolor+airbrush medium to avoid this problem.


I did buy Golden's version of airbrush medium to see if this still happens but I don't feel too convinced there will be too much difference so I haven't experimented with it yet.

It took me quite awhile to figure out that it was airbrush medium + watercolor causing the later acrylic layers to crack.

Isolation layers (like polycrylic) also seem to have a hard time adhering to these WC+ABM areas as well. The areas are so small, or drawn lines, it's not worth trying to spray clear coat or something on them either. It's a bummer to have to abandon this combination.

Last edited by mixedmess : 02-23-2019 at 12:00 AM.
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Old 02-24-2019, 08:01 PM
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fedetony fedetony is offline
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Re: Airbrush Medium + Watercolor Paints = future paint layers on top of it crack?

could you post some pics?
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Old 02-27-2019, 05:31 PM
mixedmess mixedmess is offline
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Re: Airbrush Medium + Watercolor Paints = future paint layers on top of it crack?

Here is an example. It's harder to see, but there is a bright blue area which is watercolor + airbrush medium. When I put this yellow acrylic (+ matte medium, but it doesn't matter, it happens with all acrylic) As the acrylic dries it starts to "crack" like this. Is there a better term/word for this? When applied VERY lightly, it's ok, but often my brush on the surface of these areas I can sense the watercolor/airbrush medium areas repelling or resisting the acrylic paint going on top of it. It's really annoying because my work relies on heavy layering.

Just using acrylic + airbrush medium results in a thicker, brighter, more artificial layer than if I use watercolor + airbrush medium.

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Old 02-28-2019, 01:17 AM
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Milo Milo is offline
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Re: Airbrush Medium + Watercolor Paints = future paint layers on top of it crack?

it looks like your water color disrupted the chemical bonding/drying process of the acrylic, if its like Golden then give there techs a call and they can give you some reasons and possible solution, or which ever brand of acrylic you are using.
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