Artist Resources: Acrylic Mediums

Acrylic paint is more versatile than any other paint with flexibility and adhesion that are completely different from that of oil or watercolor. They can lay down thin in washes like watercolor, go on heavy like buttery oil paint, or take on a variety of aggregates for texture.  With acrylic paint, comes a wealth of mediums, gels and pastes to alter the paint even more, like adding open time, or creating matte or high gloss finishes. Modern artists have the benefit, too, of excellent technicians and conservators that have a rich knowledge of acrylic properties to lean on when questions arise.  Below is an overall list of most of the mediums on the market, with exception to brand specific mediums.  

Mediums:  Mediums are products that can be added to paint in any quantity to change its characteristics. Mediums can be brand specific, but are usually the same across the board, and can often be safely interchanged with other brands of paint.  Mediums are often milky when wet, but dry clear.  It is always advised to test mixtures before applying to a painting.

Crackle Medium  
Glazing Medium -- slows drying time and gives more translucency
Pouring Medium or Self Leveling Medium
Polymer Medium -- used to reduce viscosity and extend color without changing the integrity of the paint film
Fabric Medium
Texture Medium
Iridescent or Interference Medium
Air Brush or Screen Printing Medium
Additives -- follow directions carefully as these are intended to mix in limited quantities.  (slow dryers, flow releases and blending fluids)
Gel Mediums -- see below

Gels are used for changing viscosity, extending color, and altering the finish.  They are also excellent for adhesion in mixed media work.  Pastes are similar to gels in consistency or viscosity but usually dry opaque.

Heavy Gel 
Extra Heavy Gel 
Soft Gel Gloss 
Regular Gel 
Glass Bead Gel
Opaque Gel
Self Leveling Gel
Clear Tar or String Gel
Moulding Pastes
Fiber Paste
Pumice Gel
Clear Granular Gel
High Solid Gel 

If you have technical questions about which mediums are the best to use for a particular process, contact the manufacturer of the product as they are usually the best resource.  Retailer websites also offer great videos and excerpts on medium use as well.  

We don't recommend using brushes to mix mediums into paints, but there are quite a few of our brush lines that are heavy duty enough to handle a heavy body paint mixture, including Black Steel, Beau Blanc, Golden Stag and Interboro.  I am also partial to the Urban FX line for working with acrylics and mediums as they have great sizes and unique shapes.

Keep Painting,

Check out the Dynasty Brush website for more information on our lines of brushes.