Recommendations on Paint for a Beginner?

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on 15 Mar 2014 7:04 PM

Hi Catherine—

I'm not sure if this is what you are referring to but this is a repeat of my second posting on this subject:

When they were introduced in the 1950s, all acrylics were "fast drying" acrylics. In recent years, additives were introduced to slow the drying time when desirable. Recently, Golden paints has offered an entire line of slow drying acrylics called "Golden Open Acrylics".

Their original line of acrylic is now called "Heavy Body Acrylics". The "Heavy Body" term is to distinguish it from thinner, more fluid acrylics. The "Heavy Body"—original type of acrylics—is the best place to start to learn how to work with acrylic paint. If the paint is drying too fast, you can use their additive to retard the drying. Also you can use "open acrylics" over standard fast drying acrylics.

You can learn more about all this at Golden's website:

Under "products", go to "colors" for a good explanation of the paint types. When you click the "Golden Open Acrylics" area there is more information plus a video explaining the use and the drying times for Open Acrylics. A lot depends on how absorbent the working surface is.

There are no easy or quick answers to a lot of this. You learn to paint by painting—and a good place to start is with regular fast drying— "Heavy Body"— acrylics.

I have been working with acrylics since they were introduced in the 50s and I've worked with every leading brand.

If this isn't what you were asking about please let me know.


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on 15 Mar 2014 7:25 PM

Sorry Catherine—

I think I now understand what you were asking about. The "second posting" referred to my second post on a thread about "help with blending". I will repeat it below. The previous answer to your request just elaborates on this: sure you are using the best materials. You can't do good work with second rate tools. Personally, I believe Golden acrylics are the best. Also, it is imperative that you do some practice work with acrylic instruction books.

I have mentioned "standard acrylics". Golden also makes "Open Acrylics". "Open Acrylics" stay wet longer and can facilitate smooth blending. However, I believe that in the learning stage you should stick with standard acrylics.

Lastly, it would be good for you to visit galleries or art exhibitions that are featuring realistic paintings painted with acrylics. Become familiar with the working surfaces and surface textures used—and the brush work and general techniques employed.

Catherine—Here "standard" acrylics refers to what Golden calls "heavy body" acrylics. There is a need for the terms "open", "heavy body" and "fluid" or "flow" because each type works a bit different. I think it is much better to work with "heavy body" acrylics at the beginning—then go on to the other versions.

This stuff can be confusing. If you have questions, please ask us.


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Large Coffee wrote
on 18 May 2014 2:10 AM

I'm just getting back into it + like you developing technique.  In the beginning get the cheapest paints + canvases possible b/c if you paint at lest once a week you will develop your skill set and the paintings from day one that you thought were so good, you will want to paint over.  

I buy my paint + canvas from a dollar store right now (started getting better brushes from art stores however and just recently bought some Retarder).  That way you don't feel like your throwing a lot of money, material down a drain.  Your more adventures.  

If I ever get to the point that I sell my paintings I will buy better brand paint for that!  But while I develop + learn I'm using the cheap stuff and its not bad at all.  

You might consider using Retarder for you backgrounds.  It will help you get that blended look I think your wanting b/c the paint won't dry so quickly giving you time to manipulate it.  And don't throw away any canvases,  paint over them!  Can't tell you how many I've painted over.   Photograph it before you do, put it on your computer in a file that you can fine easily so you can look back on it to see how far you've come! 

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