Open Acrylics

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Lori Woodward posted on 20 Oct 2008 1:23 PM

Anyone tried Golden's new Open Acrylics?

 

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Hi Lori, Ask all the questions you want. I will try to answer all of them. This is a great forum for artists to help each other out.

The Katahdin painting is 100% interactive. On my progress page I only show 6 of the 20 or so layers that are involved.

I use mdf panels for the most part. Larger paintings are canvas. I coat all the surfaces with several coats of gesso. Sand in between. (I like Jerry's world's greatest). The mdf does not leach. If one uses masonite I would seal it with Golden GAC500 or a similar product. I tone the surface with a transparent red oxide mixed with matte medium and many times I add Golden's fine pumice gel to it to give me enough tooth for several layers. (larger works can be 30 layers on average so the tooth helps) Of course any of the commercial panels would worked fine.

Chroma suggests putting down some binder medium first. It will leave a glossy surface which some may not like as the paint will slip around more. If so, I suggest coating it again with matte medium. I prefer to paint right on my toothy surface and skip the binder at first.

I start out by scumbling in color. I work it into the tooth and move the paint around quickly. I am just laying in shapes and color. I use no water. I prefer to use mediums. At first I use Clear Painting medium or Slow Clear Medium. IMPORTANT: It is very important to use the interactive medium here. If you use any other medium (you can however... but) you will lose the "interactive" property of the paint. You won't be able to rework it. Jim Cobb, the inventor, likes to use a spray mist to keep the paints flowing when he paints. I like to just dip my brush... in water at first and then in some Unlocking formula to reopen touch dry areas. 

When I am happy with the first "layer" and know I will not be reworking any areas I will commit that layer to posterity. I dry it with a hair dryer. I paint so thin that it can dry in about 30 seconds. Then I will coat the painting (gently) with binder medium. (binder is NOT interactivce) It will dry very quickly. I can be ready for my next layer in minutes- something I had to wait at least 3 days for with caseins. You can paint right over the glossy surface of the binder medium, sometimes I do, but I usually coat that with a fluid matte medium or any matte medium to give it enough tooth to keep scumbling. 

All my paintings have several layers, the layers always show through one way or another. Sometimes I lay in complimentary colors to glaze the final color over top. I always paint very thin up until the end. May palette is simple and consists 8 colors in pigments that are not too opaque. IE: I use no reds. I mix a magenta and a transparent orange to get any number of reds. When the color is strong but transparent I can easily push them all around and compliment, desaturate, tint etc. at will. I use only one green. Sap green. It is a very obedient color and simplifies my mixing.

The interactive nature of the paint is something to experiment with. Many times I will not isolate parts of the painting under a binder varnish or matte medium. In areas with grass and wildflowers for example I will paint like crazy over a touch dry layer, use scrafito, knives and other tools, as the fresh paint sits over the previous layer they will "interact". Other times I will seal a layers, paint like crazy over that part.... same tools.... and then come in a with brush dipped in water or unlocking formula and reveal parts, rag off areas, blot.... all sorts of manipulation. The skies the limit. It does free up my creative side.

At the end of a painting (if I am staying in only acrylics) I will use the Slow Thick Medium. this is much like Maroger or Neo Meglip. It allows me to lay in details, hold long lines, glaze. Etc. I tend to go more opaque in the details. Keep in mind that I paint very thin, a lot like Frederick Edwin Church, Maxfield Parrish etc. so I can keep glazing and glazing, the thick over thin rule never really comes into play with me too much. Some would argue that acrylics don't need this rule when painted over a rigid surface. (unless there is a lot of impasto) Speaking of which some of my grass and field areas get some impasto underpainting. I lay in some texture with a mixture of modeling compound, impasto gel and slow thick medium. then I scumble several things over that. before adding spare details in the end.

So with interactive I use the bare bones Binder Medium(varnish). Clear Painting Medium or Slow Clear Medium. Unlocking Formula. and Slow Thick Medium. They have many others that I use and dabble with but the 3 or 4 above are staples.

The vast majority of my work is finished in Alkyds (I still have tubes from 30 years ago!) or oils. I use the same palette in these mediums. There are several reasons why I finish in these mediums. Many galleries and clients prefer to deal in oils, acrylics seem to have a stigma still. I remain truthful and label my paintings with the mediums used. One gallery likes to remove my label and put on their own. hmmm. Another other reason is the color shift in acrylics. When trying to leave a very subtle color in a sky for example... the shadow of a cloud... the minute color shift is enough for me to switch over to oil. Yet another reason is blending, you can keep the acrylics open layer by layer, but when I know I can finish oils and will most likely, I don't waste a lot of time fussing. I simply know in my mind I can smooth out a blend later. Time is precious as we all know and painting is not my day job... yet. Also, when I can creating I don't want to fuss too much. Less is more as they say. So I keep my work fresh and worry less about how a certain part of a painting is working knowing I can "repair" it later. As I mentioned I use the same colors in all mediums so they work seamlessly. People have noted that my paintings in different mediums are hard to tell apart, wether in caseins, acrylics or oils they all look like oils in the end.

Chroma will be filming me next month doing a demo which they will have on their website. I am also doing a workshop/demo in Interactive Acrylics in November at the Art of the Carolinas that Jerry's host.

I hope this wasn't too long and I answered your questions without smothering them. I really like your autumn landscapes in your gallery. What medium are those?

All the best,

Mikel

 

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Not yet but I would like to try them. I read a lot about them

Brian Rice

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I tried them last night for the first time. I was given a small, free, sample pack from my art store, and I decided to just play. So far, I like them. They gave me alot more time to play and move the paint around. The sample pack only had Alz. crimson, cobalt blue and tit white, but I mixed them with some of my faster drying acrylics, and I still had alot of time to work and rework.  I'm asking for some for Christmas stocking stuffers, so I'll know more in a couple of weeks, and will give you my update.

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I expect my order to come in any day now.  Thanks Amy for posting here.  Feel free to let us know what you experience with them.

Glad to know you could add some fast drying acrylic and still have extended working time.

 

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I "played" with Open Acyrlics yesterday for most of the day.  The piles on my palette stayed soft all day, but I sprayed them with water a couple of times.  My thin mixutures on the palette got tacky after 10 minutes or so, but I could reconstitute them by adding more paint - without having any hardened skin in the mixture.

When I left them at full thickness - not adding any medium or water, they brushed on like oils; however, I sense that they are more opague than oils - low luminosity.

I hope to experiment more with glazing and other surfaces during the holidays. If anyone out there has made any discoveries, please add your results to this thread... OK?

I love experimenting!  No pressure... just play.

 

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Excellent info Lori. Thanks! I've been interested in these as well, but haven't had the chance to pick them up yet.

I would assume that they took considerably longer to dry (on the actual painting) than traditional acrylics? Would you say that to be a downfall or an advantage?

I'm really glad that you've started this conversation. Smile

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Yes they did take longer to dry on the painting - more like painting with alkyd - they dry to the touch overnight.

Because I like to glaze, sometimes I would like them to dry faster. Chroma Interactive acrylics have both long-dry and fast-dry mediums so that one can choose to dry slowly or fast.

I think the Open Acrylics might work very well for plein air painting - since the older versions of this medium dried almost instantly outdoors.  I will have to wait until I get to Tucson this winter to try them outside. It's 15 degrees with whiteout conditions where I live today.

 

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I've tried the sample pack Golden sent me in the mail.  I did like the extra drying time for blending.  I did notice, however, that when I went back in the following day after 24 hrs. dry time to put a wash over parts of the painting, some of it lifted off.  Not sure if the paint was too thick and I needed to compensate with extra dry time or what.  The surface seemed dry to the touch, but maybe there is some technique to using it.  I wonder about getting the same effect with adding "retarder" gel to Golden's soft gel and using that as an additive to paint.  I'm going to try it tonight on a painting I'm trying to finish.  

Gayle Bell

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Gayle,

I've been experimenting with the Golden Acrylics, and you're right, they don't dry completely overnight.  I'm thinking about taking them with me to Arizona this winter - for the real test - painting outdoors in the desert.  I imagine that they will work well under those conditions.

I am also trying out Chroma's Interactive Acrylics. These work a bit differently because the artist can choose slow or fast drying depending on the medium added. I can spray the surface often to keep it workable without skimming. I found I can spray the blobs on my palette and keep them wet as well.

but the thing I enjoy about Acrylic is that it dries fast and I can almost immediately add a glaze or change my painting, so it bothers me a little bit when i have to wait for Golden's to dry. But that is not to say it isn't a great product. I think it will revolutionize plein air painting for acrylic painters, and for oil painters who would like to work in a less toxic situation.

Let us all know if you find out anything else. I'm so glad these companies have heard us and are making new products.

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I haven't acquired any yet, but for large canvases and extensive sky, this may be just what is needed to be able in acrylics to do a 'Parrish' sky... then the rest can be done using the regular acrylics, since am a detailist and love the quick drying...

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How about brush mark retension.  Is it a heavy paint?

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Yes, Open Acrylics feel very much like oils. There are mediums made for these acrylics that will thin them for glazes and smoother brushmarks, but my guess is if you apply then thickly - they'll act similarly to oil paint.

 

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Hi!  I'm a new guy.  (See how sparkly and shiny I am? Big Smile)

I tried the Golden Open Acrylics a couple of months ago, but I was not at all comfortable with them.  I think I'm too used to being able to work quickly with acrylics and having to wait so long for the paint to dry to add another layer or rework a section just grated on me.  I got the free sample in the mail from Golden, and I bought a small pack of colors at one of my area art supply shops.  They now sit collecting dust at the back of a shelf.  I may play around with them again someday when I'm bored and feel guilty about neglecting them.  But, for now, I'll stay with the regular Golden paints.  They're my preferred and favorite paints.

Just my 1 3/4 cents worth.  (Yep.  The economy has diminished the value of a cheap opinion.)

Patrick

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Hi Patrick - welcome!

I too enjoy the quick drying aspect of regular acrylics, and so working with Open Acrylics at first seemed confusing. I also sometimes use water soluble oils, which leave no cleanup. So I was wondering why I wouldn't just use the H20 soluble oils instead.

Here are my thoughts so far: Open Acrylics work great for acrylic plein air painting. The regular ones dry almost instantly when working outdoors - especially in the summer or in the desert. This is allow many who would prefer to use acrylic over oil to paint en plein air without trouble with drying blobs of paint on the palette.

I am also experimenting with Chroma Interactive Acrylics - these have a longer open time, but come with mediums that let you choose whether to dry the paint fast or slowly. There is also an unlocking medium which allows removal of previously dried paint. Then there is a quick binder medium which gets a layer to dry instantly. So far, I'm enjoying the interaction with my paint.

I also have a set of Golden Open and plan further experiments with them. I think they'd be great for soft edges - like cloudy skies and such. I work in oils as well, and plan to compare their properties to those of oil.

 

So many new products, so little time...Surprise

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Hi Patrick, 

I have yet to try the Golden Open paints. I do have used (and loved) the Golden acrylics for years, especially their mediums. For the last 2 years I have been using Chroma's Interactive acylics. As Lori has explained very clearly what they do I won't repeat that info but I will add that you can force them to dry quickly with a hair dryer, then coat the painting (gently) with a more than a few of their mediums- Binder medium, Or Fast Fixer or any matte medium that isn't interactive. So you get the best of both worlds. Open time and the ability to cure them quickly.

Here is a recent painting of mine done in Interactive Acrylics and exhibited in the NSPCA Annual at the Salmagundi Club in NY last month.

Mt Katahdin

I also have a webpage that shows the painting in progress. The first 3 layers were all painted in once session (about 2 hours time). I was able to scumble and glaze at will without harming the previously "cured" and sealed layers. So the Interactives can be force cured quickly. I really like their pigments and the feel of them as well. They aren't plastic like many acrylics tend to be. As with most acrylics their is color shift but it seems to be minimal. 

Another plus with Interactive Acrylics is their final finish is a nice matte/satin sheen. Perfect for painting over with oils or alkyds in my case. You seem to be much like myself, I don't like to wait when my creative gears are spinning... the alkyds dry quickly too. I haven't heard how the Open paints dry yet as far as their final sheen. I need to see for myself some day.

I still use my Golden interference colors and their mediums for prepping panels etc.

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