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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Mikel,

What is your favorite surface for using Interactive Acrylics?  I'm experimenting with them on canvas, but I'm wanting to do some glazing. Do you glaze much and if so, which medium would you recommend for glazing when using Interactive acrylics?

Right now, I'm not terribly happy with the solid opague look of the paint.  I see that you did an underpainting on the Katadin painting - wondering if you then let some of that show through with subsequent layers.

Sorry for all the questions... if you have a moment to answer any one of them, even that would be great.

Lori

 

 

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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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Wow Mikel, thank you for such a thorough explanation of how you use Interactive Acrylics. I so much appreciate your taking the time to share, not only with me, but with the readers of this forum.

I've been on the road - traveling to home for the weekend, so I'm just catching up on my email and other online stuff now.

The fall landscape paintings on my website are painted in oil. The one with the sheep is painted with oil on NY central's Double lead primed linen. It has a slick surface - which I've kinda gotten used to - it's what most of the Putney Painters use.  Works best for me if I have some drying in between layers.

Thanks again, and I'll be sure to ask when I have questions.

Lori

 

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Hi Lori,

I usually work in my studio from memory and/or drawings. I use my own photographs as  but over the last few years I find that I do not refer to them all that often.  My methodology is to go outdoors with either Derwent sketching  pencils and/or colored pencils. I usually work on a 9 x12 Strathmore 300 charcoal paper in a spiral bound pad. I do not remember why I first choose this paper but it works for me. This approach has been very rewarding & productive. About 24 years ago I purchased a 1/2 box French Easel from Daniel Smith which  I have rarely used in the field. I have taken watercolors outside but I have too heavy a hand. Recently I found to my surprise a full box  French Easel ( that was clean & needed very few repairs) in my apartment building dumpster!  It seems that the muses were telling me to put down the pencils and get out there and paint!!. So the question is this-what paint do I use ? I  LOVE working with acrylics but not outdoors. Even if  I use a Masterson palette outside the paint will dry the moment the brush hits the canvas .Water soluble oils do not interest me. I tried the Windsor & Newton brand a few years ago. After two sessions I figured that I was better off with my acrylics because  those oils were just awful to deal with. They were very thick and I thought that I was painting with cement. I like the idea of oil paint sticks but concern about  lean over fat and the use of solvents leave me with a negative on these materials for now. I just went to an Art Expo in Summit NJ sponsored by Jerrys of West Orange NJ. I have to tell you those R&F pigment sticks look very inviting! I also considered using oil pastels but I go back & forth on using them. So that left me with acrylics. I  was given some Open samples at a Golden demo presented at Jerrys a few months ago. First of all the paint looks like regular heavy bodied acrylics . Second they move fast!!!! I was blending Open on a  paper palette and then taking the mixtures over to a Fredrix canvas pad. I was creating color charts with a painting knife to see how these new acrylics work. When I would mix the Open acrylics I noticed that they these paints  are very smooth to handle and that they flatten out while mixing and when  applied to the  pad. I also noticed that they are not as opaque as the Heavy Body acrylics -I refer to the Yellow Ochre sample I was given to try. I then tried  Open on a small canvas board and I noticed that they do blend nicely.The Open thinner by itself is  an interesting product- sticky & thick like honey . I have not tried the other two Open mediums. I also noticed that unlike the usual acrylics I went through a lot of paper towels and there was  much more paint than usual all over my hands  To sum up I wasn't all that thrilled with Open acrylics but then again I have been painting exclusively with  regular acrylics as my primary art medium for thirty years. I began painting in 1973 and until 1979 I worked with both oil and acrylics  but not at the same time . I figured that perhaps I needed time to adjust to Open since they are a different type of acrylic paint. When I was at the Art Expo I purchased a set of Atelier Interactive Acrylics. I have to admit that I totally dismissed these paints from the begining thinking  that the concept was just a gimmick. Yet if I want to paint outside  I cannot deal with regular acrylic paint. I had thought of using Liquitex outside with the Liquitex  Slow Dri Blending Meduim and/or the Palette Wetting Spray .  Also I could not see why  Atelier offered so many different mediums. After spending time reading the information that I was given at the event  and visiting the web site I have come to understand the reasons as to why & how. I also like the fact that Interactive can be used as a traditional acrylic and with the use of the meduims be expanded to have more working time. I have decided to work with Interactive outisde and continue using my Golden, Liquitex, Daniel Smith and Stephen Quiller acrylics in the studio. I have purchased a Creative Mark Color Miser Palette -one that snaps shut to take outdoors. I am figuring on putting the Interactive in the wells of the palette and using the Slow Meduim for mixing. This way I will not have to lug around  a lot of  paint tubes. I also purchased some Handy Porter boxes to bring my paintings back to the studio. Returning home with  "wet" paintings presents the same problems as if I were using oil paints . I still have to figure out how much water I need to bring with me. If unlike oils I have to make sure the brushes are clean before the end of a session I will end up using more knifes and very cheap brushes. I know that there is a learning curve with Interactive. After thirty years with regular acrylics  I know exactly what to expect from them. I used to think that the Masterson Stay Wet Palette was also another gimmick. I had  the Super Pro in my studio for a very long time until one day I decided to give it a try. Now I would not even think of using any other type of palette. One never knows until you use a product. It will be interesting to see how my art develops from painting outdoors instead of my usual approach. I would like to ask acrylic artists if they found it difficult going to an open working acrylic paint from the regular acrylics. I would think that oil painters may have had an easier time. Are there any artists who start a painting in the studio with regular acrylics and then finish with either Open or Interactive?  I would appreciate any replies regarding using either Open or Interactive in the field. Does anyone find their brushes dry  hard as a rock if you do not completely clean them out before going home. How much water do you need to take with you & is it better to use a rag instead of paper towels?  The last time I took  acrylics out into the field was back in the early 1980s!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Yes I have and I love them.  

First, a word about my history with acrylics.  I have always used acrylics for environmental and health reasons.  When I seriously got back into painting 5 years ago when approaching retirement, I continued my interests in representational painting, landscapes and still life, and became involved with the Plein Air Painters of the Jersey Coast.  I also started to take painting classes.  It was a bit frustrating in that there was not a community of acrylic users and most teachers did not understand the medium, some saying things like you can't do that with acrylics!  So I was on my own.  Even US art publications, such as American Artist, did not give much coverage to acrylics, with the exception of abstract art, which seems to be the major US application.  Interestingly enough, I noticed that acrylics for representational art seemed to be more mainstream in European publications.

I tried a number of options for slower or slowing the drying time of various acrylic products, with mixed results.  Then I found Golden OPEN acrylics, at the suggestion of a local art store.  I was amazed.  They have such a wonderful consistency, a few simple mediums, and a delightfully slow drying time, they can stay on my palette for weeks if I place them in a sealed container between uses.  The slow drying property is great for painting outdoors, and for classical oil painting techniques in the studio.  I am now taking a classical oil painting classes and I can do everything that the oil painters do, and people can not tell the difference in my painting from those of the oil painters.  The instructor still is not an acrylic painter, but I can just follow his instructions one for one!

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For large areas where I need to have a slightly longer drying time (as in water and skies) I cover the area with retarder and work into it.  This may have some of the same effect as the open acrylics, but drying time is a bit faster.

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This is very helpful.  You've done a lot of experimenting, and between your post and the others I can probably figure out ways to work with my regular Golden heavy body acrylics outside and not have to invest in a whole new set of paint.  I've done it before, but haven't tried my method of working into the retarder medium, which works well in the studio. I always mix retarder with my Titanium White, and for outdoors I'll try mixing it with the rest of the colors as well.  !n my lock box palette I can keep paint for a month.  Stay tuned...  

 I don't like the idea that Golden (on their website) recommends that you wait 30 days before putting a varnish on the open acrylics.  Smacks too much of oil painting.  The reason I love acrylic is faster drying time because I layer so much. It takes me along time to finish a painting, even in acrylic!  One thing that I found impossible is working in heavy fog with acrylics.  They just run--at least on a gessoed surface.  Perhaps on paper or rag board it's not so bad . 

Thanks for the info.  I'm just learning how to use this site Smile

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I have both a set of Open Acylics (which I haven't gotten time to use yet), and a set of Chroma Atelier Interactive acrylics. Last summer, I experimented quite a bit with Interactive acrylics and enjoyed the flexibility they offered. It was nice to be able to choose whether I wanted fast or slow drying.

Because I like to glaze often, the medium that fixes the paint fast (with Interactive acrylics) lets me add layers quickly. Then if I want a softer passage, I can use the slow drying medium in order to soften edges. Because there are so many ways to work with Chroma Interactives, it is a little confusing at first, but when I tried one medium and got used to what it would do, I then felt comfortable moving on to try another.

I bought Golden Open Acrylics to try out for plein air painting. Regular acrylics dry too fast, and I've heard from some seasoned acrylic users that these work just like oils out in the field. Thanks for Golden for developing these new paints!

 

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I have recently purchased one of the trial packs of Golden Open, although still have to experiment to any degree.  I will be looking forward to more information and comments from others who have used them. 

Thank you

Lorna

 

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are open air acrylics the same as interactive acrylics?      I just heard the term interactive and the character of these are that they have a longer drying time providing more time to create and not feel pressured.

Can you also comment on transparent acrylics and if both of these newer types really do perform and if so what brand would you recommend for a beginner?  thanks for you help and knowledge

Jeannette

 

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Hi,  I have tried both, and greatly prefer the Golden OPEN acrylics.  I take a course in classic oil painting techniques, and can do everything that the oil painters can do.  They blend very well and can do wet in wet techniques.  Since you don't need to use water in the painting process, such as spraying the paints with water to keep them wet, they don't bleed into one another and there is a minimum color shift on drying,  Therefore impasto for highlights also works very well.  Also if you paint thinly they will also dry fast enough so as not to b e a nuisance.  I use a plexi non-absorbent palette, and I put it in a sealed container after each painting session.  Doing this, I have used the same paints for over a month!  The short of it is that these paints are really fun.  Joe

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One thing to remember is that the opens are completely compatible with your regular acrylics, so if you have passages that you want to glaze right away, paint them with the regular golden acrylics and save the opens for passages where you want to blend.  They will take about 3 days to dry to the point where they don't rehydrate in the presence of water or fresh applications.  I have played with them some also and they seem to me to be a new medium unto themselves with both strengths and weaknesses, but I find comparing them to oils or regular acrylics sort of a futile endeavor.

They seem to apply with a slightly greaseier feel than oils and more slippery.  They definitely have a place in plein air.  However I have found ways to deal with the drying time when painting outdoors and don't have many problems with that aspect of acrylics anymore.

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I love them mixed in with regular acrylics.  Extends regular ones long enough for me. 

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What a good idea Robin.  I must try that, thanks Smile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9o;

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I use Golden Open. They have a great website with lots of info on it. I suggest to just work with them to achieve what you want them to do. I use the regular acrylics to make more detail sometimes. The more I work with them the easier it is. 

Good Luck,

Esther

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