Open Acrylics

rated by 0 users
Answered (Verified) This post has 1 verified answer | 33 Replies | 12 Followers

Top 75 Contributor
814 Posts
Points 16,950
Trusted Users
Lori Woodward posted on 20 Oct 2008 1:23 PM

Anyone tried Golden's new Open Acrylics?





  • | Post Points: 140

Answered (Verified) Verified Answer

Top 500 Contributor
63 Posts
Points 2,110

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,



All Replies

Not Ranked
14 Posts
Points 215

I've been trying out my new set of Open acrylics.  I mix them with my regular acrylics also, but I like using them toward  the end  of the painting to add more texture and brush strokes.

  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
1 Posts
Points 20


I love Golden acrylics, I have tried a few of the open acrylics and they are wonderful! Give them a try.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 75 Contributor
814 Posts
Points 16,950
Trusted Users

Thanks faithof1 - I have ordered some and am looking forward to trying them out... especially when painting plein air. I've also got Chroma Interactive and W&N new acrylics that don't change color/value when they dry. All three are good products but work a bit differently. It'll be more like being in the laboratory than the studio Wink





  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
6 Posts
Points 30

I have not tried them yet, but after reading some of the posts here I think I will give them a shot. I'll probably just end up using them for backgrounds because I get agitated when trying to do nice blending with regular acrylics (I get obsessed). There is no way I could be patient enough to do detail work with them though, lol.

  • | Post Points: 5
Page 3 of 3 (34 items) < Previous  1 2 3 | RSS