| How to test and analyze your acrylic mediums |

What’s the best brand of acrylic paints?

I get asked that question a lot when I teach acrylic workshops.

When I was an undergraduate student at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, a professor I liked and respected touted a particular brand of acrylics as the “best.” So, I took her word for it and started using that brand over others. But there are lots of excellent brands out there and once I became a bit more experienced, I got curious about what made different brands of paint different.

The truth is there are a number of good paints out there and rather than telling you about the merits of each, I thought I’d show you how I test acrylic mediums in my own studio. The results are always interesting. And this empowers you to make your own informed choices about what will work best for you.

Share in the comments below what brands you like to use? Do you stick with one brand for everything? Do you mix and match?
Have you ever had a really (or really great) bad experience with a particular paint or medium? Do tell!

Responses to “How to test and analyze your acrylic mediums”

  1. Debi Hamari

    This was a fun and informative video to watch. I am liking my Golden Pastel Medium. I have been doing a little mixed media, acrylic and then going back in with charcoal and oil pastels. I also am liking the Galeria sand texture gel but hasn’t really used it a lot.

    Reply
  2. Lisa Gibson

    Thank you! This helped me see that I need to do some experimenting of my own materials.

    Reply
  3. Marguerite Hart

    Thank you Michele! I have a VERY limited budget for painting supplies (most of my income goes to feed rescue cats) so each purchase has to be saved for and is precious to me. It is so wonderful that I can watch you test out products and share the results as I can’t afford to do that! You have made my art life so much easier with your wonderful videos. I have watched all your videos and wait eagerly for any new ones! Again thank you for your generosity in sharing your talent and technique!

    Reply
  4. Betsy Timm

    I use both Golden and Liquitex mediums and paints. Good experiences eith both but i like Golden paints better. Transitioning to their New Method paints.

    Reply
    • Michele Theberge

      Hi Betsy! I haven’t heard of the New Method paints from Golden and I get their “Just Paint” newsletter where they explain new products. Where did you first hear about them?
      Please share any resources you have here. I bet other artists would be interested as well!

      Reply
  5. ChicagoHawksGal

    so helpful, michele! your advice and generosity are so appreciated!

    Reply
  6. Malka

    I painted an acrylic painting and left a section unpainted with the factory primed canvas showing. I like the look. Do I have to worry about dirt getting on either the painted part or the unpainted part? I do not want to add any more effects.

    Reply
    • Michele Theberge

      Gesso is more absorbent than paint and therefore likely to hold dirt. You can varnish the whole piece to protect both the paint and the gesso.

      Reply
      • Malka

        I also like to use harmless materials. I would like to preserve the mat finish. What do you suggest to.

        Reply
  7. Malka

    How do you sign your poured canvases? Do you leave them unframed and I know you cover the edges with blue tape, but what about paint getting on the edges anyway? Do you leave the edges bare with the wood showing on the wooden panels or do you gesso or paint the edges?

    Reply
  8. Marion

    Thanks so much, Michele. I’ve learnt so much from your videos and I’ve always wondered how artists test their mediums. I have a few questions:
    1- How long after testing your mediums would you start to see yellowing, cracking or crazing (is that how it’s spelt?) begin? Would you see something in a few weeks or is it going to take years?
    2- Is there any way to avoid or minimise cracking or crazing in mediums that are prone to that?
    3- On a slightly different tangent, is there a varnish or medium that can be used over a completed painting that will help keep the painting from cracking/pealing longer if the base coat was done in an acrylic/water wash that was too heavily diluted? (I watched your video on acrylic washes AFTER I’d completed a very precious piece)

    Reply
  9. Marisela

    I sm wondering if you can mix liquitex and golden mediums. For example I used the liquitex pouring medium but the surface is tacky and soft. I’m wondering if I can add Gac 200 that is formulated for hardness.

    Reply
    • Michele Theberge

      Not sure about that, Marisela. Generally, different brands are fully intermixable but I would do your tests first! Let us know how it goes!

      Reply

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