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Acrylic colour

Can acrylic colours be used over oil colours?

Oil colours form a greasy layer and are therefore not suitable as a ground for acrylic colours.  

Can acrylic colours be used with an airbrush?

For airbrush we recommend Amsterdam Acrylic Ink. This ink has already been diluted and can be applied immediately, without thinning.

Amsterdam Inks have been tested with a 0.2 mm needle. In the colours white and metallic, the pigment parts are larger and we therefore recommend a 0.4 mm needle to prevent jamming.

How can materials such as sand, wood, paper, etc. best be incorporated in a painting?

Due to the large adhesive strength of the binder, acrylic colours and the various gel mediums are ideally suited for a durable application on various materials.

A condition for a good adherence is that the surfaces of the materials to be glued are free of grease and somewhat absorbent.

The most durable result is achieved if the materials are fully encased by the paint or gel, certainly in connection with the adhesion when it concerns the less porous materials such as sand, pebbles, glass, etc, but also porous materials such as paper and cardboard are therefore protected against any damaging external influences.

If the natural colour of the material has to remain visible, use one of the gel mediums.

How do I get more brush stroke in an acrylic painting?

For more structure and visible 3D effects, Talens supplies Gel medium, Heavy gel medium and Extra heavy gel medium, all in both glossy and matt varieties.

  • The addition of Gel medium to a paint allows for a clearer brush stroke/structure.
  • Heavy gel medium allows for an even more enhanced brush stroke.
  • With Extra Heavy Gel medium, very distinct structures and extremely thick layers can be applied.

Furthermore, all gels, pure or mixed with paint, due to their large adhesive capacity are ideally suited to incorporate materials such as sand, sawdust, paper, wood, stone, etc. in the paint.

Can the short drying time of acrylic colours be extended in order to paint alla prima (wet-on-wet)?

Acrylic retarder may be added to the paint up to a maximum of 5% and increases the drying time by a maximum of 20%.

If you want to add more retarder, it is better to use Amsterdam Slow drying medium.

Which brushes are suitable for acrylic colours?

Brushes made of firmer types of hair are the most commonly used for acrylic painting.

  • Hog hair brushes can hold a lot of thick paint, but have a brush stroke that is too inaccurate for working in fine detail. What's more, with water hog hair brushes become a little less resilient.
  • Synthetic (selected filament) brushes are not affected by water and are suitable for both thick and strongly diluted paint as well as fine details.

Acrylic colour brushes have a long handle so that sufficient distance can be maintained from the painting. 

Which grounds are suitable for acrylic colours?

Acrylic colours adhere onto all possible grounds such as paper, cardboard, universally primed artists' canvas and canvas board, unprimed artists' canvas, stone, wood, concrete and unglazed ceramics.  

A condition for good adherence is a ground that is free of dust and grease and that is somewhat absorbent. Priming is not necessary for a good adherence, though it is, of course, possible.

Amsterdam Gesso transparent, white or black is a good ground for Amsterdam Acrylic.

Which varnish is suitable for acrylic colours?

Amsterdam Acrylic Varnish has been specially formulated to produce a durable finish to acrylic paintings.

The varnish consists of a solution of acrylic resin in white spirit and turpentine oil, is available glossy and matt and once dry forms a flexible film.

Amsterdam Acrylic Varnish Matt is matted with silicas (similar to pulverised glass) and must be shaken well before use. For a good adherence it is recommended to wipe an acrylic painting with white spirit before varnishing.  

Why do the colours of acrylic paints get darker when drying?

The binder for both acrylic paint and acrylic mediums consists of a dispersion of acrylic resin particles in water. As long as the binder contains water, the binder is white.

When all the water has evaporated after drying, the acrylic resin particles in the binder form a continuous colourless transparent film and the white will have disappeared.

This explains why the acrylic paint colours become darker as they dry (this effect is also often called "colour shift"). When mixed with a medium, the wet paint therefore also becomes a little lighter; once dry the colour is the same as pure dried paint.

Why does the brush stroke partially disappear after drying?

The binder of acrylic paint consists of a dispersion of acrylic resin particles in water. During the drying the water evaporates and the volume of the paint layer decreases.

When can I use an acrylic medium?

Mediums are used to change the properties of the paint, such as thickness, gloss, flow, drying time, transparency and durability.

A lot of painters only use water with acrylics, but this does not always produce the best results. Mediums can be used to achieve better and more durable results with less paint.

The addition of too much water can separate the pigment in the paint from the binder; the pigment is then unprotected on the painting and may run.

How much medium can be added to the paint?

Acrylic Medium, Gel Medium, Heavy Gel Medium and Extra Heavy Gel Medium can be added to the paint unlimitlessly. Only the Amsterdam Acrylic thickening medium must be added in very small amounts.