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How To Use Atelier Interactive

Atelier Interactive can be used in a “Fast Drying Mode” and in a “Wet Blending Mode.” There are two distinct types of mediums that support these end uses. You choose how you want to paint and choose the appropriate medium. 

Normal Or Traditional Fast Drying Mediums

These come with different consistencies and gloss levels and are similar to other good brands. They can be chosen to modify the paint for special effects.

Thick Mediums Group

  • For thick, glossy impasto: Use Heavy Gel Gloss which is transparent when dry and may be used in any proportion with the paint, but usually roughly 1:1.
  • For very thick, non-glossy impasto: Fine Pumice Gel builds very textural impasto like oil paint. Normal usage about 1:1.
  • For a very thick, sharp, under texture: Moulding Paste is usually applied unpigmented in areas requiring a heavy build up and then over painted. (It can be applied over a partly finished painting).

Mid-Viscosity Mediums

You need to choose one of the following mediums to be your basic painting medium to lubricate your paint application. (Unless you are seeking dry brush effects).

For mid-viscosity, glossy paint dilution: Gloss Medium gives a translucent and glossy surface. Water or a wet brush can be used to modify the effect. 

For a mid-viscosity paint dilution with no gloss effect: Use Clear Painting Medium to dilute, spread and edge blend your paint. (A wet brush can be used for further dilution).

For a more fluid dilution: Glazing Liquid (Gloss) maintains sheen without being glossy. It is used for glazing and edge blending and a wet brush can be used for further dilution.  

Binder Medium Is Used For Sealing Surfaces

Binder is the pure acrylic polymer the paint itself is made from. It is fluid but is very concentrated, and is often used to seal a ground to paint on. It prevents absorption of water from the wet paint and has a slicker surface than a gesso ground. It is colourless so it can be painted into whilst it is still wet. It is also used for collage and sometimes mixed with paint for more gloss.

Special Interactive Mediums Which Control Drying Time And Work With Unlocking Formula To Keep Your Paint Wet And Workable

The Interactive paint formulation does not form a skin as it dries, and a water spray can be used to keep it working; however, you must be adept to keep up with the drying process. This can be difficult in some weather conditions or because there are so many other things you must attend to.

Unlocking Formula Is An Essential Additive

Unlocking Formula is a nontoxic solvent which keeps your paint wet but also dissolves recently dried Interactive paints, and when it is used with an atomiser spray it is easy to keep a painting wet, and consequently it becomes the essential additive when painting with Atelier Interactive. It does not work with traditional acrylics.

There are two Interactive mediums for blending with no gloss effect.  

  • For an even longer time lag for wet blending effects, Clear Painting Medium can be used to dilute, spread and edge blend the paint. Note that it also appears in the traditional mediums list, but it appears here because it does respond to spraying with Unlocking Formula.
  • New! Heavy Body Painting Medium considerably lengthens the times between spraying with Unlocking Formula and is especially useful outdoors or in hot dry weather. Important note: If you have used Heavy Body Painting Medium and want to over paint soon afterwards, it has a curing “wait” time. 

Summary Of Mediums In The Two Groups

Atelier Interactive is used in normal traditional mode and also in long blending mode, where the emphasis is on the wet blending techniques familiar to oil painting. There are four Interactive mediums offered for blending, whereas the traditional mediums are more numerous. What makes each medium different is the viscosity and how it enhances the “interactive” features of the paint

The thick mediums take some time to dry, and the mid-viscosity and more fluid ones are used by artists who like layering and need to produce a subtle effect. The Gloss Medium and Glazing Medium are very good for subtle layering effects, with special attention given to edge blending, which is key to integrating a layered acrylic painting.

Mediums That Can Be Used With Free Flow

Free Flow is a flowing acrylic formula which is usually diluted with water; small additions make the paint flow amazingly. The vivid matte finish is lost if Free Flow is mixed with mediums that contribute gloss. However, Clear Painting Medium can be added to dilute the paint for a more bodied effect than diluting with water.

General Varnishing Information - Atelier Interactve & A>2

Varnishing gives “finish” to a painting, as does framing, but should not be considered necessary or compulsory if the painting is to hang indoors. Free Flow paintings lose their vivid matte finish if varnished and can be framed under glass because of their gouache like appearance.

Choosing the wrong varnish effect can be devastating, and when an unfamiliar varnish is being tried out for the first time, it is advisable to prepare sample pieces to check the effect.

Varnish Finishes can be gloss, satin, matte and invisible. Note that matte varnishes are tricky to use 

Solvent Based Varnishes

Solvent based varnishes are mineral turps based and smelly, but are easier to use than water based varnishes.

These solvent based varnishes are called Chroma Varnishes, because they can be used for either acrylic paintings or oil paintings.

The solvent varnishes come in gloss, satin and invisible finishes.  

Acrylic Varnishes

Most acrylic artists tend to use water based acrylic varnishes. For a gloss finish, Atelier Gloss or the Universal Varnish can be diluted 1:1 with water and are easier to apply in the diluted state. One coat will enhance colour contrast without being glossy, and could in fact give the finish to a painting that you find attractive. Two coats will give a low sheen effect, and for a glossy finish, it is faster to apply undiluted coats over the first diluted coat.

For a satin varnish effect when using Satin Varnish, shake the bottle to make sure the flatting agent is well suspended in the liquid. Apply undiluted in one or two coats. 

For a matte finish, consider first the idea of leaving the painting unvarnished. Matte Varnish can be difficult to use and the surface needs to be sealed first with Fast Medium/Fixer or a 1:1 mixture of Binder Medium with water.  When this is dry, the Matte Varnish can be applied in one or two coats. Do not use this varnish on a Free Flow painting.

Be sure to sample the effect before varnishing a painting, because the matte finish is difficult to achieve.

Varnishing Free Flow Paintings 

Although Free Flow acrylics are acrylic based, paintings done with them, especially on paper, resemble water colours or gouache and can be framed under glass as a means of presentation. They really should not be varnished because it spoils the surface finish of the dried paint. The solvent based Invisible Varnish can be experimented with, but be sure not to use more than one coat or you will destroy the look of the painting.