The word medium is used two ways in art. One way is to describe the material that an artist works in, such as oil, watercolor, graphite, or what have you. The second, and the definition that I'm going to be discussing is this post, is something added to paint to change it's texture. I use mediums both to thin paint and to thicken it.
I thin paint when I want to do a glaze, or when the paint is just too thick to work with on it's own. For this purpose, I usually prefer a matte fluid medium. The one I'm currently using is from Liquitex. I can add the matte liquid medium to something like LIquitex Heavy Body, which is a thick creamy paint, to thin it so it behaves more like Liquitex Basics.
Here is some zinc white with no medium mixed in it,
and here's that same white paint, with some matte medium mixed into it.
A type of medium I've just started using is called flexible modeling paste. The purpose of this medium is the exact opposite of that of my other medium. While the purpose of the matte liquid medium is too thin paint, the purpose of the modeling paste, which is a gel medium, is to thicken paint.
You can add modeling paste to something like Liquitex Basics or Amsterdam Standard Series, which on their own are pretty soft textured paints, and create a more impasto effect.
I bought it specifically to use with the Liquitex Soft Body line, though. Liquitex Soft body is very fluid and flows over the canvas easily. I've just started to experiment with it and I think it's going to be great for backgrounds and times when I don't want brush strokes to show.
The thing about the soft body line, though, is that it's so fluid it really will not hold brush strokes and sometimes, I need brush strokes to show. This is especially true if I'm trying to create texture of any kind. That's where the modeling paste comes in. I can use it to thicken my Soft Body paint so that it's viscous enough to actually hold brush strokes.
Below is an example of some Liquitex Soft Body paint as is,
and here's that same paint with some modeling paste mixed in.
So that is how I use mediums as an acrylic painter. I hope you enjoyed. Do you use mediums? What kind do you use? Tell me in the comments.
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Painter of portraits and wildlife