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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • Sealing a color-lifting acrylic painting, retarder-related issuesApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2017-05-31 11:56:54 ... Most recent comment 2017-06-01 22:19:28
    Acrylic Paint Additives Paint Mediums

    My acrylic paintings sometimes show a noticeable amount of color lifting (particularly when using a relatively large amount of retarder) - rubbing a wet cotton swab causes a small amount of color to be left on the cotton. There seem to be no major adhesion failures, even in cases where I might have used more than the recommended amount of retarder. I was wondering if I should secure such layers of paint by brushing a layer of medium on top? I remember reading that it's generally a good idea to provide such a protective layer in practically all cases.

    And in case this ever happens, what would be the best course of action if the paint remained "tacky" due to too much retarder?

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    Do you see some color lifting with unmodified paint, or just when you add retarder? Do some colors seem more prone to lifting than others? If you are not exceeding the recommended proportion of retarder by a huge amount, you may be able to ​improve things by adding acrylic medium and retarder at the same time, instead of retarder alone. In cases where paint seems to have formed a normal film but just feels tacky, your notion to top-coat with additional medium sounds to me like a good fix. If the paint stays very soft for a long time, however, it might be better to scrape it off and try again without so much retarder.

    Matthew Kinsey, Utrecht Art Supplies
    2017-05-31 16:26:25
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​Thanks Matthew,

    We agree with your assessment.

    Brian Baade
    2017-05-31 18:14:37
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​Also. I know that you know this but it would be best to really try to minimize the use of retarder. A quick search of "retarder" on MITRA will reiterate some of the dangers of using too much retarder when painting with acrylic dispersion paints.

    Brian Baade
    2017-05-31 18:21:56
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    Thank you for the reply. The problem that I have with acrylic dispersion paints is that they are almost impossible to work with without retarder - at least where I live. They are pretty much dry a couple of seconds after being applied to the support, making achieving smooth transitions ​impossible. Anything less than a significant amount of retarder seems to be buying me a couple of seconds (literally) at most. Also, the drag on the brush is terrible without it. Adding water helps with the drag but, aside from speeding up drying, it also reduces the opacity.

    2017-06-01 14:08:50
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    Moistening the acrylic ground before painting can help improve brush movement and reduce "breaking". It doesn't have to be sopping wet, just enough so the ground doesn't absorb all the water from the paint. 

    Matthew Kinsey, Utrecht Art Supplies
    2017-06-01 22:19:28

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