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While oil paints are typically the preferred medium of portrait artists, I've always worked with acrylics. For years, my go-to brand has been Liquitex due to price but also because of the smoothness of its colors.
I recently received GOLDEN's OPEN Acrylic Colors, a new line of paint formulated to extend working time, which allows artists to practice techniques typically only accomplished with oils.
As a portrait artist, this new line was especially exciting for me. Here are some things I learned during my first painting session.
DISCLAIMER: GOLDEN sent me this set of OPEN Acrylic Colors.
My First Experience with GOLDEN OPEN Acrylic Colors
As I mentioned before, I've always worked with acrylic paint, which means I could work with a ton of paint on my canvas and still expect it to dry within a few minutes.
As a result, I could go back to an area fairly fast and paint over the initial layer without affecting the first.
This created a huge learning curve for me when it came time to try out OPEN Acrylics.
OPEN Acrylics are best used in thin layers. According to GOLDEN, applications of more than 1/16 inch thick will result in excessively long drying periods, a persistently soft and higher tack feel, and translucent layers that remain cloudy.
Since I'm used to working in thicker layers, sticking to a thin application was really hard for me, and I would admittedly forget that the paint was still wet and try to work over it like I would with standard acrylics. This unfortunately led to my paints blending together in ways I didn't want them to.
While this was frustrating at first, once I got the hang of it I was able to enjoy the benefits of being able to rework and blend in ways that simply can't be done with fast-drying acrylics.
The benefits of OPEN Acrylic Colors extend well beyond their working time.
My favorite aspect of these paints is that they stay wet even when using a non-absorbent palette or stored in a covered container.
I did a little test on an uncovered palette, in which I compared the OPEN Acrylic Colors to Liquitex Basics and a Utrecht medium body acrylic paint.
Both the Liquitex and Utrecht paints developed a film within a few hours, but by the next morning, the OPEN Acrylic paint, which I had mixed with GOLDEN OPEN Thinner, was only slightly skinning. With an additional drop of Thinner, I was able to get the paint moving again with ease.
Now, I don't usually leave my palette open for more than a few hours, but knowing that if left uncovered by mistake the paint would not go to waste is a huge plus. Normally, if left uncovered, fast-drying acrylics would wind up in the trash!
One of my biggest pain points of working with fast-drying acrylics is that I have to use several additives to extend the working time of my paint.
Even though I use a Masterson Sta-Wet Palette and store individual colors in airtight containers, I still need to repeatedly mist my paints with water, often causing my paints to crack once dry on my canvas.
Airtight containers also don't always protect my paints from drying out, which is frustrating as an artist who typically makes her own colors in batches. This obviously leads to wasted paint and wasted money!
My Final Thoughts on GOLDEN OPEN Acrylic Colors
I will definitely be painting with this product again! Not only does it allow me to explore new painting techniques, but it also ensures my paints won't crack on my canvas and has the potential to prevent excessive paint waste.
Have you tried GOLDEN OPEN Acrylic Colors? What are your thoughts on them so far?