Blending edges and colors when using acrylics can be a challenge, particularly when the humidity is low and warm temperatures prevail. Acrylic paint seems to dry faster than the speed of light under these conditions, causing many a beginning painter to hurl their canvas against a wall in frustration. This is especially true when using fluid acrylics, which dry more rapidly than the heavy body and soft body types. Acrylics' tendency to dry in the blink of an eye can make painting with them outdoors a true exercise in crazy-making.
A number of remedies for slowing drying time exist, including adding retarder, open medium, and soft gel. While all of these can indeed buy you more working time, I've become especially fond of using acrylic glazing medium for this purpose. A drop or so added to each puddle of paint makes it possible to achieve beautifully soft color blends that stay workable long enough to apply the paint, move it around, step back to assess progress and add more paint -- without needing to work at warp speed. True to it's name, it's also the base product for creating beautifully rich color glazes.
Glazing liquid comes in different sheens. My favorites are the gloss and semi-gloss, both of which lend themselves well to the type of work I do. The only "drawback" to using glazing medium is that paints mixed with it must be allowed sufficient time to dry, once applied, before you try to use a glaze or other technique over them. If you don't allow enough drying time, whatever you apply will simply pull up whatever is beneath it. To test, barely touch the surface as lightly as you can with a fingertip. If the surface feels sticky, go have a cup of coffee and come back to it later.
Using glazing medium forces you to slow down and savor the process of creation. It encourages a more Zen-like painting experience. (On a more mundane level, it grants you enough time to go put another load of clothes in the washer.) Either way, you'll find blending colors to be so much more fun. And irony of ironies, if you're the impatient type, you might even find yourself wishing your acrylics would dry just a little bit faster!
©2017 Lynn Edwards