As you are aware most of my paintings are produced using acrylic paint. I thought this month I would talk about the mediums to use with the paint and the preparation of boards or canvas. I quite like buying rolls of canvas and stretchers and making my own canvases. Recently, I found a really good site that provides both, check this website out if you are interested.
Preparing a canvas or board (hard board or MDF) requires a primer, you can use white emulsion paint and it will work fine, but remember emulsion paint is only guaranteed for about 5 years. A better bet would be to buy an acrylic primer, a good quality and reasonably cheap primer is made by C. Robertson and Co and can be purchased from Jackson’s Art. I have used this primer on canvas and it works very well. If you need a smoother finish use two coats.
A couple of mediums you might like to try:
Retarder: I use the retarder made by Golden, it is very good, slows down drying time to about 10 – 15 minutes and does not affect the colour in any way. One thing to be aware of though, this retarder is so good that if you use more than about 15% to 20% in a mix the paint will become very shiny and remain sticky for a very long time.
Flow Release: Again the one I use is made by Golden and does exactly what it says on the bottle. The idea of flow release is to make the paint more liquid without losing its ability to adhere to a surface. This can happen if you try to use the paint like watercolour and create very thin washes. Flow release solves this problem. You should mix a small amount of the liquid, about 10%, with water and then mix it with the paint. You can now use the paint like watercolour or simply to stain a canvas very much like Jackson Pollock used to do.
One final point Golden mediums come in plastic bottles with a very nifty twist top which is much more effective than the normal screw tops.