View Full Version : Can I use acrylic medium retarder gel, like a varnish?
October 20th, 2009, 01:08 AM
Can I use acrylic medium retarder gel like a varnish? Yes I'm painting with acrylic. The ingredients on the jar say "acrylic polymer emulsion"
So here's what I'm trying to do; I have a painting that I like but I want to add thin detail lines that need to have good flow to them so I'd like to wipe them off (while still wet) if I slip up. But as it stands I have sanded down a bit of the background and if I wipe something off now it will stain the canvas that's exposed from the sanding. So can I put a thin layer of Retarder Gel over the whole thing to keep parts of it from being absorbent and staining? Would that ruin my painting at all?
October 20th, 2009, 02:00 AM
Wow, that's a really good question. I haven't used traditional painting mediums in years, but if I were you, I'd do a test of what you're planning to do on separate piece of sanded canvas. Just roughly replicate what you have now and see if it stains. Acrylic dries fairly quickly, so it shouldn't take much time to test the gel.
Yeah I know, what a bitch... but better to be safe than screw up something you've obviously spent a lot of time on. ;)
October 20th, 2009, 03:25 AM
Use matte medium for that. A thin layer will seal everything underneath. Retarder would just either peel up the previous layer of paint or make it wet again. Retarder's job is to keep acrylic from drying, so it would be counter to your purpose.
October 20th, 2009, 03:42 AM
Acrylic dries plastic, so it shouldn't wet again, but adding that might hurt your surface, possibly unbinding parts that aren't 100% dry and making a mess. I'm no expert here, but I'd ask someone at Golden paints about this, on their website.
October 20th, 2009, 04:00 AM
Acrylic retarder not diluted or mixed into anything will likely never dry. Same thing will happen if you mix too much into the paint without diluting it.
October 20th, 2009, 06:29 AM
I'd email someone at Golden and see if you even need to varnish. Is it for preservation or just for that glazed look? Here's a page on their varnish products: http://www.goldenpaints.com/products/varnish/msa.php
October 20th, 2009, 06:39 AM
Acrylic medium, acrylic retarder, and acrylic gel can be three different things. So which is it exactly? For what you describe, acrylic medium (gloss, not matte), would probably be the best thing.
October 20th, 2009, 09:39 AM
You are presumably worried about damaging the surface in the wiping off process right?
OK - here's what I think you should do:
Give the whole painting a good even coat of acrylic gloss varnish - the reason for the gloss version is that it is very tough indeed. Now, when that is dry use your acrylic in the normal way for the odd bits you want to have a second pass at using an acrylic medium to dilute and give flow to your paint. Even if the paint is dry to the touch it takes some 15 or 20 minutes to completely release the water in it which inhibits the paint molecules from binding fully with each other. Thus, if during this time you need to rub at something with a damp cloth to remove paint you can do so reasonable energetically without disturbing the paint under the coat of vanrish you have put on.
Finally, if you want to remove the glossy look of the painting surface a final coat of matt or semi matt (silky effect) varnish over the whole lot will give you the final surface look you desire.
October 20th, 2009, 10:33 AM
Wow so much good information. Thank you everyone. I rarely work with acrylics so I'm a bit clueless with them
Elwell: I'm actually not sure what I have. The container actually says "Acrylic Medium Retarder Gel" It's this http://www.utrechtart.com/dsp_view_product.cfm?item=3211
October 20th, 2009, 10:49 AM
That's a retarder, plain and simple. It just keeps acrylic wet longer.
October 20th, 2009, 10:56 AM
Thanks, RyerOrdStar. I wasn't sure. I just use it, never thought about exactly what it was before. This is actually the first time in over a year I've even picked up my acrylics. Usually their drying time drives me nuts and I use oils.
October 20th, 2009, 12:49 PM
Lock your retarder in a drawer somewhere where you really have to look for it when you need it. Trying to PAINT or VARNISH with it as if it were any other medium is the same as painting with lard or peanut butter...and just about as effective/successful...
October 20th, 2009, 01:10 PM
Okay, Ilaekae. It is awfully discouraging to mix in to paints and get an even consistency. It feels like trying to mix in Jello.
Oddly enough I didn't use it for the whole painting. I only went and dug it up when I started thinking about varnishes.
I just got back from the store and I've put on a layer of varnish and I'm waiting for it to dry before I go in and add the strings to my puppet. Yes this is all about puppet strings.
October 20th, 2009, 03:01 PM
I squeeze out my paints and then pour retarder over them on my palette :P It keeps them wet almost the entire session of painting. Works for me.
October 20th, 2009, 08:39 PM
Really thanks for all the help, guys. If you all weren't here to ask I would have just slathered on the Gel Retarder last night and hoped for the best....while in the process aparantly ruining it. Thanks for stopping me.
Funny thing is that when I came into class this afternoon we got a whole demonstration and lecture on mixed media and mediums and varnishes. The timing couldn't have been more convenient! Now I know way more about all sorts of varnishes than I ever thought there was to know.
It's almost like my profs were on here reading this. Haha....wait maybe they are. :P
October 20th, 2009, 09:21 PM
They might be..I wouldn't rule it out..
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