Atelier Interactive Acrylics are an excellent artist-quality acrylic paint, a traditional fast-drying acrylic colour. But they also have a unique quality – if you add a few drops of the Unlocking Formula they will stay wet longer to allow you to blend your colours. Then, even after it is dry you can paint or spray the Unlocking Formula onto the dried painting to bring the paint back to a wet state to allow you to continue working. This unlocking quality lets it re-open so you can take time to blend areas, more like oil paint.
With the Unlocking Formula you can keep coming back to continue working on the painting, day after day, just spray the dry painting with water or with the Unlocking Formula and wait a moment until it re-opens. You can apply the Unlocking Formula with a brush or spray bottle. Once the paint is re-opened, new paint can be blended back in, existing paint edges can be feathered or whole sections can be removed with a rag to reveal under layers. Another great advantage is that when you have mixed the colour you want on your palette but it dries so you can’t use it anymore, with the Unlocking Formula you can re-activate the paint on the palette and continue.
When you are completely finished you can apply the Fast Medium/Fixer to seal the layer so it won’t reactivate anymore. You can continue to paint on top and only the new layer will be re-wettable. Used without the Unlocking Formula or with a traditional acrylic medium they are fast drying like regular acrylics. Atelier Interactive can be mixed with other makes of acrylic.
Atelier Interactive Acrylic Mediums
Atelier Interactive can be used for standard acrylic painting techniques or kept open for longer blending time without the use of any special mediums – all you really need is water. However mediums can greatly enhance the versatility of the paint, making some techniques much easier, enjoyable and successful.
When using mediums with Atelier Interactive special consideration needs to be given as to how they change the way the paint dries. One group of mediums contains a traditional acrylic binder that tends to dry quickly and forms a tough waterproof skin – we refer to these as Traditional Mediums.
The other type are the Interactive Mediums which maintain or enhance the unique drying properties of the paint, allowing it to remain workable for even longer. These mediums give best results when used with Atelier Interactive – they can be mixed with standard acrylics but their effectiveness will be reduced.
Dry fast & waterproof for standard acrylic techniques.
A general purpose mid viscosity medium that adds translucency and increases gloss. Ideal for glazing and extending colors. Promotes flow and levelling. Can be mixed with the paint as a medium or used to seal a paint layer before overpainting.
Glazing Liquid (Gloss)
A low viscosity medium perfect for creating translucent glazes. Slightly extends open time and is waterproof when dry. Mix with paint for added translucency with a rich oil-like gloss sheen. Promotes flow and levelling.
A low viscosity medium used for thin fast drying layering techniques. It can also be used on its own to seal and reinforce a paint layer in preparation for scratch back, glazing or varnishing.
Regular Gel (Gloss)
An acrylic gel with a smooth buttery consistency. Use as a paint extender to adjust gloss and transparency without altering consistency. Mix with paint to increase body or apply directly on top of paint layer for a transparent textural effect. Holds moderate peaks and texture for impasto effects. Ideal for glazing. Milky color becomes transparent when dry.
Heavy Gel (Gloss)
A thick, fast drying, waterbased acrylic gel, designed to exaggerate structure and sharpen textural edges of the paint. It can be used as a very strong adhesive for bonding heavy objects. Can be mixed with the paint, overpainted once dry, or applied on top of a paint layer for a transparent textural effect.
A very thick and textural paste made from calcite grit. It has the same flexibility as the paint and is used to create strong textural interest at any stage in a painting’s process. Dries white and can be mixed with the paint to produce a colored ground, or painted over once dry.
Maintain or enhance the re-wetting properties of Interactive.
Clear Painting Medium
A mid viscosity medium that allows paint to be diluted smoothly for glazing and blending techniques without altering sheen level. It has a high water content and will allow Atelier Interactive to remain workable for longer without the need to use a water sprayer.
Extends wet-in-wet blending time and is designed to be used in conjunction with a water sprayer. It will tack up quite quickly but is very easily made workable again with the water sprayer. It is preferable to use a water sprayer to extend blending time, rather than adding more medium because if too much medium is added the paint will become tacky.
Thick Slow Medium
Works in the same way as the more fluid Slow Medium, but with its more paint like consistency it can be used for spreading and diluting paint without making it too thin or runny.
Is a low viscosity acrylic extender. For fine detail, stir into paint creating a 50/50 mixture or until desired viscosity is reached. For airbrush techniques, mix in small amounts and stir until an ink-like consistency is reached which suits your airbrush.
Paint Additives like mediums, change the properties of paint, however they are different to mediums in that they do not contain a binding agent. This means that only a certain amount of additive can be mixed with acrylic paint before it becomes unstable.
A paint additive designed to slow down the drying time of acrylic paint. It may be added to other Atelier mediums to increase open time. Note: Retarder does not contain a binding agent so to avoid creating an unstable mixture, it is recommended to mix no more than 10% with acrylic paints.
Allows artists to re-open Atelier Interactive even after it is touch-dry. Once the paint is re-opened, new paint can be blended back in, existing paint edges can be feathered or whole sections can be removed with a rag to reveal under layers. Spray apply using the Atelier Fine Mist Water Sprayer.
A Bit of Testing to Get to Know it Better
Atelier Interactive has been compared to Golden Open so I tested it with that to get an idea of what it is like and also included Golden Heavy Body to see how it compares to a regular acrylic.
I compared Golden Open, Golden Heavy Body, Atelier Interactive plain and Atelier Interactive with Unlocking Formula mixed in.
I tried moving it with a wet brush after 10 minutes, 30 minutes, two hours and four hours.
I also tried moving dried Golden Heavy Body and dried Atelier Interactive with a wet brush and with Unlocking Formula.
Golden Open stayed blendable for two hours, but was dry before four hours.
Golden Heavy Body was too dry for blending after 10 minutes, it could be moved a bit but not much.
Atelier Interactive stayed blendable for 30 minutes.
Atelier Interactive with Unlocking Formula mixed in, stayed blendable for two hours.
So Atelier Interactive straight from the tube has a drying time between Golden Heavy Body and Golden Open, closer to the fast drying acrylic.
I tried reactivating the two dried plain acrylics with plain water and with Unlocking Formula. I also compared using the Unlocking Formula mixed into Golden Heavy Body and Atelier Interactive and then re-activating the two dried acrylics with plain water and with Unlocking Formula.
As expected the dried Golden Heavy Body could not be unlocked with plain water but it could be somewhat re-activated with the Unlocking Formula. The Ateleir Interactive could be unlocked with plain water but did even better with the Unlocking Formula.
The Unlocking Formula mixed in fine into both types of acrylic. But plain water didn’t unlock the dried Golden that had been mixed with the Unlocking Formula but it did unlock the dried Atelier Interactive that had been mixed with the Unlocking Formula. The best unlocking came with the Unlocking Formula mixed with Atelier Interactive and painted, then dried, then re-activated with Unlocking Formula.
Click on the underlined link to go to the Atelier Interactive Acrylics on the Jackson’s Art Supplies website. Postage on orders shipped standard to mainland UK addresses is free for orders of £39.