Chroma is an Australian art supply manufacturer that makes acrylics and oil paints. When I was a child, my Nan used to buy me their Chromacryl paints (the cheap student range) so I could sit beside her as she worked on her own paintings and work on my own ‘masterpieces’. Recently I discovered they had an artists’ grade range. Unlike other acrylics which dry quickly, the Atelier Interactive paints are marketed as being ‘open’ in that you can make them reworkable again even after they’ve dried and keep blending as if it was fresh paint.
Cheap prices from overseas online art supply retailers combined with a few sales in my local art shops resulted in me going a bit nuts and accumulating more tubes of paint than I strictly needed (I often share my art supplies with my Nan, though, so at least it will get used up eventually).
At the time of writing this review, there are 72 colours in the range, including four metallic colours. There are plenty of choices from transparent to opaque colours, and there are lots of convenience mixes to choose from as well as single-pigment colours. There are also quite a few Atelier Interactive mediums, some of which are designed to increase the open time/re-workable properties of the paint and some that behave the same as regular mediums in other acrylic brands. Atelier Interactive acrylics are available in 80ml tubes and 250ml tubes; tubes start at $6.50-7.50 for series 1 (cheap pigments like earth colours) and go up to about $21-24 for series 6 (genuine Cerulean and Cobalt blues).
The paints have a nice buttery consistency and if you use them in the same way you’d use conventional paints, they dry fairly quickly, as do most heavy body acrylics. They also thin down nicely into a glaze. While they’re drying, they go through a ‘tacky’ stage, during which you can spray them with a water sprayer (or just add water to your brush) and the paint will become more workable again, as if it was fresh paint. If you’ve left it to dry for a longer time, you can still activate it by spraying it with the Atelier Interactive Unlocking Formula. If you want to ensure that a layer of paint remains fixed, you can either mix some of the Binder Medium or Fast Medium/Fixer with the paint while you’re working, or just paint a layer over it as you work.
Overall, I do like the Atelier Interactive acrylics, but if you prefer to paint using traditional acrylics, you may need to adjust your methods if you use the Atelier Interactives. I find the ability to keep them open for longer useful as an amateur to intermediate artist, as sometimes I don’t get things right on the first go and need more time to blend or smudge to get the effect I want. However, I also found that even after the paint was completely dry (a day after painting), sometimes the previous layer would lift or become ‘reactivated’ if I tried to paint over it. I could probably have got around this if I’d used one of the binding mediums (which I didn’t always remember to do), but it is something to keep in mind if you’re used to paints drying quickly and completely and painting over it straight away.
Here is an almost complete painting I am doing with the Atelier acrylics (just need to add shadows; will upload the complete painting when it’s done):