Some time ago, Riot Art and Craft had a sale on where if you spent $50 on canvas panels, you’d get $50 worth of paint for free (maybe the other way around, I can’t remember). Given that I was low on canvas at the time, I hurried off to the store and came waddling out with my arms full of acrylic tubes (which I didn’t really need, if I’m honest) and canvas panels. I already had several tubes of Atelier Interactive acrylic, and the only other acrylic brands they sold were Derivan’s Matisse range, in the Flow and Structure formula. I got a large selection of the Flow ones (which I’ll review in another post) but I also picked up a handful of Structure colours.
I didn’t do a colour chart for my three tubes as they are colours which are available and look more or less the same across all acrylic paint brands.
One thing I like about both the Structure and Flow acrylics is that , in addition to the pigment information, they have a swatch of the actual paint swiped onto the front of the tube. Colour charts online and printed colour labels on the tubes themselves often fail utterly to reflect the actual colour, so this makes it a lot easier to know exactly what is in the tube you are buying.
As the name suggests, Derivan Matisse Structure acrylic is a good heavy bodied acrylic. Its thick texture allows you to layer on thick impasto effects and it will hold your brush strokes or palette knife marks quite well. If you’re coming to acrylics from an oil painting background, these might be a good choice as they feel similar to oil paints (just with a faster drying time, obviously). They also retain a strong pigment concentration when thinned down for a watercolour-esque application. I can’t comment much on the range’s opacity as most of the colours I have are transparent in nature, but even those colours gave me pretty decent coverage without having to apply too many layers. All paints in the range have a lightfastness rating of I or II in the ASTM scale, so you don’t have to worry that colours you use in your painting might be fugitive.
As far as brands available locally go, these acrylics are a bit dearer than the Chroma Atelier Interactive and Daler Rowney System acrylics, but cheaper than Winsor & Newton or M Graham acrylics, making them a good mid-range paint. They would probably be more expensive in the UK or the US (especially compared to local brands) but for Australians, they won’t hurt your wallet too much (unless you’re buying some of the higher numbered series).
Here’s a painting I did using the Derivan Matisse Structure acrylics on a 10cm X 10cm canvas panel. It was a limited palette, but one I thought was perfectly suited to a seascape.
Derivan Matisse Structure are a good quality heavy-bodied acrylic at a decent price. It’s definitely worth trying a tube or two if you want a paint that will let you make rich, textured marks in your artwork.