Acrylics: Golden Open Acrylics (review)

One problem a lot of people have with acrylics is that they dry too fast to blend effectively. This can be mitigated to some extent by using various mediums and the Atelier Interactive acrylics can be ‘reactivated’ with their special formula when they are dried so the artist can continue working with them as they would with oil paints, but this can make the paints a bit tacky, and some artists dislike having to use any sort of medium with their paints.

I first heard about Golden Open acrylics a year or so ago. Designed to have a significantly longer drying time than normal acrylics, they looked like they’d be useful for relative beginners (like me) who get frustrated when their nice cloudy sky dries before they can blend it properly, but they seemed quite expensive in comparison to other acrylics, so I never bothered trying them. Recently I noticed Jackson’s had a few introductory sets available, so I decided to add one of them to my order.

golden-open-acrylics

Here’s the colour chart for the Modern Introductory set, plus the extra tube of Burnt Sienna I bought (I dislike ‘introductory’ sets that don’t include at least one brown).

golden-open-acrylics-chart

When I squeezed some paint out of the tube, I saw they had a thick, buttery texture, similar to oils and other heavy bodied acrylics. Like other good quality acrylics, these can be thinned down and used like watercolours, but they also hold textures left by palette knives or brush strokes. If they’ve been diluted to an inky consistency, their drying time is about the same as that of normal acrylics.

Used straight from the tube or with little dilution, Golden Open acrylics strike a happy balance in terms of drying time; they dry a lot faster than oils, meaning you don’t have to wait too long if you want to work wet-over-dry, but they don’t dry anywhere near as fast as normal acrylics. Regular acrylics tend to be touch dry almost as soon as you put them on canvas (at least in thin layers) and you usually only have a few minutes to blend them, but the Open acrylics took at least 10-20 minutes to dry in thin coats, with thicker applications taking up to an hour. For those who are used to working quickly, in wet-over-dry layers, the Golden Open acrylics might take a bit of getting used to, but there are mediums available to make them dry as fast as normal acrylics if needed.

Here’s a little capsicum sketch I did on a Strathmore acrylic artists trading card.

golden-open-acrylics-capsicums

If you’re an oil painter who wants to experiment with acrylics or you just want your acrylics to give you more time to work with them, Golden Open acrylics are an excellent middle ground. The paints are highly pigmented and have a texture similar to oils, and they will make it much easier to achieve smooth blends than if you’re working with regular acrylics. They are quite pricey compared to other acrylics, but I think most people will find they are worth the extra money.

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