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The Fine Qualities of Liquitex Matte Medium

Acrylic is truly the painting medium of our times, invented in the twentieth century and defining the work of many contemporary artists. Because of its composition, the suspension of pigment in a plastic emulsion, the paint has given rise to a number of mixing media, distinct from traditional mixing oils like linseed and walnut. It is possible to mix acrylic paint with water and achieve a competent finish, but for consistent and professional results, the painter should use a quality medium. Liquitex Matte Medium is one of the mixing media developed by Liquitex, a firm that has been making acrylic paints since 1955.

Artist Working on Canvas on Floor of Studio

The Ground Upwards

One quality of Liquitex Matte Medium is that it can be used unmixed as a ground, that is, the preparatory layer on the surface of the artist’s board or canvas. Traditionally, the artist worked on wooden panels that were planed of knots and other uneven areas before he could begin painting. However, the artist still needed a smooth, yet toothed layer to hold the paint onto the surface. Gesso, a fine plaster of calcium sulphate and water, was the usual ground. Artists working on canvases used grounds of size, a glue made from animal hides, to prepare their surfaces. Liquitex Matte Medium makes an excellent replacement for all of these traditional grounds, since it dries to a fine and even-toothed finish. One advantage of the medium is that it is opaque when wet, ensuring the artist covers his surface evenly.

Work in Progress

Contemporary artists love the versatility of acrylic paint. Viscous, unmixed acrylic paint can be worked onto a ground in the manner of oil paint but it often dries to a shiny finish that many artists do not like. Landscapes and images of the natural world are not enhanced by shiny surfaces and a small amount of Liquitex Matte Medium added to the paint before work begins ensures that it dries to a sheen-free finish. Another quality of acrylic paint is that it can be mixed to a very fine consistency, enabling the artist to create “watercolor” images from the plastic medium. However, this process often results in undesirable tidemarks in the paint. Mixing with Liquitex Matte Medium gives paint this fine consistency without incurring water stains.

A Beautiful Finish

Since Liquitex Matte Medium is translucent when it dries, it makes an ideal under-glaze for watercolor paintings. Add a small amount of the desired pigment to the medium and then paint over the surface of the paper or board. As it dries, the under drawing will emerge and the artist can then finish the image. The medium can be used as a fixative by spraying the surface of crayon, graphite and pastel drawings with a 50-50 mixture of it and distilled water, a good way of making personalized cards and gifts. The artist can also use this technique to lay a tinted glaze onto a finished painting. These are just a small number of the beautiful effects that result from working with Liquitex Matte Medium. Purchase Liquitex Matte Medium from PlazaArt.com or visit your local Plaza Art store.


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