Is it really possible to make impasto paintings using acrylics that work as well as oils?
Ask Jacksons: Is it really possible to make impasto paintings using acrylics that work as well as oils? If so what materials would you recommend?
Acrylic is a fantastic medium for impasto, and it dries faster than oil too. Heavy body acrylics are stiff and buttery, so they retain brushstrokes and texture which makes them great for dynamic impasto painting. Unlike oils, acrylic paint has a tendency to shrink as it dries, as the water contained in the paint evaporates; this can cause the texture to become less pronounced after drying.
To reduce shrinkage, you can add a heavy acrylic gel medium which will further increase the viscosity and help the paint maintain higher peaks. Viscosity isn’t the only thing you can control; choosing a gloss heavy gel medium will give your acrylic paint an oil-like sheen. Like all media, oil and acrylic do handle differently, however, we wouldn’t say one is more suited for impasto than the other, it’s down to preference. Using heavy body acrylics, mediums and gels will allow you to achieve a range of impasto handling properties. Browse a range of gels on Jackson's website.
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