Most artists will know that daunting feeling when faced with lengthy racks of numerous mediums in your favourite art store.

Our Artists’ Outreach Manager, Paul Robinson, has visited Chelsea School of Art on a few occasions this year. Lately he helped deliver a workshop for their Fine Art students to help de-mystify the whole subject of mediums for oils and acrylics.

It’s always great to get in front of painters and help guide and advise on the mediums that are right for their practice. It would be nice to magically appear in a puff of smoke like some sort of mediums-genie to help everyone but, in reality, this is a little difficult!

You can always contact us and don’t forget there is a wealth of great information here on our website.

However, it’s always good to bear these simple facts in mind…

Mediums are products that change either the performance of your paint whilst using it or have an affect on the final paint film once dry.

Mediums aren’t essential or even necessary when using acrylics but do open a whole range of possibilities if used. They are more of an intrinsic part of oil painting as the oils and other mediums give you greater control over the drying rates and therefore help you to make a more stable painting.

It’s always good to imagine your blob of paint on the palette; consider the paint’s properties of sheen, transparency, body and drying rate and then think about where you want take it and choose your medium or mediums accordingly.

Do you want to make it –

  • More glossy, more matt or not change the sheen?
  • More opaque, more transparent or not change the transparency?
  • Thicker, thinner or not change the body?
  • Dry faster, dry slower or not change the drying rate?

Remember – most mediums will change more than one property.

Hopefully with this in mind you will be able to confidently start to explore the world of mediums…but never be afraid to ask us for help!