Are you looking for top quality acrylic paint? In this article I'm comparing professional and student grade acrylics. More specifically one of the top brands, Golden Heavy Body acrylics. Plus there is a full demonstration video for you to see the acrylic paints in action. Do these heavy body acrylics provide a real alternative to oils?
I paint a lot in acrylics, but for the most part, I'm using student grade acrylics because I'm teaching students how to paint. Generally, students want to use something that costs a bit less but gives good results. But when I want to paint like I do with oil paints I want acrylic paint that is going to give me that texture and body. But with acrylics, I don't know what to use. Until now!
I've got my hands on an introductory set of Golden acrylic paints from our friends at Art Savings Club.co.za . As mentioned, this is an introductory set that's got the primary colours. It's also got a tube of green, white and black. So we're going to have a quick look at these colours. And remember, what I'm looking for is a heavy body paint texture that's not going to slide off the palette every time I lift it up. Also I can do some painting with it and get a similar oil paint consistency out of the acrylics.
In a follow up video to this I'm going to do an entire painting demonstration and put these paints to the test. But for now, let's have a look at how these paints compare to a regular student quality paint.
Let's take a closer look at these six tubes of golden acrylic paint. As I said, three primaries, some green and white and black.
In the package description Golden says that they have over 130 colours in their range. Their paints contain no fillers, extenders or dyes. The paints have a high pigment level, are rich, creamy in texture and provide clean colour mixing. Well, we'll have a look at some of those features.
Let's open up a few tubes. I have selected Naphthol Red from the Golden range and from my student grade range. When I put a little bit of the Golden acrylic on my palette I can immediately see that it seems a good, solid body paint. The paint did not start to flatten out. It came out the tube and held its shape. A good sign.
The same cannot be said for the standard student grade paint. As you can see the student paint is already sagging. When smoothing out the Golden paint with a painting knife I notice a good, creamy, buttery consistency. The student grade acrylic is also soft, but still seems a little thin and less of vibrancy is evident.
Then testing the paints with a brush. Pulling the brush through the student grade paint reveals that there is some texture there with the synthetic hair brush. But with the heavy body Golden acrylic you can see it is a much thicker looking paint.
Stronger brush marks are evident with the Golden acrylic paint. So that is also one of the features I'm looking for. Now to test the paint mixes for clean color notes. I mixed some yellow straight out the tube with a bit of ultramarine blue to mix up a green. It should mix nice and cleanly. I want a vibrant green and the resulting mix does look nice and strong. I then tried to mix purple and violet with ultramarine blue and red.
The result is a strong dark just using the two transparent colors. When adding some white I created a nice purple and violet mix. First a good warm purple and then a lovely cool violet. The red and white to get a nice clean pink. So pretty happy with the color mixes.
You can see the details in the videos and the painting demonstration. Whether you need a professional quality paint is one you will have to decide on. Often professionals will use a few select colors in the top range of paints. Those powerful colors that make a painting stand out. Then use student paints for less important colors. Titanium white for example may be fine in the student range or perhaps yellow ochre.
I do suggest that you add a few tubes of Golden paint to your range and take it from there. Yellows and blues for a start. Then add strong reds. You will soon develop a core range of colors for your unique requirements. Do these acrylics bridge the gap between acrylics and oils? I do think that this is about as close as it gets as far as body and texture goes. The acrylics are still softer than oils, but with a little adaption in technique you will be able to get the juicy looking impasto color notes.
There is another line of Golden acrylics called Open. These promise slower drying times so that may be another step closer to satisfying the oil painter looking for an alternative in acrylics.
If you want to explore acrylic painting further then take a closer look at my courses Acrylic Painting for Beginners.
Where to find the Paints?
Get your Golden Heavy Body Acrylics paints here: In South Africa try www.artsavingsclub.co.za . In the US try Amazon
Watch the Paint in Action!