Stratford Art Society Demo

Materials List 


  • Daler Rowney Mixed Media Paper Pad

  • Charcoal Fixative - Winsor & Newton, Sennelier HC10

  • Transparent Gesso - Liquitex

  • QOR Absorbent Ground by Golden, Cold press version - to paint watercolour on anything. Good for watered down acrylics too

Also mentioned:

  • Daniel Smith Watercolour Ground - Transparent

  • Super Heavy Gesso by Liquitex - Very heavily textured

Paints mentioned

  • Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylics

  • Cryla Havey Body Acrylics by Daler Rowney

  • Normal Soft Body acrylics

  • Fluid Acrylics by Golden

  • Normal Watercolour Tubes - I use Holbein plus some Daniel Smith

  • Golden QOR watercolours - do very interesting things. Much less "controllable"

  • Holbein Gouache

  • Michael Harding Oils

Glazes & Blending, smoothing brushmarks

(There are so many more than this plus more unusual ones too)


  • Liquitex Glazing Medium

  • Liquitex Matte Medium

  • Liquitex Blending Medium

  • Winsor & Newton Glazing Medium

  • Soft Gel Medium (great for blending, helps add a little more substance and texture to normal acrylics, but not quite as much as Heavy Body Acrylics)

Oils - all of these increase flow and create transparency, plus increase drying time. Great for underpainting stages in particular. Generally add no more than 25% by volume to your paint

  • Zest-It Lean Painting Medium 

  • Gamblin Solvent Free Fluid

  • Also mentioned Liquin, a great alternative with various different ones available for different uses

Thicker paint and finishing stages

(again, there are so many there options)


  • Liquithick  - thickening gel. Makes paints go to a thicker paste. Add no more than 25% by volume to your paint

  • Super Heavy Gel by Liquitex - gives a very heavy body to paint. Perfect for heavy texture brushstrokes, thick impasto work, thickening up normal acrylics to behave more like heavy body (or even thicker).  It is also a binder so you can use as much as you like. Larger amounts create luminosity and transparency to even thick brushstrokes. You can even use it as a glue for mixed media and collage work and easily paint over it - a very versatile pot of magic!! Highly recommended

  • Also mentioned: other "Impasto" mediums, as well as more interesting gels that have sand or even glass or plastic beads in for really odd textures.


  • Gamblin Solvent free gel, Alkyd medium - increases flow and transparency but also add a little more body to the paint mean it can help create more flowing brush marks that hold their shape. Add no more than 25% by volume to your mixes - this is a very versatile substance that can be used for a wide range of applications (plus it;s non toxic!)

  • Also mentioned: more specific impasto mediums, gels, cold wax and Liquin impasto


  • Golden MSA (mineral spirit acrylic) - a very hard wearing, UV protective layer. Great over watercolours on absorbent ground. Very smelly but very good.

  • Liquitex Professional Waterbased Spray Varnish - great on acrylics. Very easy to use and not very smelly at all. Be very wary of using on watercolours as it a waterbased varnish it can sometimes react and cause issues.

  • Also use: Montana Gold Spray Clear coats for acrylics. W&N brush varnish for oils.

Side note on varnishing acrylics:

There are varying thoughts on varnishing acrylics and whether it is needed, plus best practices.

Some say they need varnishing so that the minute pores left from water evaporation don't fill with everyday grime over time.

Some say you must apply a clear isolation coat to protect the artwork, then varnish over this. Others say fine to just varnish straight onto painting.

Others say that modern acrylics are so robust they simply don't need to be varnished at all.

Varnish also adds UV protection. It unifies the finish, which can vary greatly depending on what mediums have been used whilst painting. Some people like this variation in sheen, others like it more unified.


Depending on the sheen chosen (matt, satin or gloss), varnish can really enhance a painting.  A matt finish can look really lovely and reduces glare but a gloss varnish can really make the colours come to life and it makes the darks look much richer and more vibrant.

So with all that said. I take the approach of a quick couple of coats of varnish on my acrylics. It's so quick and easy and just adds some extra protection, even though I agree that modern acrylics are very robust! And i generally choose the sheen based on the individual paintings.

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Based in Pembrokeshire, Wales UK

Works globally

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