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interference
acrylic mediums
acrylic paint
lighting conditions
Interference Acrylics
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Interference Acrylics

Interference acrylic mediums can provide an artist with a range optical effects that can be used to enhance conventional painting techniques.

Acrylic paint is perhaps the most versatile of media, it can be diluted with water and applied in the style of watercolor or used straight out of the tube to simulate oil paints. Once dry the paint is waterproof meaning that multiple layers can be built up on the canvas and mistakes are easily corrected. While these benefits are great and often discussed they shouldn't be allowed to detract from the fact that acrylic paint provides many options that are genuinely unique, being either very difficult or impossible to achieve with other media.

Interference acrylic mediums are one such option and consist of a transparent acrylic paint which is impregnated with metal-coated mica flakes. The flakes are designed to selectively scatter only a narrow range of optical wavelengths i.e. thick flakes will scatter red light, thin flakes blue light and flakes of intermediate thickness will scatter green or gold.

The conventional way to use interference acrylics is to paint them onto a dark background which leads to the production of a shimmering area of color that looks metallic in nature.

However, painting interference acrylic paint onto a light coloured background provides effects that are perhaps of more interest to the fine artist. On a light background the light scattering effect of the paint appears weaker and at a conventional viewing angle often barely visible. In fact, the underlying background colour will usually dominate the view, that it is until the viewing angle, or lighting conditions are changed. A change in the viewing angle or lighting conditions will result in the interference color coming to the fore and this gives an iridescent effect to the painted region.

A simple example: Paint an area of canvas in a pale pink. Once dry, paint a thin transparent layer of interference green over the top. When the second layer has dried the canvas will appear pale pink at first, but if you tilt the canvas so it catches the light it will change to green in color. The effect is similar to that seen when oil spreads on water or when wings of a pigeon catch the sun light.

These color change effects, provided by interference acrylic mediums, can be used to create dramatic "on / off" color changes and / or hidden images in illustration or more subtle effects in landscape, animal or portrait fine art painting.


Street Talk

LumiAirE  

I enjoyed your article very much and as an artist myself I've used this, your very right the effects can be striking and add an extra dimension to ones work

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Thanks for the feedback, do you know of any prominent artists who use these paints regularly? because, as far as I know, they aren't used much in fine art

Reply
  about 6 years ago
LumiAirE  

Actually I don't, so your probably right there, I believe more is done with oils as a medium then acrylics, which is a real shame.

  
  about 6 years ago
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