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Julia Ann Field, Acrylics drying to fast?

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Julia Ann Fields

Julia Ann Fields


Acrylics drying to fast?

Artist Julia Ann Field’s shares her top tips for keep your acrylic pallet from drying out to fast.


We recently caught up with Brighton-based artist Julia Ann Field for her top tips on how to stop acrylic paints drying out too fast, before you finish your artwork.

Julia Ann Field comments: “One of the advantages of acrylic paint is that it is fast drying, but that blessing can also be a curse. If it’s drying before you have the chance to use up what you’ve set out on your palette, or even before you get to blend your colours, you could try one or more of the following…

Julia Ann Feild
Spray Bottle

1. Spray with water

“Spray the acrylics on your palette with water from time to time. A spray bottle that can deliver a fine mist of water is preferable to one that will deposit droplets, especially if you’d like to finely mist the actual canvas you’re working on.”

2. A stay-wet palette

“There are various makes readily available on the market. But what actually is it? Well, it’s simply a shallow container into which a sheet of impermeable paper is placed on top of dampened absorbent material. It comes with an air-tight lid for when you wish to take a break, to save your paint from drying out in the meantime.

“This very simplicity means that you’d have no trouble in making your own. I’ve recycled an old square flat Ferrero Rocher box and its lid. I place wet kitchen paper or an old white rag into the base, and a sheet of greaseproof / baking paper over the top of that. I cut the latter marginally larger than the kitchen towel or rag, so I can tuck the sides under the edges of the dampened reservoir material. This helps keep my acrylics useable, even when I’m plein air painting in the sun and the wind!”

Wet Pallet
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3. Retardant products

“Slow-drying mediums, whether as gels or liquids, are offered by many acrylic brands. Each product has its own instructions on suggested ratios to paint / water, and on how it should be applied. There are also a number of YouTube demonstrations. Experiment to discover how the retarder you choose works best for you. You could add it to water in a spray bottle, mix it with the acrylic on your palette or canvas, or spread a thin quantity of it onto the canvas before painting, or over an area already painted.”

4. Specialist acrylics

“If none of the above help, you could resort to buying acrylic paints specifically designed to stay ‘open’ for longer. Two such lines available on the market are: Atelier Interactive Acrylics and Golden Open Acrylics. One or more of the above may even extend their drying time if you still don’t have an adequate window in which to blend your colours. Naturally, these slow-drying products cost a little more than a brand like Zieler, and may not be compatible with the stock of whichever paint you already have. So, why not give the above tips a go with your current brand, before investing in a new set?”

Close Up Of Messy Palette On Table 527588385 59B04Adf03F4020011115406 E1578578792814 - Zieler Art Supplies

You can find out more about Julia Ann Field here or follow her on Facebook (Julia Ann Field Art) or Instagram (Julia Ann Field Artist)

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