"Altered Acrylics"
With Deco Art Traditions Paint

What is "Altered Acrylics"? It is a method of evaporating the water out of the Deco Art Traditions Acrylics and replacing it with Extender and Blending Medium. The results are an acrylics paint that has an extended drying time and can be blended like oil paints.

The first question one usually asks is, "is this possible with all acrylics paint brands"? The answer is "no"! The Deco Art Traditions Acrylic is a resin base acrylic that is specifically formulated to work with Extender & Blending Medium in this new profound way allowing the artist / student to blend with acrylics.

This method of preparing "Altered Acrylic" paints takes some added effort but I feel it is time well spent. Their ease of blending and their ability to replicate techniques that were used by the "Old World Masters" that in the past, could only be accomplished with oils, certainly out weighs all objections.

Preparing "Altered Acrylics"
You will need a hard plastic container with a lid. I myself paint almost on a daily basis so I prefer 4 ounce jars with screw on lids. It really doesn't matter the size of your jar or container so long as you have enough room to stir the paints.



1. Into your container put in 3 parts paint to 1 part Extender and Blending Medium. Mix it well
with a palette knife. I prefer the P-16 Italy Langnickel. The paints will be a little thin, but as the
paint dries, and the water evaporates it will start to thicken. The time it takes to thicken
depends on how much paint you are mixing, (larger amounts take longer), and also how dry or
humid the weather is where you live.

2. Leave the paint Extender Mixture uncovered for 6 to 8 hours, (4 hours for small containers). As the paint begins to thicken, stir it at least once a day, (twice a day for small containers) and add a few drops more of Extender to keep them at a liquid state. You will notice that some of the paints will thicken faster than the others so you will need to make individual adjustments of adding more Extender to some and less to others.

3. The paints will usually take from 3 to 4 days, again depending on how much paint and your weather condition, for them to thicken to the point of being like oil paint. If the paints are like tooth paste, this is a little too thick so you would need to add a few drops of Extender and mix well.

4. As the water starts to evaporate out of the paint you will notice that the paint line in the jar will shrink down from the top of the jar. When this happens add a little more paint a bit more Extender, and stir. The idea is to never have more than 1/4 amount of air space in the jar.

5. Once all the water has evaporated out of the paint, cover them so that they are air tight. Once covered and air tight the paints will remain bendable indefinitely. Sometimes when I open the jar particularly with the Raw Umber, it appears to look like thick pudding. When this happens, add some more Extender and stir. Any time a thick film covers the top of the "Altered" paints, remove this film and either dispose of it or put in onto your waxed palette mash it well with a palette knife add Extender so that it becomes usable again and put it back into the jar.

Painting With "Altered Acrylics"
For my style of painting I generally paint in values. I prefer to "Alter" the pure pigments first and then mix my values using the "Altered" pigments. Once my values have been mixed I transfer the value mixes onto a clean waxed palette. To do this I place the lid of a palette keeper, Loew-Cornell had a small gray palette keeper that fits into their water basin as a lid, but any small lid works well as long as you can cover the paints and keep them air tight. I place the lid on the waxed palette and draw a line around the outer edge. Lift the lid and transfer the "Altered Acrylics" inside the line that you drew. When I need to take a break from my painting I usually mix a few drops of Extender into each pile of paint, mixing it well with a palette knife, (P-14 Italy by Langnickel works well) and cover my paints so that it is air tight.

When putting in a full day of painting, or when I have the heat on in my studio, some of my mixes start to form a thick outer skin. When this happens I mix a few drops of Extender, again using a
P-14 Italy Langnickel palette knife to mix the paint & Extender well. Again particular pigments like Medium Beige, tend to thicken up faster than others, so keeping this in mind just add extra Extender to these pigments making them more soupy or runny.

Because I prefer mixing my paints into values there are pure pigments that I always keep in an "Altered" state. The pigments I use are as follows:

Permanent Alizarin Crimson DAT51 Naphthol Red DAT02
Naphthol Red Light DAT03 English Red oxide DAT06
Yellow Oxide DAT12 Hansa Yellow Medium DAT52
Hansa Yellow DAT14 Hansa Yellow Light DAT15
Phthalo Blue DAT24 Ultramarine Blue DAT26
Red Violet DAT32 Quinacridone Violet DAT33
Titanium White DAT35 Carbon Black DAT42
Raw Sienna DAT43 Burnt sienna DAT44
Raw Umber DAT45 Burnt Umber DAT46
Brown Madder DAT47  

Mixed pigments I also and keep "Altered"

Burgundy DAT01 Sap Green DAT59
Warm White DAT36 Medium White DAT37
Medium Beige DAT38 Light Gray Value 8 DAT39
Medium Gray Value 6 DAT40 Dark Gray Value 3 DAT41

I don't find it necessary to "Alter" the transparent pigments because I usually do not use them for mixing but only for applying glazes. I also don't "Alter" Phthalo Green Yellow DAT22 or Phthalo Green Blue DAT23. These pigments are so strong that I only need to add such a minute amount to the mixes that it is not necessary to "Alter" them.

AMERICANA Color Conversion (.pdf)

Jo Sonja Color Conversion (.pdf)


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