How To Improve Your Acrylic Paintings with Mediums

Understanding Acrylic Mediums

How Mediums Can Improve Your Acrylic Painting!

Using Acrylic Mediums in Your Acrylic Paintings
How To Improve Your Acrylic Paintings with Mediums

It’s possible that when we decide to start painting, we all think a bit like our buddy Rob that all we will need to paint is just the paint, a brush and a canvas and our paintings will turn out like masterpieces. To be honest, that really is all you need. But why put a limit on what we can paint by sticking with just the bare minimum?

With various acrylic mediums & varnishes, you can completely transform your paints to have different textures and thicknesses and even create new effects with them.

Although many new painters will not be familiar with mediums, an introduction to them can vastly change the way you paint.

Many types of mediums to use with acrylic paints

First of all, there are many types of mediums to use with acrylic paints. There are glosses, thickeners, modeling pastes and gels, varnishes, gessos and more.

Here’s a simple guide to some of our favorite  LUKAS Acrylic Mediums that we find are useful for improving and spicing up any acrylic painting.

  • LUKAS CRYL Varnish- a quick drying, synthetic solvent that is transparent and can add to your painting an overall sheen. When painted over a dry painting, it can bring out the colors of your paints and protect it from acids, dust and decay.
  • LUKAS Structure Gels- These gels can create an iridescent luster or glossy sheen when applied alone to your painting or mixed in with your acrylics on your palette. They retain your colors and can add an impasto quality to your painting. LUKAS has styles of structure gel like mother of pearl structure gel and glass beads structure gel for color mixing and can create neat effects.
  • LUKAS Structure Pastes- These can add some incredibly interesting textures to your paintings for realistic effects and impasto techniques. LUKAS offers a variety of styles of structure paste that can be perfect for what you like to paint. For example: Like to paint pictures of metal objects? The golden, silver, copper or bronze can offer a real metallic feel to these. These will dry to a hard, flexible surface that give your painting a largely exaggerated texture.
  • LUKAS Gel Retarder – This additive can increase the drying time for acrylic paints, its extremely useful for painting “wet on wet”. Wet on wet or alla prima as it is sometimes called, is just painting wet paint on top of wet paint. This allows you to paint much faster and not wait for the paints to completely dry before you can paint again on top of it. Bob Ross was a big fan of wet on wet.
  • LUKAS White Gesso– Gesso is a white paint mixture made of a binder and pigment that can ensure flexibility and in your paint and increase archival life. You can use it to prime your canvas to make the canvas less absorbent, but give it better adhesion to make your paints go exactly where you want them to.

From left to Right: LUKAS Course Sand Modeling Paste, Pumice Structure Paste, Golden Modeling Paste and Mother of Pearl Structure Gel


While you are here.. read some reviews from artists

“I use mediums in my acrylic painting a lot, and these mediums are wonderful!

Acrylic paints need to be worked quickly, as it dries quickly, but the LUKAS mediums keep the paint wet and fresh on the palette as well as on the paper or canvas, allowing better blending and workability. I highly recommend these mediums, which, by the way, work beautifully with other brands of acrylic paint!”- Sam Y.

“The structure gels really add some flavor and texture to my work. Its so much fun working with impasto and these gels let me get a 3D effect in my painting plus all the textures available give me so many options to work with, its great!”- MB

“Varnish is key in my acrylic painting, I use it because it lets my paint dry quickly. I’m very, very happy with this product. I have to work quickly, but I have finished paintings faster than if I used something different. My paintings dry with a perfect glossy finish too, not too matte!”- T&A

With these kinds of mediums added to your paint or paintings, you remove the limits of what you think you can do with your paints as well as preserve your paintings very practically.

More Resources

  1. Acrylic Paint vs. Gouache: What’s the Difference?
  2. Painting With Acrylics : 5 Tips for Beginners
  3. Exploring Geometric Acrylic Abstraction
  4. Top 15 Acrylic Painting Mistakes
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