If you are familiar with Bob Ross, you would know about his exquisite paintings with a look that is achieved via the use of Liquid White. The use of Liquid White increases the time frame for which a painter can blend the colors on the canvas.
Given that acrylic paint tends to dry out fairly quickly as compared to oil paint, using some kind of base to delay the drying is highly recommended.
This wet on wet painting technique became famous after Bob Ross started implementing it for acrylic painting. This entire technique helps ease the acrylic painting procedure. With Liquid White Acrylic Paint, you get the chance to work on your painting for as long as an hour. This ensures perfect shading, blending, and highlighting.
What is Liquid White Made Of?
While it is difficult to decode the recipe of branded Bob Ross Liquid White, there is a formulation that comes just as close to the original. Liquid White can be used to coat the canvas before the start of the painting process. Canvas can function as an absorbent surface which needs to be coated for longer drying time.
If you are looking for the right ingredient to create Liquid White, let us check out the same:
- Linseed oil
- Titanium White
Now, the ingredients surely are basic. However, the key is to achieve a perfect blending of the oil and the color to a smooth consistency. Some artists also call it Magic White or Fluid White.
The use of Liquid White also trims the time taken to create any painting based on acrylic colors. It also allows the artists to blend the colors on your canvas directly as opposed to blending in the palette.
To create your very own Liquid White, make sure you blend the ingredients to achieve a mayo-like consistency that is light and fluffy yet holds on the canvas.
Read Also: How To Make Liquid White
Can Liquid White Only Be Used With Oil Paint?
Liquid White is a popular foundation coat that is used mostly for creating oil paintings. Using this versatile liquid allows artists to prolong the duration in which the oil paint dries.
Generally, oil paint allows you to paint for days but only when the canvas remains wet. Using Liquid White with Acrylic Paint keeps the canvas wet to ensure that you can successfully create a wet on wet painting.
Most artists prefer the blend of diluted titanium white along with pure linseed oil. These two elements are to be mixed together until a cream-like consistency is achieved.
On the other hand, certain artists prefer a mix of two different types of oils, including Turpenoid/Turpentine along with linseed oil. This makes up for a great homemade medium for oil painting.
The oil in Liquid White helps create a proper layer on the canvas that prevents the absorption of water by the canvas fabric. This helps extend the time taken for the oil paint on top to dry.
Can You Use Liquid White With Acrylic Paint?
Before we answer this question, you need to understand that the bases for oil paint and acrylic paint are different. Oil paint has an oil base, while acrylic has a water base. As is known to us, oil and water never mix together until you use a solvent to fuse them together.
So, you can use Liquid White for painting with acrylics, but the results seen with oil paint cannot be mimicked in the former’s case.
Simply put, there is no product in existence that can be used as Liquid White with acrylic paint. However, you can mix up some unique blends to create a similar wet on wet technique with acrylic paint.
While we will explain the best recipes that you can mix up, let us learn about some mediums/products that can help reduce the drying time of the acrylic painting process.
Most artists that need a longer window to let the acrylic paint dry have to work with a medium or acrylic gel that extends this time frame. These add-ons help keep the acrylics wet for a long time. In the artist’s vocabulary, these mediums for acrylic paintings are termed retarders. They are to be mixed with the acrylics after being poured out on the mixing palette.
Now, how do these retarders help slow down the drying process of acrylic paint? Well, acrylic retarders comprise glycol like propylene glycol, which is a glycerin-based additive to introduce moisture to the colors without making them runny or thinning them out.
Glycerin is known to attract moisture from the surrounding environment, which makes it a great medium for artists in need of longer workability.
On average, good-quality acrylic paint takes about 30-60 minutes to dry out completely. This is for a watery paint application. Thicker paints application can take 1-2 hours, depending on your surrounding temperature.
However, adding retarders to these colors helps prolong the drying time giving you a good window to correct any mistakes or blend the colors in a proper way. A great retarder for acrylic paint you can use is the Liquitex Slow-Dri Fluid Painting, Blending Medium.
Its unique formulation helps extend the drying time of your acrylic paint by a whopping 40 percent in a proper painting surface.
Best DIY Liquid White Recipe For Acrylic Paint
There is no reason to get sad after knowing that the generic Liquid White available in the market cannot be used to get the same results with acrylics as is seen with oil paint. So, what can you do? How would you mimic the very same style as seen in the oil paintings by Bob Ross, even when using acrylic paint?
You can create a homemade DIY Liquid White and create a beautiful wet-on-wet acrylic painting without the need to shift to oil paint.
To get started with this DIY recipe, you will need a few ingredients. So, let us check them out:
- Golden Open Acrylic Titanium White Paint/White Titanium Acrylic Paint- 50 percent
- Gloss Glazing Liquid-10 percent
- Golden Open Thinner-10 percent
- Golden Retarder- 30 percent
The Golden Open Acrylic titanium white paint works as the best substitute for the titanium white used in Liquid White for oil painting. It is formulated specially to deliver an extended drying time.
So, this adds to the delayed drying time in the final product. If you don’t have access to the Golden Open Acrylic, you can use any basic Titanium White acrylic paint such as the ones by Liquitex.
However, going with the regular option will cut down the drying time by half, and the paint will dry faster. The gloss glazing liquid works as an extender that allows the colors to experience delayed drying.
The odorless thinner will help thin out the acrylic paint. This is done to reduce the creamy consistency and allow better blending on the pre-primed canvas. It also helps create a natural gradient effect when the colors are painted on top of this acrylic Liquid White.
A creamy consistency also works great for highlighting certain parts of your painting, such as trees. So, you can create two separate batches with one comprising of the thinner consistency. Finally, the retarder helps prolong the drying time massively as it has no binder in it.
So, make sure you use just the right amount, as a high amount of retarder added can affect the final mixture and lead to poor paint adhesion.
The mixing ratios described above in percentage with help you achieve the perfect consistency. Keep mixing until you see soft peaks forming like cream on the mixture.
Now, one thing you need to keep in mind is that the gloss glazing liquid will add sheen to the painting. Some artists do love this shine, but others don’t. If you fall in the second category of artists, make sure you replace the gloss glazing liquid with 10 percent more retarder.
But don’t go beyond the 50 percent mark with the retarder, or you might end up with a mixture that doesn’t allow the colors to stick to the surface for painting.
This mixture can get you as long as 2 hours of delay time depending on the temperature the painting is kept in.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What is liquid white in acrylics?
Liquid White is primarily used for wet on wet oil painting. However, for acrylic painting, the Liquid White mixture would be different. The latter would involve the use of retarders to delay the drying time.
Q: Can you do wet on wet painting with acrylic?
Acrylic colors can be worked for wet on wet painting in a way similar to oil paint or watercolors. With artist-grade paint, you can simply wet your canvas or paper first & then use the acrylics in a thin way. This will mimic watercolor’s effects. You can also go for a thicker consistency with wet on wet painting like oil paint.
Q: What can I use as a pouring medium for acrylic paint?
If you are looking for a great pouring medium for acrylic paint. You can use PVA Glue, Mod Podge, or Elmer’s Glue. These mediums function as the perfect substitute for commercially available pouring mediums.
Q: Can you mix water paint with acrylic paint?
Yes, you can mix acrylic paint with water paint/watercolor. This can help you create a paint that features unique qualities in the opacity or color. The final effect can easily be adjusted by changing the water and paint ratio.
While the commercially available Liquid White is better used with oil paint. It can also be used with acrylics, but the results aren’t as satisfactory. So, you can use the recipes explained above and create the same wet on wet effect as seen with Bob Ross paintings.