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Atelier Interactive Questions Answered

Many questions have been fielded by users of Atelier Interactive either on our website, or on other forums, about the qualities of this acrylic and how to use the accompanying mediums. To help guide painters through the initial stages of using Atelier Interactive, we are opening a new topic which puts together the most commonly asked questions and their answers.
If your question is not covered below also take a look at other guides on our website, such as Q & A Atelier Interactive, click here. If you have a new question please post it below.

Always remember, before painting starts make sure that the surface has been well-sealed, especially if you work on paper, to prevent the loss of moisture through your substrate. A few coats of Gesso or Binder Medium on paper or gesso on canvas can achieve this.

Slow Techniques

When I use the water spray, I get a thin milky wash for the first few strokes. If I happen to miss any, they are a pain to work out again ?

When using the water spray, spray enough so your surface feels slick again. If you only use one or two shots of the sprayer, it may not be enough. Also, I stand about 8-12 inches away from my painting when I spray, so big water droplets aren’t a problem. Using a wet brush to add moisture to a given area is another technique which may suit differing painting styles.
Incorporating Clear Painting Medium, Slow Medium or Thick Slow Medium, gives even more open time to work the water and paint in.

If I get water droplets from the water spray, they dry lighter. Why do they occur?

The droplets occur because the work, especially on board, is being sprayed a bit too soon, before the paint sets up. On board, paint will take longer to set than on canvas because of the greater absorbency of canvas. Those droplets are absorbing the wet paint and when you brush over it your brush is picking up the drops and leaving those little spots.

You can use these spots to your advantage if you wish to create textures for a beach scene, side of a tree trunk or an old building. Coat the painting surface with a thin layer of colour all over, like Burnt Sienna and then if or when the spots occur you have a nice warm texture look to exploit. It is a matter of timing when you apply the water spray.

Any droplets, when sprayed onto dry Atelier Interactive, worked in and absorbed will vanish when the paint is dry.

The Atelier Interactive Acrylics get sticky at the most inconvenient times and I have to stop painting and apply one of the mediums to move the piece along .

Atelier Interactive has been formulated to facilitate both traditional fast drying acrylic techniques or a slower wet-in-wet and blend process. The tacky stage occurs as a natural part of paint drying. It is interacting with the brush when it starts to drag.

Working Wet-in-wet: use a fine mist water sprayer or a wet brush to bring moisture back to that layer. Water can even re-hydrate touch-dry paint for the first few hours of a painting session. In between 1 and 3 hours it can be re-hydrated with water. The Unlocking Formula will re-open touch-dry uncured paint for days after to allow blending or to continue working in wet.

To Over Paint a Dry Layer : allow the painting to dry a little further, either naturally or with a hair dryer, and painting on a dry layer should then be easy.

I thought Atelier Interactive was a slow drying acrylic. It seems to dry at the same rate as other acrylics but hasn’t got a hard waterproof layer?

Atelier Interactive dries at the same rate as other acrylics. In thin layers Slow Medium adds a bit more working time. Combining one of the Slow Mediums with water from a water sprayer or wet brush allows the paint to come back to a blending state.

How do you use Retarder, what is it for?

Retarder is an Atelier product and is meant to be added directly to your water spray, not the paint. In very dry, low humidity situations, adding one part Retarder to two parts water in your sprayer will be helpful. Retarder is a water retention aid, not a replacement for water.

How do I go back into Atelier Acrylics after I have let it dry for a day or two?

Spray unlocking formula onto the painting in the areas which need reworking. They become wet again so that they can be blended, brushed or ragged off. You can go back into a painting with Atelier Interactive up until it has cured, generally about 7-10 days, depending on drying rate and humidity.

How do you apply acrylic mediums to the paint?

To get a nice, fluid paint mix no more than 30% medium to paint. The amount mixed depends on the viscosity desired. Some artists apply a layer directly to their surface so they are already working in a “wet” environment. Some artists will dip their brush into the medium and work it into their surface paint to facilitate soft blends and transitions.

Binder Medium can be brushed over a layer of the entire painting when it is dry to seal the work below. When adding detail work this gives the advantage that any work done on top of the sealed layer can be wiped off if necessary without disturbing the work underneath.

Fast Medium/Fixer creates mixtures that are faster drying and do not reopen with water.

Liquid Slow, Thick Slow and Clear Painting Medium give a dramatic improvement in the working times of the paint.

In big blended areas Clear Painting Medium can be laid down directly onto the canvas, which acts as a great color blender tool. These mediums can be added to each color mix meaning that you don’t have to panic about paints drying too fast resulting in a more enjoyable painting experience.

There are no hard and fast rules for these mediums, and artists use them in various ways. They are very versatile, so start out with some medium off to the side and just dip the brush in as needed. For example, Jim Cobb, the inventor of Atelier Interactive, likes to pick up paint on the brush and dip it into whichever medium he wants - Liquid Slow or Thick Slow. He also uses a wet brush - just water, no paint - to soften edges.

What mediums can I use for translucent effects?

Clear Painting Medium or both of the Atelier Slow Mediums will increase the translucency of Atelier Interactive Paint.

Both Fast Medium/Fixer and Slow Medium can be used for glazing when also fixing between layers. What are their associated sheen levels?

Both mediums have a slight satin finish to them. Binder Medium can also be used which has more of a gloss.

How is it possible to keep the paint active when painting outdoors? What mediums can be used for this?

Thick Slow Medium or Liquid Slow Medium, and Unlocking Formula in a separate sprayer, with the use of a stay- wet palette. Apply a dollop of slow medium on top of the colours put out on the palette and spray the palette with water as needed to prevent the surface of paints from drying out. When the painting dries out and can no longer be reactivated with water, spray with Unlocking Formula.

Can oil and acrylics paints be mixed in the same painting, acrylics for under painting in an oil work or oil highlights on top of acrylic painting?

This can certainly be done with Atelier Interactive however we suggest allowing 48 hours drying time before using oils on acrylics or visa versa.

Can Atelier Interactive be mixed with other brands of acrylics?

Yes it can but some of its re-opening capabilities will be lost. The mixtures themselves are fine as long as professional grade fine art acrylics are being used. Concerns may arise by using cheaper forms of craft paint with Atelier Interactive.

Fast Techniques

Atelier Interactive doesn’t seem to have a plasticy feel when it is dry as with other acrylics. Even though it may be dry to touch it can still reactivate. How do I avoid this when I don’t want to work wet-in-wet?

Drying rate has many variables including type of surface, thickness of paint and environmental conditions. Taking all these into account, reactivation with water can cease anywhere from between 1-3 hours.

Can Fast Medium/Fixer be used to seal a layer in preparation for glazing or a scratch back?

Yes, using a soft brush apply a layer on touch-dry layers or use a hair dryer to speed up drying. For an even tougher seal Atelier Binder Medium will lock a layer.

Atelier Interactive in Outdoor Applications

Will Atelier Interactive Fade?

No Atelier Interactive has the best light fast ratings against continuous exposure to light.

What are the weathering capabilities of Atelier Interactive?

If possible any project with an outdoor installation should be carried out indoors and kept in a warm dry place to avoid moisture penetration. It needs to cure and then should be painted with a good quality solvent finishing varnish.

Moisture is what destroys objects outdoors, so although the colours are lightfast a number of coats of professional grade outdoor finishing varnish are required all round to provide seals on any paintwork.
Chroma does not recommend Atelier Interactive for outdoor murals.

What is the curing time for Atelier Interactive?

It generally takes up to 14 days to cure depending on how thickly the paint has been applied, what type of surface has been used, mediums used and humidity. 3 hours after paint application when it is touch-dry Unlocking Formula will be needed to reactivate the paint.


How long is it recommended to dry a painting done with Atelier Interactive before Varnishing?

Drying time of work depends upon these 4 variables- thickness of paint application, type of surface used, mediums used and humidity. As mentioned above it generally takes two weeks to cure an acrylic painting. For example; an impasto painting made with a lot of medium in humid conditions, waiting a month would be desirable.

What will happen if I apply a non-removable varnish on the painting without using a quick drying medium first?

Chroma recommends applying two coats of Fast Medium/Fixer or a diluted coat of Binder medium as an isolating coat to seal the painting prior to varnishing. Nothing may happen if the painting is varnished without the isolating layer, but we recommend sealing to protect against accidental re-opening of an uncured painting, which may cause streaks to appear across the work.

Can other varnishes be used apart from water based?

The tricky thing with water based varnishes is that they are non-removable if the effect is not pleasing. Chroma recommends and prefers solvent based Finishing Varnishes (Invisible, Satin and Gloss) which can be used on all our brands, including Atelier Interactive, with the added advantage that it is removable.

Water based varnishes are useful for painting on top of if necessary because varnishes can even out the colours. This cannot be done this in acrylics on a solvent based varnish. Sometimes there are problems using water based varnishes that appeared cloudy when applied. What is Chroma’s recommendation?

As with all varnishes, several thin coats of varnish are better that one thick one. Water based varnishes are a bit more volatile on Atelier Interactive Acrylics than conventional ones. However if the painting is sealed and cured in our experience, there hasn’t been a problem. If the painting looks cloudy after applying a water based varnish, you can paint on top of it using Atelier Interactive to even out the colours. If you have applied a solvent varnish, the we suggest using an oil paint such as Archival Oils to address any concerns.

What is the best way to adjust the gloss levels in a painting?

The best way is through a final varnish, water based or solvent.

If it is preferred to use a glossy medium to incorporate gloss while painting, this can be done by adding Binder Medium to either Fast Medium Fixer or Slow Medium. A more specific recipe is 2 parts Slow Medium to 1 part Binder for slow drying or 2 parts Clear Medium to 1 part Binder for fast drying.

Satin Medium/Varnish and Gloss Medium/Varnish can also be added directly to paint mixtures but the ability to re-open paint layers will be lost.


What minimal set of colours are suitable for Plein Air painting excursions?

Colour palettes are a personal choice, but a standard plein air basic palette is simple:


  • Tinting White, (warmer than titanium and not as opaque),
  • French Ultramarine Blue,
  • Cadmium Yellow Light or Medium,
  • Crimson or Permanent Alizarine
  • Mars Black (for Greens)


This selection is for colour studies when the finished work is being adjusted in the studio.

Later adjustments can be made by adding one or two extra colours:
Cobalt and Cerulean Blue for skies,


  • Quinacridone Magenta (bright days),
  • Paynes grey (dull days),
  • Permanent Sap Green (fields),
  • Yellow Ochre (generally very useful but can be mixed),
  • Raw Sienna Dark (beaches),
  • Raw and Burnt Umber (forests).


When Painting plein air what is the best way to vary the colour selection according to the view being painted?

Here are a few other examples of sets:More suitable for urban scenes;


  • Indian Yellow,
  • Cadmium Yellow Medium,
  • French Ultramarine Blue,
  • Cobalt Blue,
  • Pyrrole Red,
  • Quinacridone magenta,
  • Permanent Sap Green,
  • Titanium White.


For more muted softer colours as in the New England Marshes, USA , painters could experiment with;


  • Titanium White,
  • Permanent Alizarine,
  • Yellow Ochre,
  • French Ultramarine,
  • Forest Green,
  • Permanent Sap Green,
  • Transparent Red Oxide.


What are standard cool reds for mixing and glazing?

Crimson, Napthol Crimson and Permanent Alizerine are all suitable standards for this purpose.

There are (1) Comments, Comments are now closed for this discussion?
  1. comment_1_8014

    star commented on January 20, 2010, at 7:09 pm.

    can somebody help me??
    1.Im looking for something to make my atelier acrylic paint more glossy with heaps of shine. I want to be able to add this gloss straight into my paint while still working on my painting. Im getting confused to what atelier product to use for this....

    2. And Im also looking for a high gloss finish varnish to use as the finishing touch, from the ateliers range... please any suggestions???