Paint Talk

Featured Topics
Using Paint Talk
RSS Feeds
What is RSS

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is the easiest way to keep up to date with your favourite content, find out more: RSS Definition on Wikipedia.
There are lots of excellent feed readers around (sometimes called "news aggregators") and many of them are free. Here is a comprehensive list of feed readers.

Interactive Help

I’m new to Interactive Acrylics, deciding to go with them for the longer drying times. I have found these acrylics equally as frustrating as the conventional ones. When I use the water spray, I get a thin milky wash for the first few strokes until I really work it in, and by this time the paint gets sticky and sets up again. I find when I’m blending, I need to paint over and over again, and also if I get water droplets from the water spray, they dry lighter. If I happen to miss any, they are a pain to work out again.

Please help.


There are (28) Comments, Comments are now closed for this discussion?
  1. comment_1_6302

    Jennifer commented on September 29, 2008, at 3:05 pm.

    I’m Jennifer, the US Resident Artist for Chroma. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been frustrated with Interactive. If possible, please post a photo or two of your problems, so I can see what is happening. But in the meantime, I have a few suggestions that might help.

    1. Work on a well-sealed surface, especially if you work on paper. Using a few coats of gesso or Binder Medium will help prevent the loss of moisture through your substrate.

    2. I’m not sure why you are getting a milky wash through your spray. Please check your sprayer and make sure that it is clean and you are using just plain water. If you have a water softening system or well water, or feel the water source is impure, try using distilled water.

    3. When you use your 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. You may find that using a wet brush to add moisture to a given area works better for your style of painting. The droplets, when absorbed and Interactive is dry, will vanish.

    4. Try incorporating a Slow Medium, such as the Liquid or Thick Slow Medium, to give yourself even more open time.

    5. 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, so do not mix it directly with the paint.

    I hope these tips are useful, and if you continue to have problems, please let us know!

  2. comment_2_6302

    Jennifer commented on September 29, 2008, at 3:10 pm.


    I have read all the info you sent and everything else I can lay my hands on through other artist forums etc, and still feel somewhat stuck with some of the issues I referred to.

    However, I am going to try spraying the back of the canvas during painting, as well as using the SLOW MEDIUM. Are there any strict proportions to adhere to when using this stuff.

    Is it best to just dip my brush in some each time I paint or is it better to mix an amount into the colour before hand?

    Also, what is the “retarder” Jen is referring to for the water sprayer, and where can I get it. Is it an Atelier product?

    I will get some pics to Jennifer ASAP re the milky look to the spray water when it goes on, and dries.


  3. comment_3_6302

    Jennifer commented on September 29, 2008, at 3:12 pm.


    Nice paintings of waves!

    Regarding the Slow Mediums, there are no hard and fast rules for these mediums, and artists use them in various ways. They are very versatile, and I suggest starting out with some medium off to the side and just dip your brush as needed. For example, Jim Cobb 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.

    Based on the images you sent, it looks like your paintings are very smooth. You may find mixing Liquid Slow Medium with Interactive suits your style better. I recommend mixing no more than 30% medium to paint to get a nice, fluid paint.
    Some artists apply a layer directly to their surface so they are already working in a “wet” environment. And some artists will dip their brush into the medium and work it into their surface paint to facilitate soft blends and transitions.

    As you can tell, there are many ways to use these mediums!

    Regarding Retarder, yes, it is an Atelier product, and is meant to be added directly to your water spray, not the paint.

    Hope these tips help and Happy Painting!


  4. comment_4_6302

    Jennifer commented on September 29, 2008, at 3:13 pm.


    I forgot to ask yesterday........
    I have just purchased a new set of Archival Oils, and wondered if there was a Chroma product similar to Windsor & Newton’s “LIQUIN”

    I really like what it does, but wanted something with the same faster drying properties as the Archival Oils.

    Can you let me know.


  5. comment_5_6302

    Jennifer commented on September 29, 2008, at 3:13 pm.

    Liquin is an alkyd, quick drying oil medium, mostly used to make glazes. I’d suggest the Lean Medium


  6. comment_6_6302

    Mikel Wintermantel commented on October 1, 2008, at 2:56 am.

    S, I use Interactive acrylics and often finish in alkyd paints. The acrylics dry to a nice flat finish so painting over them is ideal. Your style (which is quite nice) looks like you have very smooth gradients. I achieve similar results by painting in layers, each new layer I paint over the previous dry layer makes the gradations smoother and smoother. Many times I know I will finish in Alkyds or oils so I don't worry about getting the gradations perfect in acrylics.

    It is a different method of painting for some people, especially alla prima painters.

    It all depends on how thickly you paint too. I tend to use very thin layers of paint.

    My other suggestion is to use the slow thick medium and not as much water. Watch your environment too and make sure it isn't too dry or windy across the painting.

    Every new medium takes some getting used to but I think you will find you can control these paints with ease after experimenting a little with different methods.

    Mikel Wintermantel, C.M.

  7. comment_7_6302

    Frances Poole commented on October 17, 2008, at 7:46 am.

    I've been working with Interactive for the past year. I had never used Acrylics before, but was familiar with what they do. Especially the difficulty in blending. I was pleased to find that with Interactive, I have been able to get nice transitions in my work. It took me awhile to learn to use the paints and especially the Mediums since I was used to working with oils all my life, but after awhile, I was not able to tell the difference from my Acrylic and Oil paintings.

  8. comment_8_6302

    Jennifer commented on November 13, 2008, at 11:14 am.

    This comment came in via email from Anna

    I am really excited about these new acrylics! I have been a watercolor painter most of my adult life, and have tried both oil and traditional acrylics. I did not like either one, but would like to work on canvas. These interactive are great, but there definitely is a learning curve. I love the demos by Keith Norris and would like to know who makes that 1 1/2" brush that he uses. He is painting the way I like to paint in the mixed media demo. Also I would like to know if you can use the gloss or matte medium instead of the slow and fast drying medium for mixing.

    Thanks for any imput........Anna

  9. comment_9_6302

    Shane Martin commented on November 26, 2008, at 3:01 pm.

    Hi Jennifer,
    Just wanted to let you know how I am going with the Interactive, since my last visit. I started using both the Slow medium, and the Clear Painting medium, and have found a dramatic improvement in the working times of the paint. For big blended skies, I lay down the Clear Painting Medium directly onto the canvas, which acts as a great color blender tool.
    And since I have been using the Slow medium added to each color mix, I have found it more enjoyable to paint, rather than panicking about them drying to fast. I do use the water spray as well, but still find I am getting water droplets on other parts of the painting, which then dry lighter by a shade or two, thus requiring you to blend these out. ( Sometimes a pain).
    Anyway here are a couple of examples of my latest works.

  10. comment_10_6302

    Artywriter commented on December 15, 2008, at 12:34 am.

    I have only recently bought some of these paints and am looking forward to useng them for painting on canvas. However, my next project is a spray of roses on mirror glass and I'm hoping that I can use Atelier Interactive Acrylics instead of glass paint to get the degree of detail and shading that I know I can't achieve with the glass paint. Does anyone know if it can be used on glass and, if tried, how it performed, please?

  11. comment_11_6302

    Jennifer commented on December 17, 2008, at 7:36 am.

    I haven't tried using Interactive on glass,but I would definitely suggest adding a glass/tile medium. Many artists have successfully used Jo Sonja's paints with the Glass & Tile Primer and Glass & Tile medium.

  12. comment_12_6302

    Geri Keary commented on May 10, 2009, at 9:06 am.

    I am reading about the interactive acrylics, and I am interested in trying to see if they are different than the heavy body ones that I use. I do thin them a little because I work in layers and build up from dark to light and put my highlights on last . I work mainly on water color paper or I love the Canson acrylic paper in a tablet. My problem is that they dry a value darker and so that is why I work that way and I like some of the under washes to show through.
    Geri Keary, USA
    that is my question do they dry darker when they dry.

  13. comment_13_6302

    jill commented on May 10, 2009, at 11:56 am.

    i was just getting ready to paint a fiberglass three dimensional bear, which will be displayed out of doors. i bought the interactives, but after reading on the web site it said it was not suitable for murals. the bear will be treated with a poly sealant. should i choose traditional acrylics for this. it is imperative i get this right, as part of a festival in my town.....this bear will be auctioned off for money after it spends about four months out of doors.

    thanks, jilll

  14. comment_14_6302

    Jim Cobb commented on May 13, 2009, at 4:52 pm.

    Hello Jilian

    I don't want to give a definite answer to your question because I prefer to try things out before recommending to other people, and I have not suggested the use of Interactive outdoors because of the need for the paint to cure before it becomes properly resistant. I would guess that your project could be carried out indoors kept in a warm dry place for a couple of weeks and then painted with a good quality solvent finishing varnish which would prevent moisture penetration, but I am not recommending you do it because I have not carried out the necessary trials.
    I include for your viewing an email of a group of Tiwi Island poles which I have just finished painting as an external exposure project, and although it is theoretically dry season in the far north tropics it has been very damp and wet for the last few days without harming my experiment. I do note however that the paint in its present uncured state could be scratched off quite easily but if it is left alone I do expect it to cure and become fully weather resistant. As you might imagine it will take many months to complete this experiment to my satisfaction, and I intend to leave the poles unvarnished so that I can eventually check what effect weather has on them.

    Jim Cobb

  15. comment_15_6302

    painter commented on October 28, 2009, at 11:03 pm.

    Hi, I have been reading the different discussions and would like to add . I have been using the interactive paints for 3 years both for commissioned works and teaching. I painted in oils for 20 years most people coming into my studio - Gallery can't tell the difference. I have done a lot of mixed media , collage work with the binder and paints as an overglaze. I am still learning all the wonderfull ways these can be used including painting on metal and first sealing with the binder medium it is almost impossible to scratch off if it is first sealed with the binder medium. Hope this helps other artists who like to try new things. Painter

  16. comment_16_6302

    littlepinkkiwi commented on October 29, 2009, at 8:18 am.


    I've just started art this year and am a complete beginner. I'm working on an abstract painting where I am trying to paint a background of very luminous sunset colours (yellow, orange, red, violet) and then over the top translucent white stylised clouds. I have a couple of questions about glazing. Up until now I have been using opaque paints and I have just found out about glazing which is quite exciting but I don't know much about it. I have done a lot of reading and some experiments but I have some questions about Atelier (I'm using all Atelier products).

    1. Can I lighten the value of my painting by glazing? I have started with a base coat of cadmium yellow deep mixed with pale gold (the gold is Atelier but not Interactive) and then thinned with binder medium. I thought this was too dark so I then did a glaze over it with cadmium yellow light, pale gold and binder medium. It does look lighter now but I think the value may still be too dark, particularly if I want to glaze several layers over the top (I don't know how doing this will change the colour and the value). I would like part of the painting to be a lighter value than this. Can I do a glaze with white to lighten it? I have heard this is not a good idea with titanium white but will it work with the Atelier Interactive tinting white? Or do I need to gesso over this and start again and use much thinner layers of colour?

    2. I also have been told to paint clear layers to increase the depth. What products should I use? I have binder medium, fast medium/fixer, clear painting medium, satin medium and varnish and would like to be able to use these rather than purchase something else.

    3. My yellow paints and most of my reds are not transparent, I have cadmium reds and yellows. Are the Atelier cadmium reds and yellows suitable for glazing or should I get some transparent or semi-transparent colours?

    5. I want to make sure I don't re-activate and blend my layers of paint when glazing over them. I have the binder medium and fast medium which I know cannot be re-wet but do the clear painting medium and the satin medium and varnish also dry permanently?

    Thank you very much for your help :-)


  17. comment_17_6302

    Jennifer commented on January 9, 2010, at 6:08 am.

    Welcome to the wonderful adventure that is painting! I think you will have a lot of fun learning and developing your skills with Atelier Interactive.

    1. Glazing: Glazing is a technique in which you paint thin, transparent layers on top of one another so they optically mix to give a luminous color. Generally, glazes are used to enrich colors and change their hue or intensity, not change their value. However, you can try glazing with Tinting White to lighten that area. In the attached image, "Kathryn," I used a glaze of Tinting White for her veil. But because you are using Atelier Interactive, you may want to try using the Unlocking Formula to rewet your painting and blend in some Titanium White to adjust your values. Or if you are still not happy, just paint on top of it - that's the great thing about Atelier Interactive - there are lots of ways to approach your paintings.

    2. I love using the Clear Painting Medium for glazes. That's what I used on "Kathryn,” which was built up with lots and lots of glazes. The Fast Medium or the Satin Medium can be used for glazes, but those glazes will dry very fast. The Clear Painting Medium will give you time to adjust, rub and play with the glaze. If you find you want even more time, try the Slow Medium or Thick Slow Medium for your glazes.

    3. Glazes are best done with transparent or semi-transparent colors, not opaque colors like Cadmiums. If you look at your tube, if you see an open circle, that's a transparent color, one that is half open/half opaque is a semi-transparent color, and a circle that is completely opaque is an opaque color. You can certainly make a glaze from a Cadmium Yellow, but it's not the same because of the way light works with the pigments. They will always be a bit cloudier that glazes done with transparent colors. Pick up a tube of Permanent Alizarine or Transparent Yellow and compare glazes done with Cadmium Red Medium or Cadmium Yellow Light.

    4. The Binder Medium and the Fast Medium are perfect as isolation coats and will lock in your underpainting so any glazes will not reopen the paint. I use wet-in-wet techniques and glazing in most of my paintings, in the same session. I simply isolate layers, and speed up the dry and cure time by drying them with a hair dryer as well. Once your Atelier Interactive painting has had time to cure, apply an isolation coat and a varnish and it will be permanent!

  18. comment_18_6302

    star commented on January 26, 2010, at 11:09 am.

    I wrote a question before but I can't seem to find it but here it goes again...

    I want to add gloss and shine into atelier paint while painting. I will like to add the medium straight into the paint. what medium is best for this???

  19. comment_19_6302

    Jim Cobb commented on January 28, 2010, at 9:34 am.

    Hello Star,
    yes, your question has been answered under the Atelier Colour Range Discussion topic at .

    According to the blogs as they are set up this is probably a more appropriate place to raise it but it doesn't matter.

  20. comment_20_6302

    Tom commented on February 13, 2010, at 4:13 am.

    I have a question, "how long do J's Artists colours have to dry before over painting?' Just give an average time as conditions vary. Lost my sheet and am just trying them now. Thank you.

  21. comment_21_6302

    mes2370 commented on April 27, 2010, at 6:22 am.

    I'm new to painting (only been painting about 6 months with oils) and just started using Interactive Acrylics and have had similar problems as S with the water droplets. I will try the suggestions offered to see if that will help. But I have other questions.

    When I've tried painting trees over an area of sky I run into the problem of it mixing with the sky color. I do use a little water with my paint for flow so I assume that is the problem. If I use a medium will it still mix with the underlying paint?

    Is it ok to use a hair dryer to dry a section of a painting so I can apply another layer over top?

    I am used to a heavier bodied paint (from the oils I've used) is there a way to thicken up Interactive acrylics? I noticed an Impasto product. How thick is it and is it re-workable when sprayed with water?

    Is there an Interactive Gesso? I've seen a technique for skies where you wet the canvas, apply a thin layer of gesso then paint wet-in-wet with the sky color to blend lighter toward the horizon. I would like to give it a try, but didn't know if I should use an Interactive gesso product (if there is one) or the standard acrylic gesso I have.

    And just out of curiousity. I've seen in the videos the unlocking formula being sprayed onto the paint you want to rework, but I only see a water misting sprayer and no Unlocking Formula sprayer. Why not have a seperate sprayer (that looks a little different to avoid confusion) for the Unlocking Formula or sell it already in a spray bottle? I know I can just use another water mister, but I guess I like "a place for every thing and everything in it's place.



  22. comment_22_6302

    Jennifer commented on April 29, 2010, at 11:55 am.

    Hi Mark!

    Thanks for your comments and questions!
    So you are having an issue with your trees blending and mixing with your sky instead of sitting on top. Here are some suggestions:

    1. When you are happy with your sky, you can seal or isolate that layer so it will not be "interactive." A coat or two of Binder Medium or Fast Medium/Fixer will set the layer so you can overpaint your trees. You will not be able to reopen the sky layer, but you will be able to work on your trees and even remove them if you'd like. I know many artists that like to use this tip of sealing layers, as it gives them freedom to experiment. Check out Mikel Wintermantel's video in our media library- he seals his backgrounds as he goes along.

    2. You can always back off your sky area and let it dry longer before painting your trees. Sitting it in the sun for a bit, letting it dry a few hours or overnight or even using a hair dryer (my favorite) are easy ways to help keep the underpainting from interacting. I keep a hair dryer next to my easel for this purpose!

    For adding more body to Interactive, you can use the paint straight and apply with a bristle brush or a knife. You could also incorporate a texture medium such as the Impasto Gel for a glossy texture, or Modelling Compound for heavy matte texture. When you add these mixtures to Interactive, you will lose the reopening properties. However, as these mediums are heavier, I find the paint dries slower, so I have more time to work with it on the canvas initially. If you want the texture AND the reopening abilities, apply these mediums to your surface first, and then paint on top of them.

    There is not an "interactive" gesso per se, but Chroma manufactures a wonderful Atelier Professional Gesso and Liquid Gesso. I have not tried this method of painting into the gesso, but I've read about it online! If you try it, please post your results!

    At this point, we are not planning to produce a separate spray bottle for the Unlocking Formula. I know it can be a bit confusing to see the label in the videos - I will do a better job of hiding it in the future! :-) I like your idea of already having it in a spray bottle, and will pass that suggestion on!

    Happy painting!

  23. comment_23_6302

    Ajoe commented on February 14, 2011, at 11:43 pm.

    Palette Storage


    I'm new to Interactive and acrylics in general.

    Is there any recommended technique for storing a palette of Interactive Acrylics between painting sessions, for a few hours or until the next day?

    I assume you can cover it with Saran wrap, but when uncovered, would you expect to use as is, with a water spray, or a spray of unlocking formula?


  24. comment_24_6302

    Jennifer commented on February 15, 2011, at 12:55 am.

    Hi there,

    If you want to keep your palette active, using some sort of stay-wet palette system, or covering it tightly with saran wrap is very helpful. Whe you are ready to use it again, just spray it with some water to get your larger mistures "active" again.

    Enjoy your painting exeprience!

  25. comment_25_6302

    Ajoe commented on February 16, 2011, at 8:49 am.

    Don't settle for a cheap spray bottle!

    Just a heads up for you folks just getting started with Interactive Acrylics. I was almost ready to give up on Interactive after using a standard spray bottle, even one with an adjustable spray.

    Then I decided to pick up a Ateliar Fine Mist Water Sprayer (about $6) at my art store. What a huge difference it made.

    If you are having trouble getting your Interactive paints to behave like they do in the instructions and videos, pick up one these spray bottles. It really does make a huge difference!


  26. comment_26_6302

    espressojoe commented on April 12, 2011, at 1:01 pm.

    Hi, I'm having problems using the binder medium as an isolation coat to protect existing layers of Interactive. Even though the pain seems touch-dry, the binder medium seems to dissolve the paint I'm trying to protect, lifting it off. Is there some trick to using this, like spraying it? Or do I need to wait longer than a few hours before using it. Thanks.

  27. comment_27_6302

    Jennifer commented on April 12, 2011, at 11:51 pm.

    Hi Joe,

    Depending on how you applied those last layers, or what mediums you used, you may need to let your Interactive painting dry a bit longer before applying an isolation coat. But here are a few tips that may help:

    1. Use a hair dryer (or set your painting in the sun, near warm air) to set up your layers before applying Binder as a isolation coat.

    2. Try using a gentle hand and a soft brush. I find a soft, flat watercolor brush allows me to just lay medium (or paint) on top of touch-dry layers without disturbing them.

    3. You can also apply 2 coats of Fast Medium/Fixer. It's more fluid than Binder, so you may want to try using a sprayer to initially apply a layer of this medium, before using a brush for a second coat. This can be useful in small works. Be sure to clean your nozzle when finished!

    Please let me know if these tips help!

  28. comment_28_6302

    Dreampainter commented on October 24, 2011, at 8:10 am.

    Can Jo Sonja paints be used on leather instead of leather dyes?