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Acrylic paints have a natural luster that draws many artists to them. Acrylic gloss mediums enhance that natural shine while increasing the flow and longevity of paints. They are a good choice for thin glazes and layering and can often be used as a varnish over a completed painting to enhance contrast, vibrancy of colors, and texture. Most gloss mediums look indistinguishable from one another on the shelf of an art supply store, but some do distinguish themselves on the canvas. We have selected some dependable options to help you make a choice.
Winsor & Newton Galeria Acrylic Gloss Medium
Sometimes the mark of a good gloss medium is the fact that it goes undetected in a finished work. Winsor & Newton’s Galeria medium’s consistency is between that of a lotion and a gel, and it appears translucent even before it dries, unlike the pasty white tone of lesser gloss mediums. It supplies paint with a subtle luminescence—like the original paint, only better.
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Golden Gloss Medium
Golden’s gloss medium is a no-nonsense option that adds a reliably beautiful sheen to dry paint time after time. It has a thick, resinous quality that can retain some brushstrokes; this makes it a good option for artists looking to extend and enhance their paints without thinning them significantly. When using this as a varnish, apply it in thin layers to avoid crazing, that unsightly cracking and rippling that can occur when put on too thickly.
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Grumbacher Artists’ Acrylic Gloss Medium and Varnish, 8 oz
Grumbacher’s high-quality gloss is thin but mighty. The multifaceted medium can be used to prime, glaze, or varnish and can even act as an effective collage adhesive. Apply sparingly to maintain some of the body of unadulterated paint, or use more for clean and even glazes. You’ll be left with a subtle yet profound level of shine that avoids the plastic or oily effect of some gloss mediums and varnishes.
Liquitex Professional Acrylic Gloss Medium, 8 oz
Liquitex’s fluid medium used to be called a gloss medium and varnish; this is the same product with the same capabilities. The clear, flexible medium not only blends well and makes your paints flow more easily, but also adds a quick-drying gloss overlay that can unify the finishes of your paints and highlight brushstrokes. For students and others looking to get the most out of their products, this well-priced two-in-one is an effective choice.
Pebeo Studio Acrylics Pouring Medium
Poured acrylic paintings have become extremely popular, and Pebeo has formulated an acrylic medium specifically for poured paintings. Obviously, flow is the top consideration in a pouring medium, but it also must not affect the luster of the paint, as a smooth, glasslike surface is often a major part of the appeal. Pebeo’s medium is always free from air bubbles and will not yellow.