New work off to AYR Gallery Ontario

New work off to AYR Gallery Ontario

I'm both excited and honored to be shipping Fragments Of Life # 32 (and 2 others!) to AYR Space Gallery ( in Ontario. Painting is 23" x 30" x 1.5" Acrylics & Mixed Media on 300 pound paper mounted on wood panel. Full series for view here:

Art traveling this summer to Toronto, Ontario for exhibit.

Art traveling this summer to Toronto, Ontario for exhibit.

Fragments Of Life # 24. 23 x 30 x 1.5" Acrylics & Mixed Media on 300 pound paper mounted on wood panel (c) 2014 Deb Chaney will be exhibited at the Society of Canadian Artist’s Elected Members Exhibition Etobicoke Art Gallery in Toronto, Ontario from July 23rd, to Aug 27th, 2014.

Demo Notes: Basics in Acrylics

Thank you for every one that came to the demonstration Sunday March 28th. There were a few requests for a hand out so I thought I'd post the notes for those that want all the details! I left out the section on varnishes. This deserves its own blog. Stay tuned. Best, Deb

I Introduction: What is acrylic paint

Acrylics paint is made with synthetic resin (poymer) as the medium (liquid) to bind the pigment (colour), rather than natural oils such as linseed used in oil paints.


  • dries quickly
  • water soluble


  • versatile - can be used to emulate oil, watercolors or encaustics
  • milky when wet (slightly opaque) but dries clear as opposed to oil paint which keeps the same colour wet and dry. à dry colour is always different than wet colour.
  • shrink considerably (approximately 25-40%) upon drying.

Student vs Artist Grade acrylics:

Student grade acrylics

  • less expensive pigments (or mixtures of pigments) so the
    range of colors is limited.
  • In the cheapest brands, they've lots of filler (chalk and kaolin or China clay.) .
  • As with so many things, you get what you pay for.
  • Don't mix together as successfully (in terms of color produced, not consistency),
  • results as vibrant as artist's quality paints.

Professional Grade Acrylics:
What we have at OPUS, categorized in terms of consistency/thickness.

1. heavy body

heavy body acrylics:
smooth, rich, buttery consistency.
ability to "stand up" and retain brush strokes or palette knife marks
excellent flexibility when dry, greatly diminishing the possibility of cracking

- Liquitex (heavy)
- Stevenson (heavy)
- TriArt (heavy)
- Golden (heavy body)
- Open acrylics: Ideal for portraiture and landscape painting
Remain wet on the palette for prolonged periods without skinning over.

2. Medium body

Medium body/soft:
(includes airbrush and ink)
consistency of pudding,
level out and don’t hold peaks.
Blend really nicely.

- Holbein acrylic gouache (medium body)
- Liquitex (medium/soft body)

3. Liquid /airbrush/acrylic inks

high pigment load or color strength
level out
great for staining and washes
Great for fine line and details
illustrators loves them!

- Chromacolour (fluid)
- Golden fluids (fluids)
-Golden airbrush paints (very fluid)
- Liquitex and ---- acrylic inks (extremely fluid)

Gessos & Grounds

PVA size
-GAC 100

- Stevenson
- Liquitex

Other Grounds
-absorbent ground
-pastel ground
-light moulding paste

DEMO: liquid acrylics on absorbent ground and light moulding paste ground.

Safety concerns:

  • Many pigments that are known to be toxic – cadmium & cobalt
  • Acrylic paints contain additives such as thickeners, levelers, defoamers and surfactants to stabilize, prevent moulding and prevent them from drying too quickly. Your Skin my react to these.
  • Acrylics de-gas when they dry. This gas can be toxic.

Reduce the chance of ingestion/absorption/inhalation by:

  1. Wear gloves or barrier cream
  2. Wash your hands thoroughly when you’ve finished painting.
  3. Don’t eat while you’re painting or have food in the studio
  4. Ensure there’s decent ventilation in your studio
  5. Keep your art materials out of the reach of kids.

II Mediums and Additives:

Fluid Mediums

Gloss & Matte polymer medium

Colorless paint, as they are composed of 100% acrylic polymers similar to acrylic paint. A general purpose liquid medium useful for creating glazes, extending colors, enhancing gloss and translucency and increasing film integrity. Has a unique feel that is much more oil-like or resinous in nature and that promotes flow and leveling.

Show what we have





DEMO – using OPUS matte medium to seal a paper substrate surface. Using OPUS matte medium to extend paint

DEMO – using fluid medium to create glazing layers

Mediums for pouring layers –
GOLDEN Acrylic Glazing Liquid - is liquid medium designed to have longer working time than typical acrylic mediums.

Liquitex Glazing Medium - designed to dry quickly for rapid layering
Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish – not a true varnish, can be mixed well and easily with liquid paints to create layers of translucent glazes. Will crack if poured too thick.

GAC 800 - Adding small amounts of GAC-800 to the Fluids can reduce the crazing that occurs (that works especially well with the Fluids )

GAC 800 Sample to show - this medium can be poured thickly and used to embed objects without cracking.

The GAC’s liquid mediums defined:

- GOLDEN GAC - Golden Artist Colors
- Specialty Acrylic Polymers are based on 100% acrylic polymer emulsions.
- useful as mediums or modifiers of acrylic paints.
- can be blended with acrylics to extend the paint to:

1. regulate transparency,

2. create glazes,

3. increase gloss,

4. reduce viscosity

5. improve adhesion

6. Improve film integrity.

-have only a minimum amount of thickeners, levelers, defoamers and surfactants to ensure good film formation.
- very fluid and thinner than other GOLDEN Mediums.
- will reduce the thickness of most GOLDEN Acrylic Paints.

Gel Mediums

Gels can be thought of as colorless paint, as they are composed of 100% acrylic polymers similar to acrylic paint. They can also act as adhesives in collage and mixed media that dry to form continuous films with excellent flexibility with chemical, water and UV resistance.

Soft -> Regular -> Extra Heavy

Soft Gel Gloss

moderately pourable. Hold only slight peaks. The recommended acrylic to function as a glue for collaging. Soft Gel Gloss is ideal for glazing and other techniques where transparency is desired. Useful as a non-removable isolation coat, applied over the painting and before the varnish (must be thinned with water - 2 parts Soft Gel Gloss to 1 part water). Adding water and thining it prevents clouding.

DEMO – using Golden soft gel as an isolation coat.

Regular Gel - Same creamy consistency as GOLDEN Heavy Body Acrylic colors. Ideal for extending paint and regulating translucency without changing the consistency of the Heavy Body and Matte colors. Hold moderate peaks and texture. The Regular Gel Gloss is ideal for glazing and other techniques where transparency is desired.

DEMO – using regular gel to create underpainting texture – on its own or mix with paints.

DEMO – putting regular gel on top of your painting to add depth and texture and thick glazes on your paintings

Heavy & extra heavy gel - Thicker consistency than GOLDEN Heavy Body Acrylic colors. Blend with colors to increase body. Good for holding peaks. * note that it dries translucent – not perfectly clear.

Clear tar gel - mixes with the Fluids for dripping purposes, and can yield lines that range from spider-web fine to brushstroke thick.

Sample Handout - using ALL various gels as glue to adhere and embed stuff into your painting

Self leveling clear tar gel - isolation coat that dries evenly
(GOLDEN medium that work especially well with the Fluids)

Impasto Gel Medium - (steveston) like regular gel but has marble dust so its opaque.

Modeling Paste - regular, light and coarse. Can be used as a ground and to build up texture into your painting.


Acrylic Flow Release - is a surfactant. A surfactant is a concentrated surface-active liquid which reduces surface tension, thus improving wetting and increasing the flow of acrylic waterborne paints.

Retarder – slows the drying time of paint. Allows greater time for blending, working outside.

IV Painting Substrates and Accessories

Paintings substrates

glass, board, canvas, linen, paper.... (display)



1. round – use to dab & make a line
2. flat head – landscape, horizons, washes/glazes
3. bright – less flexible than a flat, more control
4. Filbert – oval dabbing and filling in shapes, most versatile

What we carry:

Fortissimo – ($)
- natural hog hair
- oil brush works great for acrylic
-stiff and thick hair – good for dry brushing and brush stroke effects

Arietta’s ($)
- really soft
- great for the fluids/inks
- won’t work so well with the heavy body paints

Legato ($$)
- More firm

Mezzo ($$$)
- even firmer

Windsor and Newton water mixable brushes ($$$)
- have a fan brush, great for blending

Robert Simmons ($$$)
- synthetic
- hold a lot of water/paint
- very soft
- lots of selection of small sized brushes for detail

Other - palette knifes, rubber shapers are cool to use too!


Peel- away palette
Clear plastic Palette
Cansen disposable palette
Non-stick Palette
Stay Web Palette

Clean up:

Wipe acrylics off with a papertowel so you don't get it down the sink
Master's paint cleaner and brush conditioner
Glass jar with coil

Sunday March 28th 2-4 pm: free acrylics demo in Vancouver

Deb Chaney is mixing liquid Golden Acrylics with Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish and applying this
in many thin layers to create translucent glazing effects you see in many of her Emerging Series works.

On Sunday March 28th from 2-4 pm I will be doing a live in store demonstration on acrylics & acrylic mediums at OPUS Framing and Art Supply on Granville Island in Vancouver, BC. This demo is open to the public, first come for limited seating. Look for me at the back of the store in the paper room.

I will be discussing and demonstrating the following:

  • What are acrylics and how do they compare to watercolour paints and oil paints?
  • What different types of acrylics exist?
  • Health and safety concerns when using acrylics.
  • Making sense of the Medium aisle at the art supply store
  • Mediums and Additives used with acrylics - the fun begins!
  • Varnishing your painting - what to use and why.
  • Painting substrates and must have accessories
  • Cleaning up

Opus Framing & Art Supplies
1360 Johnston Street, Vancouver, BC V6H 3S1(604) 736-7028

DATE & TIME: Sunday March 28th, 2010 2- 4 pm

it's free! first come first seating available.

Homemade wrapping paper with potato stamps

Ruthie and I got adventurous this past week and decided to make our own wrapping paper. I can't take complete credit for the idea as it all started with a conversation with a co-worker in the staff room on a break. (thank for this great idea Amanda!) Needless to say the idea of cutting up potatoes to make stamps sounded fun and easy so here's Ruthie's wrapping paper creations.

Basic instructions for those of you who are inspired and want to do this at home. Hey, you don't need kids to do this! Get some raw potatoes. Cut them in half and carve in the shapes you want to see printed on your paper. We carved stars, a christmas tree, a bell, holly leaves and whatever else you see in the pictures. We used cheap white paper - the kind you get on a roll. For paints we used acrylics: napthol red ( made great candy cane image), phthalo green (holly leaves looked awesome), and irredescent gold (really nice for stars) (The paints were all Golden fluid acrylics). Totally fun!

Using Acrylics to create a waxy – encaustic – look in your artwork

Leaping into the unknown
30 x 40 x 11/2”
Mixed Media, & Acrylics on Canvas
© Deb Chaney 2007
Feng Shui Recommendation: Health and Vitality.
To further enhance your health and inner vitality place this painting in or near the center of your dwelling.
For View at: Java Station Coffee House 4447 Hollister Ave, Santa Barbara, CA 93110 Ph (805) 681-0202
(Please do ask to see this painting it because its in the back!!!)
Original painting is available for purchase $1200 USD

Last week I had an interview with Golden Paints technical department on a new product they are in process of creating. At this point in time, because of their competition, I was asked to keep the interview a secret and not reveal any of the ideas or concepts we discussed.

After speaking with the Golden chemical technician he emailed me some great little videos clips ( on using and applying Golden Mediums and acrylic paints. I thought this would be fun to share with acrylic and mixed media painters who read this blog.

Particulalry, I’m thinking of Shay Cajolet from Massachusetts who contact me last year with questions about using acrylic mediums to create an encaustic (wax – like) effect. She’d seen the workshop I’d organized for Nancy Reyner in Santa Barbara which was on this topic specifically: using acrylics to create encaustic effects.

Last time I heard from Shay she said she’d had some success and a lot of goopy experiences with the mediums….perhaps a few of these videos will give some more guidance that goes beyond a phone conversation.

Here are some great instructional videos on the products and techniques that I use and some new concepts too…

Using moulding paste:

Creating a Brushable Isolation Coat:

Using Clear Tar Gel:

In my work to build layers I use Golden heavy gel matte medium, GOLDEN light moulding paste, Liquitex gloss medium and varnish, Golden fluid acrylics. ( Check out this link to a sampler set of many of these products and other cool ones)

As well, if you want to pour a thick layer over your work to emulate wax, from her workshop we learned that Nancy Reyner developed the following formulas she calls:

Sheen formula to match refined Beeswax

Mix together 2 oz. Soft Gel Gloss and ½ oz matte medium. Slowly add ¼ oz water. Add 3 drops of Interference Blue (fine) and 2 drops of Iridescent gold (fine).

Sheen formula to match unrefined beeswax

Use above mixture and pour half into an empty far. Add ½ drop or less of quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold.

You can make these formulas in an air tight container and then use them in the middle of your painting as a medium, directly onto dry or web acrylic paint or as a finishing sheen to your work.

Something that looks really cool and is fun to try – lay down a nice thick layer (1/4” or so) of one of the above sheen formulas using a palette knife. Soak a paint brush heavily with water. Tap the water soaked paint brush over top of your sheen layer ( don't touch the painting with the brush, let the water fall off onto the sheen layer) and let the water drops form an interesting surface texture on your waxy layer. Let it dry. Have fun!