|The Strange Obsessions of Uncle Eugene. 10″ x 8″. Golden Open Acrylics on canvas.|
Golden Open acrylics review
I always say: If you want to paint an artwork quickly; use oils. If you want to have a painting ready quickly; use acrylics.
But there’s always something to make a lie of every aphorism. Some time ago I bought a set of acrylic colours by the US paint maker Golden. They market these as ‘Open Acrylics’. Essentially, they are slow-drying and make them a little more akin to oils in feel and drying-time.
Washing up and dilution is still done with water.
Apparently, even when it seems that they’ve become unworkable (perhaps the next day), they can be made useable -or ‘opened’ with an additive that they sell (and which I didn’t buy) so I haven’t tested this.
Whatever; this is my first go with these paints.
Testing Golden Open paints
For this Golden Open acrylics review, on both of the artworks pictured above and below, I started out with a ‘brunaille’ or monochrome underpainting with regular acrylics. I then used Open Acrylics paints to glaze the colour. However, because of the detailed natured of these works, I quickly turned to using Open paints just as I would with regular acrylics -working closely and resting my wrist on the surface – and because of that, I found that the prolonged workability of the paint got in my way as I kept dragging my wrist over the painting and causing smudges. I would have been better to try these out on an alla prima still life or portrait first to get used to them -this says more about me and my impatience than the paints.
All Golden paints are loaded with pigment (Golden don’t do student quality paints as far as I know). They’re bright and intense and each tube goes a long way.
They don’t really feel like oils or regular acrylics either; the texture is slightly goopy -sticky- rather than buttery
Although, these are great paints; really, these were the wrong paintings on which to test these colours out. I would have been happier using regular acrylics for both these artworks.
For me at least, Golden Open Acrylics would come into their own in a more expressive painting -an alla prima painting would have brought out the best in them. They’d be a great alternative to oils paints for those who have a problem with the solvents used in oil painting. You’ll still need to dispose of waste materials properly (acrylic paint is still a derivative of the plastics industry).
Cost of Golden Open Acrylic Paint
All Golden paints are very good quality materials, so they’re generally dearer than brands of lesser quality. A good comparison is with Winsor & Newton Professional acrylic paint (which I really like and use all the time) on K&M Evans online shop: Taking Alizarin Crimson in both brands as a marker along with Golden’s own regular Heavy Body paint:
W&N 60ml €12.95
Golden Heavy Body regular acrylics €17.95
Golden OPEN acrylics €17.95
So a fiver more. There’s no difference in price between OPEN and regular heavy body acrylics. I find that it’s hard to say if the price difference between W&N Professional, Sennelier’s Artist Quality acrylics and Golden is worth paying -but as far as I know, none of the others make an acrylics alternative to oils.
However, Golden’s range of additional products such as gels and other additives is second to none -a really comprehensive array of material that none of the other suppliers match.
A note about presentation. Golden does a very good job with their pacakging where the swatch you see on the tube is a smear of the actual paint rather than a printed version. You know what you’re going to get.
I also might bring them on holiday with me, as acrylics can dry on the brush in the heat of a southern European summer and oils take just as long to set regardless of the weather.
Where to buy Golden Open Acrylics
In Dublin, Ireland, you can buy these in Evans’ Art Shop (online and in the shop itself) in Mary’s Abbey, in Dublin’s town centre.
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