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Layering and Mixing with Iridescent and Interference Acrylic Paints

22 thoughts on “Layering and Mixing with Iridescent and Interference Acrylic Paints”

  1. This was a very informative article. I had originally asked to receive print copies, as well as internet, and if I had to choose just one, I’d choose paper. Could you resume sending me the print versions. Thank you.
    Diana Ross
    8499 Deer Path
    West Chester, OH 45069

    • Hi Diana,

      Thank you for your kind comment about my article in Just Paint Online. These shorter online articles do not come out in print form, only online, on our website. Our main newsletter, Just Paint comes out once, and sometimes twice a year as a “hard copy” that we send out to anyone who signs up for it. If you have already signed up, then you will get the next issue that is published. To sign up just click on the “Subscribe” link in the upper left area of the top menu bar here: https://justpaint.org/about-jp/………and fill out the online form.

      I hope that is helpful, and if you have any other questions, do not hesitate to call or email us here in tech support! Happy Holidays!…….Scott Bennett

      • Hello again Diana,

        As it turns out, for 2016 we did not publish a printed Just Paint newsletter so that is why you did not receive one. The intended 2016 issue will come out early in 2017, as it kept getting pushed forward due to content and article revisions. So, essentially, we did not publish a Just Paint for 2016. We used to publish two issues a year but will now be going to one a year, typically coming out in the fall. The online articles will be ongoing and fairly regular.

    • You are most welcome Scott! If any questions come up while using our Iridescent and Interference colors, or any of our products, feel free to call or email us here in Tech Support. Best of luck with your work.

      Scott Bennett

  2. Hello Scott;
    I’ve been using interference colors for a number of years but recently began application on a large canvas. On this painting I want the interference colors to play a more dominant role and prefer to enhance their performance. What would you suggest as a final varnish on the acrylic painting to achieve this goal?
    Thank you, Paul

    • Hi Paul,

      Any glossy sheened Varnish of ours will offer the most clarity and so allow the most light to come through the film, which will be best if you want to simply preserve the full interference effect you now have on your work. Matte or Satin coatings are less than completely clear and so can tend to diminish color chroma and obscure in small degrees. But, the most important factor in terms of having stronger interference effects, involves how you originally used the colors. Use over darker grounds will always tend to increase the strength of the interference effect, as will blending with darker valued colors. Again, I would refer to to my article above and to our literature and videos on our website for more details. Best of luck with your work!

  3. Can a painting with iridescent and interference colors or medium be varnished, and will the varnish reduce or enhance the effect?

    • Hi Danielle,

      Yes, Iridescent and Interference colors can be varnished, just like any other color. And in a similar way, the particular varnish sheen will affect the aesthetics of the colors. Glossy varnishes or really any glossy and more translucent film will tend to darken colors, and allow more light to pass through to the color. This tends to enhance colors to some degree, including the Iridescent/Interference colors, whereas Matte or Satin Varnishes or coatings will tend to subdue and lighten color, due to the matting solids which block some of the light coming through. And again, this includes Iridescent and Interference colors. Sometimes this subtle lessening of the effect can be desirable, and some artists will blend the colors with Semi-Gloss or Matte mediums to create this effect. The bottom line is you must test to see the inevitable changes that any translucent coating on your work will create.

    • Hi Sharon,

      And we are happy to hear that you are reading our articles and finding them useful! while we do not have an “Iridescent White”, we assume you mean our Iridescent Pearl, which certainly could pass for an Iridescent White. Best of luck with your work and don’t hesitate to contact us at help@goldenpaints.com if you have more questions.

  4. Hi, interesting article thanks. I was wondering will acrylic paint iridescent and interference effects work on a plastic boat superstructure subject to sea spray and sunlight UV exposure if I apply a marine varnish layer?

    • Hello Bill,

      Our Iridescent and Interference colors are made from mica particles coated with Titanium Dioxide and the colors and reflective effects are extremely lightfast as they are based in refraction and reflection of specific wavelengths of light, rather than the chemical and molecular structures that traditional pigments color effects are based on. Of course if you add in traditional pigments suitable for exterior use, you will most definitely need a very good UV light blocking capability along with the marine quality variety topcoat. It will be the quality and number of coats of the topcoat you apply that will create the physical surface protection needed,..and not the acrylic paints you apply,…not the paints themselves. So while the color effects of the Iridescent and Interference colors will last, the acrylic film itself requires a topcoat that will protect them from the sea water and other physical actions from this kind of functional use.

      If you intend on adding in other colors then refer to the list of best Exterior Pigments found in our Exterior Mural and Outdoor Sculpture tech sheets found here:

      Exterior Murals: http://www.goldenpaints.com/technicalinfo/technicalinfo_murals
      Selecting the Best Exterior Mural Pigments: https://justpaint.org/selecting-the-best-exterior-mural-pigments/
      Outdoor Fiberglas Animal Sculptures: http://www.goldenpaints.com/technicalinfo/technicalinfo_fiberglass

      Best of luck with your project!

  5. Hello,

    I am particularly interested in creating g a pourable, “milk like” consistency palette of interference colours. Do you have any recommendations on ratios of water vs. acrylic paint + interference paint? I need a good baseline or starting point to begin from. I would be pouring these “Interference” mixtures over darker colours of regular acrylic paint already on the canvas.
    Any information or “recipes” you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

    This article was well written and informative.

    Thank you.

    Brooke Palmer.

    • Hi Brooke,

      Our best advice for mixing a pourable “milk like” consistency acrylic paint is to use our GAC 800 blended with our Fluid Acrylics in a 10:1 ratio of 10 parts GAC 800 to approximately 1 part Fluid Acrylic. While you can certainly thin our thicker Heavy Body Acrylics with a little water, these thinned mixtures will tend to form crazes as they dry. Some artists like those surface “defects”, but if you are looking for smoother surfaces, then use the GAC 800 and paint mixture with No water added. Water additions tend to increase the potential for surface defects.

      If you go back to my article and scroll down to the bottom, you’ll see a photo of an open container showing a mixture of GAC 800, some green paint and some Interference Green.

      Here are some links with more information for you:

      Understanding the Techniques of Pouring Acrylics: https://justpaint.org/understanding-the-techniques-of-pouring-acrylics/
      Paint Additions into GAC 800 for Pouring Applications: https://justpaint.org/paint-additions-into-gac-800-for-pouring-applications/
      Color Pouring: http://www.goldenpaints.com/products/medium-gels-pastes/color-pouring
      Big Paint Pour using GAC 800: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RsoxOkMOZg

      Best of luck with your work!

  6. Great article thank you so much I have just brought some interference paints and your article gives me the confidence in how best to use them

    • Hi Gayle,

      You are most welcome, and thanks so much for your kind compliment. Iridescent and Interference colors can be quite tricky to use effectively in paintings and initially decades ago when we first came out with them, I never imagined that I would use them in the ways I am now. Some of my favorite uses are quite subtle often, where there is a blend of iridescent color, regular pigment color and mediums to create a very nuanced color effect. Take some time to create different mixtures and you will find your own way with these special colors.

  7. A glossy clearcoat, varnish or topcoat will allow the iridescent effects to be seen clearly. In some cases it can enhance the effect. Any coating changes the way the colors and values appear so testing is recommended so you can see these changes first. For any exterior use of our acrylic paints it is best to have a topcoat or varnish that has UV filters, but the specific choice of clearcoat should also be selected according to the use and function of the surface or object you are coating. It would typically not be “oil based” but could be a polyurethane or urethane type coating. For murals we recommend our MSA Varnish over our Isolation Coat, but for any functional object or surface that may be handled regularly or be exposed to standing water,..another type of topcoat would need to be used. Email us at Help@goldenpaints.com for more information.

  8. I’m now bursting with ideas, I’ve just ordered the interference violet fluid and I can’t wait to mix with different paints/inks, especially transparent quin red, transparent shading gray, zinc white, anthraquin blue, matte effects and a range of opacities and background colours. I’ll probably need to re-read this wonderful article again when I get it, thank you!


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