Winsor & Newton Artists’ Acrylic Mediums: Then And Now


Working with artists is essential to how we work and in 2010 four artists were handpicked to help Winsor & Newton develop Artists’ Acrylic Mediums – a range that complements Artists’ Acrylic Colour enhancing its unique no colour shift properties. Artists’ Acrylic Mediums provide limitless possibilities for painting in acrylics and Paul Robinson, Artist Outreach Manager and Resident Artist at Winsor & Newton, recently caught up with these artists to find out how Artists’ Acrylic Mediums has become a part of their tool kit.

Neil Douglas – Impressive Results

Neil has exhibited in the UK and the USA and his work follows a photorealist tradition.

In 2010 Neil used Artists’ Acrylic Matt Medium together with Flow Improver for larger paintings, and the varnishes for the final product. Today, Neil has introduced Artists’ Acrylic Gloss UV Varnish and Modelling Paste.

 Neil Douglas, The Fall

Neil: “Winsor & Newton Artists' Gloss UV Varnish has made a huge difference. Each canvas is primed with Galeria Black Gesso and then the lighter colours are applied over it. This creates a certain darkness and links the paintings. When the varnish is applied in the final stage it deepens the dark colour and I have been so impressed with the effect that I have taken a lot of older paintings back into the studio to be re-varnished with the Artists' Gloss UV.

I also use Winsor & Newton Modelling paste in the early stages of priming the canvas. In between coats of gesso I apply modelling paste by hand or brush. For paintings such as 'The Fall' I built up layers of modelling paste over the surface with one central spot of smoothness where the figure is falling.

Matt Medium and Flow Improver are mainstays and have been invaluable in helping keep a consistency with large areas of paint whilst being able to keep background colours muted.”


 Neil Douglas, Autumn Spring
   Neil Douglas, Water Reflection

Vanessa Brady – Can’t Do Without It

Vanessa’s paintings are inspired by photography, social culture, powerful women and shiny, glossy things. She works with a layering process combining photorealism and abstraction.

Vanessa: “Flow Improver has been an integral part of my practice since I first tried it. It's my primary medium and I use it every time I paint to ensure the smoothest colour transition and blending. I've recently focused on a series of complex, layered portraits. Combining Artist’s Acrylics with Flow Improver kept the depth of colour but allowed an extended open time and longer length of strokes without breaking.
Previously I had used water to soften my paint, but over extended surfaces it can bubble and cause imperfections. Flow Improver eliminates this and creates a much smoother effect. This really helps when attempting delicate skin tones and layering washes over large areas. I don't know how I'd do without it!

  Vanessa Brady, Hope Sarah Jean    Vanessa Brady, Spirit Tori

The Glazing Medium is a nice finishing touch to the overall surface, protecting and giving a slight gloss. What's also great about all the Artist Acrylic Mediums is that they're very clear, they don't alter the colour of the paint or cause yellowing.”

Anthony Garratt – Unconventional and Beautiful Effects

Anthony’s turbulent landscape paintings can be seen in some of the UK’s leading galleries.

In 2010 Flow Improver was a favourite for its fluidity across the canvas, the edge effects as it dries and for mixing with paint. Gloss Medium was used over the top to build texture along with Modelling Paste to build thick layers. He continues to use and experiment with Artists’ Acrylic Mediums and Flow Improver.

 Anthony Garratt, 52 days of weather
    Anthony Garratt, Paradise

Anthony: “Flow Improver remains an essential part of my painting technique. I use it rather unconventionally by pouring it over the canvas, enabling unpredictable effects when it dries. 

Also, using Matt Medium and then varnishing provides some beautifully thick textures to the foreground of pieces, creating an oil like finish whilst still drying rapidly and enabling more layering the following day.”

Kim O’Neill – Passing The Knowledge On

Kim’s work is inspired by paper minutiae such as receipts, certificates and tickets. Each item is fragmented and meticulously reproduced on a massive scale in very thin layers of acrylic paint. Kim is now highlighting the possibilities opened up by mediums to her own students.

Kim: “I’ve been using Artists’ Acrylic colours for 4 years now. No other acrylic paint compares to them. Their true potential can only be unlocked when you start using the Artists' Acrylic Mediums with the paint. I use them all the time in my paintings.

I use Flow Improver with the paint and apply the paint with a mottler brush when I’m covering a large amount of canvas and want to make sure I get an even coverage and dispersion of the colour. I add Slow Drying Medium to colour when painting details. I paint a lot of text, which allows me to work with the paint longer when precision is required. Having the ability to change and control the finish of the paint is essential. I use Matt Medium and Gloss Medium. The Matt Medium gives the paint a papery finish and the Gloss Medium intensifies the colour.


Recently I’ve been using Glazing Medium. The viscosity of the medium stops the paint from running as it would with water and the colour is much more intense.

When I’m teaching, the students are so surprised how much easier acrylic painting becomes when they use and understand acrylic mediums correctly. A lot of my students use texture mediums such as Modelling Paste and Structure Gel to create depth in landscapes and diverse textures in abstract paintings.”

Experiment, Control and Create

It is great to see that Artist’s Acrylic Mediums continue to be an essential part of an Artists' Acrylic toolbox. The potential for experimentation is immense and these mediums allow artists to control colour by keeping the ‘no colour shift’ property of Artists’ Acrylic Colour and also control the way in which the paint behaves on the canvas.