Why I’m Obsessed with High Flow Acrylic Paint
Dear Wonderful, Creative You:
Students frequently ask me about high flow paints, and why I like them so much. I thought it was an excellent question and wanted to share why I’m obsessed with high flow acrylic paints with you as well.
Let me first say a word or two about the different viscosities of acrylic paints. This is not an exhaustive list of acrylic paint options or ways to use them, just a simplified list to give you a sense of where high flow acrylics fall on the spectrum.
- Heavy body acrylics: The thickest acrylic paints, most similar in thickness to oil paint. They are usually thinned with water or gel medium.
- Soft body acrylics: This is a creamier acrylic paint, and requires little or no medium or water in order to apply it in smooth coats. Acrylic craft paint could be grouped in this category.
- Fluid acrylic: Paints that have the viscosity of Elmer’s Glue or a liquid moisturizer.
- High flow acrylic: Paints that have the viscosity of water or milk.
All of these paints can be further thinned with water or a medium to create washes (similar to watercolor.) Sometimes artists will also thicken heavy body paint with other agents to create a textured effect on canvas as well.
Now let’s look at why high flow acrylics are so darn fun.
5 Reasons I Love High Flow Acrylic Paints
- They run like a river over dry earth. These paints move like water and earth. Some paints have heavier pigments than others, and the way they move with and around each other creates natural looking forms, like in the closeup below. Is this picture a view of the shore from outer space, or high flow paint? Wow, right? Look how organic these forms are – and the sense of light and depth.
2. High flow paints have super vibrant, intense colors.
3. High flow paints layer beautifully. High flow acrylics are somewhat translucent, making them ideal for building layers of color that create depth.
4. They are versatile. You can use high flow acrylics for figurative work that has a luminous quality, or for watercolor like washes.
5. They are just so much fun. All these qualities mean that high flow paints are incredibly versatile and a heck of a lot of fun. I love regular acrylics too, but high flows are just a blast. They invite you to loosen up, get the inner critic out of the way, and just see what happens. They are like a permission slip to have fun with your art. That is the point, after all, isn’t it?
Look at the way that light transmits in these art pieces. It’s quite incredible, really. I love these paints too because you don’t need art experience in order to play with and have success with them. Of course there are incredibly skilled artists who use these paints, but there’s this element of surprise and chance that give us all an opportunity to create beautiful paintings.
I want to share these techniques with you. I would love to have you learn to drip, blow, bleed, and layer over these paints in the most playful, fun ways. You can learn all of this in my class, Fluid Art.
Click here to see a video of the paints in action. I think you are going to have a blast with these paints! And if you already do, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
*The product links in this post are affiliate links. This means that, at no extra cost to you, you’ll support the work I do to empower the artist in all of us with a small commission to me. Thank you!