atelierTubes 960Knowing that I’d need to switch from airbrushing my paints to using a hairy stick, I’ve been trying out a variety of mediums and whatnot to find one that I could live with. After several months and many orders to Dick Blick, I’ve finally settled on a medium and a brand that I can live with: Atelier Interactive Acrylics.

I live in the high desert. At more than a mile higher than sea level and a very dry climate (we think of 15% relative humidity as being “muggy”), I’ve found most water-bourne paints to be problematic. Whether acrylics, gouache, or casein, they all dry from palette to support too quickly (even Golden Open). As I was straightening up after a disappointing experiment, I stumbled on a sample I’d received a couple of years ago from Atelier. Two tubes: titanium white and pthalo blue got their turns on a piece of practice canvas and they didn’t make me want to go on a rampage. Finally, it seemed, a brand of paint I could use.

Atelier Interactive has a rewettability that allows me to keep the paints workable for a reasonable amount of time — hours, if I’m mindful. Curious if technique made the difference, I again tried Golden heavy body and Open acrylic paints, and they were just as difficult as I’d remembered. Nope…it was the paint.

I’ve been playing with Atelier for about a month now, expanding the number of colors on hand and doing studies. I’d be happier if quality control was a little better. Some of the paints have arrived very thickened — not so much so that they can’t be revived but revived they must be. Many tubes have caps not fully tightened (this could be due to vibration during shipping). These issues aren’t exclusive to Atelier. This Australian brand’s lack of familiarity from artists in the US could be resulting in long in-stock times than is optimal. Still, it’s annoying. Failing to find any other brand that performs as well in my climate, I’m willing to deal with the small irritations.

So far I’ve only been testing on canvas boards, but I need to test out on both stretched canvas and my beloved Ampersand Gessobord (I’ve been a fan of Ampersand for many years, for example (link)). Stay tuned.