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Rheology: Understanding the Feel of Acrylics

June 16, 2022by Scott Fischer

Just Paint published by Golden Artist Colors, Inc.


What is interesting about GOLDEN Artist Acrylics is that they all have unique properties that can modify our painting experience. Many of our product offerings have come out of a dialogue with artists who expressed their needs and each has been thoughtfully designed as a result. Since the catalogue of our products is vast, it can be helpful to find useful ways to parse through them and get to what you need for a particular project. In a recent article on Mediums vs. Additives we tried clarifying the intentions behind some of our products. This article on Rheology can be viewed as a companion and will elaborate more on the “feel” of acrylics and how that affects our painting.


Rheology and its Relationship to Viscosity

As artists, we cannot help but respond to the feel of acrylics; how they flow and how thick or thin they are. If we look at these aspects in more depth, the flow of an acrylic product can be referred to in terms of its rheology. Rheology is a branch of physics that looks at the flow of liquids or soft solids and how they are deformed by external forces. An example of deformation could be dragging a brush through some Heavy Body Acrylics or pouring out some Fluids, tilting the surface and encouraging them to sag.

Of course, acrylics do not flow indefinitely and are not without any resistance to our applications. Viscosity, which falls under the umbrella of rheology, is a measure of that resistance to flow or deformation and it correlates to a product’s feeling of thickness. Across the range of GOLDEN products, some feel water-like in their consistency offering little resistance to our applications. Others feel stiff like peanut butter, pushing back against us while retaining evidence of our mark-making. Both qualities of viscosity and rheology will affect how an acrylic product handles in an application and what it will feel like.


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