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Cut through the Fast Talk on Slow Acrylics

Clearly there is something important going on about the drying time of acrylics, but the discussion in some case does not give fully accurate information, or help the user to choose between competing products in this new category.

Standing apart from this “me-too” bandwagon is Interactive and Golden “Open.” Open really is different, and is very slow drying. It should be ideal for special needs such as alla prima plein air painting but “Open” can only be used for slow techniques, and should not be confused with Atelier Interactive, which can be used for slow and normal fast acrylic techniques.

Atelier Interactive is the first real tried and tested advance on acrylic artists’ paints since they were first developed back in the 1960s. This revolutionary acrylic does not form a skin permitting the paint to be rehydrated even after it has become touch dry.

The real starting point of this trend was 2003 when I invented Atelier Interactive, which was subsequently put on the market in 2005 and Chroma holds a patent pending on its formulation.

In 2005, Atelier Interactive replaced Chroma’s ordinary artists’ acrylic called Atelier in Australia and New Zealand. It was designed as an improvement to ordinary acrylics, not a complete departure from them. Atelier Interactive is not a slow drying paint; it is a universal use paint, which the artist can easily control so that it dries either quickly or slowly.

Atelier Interactive performs well as a fast drying paint, and many people choose acrylics because they are fast drying, yet when a fast drying paint “controls you”, and won’t let you extend the open working time when you need more time to finish what you are doing, it is a great advantage to be able to use the “slow” side of Atelier Interactive’s “character”.

Because it is easy to use either fast or slow, there are fast painters who use the slow side occasionally, and there are slow painters who set themselves up for progressive slow painting sessions with extensive blending, like with oils, except that at the end of a session the painting can be dried out rapidly if necessary.

By simply adding water to your paint brush or spraying your canvas, you can extend your wet blending time indefinitely during a painting session. The next day, or even days after, if you choose to continue with your wet-in-wet blending, simply use our Unlocking Formula.

Thick Slow Medium (for a more impasto style) and Slow Medium (for a more thinned syle) have been specially designed for this product line. Both dramatically extend the workability of Atelier Interactive.
Many questions have already been asked and answered about Atelier Interactive.

You can find more information by reviewing our FAQs or signing up for Chroma Link. A video demonstration is also available for viewing and does a terrific job of showing how Atelier Interactive works.

Chroma Link

Common Interactive Questions Paint Talk Topic

Interactive Demonstration Video

There are (8) Comments, Comments are now closed for this discussion?
  1. comment_1_5959

    Jan Blencowe commented on Août 7, 2008, at 12:39 am.

    "Universal" is a great way to describe the interactives. I paint very quickly, and like to use both wet in wet techniques for soft edges and glazing for atmosphere and have no problem doing either in a very short amount of time with the interactives. I usually start with a thin underpainitng using the fast medium, then go to paint straight from the tube using the clear painting medium if I need to thin the paint, for atmospheric passages I make a glaze using fast medium and then finish with juicy strokes using the thick slow medium. The result is very much like an oil painting that would have taken weeks to achieve, but now I can indulge my impatient nature and work quickly throughout the whole process. I Love it!

  2. comment_2_5959

    Shanipants commented on Août 15, 2008, at 4:11 am.

    I haven't used Golden's "Open", I have used Golden with slow dry medium and found that it does not compare to the Interactive paint's ability to be reworked by wetting it. I used the thick slow and slow mediums from Chroma with Interactive paint at a demo given by Jennifer VonStein and I was really pleased with the open time of the slow mediums. You can definitely use too much slow medium, but it was a joy to actually have to wait a while for the paint to dry.
    I am going to be participating in the student trials this semester and I am very excited to see if I am fully able to transition from oils to acrylics for portraits. I have typically used acrylics for more abstract work or for graphic or illustration work, but I am hoping the ability to open the paints back up will allow for the extensive blending I am used to doing with oil. If anyone is painting portraits with Interactive please post them!

  3. comment_3_5959

    Jennifer commented on Août 22, 2008, at 11:13 pm.

    Jan - your paintings are always so lovely. Thanks for your tips on using the mediums!

    Shannon - I'm excited that you're going to part of our Trial this year, especially with your interest in portraits. I worked on a portrait last weekend, and boy, did that show me that I needed to do more of them consistently! I know an artist that works with Interactive for portraits. Her name is Joanne Castelli-Castor and her website is

  4. comment_4_5959

    Nilesh commented on Septembre 7, 2008, at 4:33 am.

    Can the slow side of Atelier Interactives' character match the slowness of Golden Opens?

    If so, how is this done -- what are the techniques that can be used to get the absolutely longest possible continuous wet open times, without spraying (or with minimal spraying)?

    I am especially interested in how they compare in continuous wet open times (rather than rehydrating or reopening times, which involve a different approach that is also useful) when painting on location, outside, in hot and dry conditions.

  5. comment_5_5959

    jstar commented on Septembre 7, 2008, at 10:15 am.

    I did an in-depth side-by-side comparison of the two paints in four projects, eight paintings in all. My article "Chroma Interactive Versus Golden Open - A Paint Comparison" is posted on my website at in the Gallery. Here's the link:

    The article is in the description of the eight photos. Follow along in order by using the "Next" a the bottom of each page or you can use the arrows at the top of the photos.


  6. comment_6_5959

    Jennifer commented on Septembre 10, 2008, at 9:52 am.


    This is a question that gets asked a lot - "how long can I keep Interactive wet?" You hit on the main points already, such as incorporating Thick Slow or Liquid Slow Mediums, using the water sprayer, painting thick layers and painting in a more humid environment on a sealed surface.

    You may find, as other artists in the US Southwest have, that adding one part Retarder to two parts water in your water sprayer will reduce the amount of spraying. If you are looking for Interactive to act like an oil and stay wet all day, remember that Interactive was designed to be universal acrylic, so it will set up like acrylics do. That's one of the great things about acrylics, after all!

    We have found that with the Slow Mediums and the water sprayer, Interactive is comparable to the new Open. But with Interactive, you can control the drying process during your paint session, instead of having the paint dictate the rules.

    Jim Cobb, founder of Chroma, has had considerable success using Interactive plein air in Australia.
    Please visit to read all about it!


  7. comment_7_5959

    JoAnne commented on Septembre 16, 2009, at 12:12 am.

    I use Interactive paints exclusively and wouldn't use anything else. To see my portraits, please visit my website:

  8. comment_8_5959

    JoAnne commented on Septembre 16, 2009, at 12:16 am.

    This painting was completed in two weeks thanks to Interactive paints. They are what I need to work rapidly yet slow to cure so I can go into the painting for blending...even when it has dried.