Impasto is a wonderful technique used in painting to create 3D texture on the painting surface. This can be done in both oils and acrylics although sometimes you may need to add an impasto medium to help you get the desired texture if your paints are too thin in consistency.
For this post we have tried out the Mont Marte Impasto Medium which is for use with acrylic paints (it cannot be mixed with oils but it can be painted over with oils once left to dry). You can use most types of acrylics with this medium, including fluid and heavy body acrylic paints. This is a water-based product which means you can clean up with just water and soap. Another great product is the Dala Impasto Medium, which can be mixed with either acrylics or oils.
The Mont Marte Impasto Medium comes in a 500ml tub which is great for scooping out dollops with a palette knife. The consistency is smooth and creamy – it almost looks edible (it is non-toxic but we wouldn’t recommend having a spoonful)! It is designed to be mixed into your paints so as to give your paint more body and allows the paint to retain texture. Although it appears light in colour, it won’t lighten the colour of your paints, only make them more transparent.
You can use a paint brush or palette knife to mix and spread your colours on your canvas. A palette knife can give you a smoother texture, while a brush can give you more of a rough finish, with the brushstrokes being visible in the paint. For a ‘marbled’ look try semi-mixing your paints (using more than one colour) with impasto medium and then spreading it out on your canvas with a palette knife. You can also experiment with all sorts of other techniques such as scratching or writing into the paint, creating lines and dots or even just creating smooth waves – perfect for a beach scene! Drying time can vary depending on the thickness of the paint but it should be touch-dry within 3 hours and fully dry (in the thickest areas) within 24 hours.