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Information on Acrylics for the Acrylic Workshop

Names of 7 color palette of paints in acrylics.
Different manufacturers have slightly different names for some of their colors, so I have included a chart, following, identifying the basic palette recommended with the names that the manufacturers use. In the interests of keeping your costs down, I have often omitted the cadmiums (which are the most expensive) and instead chosen the lower priced colors.

Golden Heavy Body Acrylics

Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylics

Winsor & Newton Artists' Acrylics

Titanate Yellow

I could not identify a cool yellow in the Liquitex chart. You're on your own. But different brands work fine together.

Bismuth Yellow
Or Cadmium Lemon or Lemon Yellow

Primary Yellow

Cadmium Yellow Light

Azo Yellow Medium (or Cad Yellow medium)

Naphthol Red Light

Naphthol Red Light

Naphthol Red Light

Alizarin Crimson Hue

Alizarin Crimson Hue Permanent

Permanent Alizarin Crimson

Ultramarine Blue

Ultramarine Blue

Ultramarine Blue

Phthalo Blue (green shade)

Phthalo Blue (green shade)

Phthalo Blue (green shade)

Burnt Sienna

Burnt Sienna

Burnt Sienna

Titanium White

Titanium White

Titanium White

There’s a color chart of Golden Heavy Body Acrylics here:

Liquitex provides a good description of the various types of “Mediums” they have available at this website:

Golden Acrylics provides a similar explanation here:

Golden "Open Acrylics"
Golden is now promoting a line of "Open" acrylics to entice former oil painters to use acrylics. As far as I can tell (although I admit that I haven't tried them yet myself), these are formulated using a retarder medium which slows drying time. You should be able to achieve the same results using regular acrylics with a retarder.

Starter kits
You may think that starter kits of 6 or 8 colors are a deal, but I disagree and hope that you will — even if you do buy a starter kit — purchase the colors I've named in the above table. The starter kits I've seen do not include warm and cool primary colors and will put you at a disadvantage when you try to mix other colors.

Starter kits of acrylic mediums
Both Liquitex and Golden have come out with a “starter kit” of 6 mediums. I’m not sure that these are a good deal. They include gesso, which is already present if you have bought pre-stretched canvases, but would be useful if you want to work on paper, and varnish, which is not necessary to the painting process but is useful if you want to preserve the finished painting. You may want to get just one medium (I recommend matte medium) and expand as you experiment.

Liquitex medium starter kit example:

I have seen both the Liquitex and Golden starter kits at the local Michaels store in Reston. But they don’t have a large number of the sets.

Brush Cleanup for oil: Brushes need to be cleaned -- preferably before you leave at end of class. You can use any soap, but there's a cleanser that I find works very well for rmoving the paint and restoring the natural oils tothe brush called: ArtGel by Windsor Newton.
Jerry's Artarama shows a sample of Winsor Nexton's ArtGel.

Brush Cleanup for acrylic: Brushes need to be cleaned and kept wet frequently. No kidding. Acrylic mediums dry fast. When not using a brush, keep it in water. And give brushes a thorough cleaning -- preferably before you leave at end of class. You can use any soap, but there's a cleanser that I find works very well for rmoving the paint called:Pink Soap.

You can generally find these and other products for brush cleaning at the local art supply store.