Enamel paint commonly refers to covering products made from oil, with a high concentration of gloss. In the recent times, the term ‘enamel’ has also been adopted for several water-based or latex paints. In fact, it is now used for almost any surface that has an excellent gloss finish. Surprisingly, if you are an acrylic artist and need to achieve the appearance of enamel using your usual tools, there are a number of things that you can do.
So next time you are making a colorful acrylic painting and need the enamel look, make sure to try these:
Begin with such a paint that has a natural or fabricated thin consistency. You can opt for the fluid acrylics sold in bottles. Alternatively, there are also the High Flow or super thin acrylic paints. Thinner consistency would provide smoother application, along with reduced visibility of texture or brushstrokes. Besides that, you'd have strong colors nonetheless, without the need for adding medium or water to decrease texture.
Personalise the paint through addition of mediums so as to obtain less dense color mixture. Try using some clear, hard mediums. But bear in mind that the intensity of your colors would decrease, so utilise thin paints if possible. However, addition of mediums to High Flow or Fluid acrylics would render them glossier and harder as well as increase refraction & levelling capabilities. Moreover, you can add 15 percent retarder to the mixture for preventing quick drying and ensuring smoother application.
Another great way to achieve that ‘enamel’ look with acrylics is by alternating paint layers with medium. Apply undiluted paint in a thin layer first and let it dry. On top of it, apply a very thin coat of gloss undiluted acrylic medium and allow to dry. Keep repeating the same process until you get a highly refractive and smooth surface. If the layers of your paint are holding strokes, sand every layer with a waterproof sandpaper after drying.
Last but not the least, you can pour paints for the enamel effect too. First add a bit of paint color to some glossy pouring medium. After that, pour the mixture onto the canvas. This method generally removes brushstrokes and leaves behind a flawless enamel appearance. Spray some alcohol on the layer while it is still fresh in order to remove bubbles.
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