Extender vs Retarder

retiree43August 5, 2010

Are these products the same/different? I'm wanting my paint to remain fluid longer for easier blending of background colors. Would you share your technique for using either of these products. I've read where some pour the product into their water basin; some dip their paint brush into the product then into their paint; some mix their product into their puddle of paint and some brush it directly on the project surface. Which method is better and keeps the paint wet the longest? Thanks, in advance, for your help and advice.


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Extender and Retarder are the same product, they both extend the drying time of your acrylic paint. As far as application, no method is better, it's more about which method works best for you.

I use mine 3 ways...I dip my brush into my extender and then my paint when using it in small areas. If you have trouble shading and highlighting these products can help with floating colors by putting the medium down on the area to be shaded/highlighted then adding your color, it makes shading and highlighting so much easier. For backgrounds I apply it to the surface before starting to paint to help blend colors, painting wet-on-wet (think Bob Ross).

I apply my backgrounds in several ways using large brushes, rollers, and sponges. It all depends on the size of the project and/or what I am trying to achieve. The best results I've had for sunset and blended sky backgrounds on projects is using an extender/retarder.
I used a large brush on the 2 sunset pieces pictured below and a roller on the seascape. You can see the difference in how the tool I used effects the look of the blending. On the seascape I used 3 colors and it's almost impossible to tell where one color ends and the next begins (love rollers). :-)

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 5:57PM
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Kraftymom, thank you so much for those examples. That's exactly the instructional/visual information I was seeking. I am one of those who learns by reading/then by seeing. Your reply is going into my notebook of Tips and Techniques.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 7:20AM
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Great Questions and Great Answer!

Its nice to see Kraftymom back again and Welcome to Clarice, hope you come back often.

I have moved...sigh!...into a new area and have never used an extender and silly me didn't think about using one when I was making all of those similar but not the same backgrounds. How much easier it would have been to blend all of those colors. Your tip is now on my "remember to do" list.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 11:03AM
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I'm glad KM was able to help you in both words and those wonderful examples as well.

I was aware of extender, but have never taken advantage of it. After KM's explanation of how she uses it, I too will have to remember to give it a try.

Thanks for asking the question, we all learned from it. ;o)


    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 11:15AM
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