Let me start out by sharing that Liquidtex is in no way sponsoring this post. I buy all of my own paint, and am always incredibly grateful for coupons!
I was recently asked what medium I work with. My usual response to this question is “all sorts of things” because I do like to experiment and try new products. Watercolor, pencil, pen-and-ink, markers... There are, however, a good handful of “tied and true” products that I go to on a regular basis. Acrylic paint is the star of the show recently, and without a doubt, the crowning glory is Liquidtex Heavy Body.
I was about eight or nine when I became a paint snob. Already in love with art (Bob Ross was my idol, and I had an “artist” outfit that was undoubtedly inspired by him) I tried to learn everything I could get my hands on. I found a boxed set of acrylic paints, and I couldn’t help myself.
Acrylics are incredibly common, and I have no doubt that I’d used them before this. I would paint figurines and wooden bird houses with my mom, using those little round dollar tubes of craft paint, so I was confident in tackling the 5x7 canvas board that came with the trial-sized paint tubes. I squeezed some paint onto my palette, and from there directly onto the canvas. Ohhh this was something different than what I had used before. I couldn’t really figure out how to make it do what I wanted, but it covered the canvas in one coat… absolutely not something that those dollar tubes would do! I had to completely re-learn how to paint when I found this stuff.
Fast forward 16 years (holy George, has it been that long?), and 25 year old me is having a really hard time finding ways to write about this paint that don’t sound like poorly disguised smut. I’m going to try anyways!
Every paint has it’s place, and I even have a set of those dollar tubes running around for halloween crafts. Heavy Body is all about consistency. While other paints might pool out on your mixing palette, this stuff holds it’s form. Thick, creamy, smooth, and so intensely pigmented that I can block out areas in one layer if I refrain from watering it down (which, given my experimental style, is so incredibly helpful). It’s like painting with butter-- it can smooth out in an even layer, but if I want a more “painterly” look, brushstrokes and texture are easy to preserve.
Recently, I was working on a portrait of Morticia Addams, and not being one to sketch or otherwise plan things out, I got some of the proportions wrong. Her jawline was much too low, making her look like she was tasting something sour. Thank goodness for this paint, because it was opaque enough to completely block out the area I needed covered in order to re-shape her face. A real life saver!
What it really comes down to, for me, is how unbelievably versatile this paint is. I’m always finding new ways to use it-- color washes in my sketchbook, watering it down for ink-like effects on paper, and thickly layered backgrounds on more delicate paintings, like my “Happy Little Things” mosquito paintings. I will use this paint as long as it's available. It's been fantastic to learn with, and I feel so unbelievably spoiled when I'm using it!