What is floating medium? Floating Medium is a commercially produced additive for paint. It is a medium that has a gel-like consistency and is used mostly by watercolor and folk artists to help with painting watercolors and water based paints using a technique called “Floating” to create interesting effects with highlights and shades.
This medium once added to paint, dries quickly without any need for a drying agent. You would use a floating medium instead of water as it helps you have more control over the paint on your brush as floating medium will not run as much as plain water.
Floating medium is a water-based medium, it is quite safe, and non-toxic and it is easy to clean up with just water.
Asking what floating medium is might sound like a weird question, but it’s actually quite normal and hardly known outside of the watercolor art or folk art community.
Floating medium is a great material to work with for artists of all levels who use not only watercolors but also other water based paints such as acrylic paints and gouache.
If you’re looking to add some new techniques to your arsenal, or just want to try something different, then read on to learn more about floating paint and then using a floating medium. Trust me – you won’t be disappointed! At the end of this article I will link to a video that shows how to float color without a medium. Adding floating medium will just make things a little easier.
What is floating medium for acrylics or watercolor painters?
Floating medium is a clear liquid that is used to create a ‘floating’ effect with water-based paints. If you don’t know what “floating” paint is don’t worry, I will show you a video soon that explains the technique best.
When mixed with paint, it creates a thinner consistency which allows the paint to spread out and appear more translucent. It also helps to prevent the paint from drying out too quickly, giving you more time to work with it.
Why use floating medium?
Floating medium can be used to create a variety of different effects, from a ‘glowing’ appearance to a more ethereal look. It’s also great for blending colors together or creating washes. When using just water, you will need to wipe excess water from parts of your brush and you will need to test how much water is in your brush before applying the paint. Floating medium gives you that little bit of extra control.
How do you use floating medium?
The best way to use floating medium is to mix it with your paint before you start painting. This will help the paint to adhere to the surface and prevent it from drying out too quickly. You can also add it to your paintbrush before you start painting. This will help the brush to glide over the surface and prevent the paint from clumping on the brush.
Can you use floating medium with oil based paints?
What are the benefits of using floating medium?
Floating medium can help to create a variety of different effects in your paintings. It also helps to prevent the paint from drying too quickly, allowing you to manipulate the gradation of color applied and to help you blend the colors without needing to rush.
Can you use floating medium with gouache paints?
Yes, you can use floating medium with gouache paints. Gouache is a type of water-based paint that has a matte finish. Adding a gloss medium may give it a shiny finish. To test this out, apply a little with gouache paint and paint a test patch.
Additionally, I would let the gouache paint dry and then test it with a little water to see if I can re-activate the gouache paint once again.
Floating paint – Supporting Video
As promised, I have a video below that shows how to float paint using water based paints. In this video, the artist does not use a floating medium. My suggestion is to try the technique without a floating medium and then substitute water with the floating medium and see if you like the results.
Video # 2 – Not as good as the first but has some useful tips.
What is floating medium – wrap up!
To wrap up What is Floating Medium: floating medium added to water based paint can help you achieve nice effects such as applying a gradiant of color to your artwork.
Floating medium can be used with most water-based paints such as acrylics, watercolors and gouache paints.
If you are using an oil-based paint, then I would not use a water based floating medium and use linseed oil instead.
I hope you enjoyed What is Floating Medium, feel free to share this post with your artist friends.
Have a look at some of my other posts, linked below.
- Sick of Generating Unique Art Ideas? Here’s The Solution
- 13 Abstract Painting Tips: Easy Art Techniques for Beginners
- 10 Landscape Oil Painting Techniques: Easy Beginners Tips and Steps
- Oil Paint Sticks Techniques: Best How To Tips For Art
- How to Compliment a Drawing: The Art of Genuine Praise
Joseph Colella is a frustrated artist with over 40 years experience making art (who moonlights as a certified Business Analyst with over 20 years of experience in tech). While he holds a Diploma in Information Technology, in true wasted talent style he spent years trying to get into various Art degrees from the Accademia di Belle Arti (Napoli), and failed to get into the Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) at the University of Western Sydney. His goal is to attend the Julian Ashton School of Art at The Rocks Sydney when he retires from full time work. In his spare time, he writes for the this blog, WastedTalentInc, where he shares practical advice on art, making art, and art materials. Joseph’s art has been sold to collectors all over the world from the USA, Europe and Australasia. He is a trusted source for reliable art and copyright/fair use advice and is committed to helping his readers make informed decisions about making them a better artist.
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