Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Golden Night Exploring Golden Acrylics

What a "golden" night it was on October 20th at Davis Art School with Ottawa artist Andrea Warren exploring Golden acrylics.

Artist Marcia Lea started the evening by giving us a quick tour of the Davis Art School. It was my first time there. The many rooms throughout the house were artists studios and I fell in love with the kitchen with its oversized island in the centre where I imagined artists met to have a nice cup of tea and talk about what they are working on.

Davis Art School kitchen with a lovely oversized island surrounded by stools
I loved the upper level with the beautiful sculpture and the walls all filled with art! It is definitely my kind of place and such an inspiring space to be in!

Davis Art School upper-level artist studios

Davis Art School lower level

A Little Bit About Andrea Warren

Andrea was a great representative for Golden acrylics. I have attended a lot of art manufacturer demonstrations but what I loved about this one was how thorough Andrea was; the pace she spoke at; and the fact that we were able to "play" with the product as Andrea spoke about it.

Artist Patti Brady

Andrea's Director (her "boss") is artist Patti Brady who wrote "Rethinking Acrylics" (which I have borrowed from the Ottawa Library. They have 4 copies)

Andrea is an Ottawa-based artist. Her website is:

Her  About Page" says,
"Andrea Warren is an acrylic painter and mixed media artist based out of her hometown of Ottawa, Ontario. Since 2008, she has been the Ottawa Working Artist for Golden Artist Colors, giving lectures and hands-on workshops at universities, colleges, galleries and art associations across central and eastern Canada. Andrea received her degree in visual arts and philosophy from Trinity Western University, in Langley, BC, and has been exhibiting her work in both solo and group shows for the last 10 years. She has also been involved in the field of arts and healthcare for the last five years, and currently works with Artswell, a non-profit group which provides therapeutic arts programs for marginalized communities."
I will get to see Andrea again because she is instructing and demonstrating at Ottawa's Art School Fair ( -  Eastern Canada's first & only Art Material Trade Show - on October 31-November 1, 2015.

The Golden Acrylic Demonstration

The Golden Acrylic demonstration started with the distribution of written materials on the various Golden products, a lovely bag full of Golden acrylic samples and a special sample of Golden's new QOR watercolor line (that uses a unique binder called Aquazol® instead if the usual watercolour binder - gum arabic) I especially loved that the watercolour sample that Andrea gave us included a little piece of watercolor paper!

QOR watercolor sample including watercolor paper (on the left)
Andrea filled us in on the history of Golden Acrylics which I found interesting (because I am such a history nerd). Acrylics haven't been around in the art world for very long and Golden acrylics was established in 1980.

What I love most about this story is that Sam Golden had retired after 30 years in the paint making business (Bocour Artist Colors in Manhattan) and moved to picturesque New Berlin, New York. Sam planned to fish and golf, but quickly grew bored with retirement and found himself "going to the barn to make paint for friends." At the age of 67 Sam decided to come out of retirement.

Sam Golden at Bocour Artist Colors

Golden Artist Colors, Inc. began in June of 1980 in a 900 square foot, renovated barn. 

Golden Paints grew from the 1980 barn to a larger plant in upstate New York.

Andrea's demonstration lasted a couple of hours and I took plenty of notes. There were several products that I was quite excited to try and plan on using in the future. I won't go into too much detail in this blog post and, instead, I recommend that you sign up for one of Andrea's Golden demonstrations that are being offered all the time. You could contact her for the next one.

Some of the info that Andrea shared was basic: like the chemistry of the pigment & binders; minerals & moderns; iridescent & interference colors; color charts and color mixing etc.What I enjoyed was the "hands on" experience with the various paints.

When you get to handle the paint, you really get a true feel of the medium. Like this iridescent micaceous iron oxide below. I was able to rub the palette knife and feel grit of the iron in it

Golden  iridescent micaceous iron oxide
In the example below, we used a paintbrush to feel the difference between fluid and heavy body paints. Andrea also provided plenty of sample art to demonstrate ideas for applying each of the products. This was so helpful.

Fluid vs. heavy body acrylic paint
When we moved from discussing the four Golden acrylic types (heavy body, fluid, high flow and open) and the many uses each product has (acrylic skins, collaging, printmaking, etc) we moved on to the Gels and Mediums.This is where things got really interesting and full of possibilities!

Pyrrole red with gel

Extending paint with mediums gels can save artists $$$
I was quite excited by the dozens of samples and practice boards we were introduced to by Andrea. I plan to explore molding and crackling pastes as well as  the absorbent ground a little more in the future.

Molding paste

Crackle Paste

Absorbent ground
We ended the demo by talking about the importance of varnishing. It is recommended that acrylic artists apply an "isolation coat" (i.e. soft gel gloss) and then a removable varnish (Golden has brush on and spray versions).

QOR watercolors - the first new thing to happen to watercolor in 150 years!

I always leave free demonstrations by artists and art manufacturers feeling energized and inspired to create. 

If you haven't attended a demonstration recently, I recommend that you do. 

If you live in the Ottawa area you should think about attending the Art School Fair on the Halloween weekend! The Davis Art School, Golden Paint and Andrea Warren will be there! Immerse yourself in paint!!


  1. Thank you very much for these notes. I am signed up for the session at the Hellenic Center and look forward to it.

    1. I thought about adding more of my notes to this blog post but I think it's so much more fun to attend the demonstration! Glad to hear you are going ...enjoy Joan!! (and thanks for commenting on my blog)