Volume, an Acrylic Modeling Paste

Manufactured by the Italian company, Maimeri, Volume is an acrylic resin in a water emulsion. According to the company’s literature, Volume is “a very thick white paste that makes it possible to work with great thickness, for modeling effects. It can be mixed with acrylic colors, gouaches, watercolors or applied as-is and painted over once it’s dry. Drying time is in proportion to the thickness. Volume takes to any surface; when it’s dry it displays a porous, receptive surface. Even when it’s applied thickly, it doesn’t crack, and once dry, it’s very elastic.”

What would a watermedia artist do with Volume? Betsy Dillard Stroud, an experienced writer, artist and instructor opened a jar and gave it a try.

The test results:
“Volume is like a light molding paste,” she said. “It doesn’t seem to have as slick a surface as regular molding paste; watercolor adheres really well to it. It’s wonderful to make textures, particularly a subtle, delicate low relief similar to what the Italians called rilievo schiacciato (“flattened or crushed relief”) introduced by Donatello.”

“Volume has a marvelous feel. Whereas it’s usually difficult to paint over thick acrylic with watercolor, with Volume, it’s a breeze. On top of a layer of Volume (provided that the layer is dry) watercolor adheres perfectly. You could create an entire painting with Volume or just use it to provide texture to the background of a still life or a figure. You must let it dry thoroughly before you paint on it, unless, of course, you wish to have tinted Volume. You can imprint various textures for a variety of effects. You can use bubble wrap, for instance, or you can texture it by drawing in it with a comb or any other tool you can drag through the paste. Its lightness makes it more beautiful for watercolor, and if you use both granular and transparent pigments, you get marvelous diffusions in the crags and crannies of the texture. Just remember to let it dry before you paint on it!”

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