Matte Vs. Gloss: Choosing The Right Acrylic Medium Finish For Your Art

When creating a masterpiece with acrylic paints, choosing the right Acrylic medium for the perfect finish can make all the difference in the world. Two of the most popular options are matte and gloss finishes. 

Each has its unique characteristics, and selecting the appropriate one can significantly impact your artwork’s final look and feel. 

This article will explore the differences between matte and gloss acrylic mediums and help you decide which suits your artistic vision.

Understanding Matte Acrylic Medium:

Matte acrylic medium is known for its non-reflective, flat finish. Artists often opt for matte finishes to achieve a more subdued and muted appearance in their artwork. Here are some key features of matte acrylic medium:

No Shine:

Matte Acrylic pouring mediumis renowned for its non-reflective, flat finish. This quality is particularly beneficial when you want to eliminate any distracting glare or reflections from your artwork.

Imagine a tranquil, contemplative landscape painting or a delicate portrait displayed in a well-lit gallery. A matte finish ensures that viewers can appreciate every detail without the interference of unwanted reflections.

Texture Emphasis: 

One of the standout features of matte acrylic pouring mediumis its ability to accentuate the texture and brushwork in your paintings.

This characteristic can be a boon to artists who enjoy working with impasto techniques or want to create depth and dimension in their artwork. Applying matte medium over textured areas enhances your piece’s tactile quality, inviting viewers to engage with it on a more sensory level.

Color Accuracy: 

Another noteworthy advantage of matte finishes is their ability to maintain the original hue and vibrancy of the acrylic paints you’ve used.

When you choose a matte medium, you can be confident that the colors you painstakingly mixed and applied will remain true to your vision.

Understanding Gloss Acrylic Medium:

Conversely, gloss acrylic medium offers a shiny, reflective surface that can enhance the vividness of your artwork. Here’s what you need to know about gloss acrylic medium:

High Shine:

Gloss acrylic medium is the polar opposite of matte, offering a shiny, reflective surface that can be a showstopper.

The high shine of gloss finishes is particularly effective when creating pop-and-shine artwork.

It’s akin to adding a layer of glass over your artwork, accentuating colors and making them appear more vibrant and saturated.

Artists often choose gloss finishes when they want their pieces to have a bold, dynamic presence.

Smooth and Even: 

Gloss acrylic mediums provide a smooth, glass-like surface to make your artwork look more polished and professional.

This quality is especially advantageous if you aim for a flawless, pristine finish. It’s akin to giving your artwork a glossy magazine cover quality, where every brushstroke and detail is crisp and sharp.

The smoothness of gloss finishes can make them easier to clean and maintain. They’re less likely to trap dust or grime, which can be an advantage if your artwork is meant for long-term display or if it will be exposed to environmental factors that might affect its cleanliness.


Gloss finishes are more durable and resistant to moisture and damage than matte ones. It makes them a practical choice for protecting your artwork, especially if it will be exposed to elements like humidity, dust, or physical contact.

If you’re creating art for public spaces, outdoor installations, or artworks that will frequently change hands, a gloss finish can help safeguard your piece against wear and tear.

Choosing The Right Finish:

Subject Matter: 

When selecting between matte and gloss finishes, consider the subject matter of your artwork. For serene landscapes, delicate portraits, or pieces with intricate details, a matte finish can complement the subtlety and grace of your work.

On the other hand, for bold, contemporary pieces or abstract art that relies on high contrast and vivid colors, a gloss finish can add that extra “wow” factor.

For instance, if you’re painting a tranquil forest scene with soft, diffused light filtering through the trees, a matte finish may capture the serene ambiance effectively.

Conversely, a gloss finish can intensify the visual impact if you’re creating a striking, futuristic cityscape with vibrant neon colors.

Personal Style:

Your artistic style is crucial in determining the right finish. Some artists prefer matte finishes’ tactile, textured quality, as it aligns with their preference for impasto techniques or the desire to convey a sense of touch in their work.

Others may find that gloss finishes’ sleek, polished look complements their artistic vision.If your artistic identity leans more towards traditional or classical aesthetics, matte finishes may be your go-to choice.

Conversely, if you resonate with contemporary or modern art, the sheen and vibrancy of gloss might be more appealing.

Lighting Conditions: 

Consider where your artwork will be displayed. If it will be showcased in a well-lit environment with plenty of natural or artificial light sources, a matte finish can help reduce glare.

It is particularly important if your art will be viewed from various angles or under direct lighting. Matte surfaces ensure that viewers can appreciate your work without interference from reflections.

On the contrary, a gloss finish in spaces with lower lighting conditions can make your artwork stand out even in dimly lit areas.


Feel free to experiment with matte and gloss finishes. Sometimes, the best choice becomes apparent only through trial and error.

Create small test pieces or sections of your artwork using each finish to see which enhances your artwork’s intended impact.


In conclusion, choosing between matte and gloss acrylic medium isn’t just a technical decision; it’s an integral part of your artistic expression.

Eachpouring medium for acrylic paintfinish offers unique qualities that can transform the same painting into two entirely different experiences.

By considering the subject matter, personal style, and lighting conditions, and through experimentation, you can confidently select the finish that best aligns with your artistic vision and storytelling goals.

Embrace your creative journey, and let your choice of acrylic finish enhance the narrative of your art.

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