Acrylic paint

Acrylic paint

Overview
Acrylic paint is fast drying paint
Paint
Paint is any liquid, liquefiable, or mastic composition which after application to a substrate in a thin layer is converted to an opaque solid film. One may also consider the digital mimicry thereof...

 containing pigment suspension in acrylic polymer emulsion
Emulsion
An emulsion is a mixture of two or more liquids that are normally immiscible . Emulsions are part of a more general class of two-phase systems of matter called colloids. Although the terms colloid and emulsion are sometimes used interchangeably, emulsion is used when both the dispersed and the...

. Acrylic paints can be diluted with water, but become water-resistant when dry. Depending on how much the paint is diluted (with water) or modified with acrylic gels, media, or pastes, the finished acrylic painting can resemble a watercolor
Watercolor painting
Watercolor or watercolour , also aquarelle from French, is a painting method. A watercolor is the medium or the resulting artwork in which the paints are made of pigments suspended in a water-soluble vehicle...

 or an oil painting
Oil painting
Oil painting is the process of painting with pigments that are bound with a medium of drying oil—especially in early modern Europe, linseed oil. Often an oil such as linseed was boiled with a resin such as pine resin or even frankincense; these were called 'varnishes' and were prized for their body...

, or have its own unique characteristics not attainable with other media.


The first acrylic paint was invented by Leonard Bocour
Leonard Bocour
Leonard Bocour was born on March 18, 1910 in New York City, and he died September 6, 1993. Around 1933 he formed the New York City based company Bocour Artists Colors. He was the co-developer along with Sam Golden of Magna paint in the late 1940s. From 1952 until 1970 he and Sam Golden were...

 and Sam Golden
Sam Golden
Sam Golden started his paintmaking career in 1936 at Bocour Artist Colors with his uncle Leonard Bocour. In 1947 he developed Magna paint, the world's first artist acrylic paint. He returned from retirement in 1980 to found Golden Artist Colors Inc...

 between 1946 and 1949 under the brand Magna paint
Magna paint
Magna is the brand name of an acrylic resin paint, developed by Leonard Bocour and sold by Bocour Artist Colors, Inc. in 1947. It is very different from modern acrylic paint, as it is composed of pigments ground in an acrylic resin brought into emulsion through the use of solvents. Bocour Artist...

.
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Encyclopedia
Acrylic paint is fast drying paint
Paint
Paint is any liquid, liquefiable, or mastic composition which after application to a substrate in a thin layer is converted to an opaque solid film. One may also consider the digital mimicry thereof...

 containing pigment suspension in acrylic polymer emulsion
Emulsion
An emulsion is a mixture of two or more liquids that are normally immiscible . Emulsions are part of a more general class of two-phase systems of matter called colloids. Although the terms colloid and emulsion are sometimes used interchangeably, emulsion is used when both the dispersed and the...

. Acrylic paints can be diluted with water, but become water-resistant when dry. Depending on how much the paint is diluted (with water) or modified with acrylic gels, media, or pastes, the finished acrylic painting can resemble a watercolor
Watercolor painting
Watercolor or watercolour , also aquarelle from French, is a painting method. A watercolor is the medium or the resulting artwork in which the paints are made of pigments suspended in a water-soluble vehicle...

 or an oil painting
Oil painting
Oil painting is the process of painting with pigments that are bound with a medium of drying oil—especially in early modern Europe, linseed oil. Often an oil such as linseed was boiled with a resin such as pine resin or even frankincense; these were called 'varnishes' and were prized for their body...

, or have its own unique characteristics not attainable with other media.

History



The first acrylic paint was invented by Leonard Bocour
Leonard Bocour
Leonard Bocour was born on March 18, 1910 in New York City, and he died September 6, 1993. Around 1933 he formed the New York City based company Bocour Artists Colors. He was the co-developer along with Sam Golden of Magna paint in the late 1940s. From 1952 until 1970 he and Sam Golden were...

 and Sam Golden
Sam Golden
Sam Golden started his paintmaking career in 1936 at Bocour Artist Colors with his uncle Leonard Bocour. In 1947 he developed Magna paint, the world's first artist acrylic paint. He returned from retirement in 1980 to found Golden Artist Colors Inc...

 between 1946 and 1949 under the brand Magna paint
Magna paint
Magna is the brand name of an acrylic resin paint, developed by Leonard Bocour and sold by Bocour Artist Colors, Inc. in 1947. It is very different from modern acrylic paint, as it is composed of pigments ground in an acrylic resin brought into emulsion through the use of solvents. Bocour Artist...

. Water-based acrylic paints were subsequently sold as "latex" house paints, although acrylic dispersion uses no latex
Latex
Latex is the stable dispersion of polymer microparticles in an aqueous medium. Latexes may be natural or synthetic.Latex as found in nature is a milky fluid found in 10% of all flowering plants . It is a complex emulsion consisting of proteins, alkaloids, starches, sugars, oils, tannins, resins,...

 derived from a rubber tree
Para rubber tree
Hevea brasiliensis, the Pará rubber tree, often simply called rubber tree, is a tree belonging to the family Euphorbiaceae, and the most economically important member of the genus Hevea...

. Interior "latex" house paints tend to be a combination of binder
Binder (material)
-See also:*Adhesive or Glue*Cement*Paint...

 (sometimes acrylic, vinyl
Vinyl
A vinyl compound is any organic compound that contains a vinyl group ,which are derivatives of ethene, CH2=CH2, with one hydrogen atom replaced with some other group...

, pva
Polyvinyl acetate
Polyvinyl acetate, PVA, PVAc, poly, is a rubbery synthetic polymer with the formula n. It belongs to the polyvinyl esters family with the general formula -[RCOOCHCH2]-...

, and others), filler
Filler (materials)
Fillers are particles added to material to lower the consumption of more expensive binder material or to better some properties of the mixtured material...

, pigment
Pigment
A pigment is a material that changes the color of reflected or transmitted light as the result of wavelength-selective absorption. This physical process differs from fluorescence, phosphorescence, and other forms of luminescence, in which a material emits light.Many materials selectively absorb...

, and water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

. Exterior "latex" house paints may also be a "co-polymer" blend, but the very best exterior water-based paints are 100% acrylic. Soon after the water-based acrylic binders were introduced as house paints, artists and companies alike began to explore the potential of the new binders. Water-soluble artists' acrylic paints became commercially available in the 1950s, offered by Liquitex
Liquitex
Liquitex is a registred trademark for a brand of acrylic paints named using a portmanteau of the words "liquid" and "texture". The first water-based acrylic paint launched in 1955 by the company under this brand name was the first acrylic gesso, and colored liquid acrylic paints came one year later...

, with high-viscosity paints similar to those made today becoming available in the early 1960s. In 1963, Rowney
George Rowney
George Rowney is a UK supplier of art materials, now merged with the Daler Board Company, to form Daler-Rowney Limited, based in Bracknell, Berkshire.-History:The business was established as T. & R...

 (now part of Daler-Rowney Ltd
Daler-Rowney
Daler-Rowney is a fine art materials manufacturer based in Bracknell, United Kingdom. It sells a wide range of artist products such as paints, artist surfaces, brushes and a range of accessories.-History:...

 since 1983) was the first manufacturer to introduce an artist’s acrylic color in Europe, under the brand name Cryla.

Techniques


Acrylic artist paints may be thinned with water and used as washes
Wash (painting)
thumb|Example of a wash drawing by [[R. G. Skerrett]].A wash is a painting technique in which a paint brush that is very wet with solvent and holds a small paint load is applied to a wet or dry support such as paper or primed or raw canvas. The result is a smooth and uniform area that ideally lacks...

 in the manner of watercolor paints, but the washes are not re-hydratable once dry. For this reason, acrylics do not lend themselves to color lifting techniques as do gum arabic
Gum arabic
220px|thumb|right|Acacia gumGum arabic, also known as acacia gum, chaar gund, char goond, or meska, is a natural gum made of hardened sap taken from two species of the acacia tree; Acacia senegal and Acacia seyal...

 based watercolor paints.

Acrylic paints with gloss or matte finishes are available, although a satin (semi-matte) sheen is most common; some brands exhibit a range of finish (e.g., heavy-body paints from Golden
Golden Artist Colors
Golden Artist Colors is a manufacturing company that focuses almost entirely on paints, used in the fine arts, decoration, and crafts. Based in New Berlin, New York, the company produces the largest line of acrylic colors that is currently available to artists, including recreations of historic...

, Liquitex
Liquitex
Liquitex is a registred trademark for a brand of acrylic paints named using a portmanteau of the words "liquid" and "texture". The first water-based acrylic paint launched in 1955 by the company under this brand name was the first acrylic gesso, and colored liquid acrylic paints came one year later...

, Winsor & Newton
Winsor & Newton
Winsor & Newton manufactures a wide variety of fine art products including: oils, alkyds, watercolours, acrylics, pastels, brushes, canvases, papers, portfolios, and distributes the Derwent pencil sets.-History:...

 and Daler-Rowney
Daler-Rowney
Daler-Rowney is a fine art materials manufacturer based in Bracknell, United Kingdom. It sells a wide range of artist products such as paints, artist surfaces, brushes and a range of accessories.-History:...

). As with oils, pigment amounts, and particle size or shape can naturally affect the paint sheen. Matting agents can also be added during manufacture to dull the finish. The artist can mix media with their paints and use topcoats or varnishes to alter or unify sheen if desired.

When dry, acrylic paint is generally non-removable from a solid surface. Water or mild solvents do not re-solubilize it, although isopropyl alcohol
Isopropyl alcohol
Isopropyl alcohol is a common name for a chemical compound with the molecular formula C3H8O. It is a colorless, flammable chemical compound with a strong odor...

 can lift some fresh paint films off. Toluene
Toluene
Toluene, formerly known as toluol, is a clear, water-insoluble liquid with the typical smell of paint thinners. It is a mono-substituted benzene derivative, i.e., one in which a single hydrogen atom from the benzene molecule has been replaced by a univalent group, in this case CH3.It is an aromatic...

 and acetone
Acetone
Acetone is the organic compound with the formula 2CO, a colorless, mobile, flammable liquid, the simplest example of the ketones.Acetone is miscible with water and serves as an important solvent in its own right, typically as the solvent of choice for cleaning purposes in the laboratory...

 can remove paint films, but they do not lift paint stains very well and are not selective. The use of a solvent to remove paint will result in removal of all of the paint layers, acrylic gesso
Gesso
Gesso is a white paint mixture consisting of a binder mixed with chalk, gypsum, pigment, or any combination of these...

, etc. Oils can remove acrylic paint from skin.

Only a proper, artist-grade acrylic gesso should be used to prime canvas in preparation for painting with acrylic. It is important to avoid adding non-stable or non-archival elements to the gesso upon application. However, the viscosity of acrylic can successfully be reduced by using suitable extenders that maintain the integrity of the paint film. There are retarder
Acrylic retarder
In painting, a retarder is a substance, usually added to water, used to slow the drying time of acrylic paints, giving more time for blending or layering highlights.-Use in fine art:...

s to slow drying and extend workability time and flow releases to increase color-blending ability.

Painters and acrylic


Prior to the 19th century, artists mixed their own paints to increase the longevity of the artwork and achieve desired pigment load, viscosity, and to control the use of fillers, if any. While suitable media and raw pigments are available for the individual production of acrylic paint, due to the fast drying time and other technical issues, hand mixing may not be practical.

Acrylic painters modify the appearance, hardness, flexibility, texture, and other characteristics of the paint surface using acrylic media or by simply adding water. Watercolor and oil painters also use various media, but the range of acrylic media is much greater. Acrylics have the ability to bond to many different surfaces, and media can be used to adjust their binding characteristics. Acrylic can be used on paper, canvas and a range of other materials. However, their use on engineered woods such as Medium-density fibreboard
Medium-density fibreboard
Medium-density fiberboard is an engineered wood product formed by breaking down hardwood or softwood residuals into wood fibres, often in a defibrator, combining it with wax and a resin binder, and forming panels by applying high temperature and pressure...

 can be problematic because of the porous nature of those surfaces. In these cases it is recommended that the surface should be previously sealed with an appropriate sealer. They can be applied in thin layers or washes creating effects that resemble watercolors and other water-based media. They can also be used to build thick layers of paint: gel and molding paste media are sometimes used to create paintings with relief features that are literally sculptural. Acrylic paints are also used in hobbies such as: train, car, house, and human models. People who make such models use acrylic paint to build facial features on dolls or raised details on other types of models.before you paint acrylic color, you do not have to put gesso on canvas or other materials ; however, you must put gesso on canvas or other materials for oil color.

Acrylic paints are the most common paints used in grattage. Grattage is a surrealist technique that became popular with the release of acrylic paint. Acrylics are used for this purpose because they easily scrape or peel from a surface.

Differences between acrylic and oil paint



The vehicle and binder of oil paint
Oil paint
Oil paint is a type of slow-drying paint that consists of particles of pigment suspended in a drying oil, commonly linseed oil. The viscosity of the paint may be modified by the addition of a solvent such as turpentine or white spirit, and varnish may be added to increase the glossiness of the...

s is linseed oil
Linseed oil
Linseed oil, also known as flaxseed oil, is a clear to yellowish oil obtained from the dried ripe seeds of the flax plant . The oil is obtained by cold pressing, sometimes followed by solvent extraction...

 or another drying oil
Drying oil
A drying oil is an oil that hardens to a tough, solid film after a period of exposure to air. The oil hardens through a chemical reaction in which the components crosslink by the action of oxygen . Drying oils are a key component of oil paint and some varnishes...

, whereas water serves as the vehicle for an emulsion
Emulsion
An emulsion is a mixture of two or more liquids that are normally immiscible . Emulsions are part of a more general class of two-phase systems of matter called colloids. Although the terms colloid and emulsion are sometimes used interchangeably, emulsion is used when both the dispersed and the...

 (suspension) of acrylic polymer that is the binder in acrylic paint. Thus, oil paint is said to be "oil-based", while acrylic paint is "water-based" (or sometimes "water-borne").

The main practical difference between most acrylics and oil paints is the inherent drying time. Oils allow for more time to blend colors and apply even glazes over underpaintings. This slow drying aspect of oil can be seen as an advantage for certain techniques, but in other regards it impedes the artist trying to work quickly. The fast evaporation of water from regular acrylic paint films can be slowed with the use of acrylic retarder
Acrylic retarder
In painting, a retarder is a substance, usually added to water, used to slow the drying time of acrylic paints, giving more time for blending or layering highlights.-Use in fine art:...

s. Retarders are generally glycol or glycerin-based additives. The addition of a retarder slows the evaporation rate of the water.

Oil paints may require the use of solvents such as mineral spirits or turpentine
Turpentine
Turpentine is a fluid obtained by the distillation of resin obtained from trees, mainly pine trees. It is composed of terpenes, mainly the monoterpenes alpha-pinene and beta-pinene...

 to thin the paint and clean up; these generally have some level of toxicity and are often found objectionable. (Relatively recently, water-miscible oil paints have been developed for artists' use.) Oil paint films can become increasingly yellow and brittle with time and lose much of their flexibility in a few decades. Additionally, the rules of "fat over lean
Fat over lean
Fat over lean refers to the principle in oil painting of applying paint with a higher oil to pigment ratio over paint with a lower oil to pigment ratio to ensure a stable paint film, since it is believed that the paint with the higher oil content remains more flexible.Oil paint dries at different...

" must be employed to ensure the paint films are durable.

Oil paint has a higher pigment load than acrylic paint. As linseed oil has a smaller molecule than does acrylic, oil paint is able to absorb substantially more pigment. Oil provides a different (less clear) refractive index than acrylic dispersions, imparting a unique "look and feel" to the resultant paint film. Not all pigments in oil are available in acrylic. Prussian blue
Prussian blue
Prussian blue is a dark blue pigment with the idealized formula Fe718. Another name for the color Prussian blue is Berlin blue or, in painting, Parisian blue. Turnbull's blue is the same substance but is made from different reagents....

 has been recently added to the acrylic colors. Acrylic paints, unlike oil, may also be fluorescent.

Due to acrylic's more flexible nature and more consistent drying time between colors, the painter does not have to follow the "fat over lean" rule of oil painting, where more medium must be applied to each layer to avoid cracking. While canvas needs to be properly sized and primed before painting with oil (otherwise it will eventually rot the canvas), acrylic can be safely applied to raw canvas. The rapid drying of the paint tends to discourage the blending of color and use of wet-in-wet technique as in oil painting. While acrylic retarders can slow drying time to several hours, it remains a relatively fast-drying medium, and the addition of too much acrylic retarder can prevent the paint from ever drying properly.

Although the permanency of acrylics is sometimes debated by conservators, they appear more stable than oil paints. Oil paints fade in color and develop a yellow tint over time; they also begin to crack with age. Acrylic paints have only been in use for approximately fifty years, yet within they have yet to alter in ways seen in oil paint. The changes observed in works done in oil are caused by the paint's binder (linseed oil). Linseed oil dries as an inelastic film. As temperatures rise and fall, this film cracks. Meanwhile, acrylic paint is very elastic, which prevents cracking from occurring. Acrylic paint's binder is acrylic polymer emulsion; as this binder dries the paint remains flexible.

Another difference between oil and acrylic paints is the versatility offered by acrylic paints - acrylic is very useful in mixed media, allowing use of pastel (oil & chalk), charcoal, pen, etc. on top of the dried acrylic painted surface. Mixing other bodies into the acrylic is possible - sand, rice, even pasta may be incorporated in the artwork. Mixing artist or student quality acrylic paint with household acrylic emulsions is possible, allowing the use of pre-mixed tints straight from the tube or tin, so presenting the painter with a vast color range at his or her disposal. This versatility is also illustrated in the wide variety of additional artistic uses that acrylics afford the artist. Specialist acrylics have been manufactured and used for lino block printing (acrylic block printing ink produced by Derivan since the early 1980s), face painting, airbrushing, water color techniques, and fabric screen printing.

See also

  • Leonard Bocour
    Leonard Bocour
    Leonard Bocour was born on March 18, 1910 in New York City, and he died September 6, 1993. Around 1933 he formed the New York City based company Bocour Artists Colors. He was the co-developer along with Sam Golden of Magna paint in the late 1940s. From 1952 until 1970 he and Sam Golden were...

  • Sam Golden
    Sam Golden
    Sam Golden started his paintmaking career in 1936 at Bocour Artist Colors with his uncle Leonard Bocour. In 1947 he developed Magna paint, the world's first artist acrylic paint. He returned from retirement in 1980 to found Golden Artist Colors Inc...

  • Golden Artist Colors
    Golden Artist Colors
    Golden Artist Colors is a manufacturing company that focuses almost entirely on paints, used in the fine arts, decoration, and crafts. Based in New Berlin, New York, the company produces the largest line of acrylic colors that is currently available to artists, including recreations of historic...

  • Magna paint
    Magna paint
    Magna is the brand name of an acrylic resin paint, developed by Leonard Bocour and sold by Bocour Artist Colors, Inc. in 1947. It is very different from modern acrylic paint, as it is composed of pigments ground in an acrylic resin brought into emulsion through the use of solvents. Bocour Artist...

  • Nova Color Artists Acrylic Paint
    Nova Color Artists Acrylic Paint
    Nova Color Artists Acrylic Paint was first manufactured in Culver City, California in 1965 shortly after the commercial introduction of acrylic polymer resin for paint production. Mexican immigrant Carlos Amparan developed a line of brilliantly colored fine art acrylic paint after experimenting...

  • Liquitex
    Liquitex
    Liquitex is a registred trademark for a brand of acrylic paints named using a portmanteau of the words "liquid" and "texture". The first water-based acrylic paint launched in 1955 by the company under this brand name was the first acrylic gesso, and colored liquid acrylic paints came one year later...

  • Daler-Rowney
    Daler-Rowney
    Daler-Rowney is a fine art materials manufacturer based in Bracknell, United Kingdom. It sells a wide range of artist products such as paints, artist surfaces, brushes and a range of accessories.-History:...

  • Daniel Smith Artists' Materials
    Daniel Smith Artists' Materials
    Daniel Smith Art Supply is an art supply manufacturer and retailer. Dan Smith, a noted printmaking artist, founded the operation in 1976, endeavoring to produce artist-grade printmaking ink...

  • Oil paint
    Oil paint
    Oil paint is a type of slow-drying paint that consists of particles of pigment suspended in a drying oil, commonly linseed oil. The viscosity of the paint may be modified by the addition of a solvent such as turpentine or white spirit, and varnish may be added to increase the glossiness of the...

  • Acrylic painting techniques
    Acrylic painting techniques
    Acrylic painting techniques are different styles of manipulating and working with polymer-based acrylic paints. Acrylics differ from oil paints in that they have shorter drying times and are soluble in water. These types of paint eliminate the need for turpentine and gesso, and can be applied...

  • Winsor & Newton
    Winsor & Newton
    Winsor & Newton manufactures a wide variety of fine art products including: oils, alkyds, watercolours, acrylics, pastels, brushes, canvases, papers, portfolios, and distributes the Derwent pencil sets.-History:...


External links