Acrylic paint

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Acrylic paint is fast drying paint containing pigment suspension in acrylic polymer emulsion. 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 or an oil painting, or have its own unique characteristics not attainable with other media.

Contents

History

Dr. Otto Rohm invented acrylic resin, which quickly transformed into acrylic paint[1]. Acrylics were first made commercially available in the 1950s. These were mineral spirit-based paints called Magna[2] offered by Bocour Artist Colors. Water-based acrylic paints were subsequently sold as "latex" house paints, although acrylic dispersion uses no latex derived from a rubber tree. Interior "latex" house paints tend to be a combination of binder (sometimes acrylic, vinyl, pva and others), filler, pigment and water. Exterior "latex" house paints may also be a "co-polymer" blend, but the very best exterior water-based paints are 100% acrylic[3]. 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, with high-viscosity paints similar to those made today becoming available in the early 1960s [4].

Techniques

Acrylic artist paints may be thinned with water and used as washes 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 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, Liquitex and Winsor & Newton). 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 mediums to their paints and use topcoats or varnishes to alter or unify sheen if desired.

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