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Acrylic

<- Visual Arts

AcrilicoThe acrylic is a technique which gives an effect similar to oil; it is based on a mixture of pigments, resins and water that dry quickly without changing color and without darkening over time.

In acrylic, colors are mixed the same way as the pigments that are used in oil and watercolor, but grouped together by a plastic substance of acrylic resins, vinyl or both, which may be diluted by water.

Acrylic paint can be used on cardboard, paper, wood, canvas, metal, glass and more.

History of Acrylic.

The acrylic paint stems from the need for a paint that is fast drying and stable to changes in climate. Some artists wanted to exhibit their work outdoors, the need to implement durable pigments arose as the oil and fresh paints were not good choices for this type of work.

Acrylics were first made commercially available in the 1950s. These were mineral spirit-based paints called Magna 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.

Soon after the water-based acrylic binders were introduced as house paints, artists (the first of who were Mexican muralists) and companies alike began to explore the potential of the new binders. Water soluble artist quality acrylic paints became commercially available in the early 1960s, offered by Liquitex.

Acrylic 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 can be used in high gloss or matte finishes. As with oils, pigment amounts and particle size can alter the paint sheen. Likewise, matting agents can be added to dull the finish. Topcoats or varnishes may also be applied to alter sheen. When dry, acrylic paint is generally non-removable. Water or mild solvents do not re-solubilize it, although isopropyl alcohol can lift some fresh paint films off.

Painters and Acrylic.

Prior to the 20th 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 mediums and raw pigments are available for the individual production of acrylic paint, due to the fast drying time, hand mixing may not be practical.

Acrylic painters modify the appearance, hardness, flexibility, texture, and other characteristics of the paint surface using acrylic mediums. Watercolor and oil painters also use various mediums, but the range of acrylic mediums is much greater. Acrylics have the ability to bond too many different surfaces, and mediums can be used to adjust their binding characteristics. They can also be used to build thick layers of paint: gel and molding paste mediums are sometimes used to create paintings with relief features that are literally sculptural.

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