Acrylic Paint is one of the most important advancements in technology for an artist since ready-made tube paints became available during the 19th century.
If you’ve never painted and are really up in the air about which medium to use, acrylics are a good choice.
You can try a variety of painting techniques and style using only one set of paints. After spending some time learning how to manipulate your paint and developing some skill, you may decide that you really love acrylic painting.
However, if you discover you enjoy the watercolor experience but find acrylics limiting because they are permanent when dry, you may want to trade in your acrylics for watercolor paint. Conversely, you may love the feel of thick, buttery paint and the look of painterly brush strokes. Unfortunately, acrylics dry quite rapidly and don’t allow you the time you would like to spend on glazing and detail work. At this point, you may consider switching to oil paints.
That flexibility is a great thing about Acrylic Paints. It can behave in so many ways and is perfect for an artist who enjoys working in an array of mediums but doesn’t have the budget to fill a tabouret with all the paints he wants.
Acrylics Dry Quickly
The fast drying time is both an advantage and disadvantage. Using acrylics for en plein air painting or in a classroom setting is a great advantage over oil paints. Your painting should be dry by the time you are ready to pack up and head home. Try that with oil paints. Even if their focus is oil painting, many students have switched to acrylics for classroom work. Too many good paintings have been ruined during the trip between class and home.
It’s possible to paint a number of glazes in just one session, instead of the days and weeks one spends when using oil paints. Acrylics can also be used in the initial stage of an oil painting. This underpainting will be dry by the time you have your oil palette set out and you’ll be ready to begin with your oil painting.
On the flip side, the paint just dries too darn fast. If you like to take your time with little details or want the luxury of reworking a passage after stepping away for a coffee break, acrylic paint is not accommodating. The best you can hope for is a little extension with the use of a retarding medium.
Since acrylic paint dries so quickly, paintbrushes must be kept scruptiously clean or immersed in water during your painting session. Paint that dries on the ferrule will eventually damage the bristle formation, and paint that dries on the bristles is almost impossible to remove without damaging the fibers.
Acrylics Are Permanent
Once the paint dries, acrylic paints are permanent. This is a good thing if you’re happy with your work, but if you’re painting in a watercolor fashion, you don’t have the opportunity to remove any of the color you laid down on the paper. You can glaze over the area to change the hue of the underlying paint, or you can use white paint to camouflage your error.
If you are painting with thick paint that builds up on your surface, you can scrape away the offending layer and leave only a stain. Sanding and re-priming the area will leave you with a fresh, ready to re-paint surface.
Acrylics Can Be Used On Almost Any Surface
Watered-down acrylics absorb into porous surfaces such as paper or cloth. When applied to rigid, non-porous supports, they dry to a hard finish. The paint can be scraped off and may flake or peel away if used in an unprotected, outdoors environment. When left to its own devices, acrylic paints will remain intact in a normal, indoor setting.
This makes it appropriate for painting surfaces like metal, plastic, pottery, wood or any other decorative surface. Crafters use acrylics in every conceivable way. It also can be used with collage and act as an adhesive to secure paper and cloth to a support.
Toxicity And Odor
A nice thing about acrylics is the lack of odor. Oil paints and their associated mediums and cleaners can be a real turn-off for those with hypersensitive olfactory senses. Those aromas can also be toxic as well as noxious. Acrylic paints don’t have any smell to speak of, and they have far fewer health risks than oil paints.
However, if the paint contains pigments such as cadmium, magnesium, chromium and cobalt, it can be toxic if ingested or absorbed through the skin. This problem can be avoided by using hues, which means that the paint approximates the color without using the actual toxic pigment. All paints must have their ingredients listed on the label, so if you are concerned with toxicity, read and understand the labels before purchasing any paint.
Tube Or Jar – Which Is The Right Paint For You?
Acrylic Paints are available as a heavy body or fluid paints. If you’re a craftsman and don’t want to bother with constantly thinning your paint, the fluid paints are ready to use. They are packaged in a jar or plastic bottle and are thinned to a consistency that works well for painting decorative objects. They can be further thinned with water to approach a watercolor consistency.
Heavy body paints are typically sold in tubes. However, some manufacturers also sell heavy body paint in jars. This is an economical way to purchase paint in large quantities. For the most part, artists use acrylic paint packaged in tubes.
Whether you choose fluid or heavy body paints is a personal preference based on your technique and style. Either version produces good results. You will find unusual, decorator colors with the jar paints and a wide range of artists’ colors when purchasing tube paints.
Acrylic paints give you a big bang for your buck. Its versatility makes it great for a beginning art student to try out many styles and techniques. It emulates both oils and acrylics, so someone who really doesn’t have a clue as to what kind of technique to pursue has an opportunity to play.
Acrylic paint is a powerful medium in its own right. Many people are totally committed to acrylic painting and have no desire to switch to anything else. These artists have moved beyond materials that have been used for hundreds of years, and they want to use only the latest in technology to create their work.
Whether acrylic paint is your passion, a stepping-stone to another medium or a fun idea to use for crafts, this versatile paint should be on every artist’s supply shelf.
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There are 27 Chapters in this Free Online Painting Course:
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Watercolor – Where to Start
Watercolor Paint Brands
Watercolor Paint Brushes
Watercolor Basic Painting Techniques
Advanced Watercolor Painting Techniques
Watercolor Painting Accessories
Watercolor Painting Tips and Tricks
Acrylics – Where to Start (This Article)
Acrylic Paint Brands
Acrylic Painting Support
Acrylic Paint Brushes
Acrylic Painting Techniques
Acrylic Painting Accessories
Acrylic Painting Tips and Tricks
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