Acrylic paint is one of the most popular mediums on the market today. It's widely used by students, hobbyists, and professional artists for its unique blend of qualities.
Let's discuss what acrylic paint is and how it came to be.
Acrylic paint is composed of pigment (particles that give it color) suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion and plasticizers, defoamers, silicone oils, metal soaps, or stabilizers. This type of paint is usually water-based but becomes water-resistant once dry. It can be modified or diluted with various mediums, pastes, or acrylic gels to achieve unique characteristics or mimic other media like oil paints, gouache, or watercolors.
Unlike other forms of painting media (watercolors, oil paint, or gouache) that were invented several centuries ago, acrylic paints came about fairly recently.
A German chemical company named BASF developed the very first usable acrylic dispersion in 1934, which was then patented by Rohm and Haas. After several more developments in the 1940s, water-based acrylic paints started being sold as house paint. This event caused further research into other forms of acrylic binders.
Various companies started producing artists' acrylic paint in Mexico, Cincinnati, and Australia in the 1950s. George Rowney then introduced the manufacture of artists' acrylic paint in Europe in 1963. The "godfather of acrylic paint artists" Lancelot Ribiero pioneered the use of acrylic paints in the 1960s when he got frustrated with oil paints' long drying time and lack of brilliance in their color potential.
Acrylic paint development and manufacturing have only improved since the 1960s. Today, water-based acrylic paint has become one of the most-used painting media and is likely to continue its popularity well into the next decade.
Why Use Acrylic Paint
Millions around the world have used acrylic paints since they first came into the artisanal scene in the 1960s. But what exactly attracted so many artists and creative minds to this painting medium? Acrylic paints are versatile, durable, vibrant, and easy to use making them a great choice for your artistic needs.
Acrylic paints let you use different techniques to achieve various effects. Depending on what (and how much) additive you mix it with, acrylic paint can take on characteristics mimicking that of watercolor, oil, or gouache paint. Some additives can also give acrylic paint unique qualities that make them thick enough for impasto techniques or flowy enough for acrylic pouring.
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Another reason why acrylic paints are so versatile is their ability to adhere to most painting surfaces. Acrylic paints can be painted on paper, fabric, concrete, wood, stone, foam, leather, and most plastics. And in the event you need to paint surfaces other than the ones above-mentioned, you can always give that surface a nice coat of gesso as primer to help your paint stick.
One final note about acrylic paint's versatility is its ability to be blended and mixed with other colors and mediums to create a nearly endless number of possibilities. Mix and blend different colors on your palette to create new ones, produce tints by mixing colors with white, or make shades by mixing them with black. Acrylic paints also make it easy to make gradations or ombre effects.
2. Durable and Long-lasting
Painting a masterpiece takes time and effort so the last thing you want is to have your painting medium fade, melt, or get damaged by water. Fortunately, you won't have many of these problems if you use acrylic paint.
Paint fading usually happens due to overexposure to sunlight and UV radiation. These factors can react with a paint's pigments, thereby causing its colors to lose vibrance. Acrylic paint pigments are usually more resistant to fading from exposure to light and have a lightfastness rating that indicates their level of permanence.
If you use oil paints, you may have trouble with them melting in the sunlight instead of fading. You won't have this problem with acrylic paints which are usually water-based.
Another characteristic making acrylic paints more durable is their water resistance. While water-based acrylic paints can be diluted with water while they're wet, they do become water-resistant when they dry.
You can also improve your acrylic paint's longevity by taking the proper precautions. This can take the form of cleaning and priming your surface with gesso before painting and then sealing your paint once it dries completely. Additionally, make sure you store your paintings and paint according to the paint manufacturer's instructions to make them last longer.
3. Variety of Vibrant Colors and Finishes
Acrylic paints used to be duller with fewer color choices during their early years. These limitations may be why this painting medium didn't take off in popularity immediately.
Today, with the advances in paint development and manufacturing, acrylic paints aren't only vibrant but they also come in thousands of different options. Nova Color, in particular, offers 94 brilliant acrylic colors that you can mix and blend to create an infinite number of possibilities and produce the exact color you need.
If you'd like to know more about mixing Our acrylic colors, be sure to check out How to Mix Colors for Acrylic Painting.
Apart from colors, it's also possible to give acrylic paints different finishes. While most acrylic paints dry with a satin (semi-matte) finish, there are also options for a glossy or matte finish.
Your paint's finish can depend on the brand you choose. For instance, Nova Color paints dry with a satin finish, it's totally possible to increase or decrease their glossiness by using different acrylic mediums with your paints.
4. Easy-to-use and Widely Accessible
Acrylic paints are quite easy to use which makes them very beginner-friendly.
Since most acrylic paints are water-soluble, you can thin them down and clean your brush with just water. This means you don't need any special solvents like turpentine or white spirit that can release noxious fumes. Acrylic paints are perfectly safe to use even in enclosed spaces such as your bedroom or basement.
Acrylic paints also dry quickly, especially when compared to oil paints. A quick drying time means you can work and finish your art piece much faster and in less time then varnish it as soon as it dries, unlike oil paints that can take months to fully cure. Exact drying times vary from brand to brand so make sure to familiarize yourself with the brand you're using.
For instance, Nova Color paints become dry to the touch in about 30 minutes and take at least 1 hour and a half to fully dry.
Acrylic paints are great for beginners because of their cost and availability. Since acrylic paints are more economical to produce than oil paints, it also makes them more affordable to everyone. Nova Color's paints are particularly exceptional and are the most competitively priced in the market. And because they're water-soluble you'll need fewer supplies and tools to get started.
Try Acrylic Paints for Your Next Art Piece
Acrylic paint is one of the most popular painting mediums today. Factors like versatility, durability, vibrant colors, and ease of use combine to make this medium a great choice for novice and professional artists alike.