Acrylic Paint – The Versatile Paint

The make-up of acrylic paint

Acrylic paint is made of pigments suspended in a water based emulsion. This base allows acrylic paint to be diluted with water, which can create a wash similar to watercolours. However once the paint dries it becomes resistant to water. Acrylic paint has only been widely available since the 1950s but in this relatively short space of time it has been embraced for its durability and ability to be used on many different surfaces.

Fast-drying acrylic paint

One of the great benefits of using acrylic paint is its drying capabilities. Precious time is saved in the painting process, which is particularly beneficial for commercial artists. Layers can be added almost immediately as opposed to oil paints, which can take days to dry. And unlike watercolours, the colour of acrylic paint stays virtually unchanged from the wet to dry state. Being a fast-drying paint does have one drawback however – it is difficult to blend when a coat dries within minutes. To overcome this, extenders and retarders are now available to prolong the drying process and allow blending to take place.

Acrylic paint: choose your surface

Because of its adhesive nature, using acrylic paint gives you a great degree of flexibility when it comes to choosing a surface. No other paint can be used on as many surfaces – choose from paper, canvas, plaster, board, clay and cloth! Chances are the surface you choose will be highly suitable for acrylic paint. Different surfaces require different brushes to get the best results – a good art supply outlet will recommend the right brush once they know the surface you’re intending to use.

Long lasting acrylic paint

Its water resistant quality is one of the reasons acrylic paint is so durable. Acrylic paint has only been commercially available for around 60 years but no cracking or yellowing has been evident in that time. This explains why acrylic artworks retain a certain freshness and vibrancy – the works of Andy Warhol are striking examples of this.

Mix and match with acrylic paint

If you’re in the mood to experiment with different media, acrylic paint provides the ideal base. You can add texture and a certain X factor to your art by mixing acrylic paint with all sorts of things. Sand and pasta are just two of the additions that artists have thrown into the mix! And when the acrylic has dried you can put something on top like ink or pastels.

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