Acrylic Paints are water- based paints made with a material which is essentially a form of plastic. This material is a plastic resin. Because acrylic paints are water- based, there is no need for use of turpentine or other paint thinners. To dilute, or thin, Acrylic paints, all that is needed is water. Normally however, Acrylic paints do not need to be thinned. They are formulated to be used straight out of the tube or jar. Depending of the amount of dilution, Acrylic paintings can resemble Oil or Watercolor paintings.The more water added, the more a painting will resemble a watercolor.
Compared to working with Oil paints, which require turpentine or thinner, and can be quite smelly and messy, working with Acrylic paints requires nothing more than soap and water when it’s time to clean up. Acrylic paints do not give off an odor when they dry. Drying time is one of the advantages of using Acrylic paints over Oils. When using Oil paints, it can take weeks, if not months, for a painting to dry. When using Acrylic paints, drying time ranges from minutes to hours. Most Acrylic paints dry smooth, and somewhat shiny.
Acrylic paints were originally experimented with and put into limited commercial use in the 1930’s, but it wasn’t until the late 1940’s that Acrylic paints were commercially available. Early forms of Acrylic paints were mixed with turpentine and were compatible with Oil paints. Among the first influential American artists to embrace the medium of Acrylic paints were Roy Lichtenstien and Andy Warhol.
A much wider range of uses and capabilities is present in Acrylic paints, over other mediums. Acrylic paints bond to many different surfaces. They are the ideal medium to use when painting on paper, cardboard, wood, or masonite. Acrylic paints work especially well when painting on fabric. For virtually any decorative painting, Acrylic paints are the preferred medium. When using Acrylic paints, they must not be mixed with Oil paints. The chemical reaction would prevent the paint from being usable. Unlike Oil paints, Acrylic paints do not produce cracking or yellowing with age. Because of different chemical properties, Oil paint can be applied effectively over Acrylic paint, but Acrylic paint cannot be applied effectively over Oil paint.
Since its invention, Acrylic paint has had its share of critics and detractors. Some question the permanency of the pigmentation in Acrylic paints, while others scoff at the notion of essentially a plastic resin and water- based paint being deemed legitimate. Through advances in technology and formulation, many modern Acrylic paints are every bit effective as Oil paints. In fact, several brands of Acrylic paints resemble Oil paints in appearance and consistency. Many finished paintings that were done with modern Acrylic paints are virtually indistinguishable from Oil paintings. Another factor to consider in the painting process is cost. Overall, Acrylic painting is the most inexpensive medium.
Some of the better brands of Acrylic paints available for sale in the US and abroad are Winsor and Newton,(including Galeria) Liquitex, Golden, Daley and Rowney, Accent, Delta- Ceramcoat and Van Gogh.
For people seeking ease and convenience when painting, Acrylic paints are the way to go.