Exploring Art… Acrylic Painting

Acrylic is another medium used for painting. The pigment in acrylic paint is suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion. It is a fast drying paint. Acrylic paint, unlike oils,  can be diluted with water, but become water-resistant when dry. Depending on how much the paint is diluted (with water) or modified with gels, media, or pastes, the finished painting can have it’s own unique characteristics or resemble a  watercolor or an oil painting.

There are several differences between oil and acrylic paints. Oil paints are oil-based and acrylics are water-based, thus oils need solvents to thin or for clean up. Whereas acrylics just need water. The biggest difference between the two in drying time. While medias can be added to each to respectively speed and slow drying time, acrylics dry much quicker.

The pigment load in oil is higher than in acrylics. And some pigments are not available across the two mediums.

Although the permanency of acrylics is sometimes debated by conservators, they appear more stable than oil paints. Oil paints fade in color and develop a yellow tint over time; they also begin to crack with age. Acrylic paints have only been around for fifty years, but within this time frame they have yet to alter in ways seen in oil paint.

Acrylics are a very versatile medium. Acrylic is very useful in mixed media, allowing use of pastel (oil & chalk), charcoal, pen, etc. on top of the dried acrylic painted surface. Mixing other bodies into the acrylic is possible – sand, rice, etc.

Acrylics can be framed under UV glass or not. I would not frame under glass if the painting had any texture to it, as glass tends to mute the texture. As with all art, it is best to not hang them in direct sunlight.

Below are some wonderful original fiber arts. As with all of my featured art/artists these are pieces I would purchase for myself or as a gift.

  • Alex by Sam Havens


One Response to “Exploring Art… Acrylic Painting”

  1. Kelly – I am thrilled that you placed my work in your article, which BTW is very suscinct and well-written. I never knew that acrylics have held up better that oils until I read your article. Very cool. I also discovered Zach Thurmonds work thanks to you. Very nice. Feel free to use my art whenever needed – Jared

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