Acrylic paint is a luminous synthetic paste that combines and enhances the best characteristics of watercolour and oil paint to create a versatile substance with superb coverage, drying power, flexibility and resistance. These important features in acrylic paint have been proven superior to other paints through careful testing.
Mexican painters of the 1920’s conducted a series of pioneering tests on rudimentary acrylic paint to evaluate its resistance when exposed to harsh weather conditions. They discovered that its chemical properties gave it extreme durability. Small resin particles and pigment make up an emulsion in water held together by polymeric agglutinants. Unlike oil paint, water can evaporate out of acrylic from between the agglutinants. As a result the paste dries rapidly to form a compact plastic film.
Artist Jackson Pollock created large painted masterpieces with thick textures. This process is tedious when using oil paint due to the lengthy drying time. However, when Pollock used acrylic he no longer had to wait for months for his canvas to dry. Thus acrylic’s superb drying power enabled artists such as Pollock to create more spontaneously. Abstract painter Morris Louise also benefited by exchanging oil for acrylic. Whereas in oil painting a primer must be applied to protect the canvas from eventual rot, this procedure was eliminated when Louis chose to use acrylic because of its self priming quality. Advantages such as these examples enable acrylic paint to be used as a fluid and economic medium.
Acrylic is exceptionally versatile and can be used in a broad variety of ways. It can be used in its common paste consistency, or watered down to create a colour wash. Other mediums can be added to modify the appearance or consistency of acrylic. A surface finish can be made either glossy or matt and an additional thickening medium allows thick paint layers to be shaped or brushed on, giving a sculptured texture.
Because of resins in acrylic a dried paint layer forms and remains flexible, allowing a greater variety of manipulation than is possible with the more brittle oil paint. Professional artists first experimented with acrylic’s properties in the 1950’s. Paintings from this time remain extremely fresh in comparison to similarly treated oil painting which have darkened or cracked. This durability has also been tested extensively by manufacturers. Paintings have been deliberately exposed to conditions which age the colours quickly. These tests show that acrylic is one of the most durable painting mediums available and will withstand the aging of centuries.
Due to its versatile features and outstanding quality, acrylic paint has proven the perfect medium for use in production of quality artwork that can withstand the outdoor environment.