Justin Geoffrey. Seascape. 2019

Acrylic painting technique and type of artistic paints

Acrylic. David Hockney. Portrait of the artist. 1972
David Hockney. Portrait of the artist. 1972

Acrylic paints are also widely used in construction for external and internal finishing works.

Acrylic recently appeared in the creative arsenal of artists and very quickly became a serious competitor to traditional oil and watercolors. The acrylic painting technique is ideal for creating original, striking paintings and drawings in a wide variety of styles and genres.

Acrylic. David Hockney
David Hockney

Advantages and disadvantages of acrylic

Acrylic is a very popular type of art materials among modern painters. Its popularity is due to the many benefits of this type of paint:

  • High drying speed. The water present in the paint evaporates very quickly, and a strong colored film forms on the surface of the canvas or paper.
  • Increased elasticity. Dried paint retains sufficient flexibility and will not crack over time.
  • Lack of toxic components. Acrylic dyes are absolutely safe for human health and the environment.
  • A variety of colors. Modern manufacturers offer artists a huge selection of paint shades for every taste.
  • Excellent covering ability. Acrylic adheres perfectly to various types of materials: paper, cardboard, wood, glass, metal, fabric, plastic or primed surfaces.
  • Good color mixing. For many artists, to paint pictures, it is enough to have a set of paints of 12 basic colors, from which you can get hundreds of different shades during mixing.
  • Resistant to moisture. After drying, acrylic cannot be washed off the surface of the painting with water; a special solvent is needed to remove the paint.
  • A variety of textures. By adding water, the artist can, at his discretion, change the consistency of the paint: from very thick to the most liquid.
  • Possibility of wide application in mixed media. Acrylic goes well with ink, watercolors, felt-tip pens and other art materials.
  • Lack of unpleasant odors. Due to its composition (without organic solvents), the paint does not release microscopic aromatic particles into the air when it dries.
  • Affordable cost. Acrylic paints sell for a lower price than their many oil-based counterparts.
Entrance to Subway, Mark Rothko. 1938
Entrance to Subway, Mark Rothko. 1938

There are only two small drawbacks to acrylic.

First, the paint applied to the primer darkens slightly over time. And secondly, because of its rapid drying, it can be very difficult for an artist to make adjustments to his work when errors are found.

Acrylic. Fundoras laser. Thinker. 2008
Fundoras laser. Thinker. 2008

History of acrylic paints and technology

The history of acrylic dates back to the discovery in the late 1920s by the German chemist Otto Röhm of polymethyl acrylate a durable transparent plastic known throughout the world as plexiglass. In 1933, Rehm invented a method for diluting solid polymer resins with solvents, which led to the first industrial acrylic paints.

In the mid-1930s. Leonard Bocour and Sam Golden form the Bocour Artist Colors company. At the initial stage, they were engaged in the manufacture of traditional oil paints, but 10 years later they became seriously interested in polymer dyes. In 1947, they launched the first art acrylic, Magna, based on an organic solvent turpentine.

Thirteen years later, in 1960, Bokur and Golden succeeded in developing water-based acrylic paints that went on retail sale under the Aquatec brand. From that moment on, the painters had a new material for creativity.

Justin Geoffrey. Seascape. 2019
Justin Geoffrey. Seascape. 2019

The advantages of acrylic were appreciated by representatives of various art trends:

  • pop art and abstract art;
  • hyperrealism and neorealism;
  • op art and art deco;
  • postmodernism and abstract expressionism.

From the 60s of the last century to the present day, acrylic has firmly held the position of one of the main techniques of modern painting. Synthetic-based universal paints do not require complex solvents and are distinguished by excellent color brightness. With their help, masters of fine arts create tens of thousands of impressive works of art every year.

Neil Hamelin. Rural landscape. 2015
Neil Hamelin. Rural landscape. 2015
Notable acrylic artists

Among the famous artists who have used acrylic in their work, there are many world famous personalities. A huge contribution to the popularization of acrylic painting was made by:

  • Mark Rothko. The ingenious creator of color field painting was one of the first to get carried away with acrylic paints back in the late 1940s. It was at this time that he began to create in the style of abstract impressionism and began to gain worldwide recognition.
  • Jackson Pollock. For his famous drip painting, acrylics were perfect. Until his death, Pollock actively used his favorite technique when creating his large-scale abstract works.
  • David Hockney. The iconic representative of pop art loves to create with acrylic paints. His most famous work “Portrait of the Artist” was painted back in 1972 with acrylic.
  • Justin Gaffrey. The paintings of this unique contemporary self-taught painter cannot be confused with anything. The former restaurant owner, now a renowned artist, creates textured paintings in vibrant colors. He works in an original manner, using piping bags and nozzles.
  • Neil Hamelin. The contemporary Canadian artist is widely known for his realistic work. He also excels at enchanting rural landscapes and awe-inspiring images of sailing ships.