3 Reasons to love acrylic paint
by Art Materials on May 26, 2021
Compared to oil paints, which have been around for 600 years, acrylic paints are a relative newcomer to the global art scene, but they are certainly making a name for themselves. We love them and believe you should too. As an artist’s medium, acrylic paint only dates back to 1940 with impressionists such as Helen Frankenthaler and Kerry Hallam and abstract artists, such as Jackson Pollock, Morris Louis and Al Held, adopting acrylics for their masterpieces. Pop artists, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol helped acrylics gain even more popularity in the 1960s. And contemporary artists such as Jose Trujillo and Irish artist, Emma Campbell, are creating names for themselves by using acrylics.
Even though acrylic paints have a young history and have had to fight for a place in the world of art, their planet-friendliness, versatility and affordability make them a legitimate player for amateurs and professionals alike. The jaded view by Art Professors that serious painters shouldn’t use acrylics has been disproved over decades.
If you are not yet a convert to the world of acrylics or are plagued by artists’ scepticism, then hopefully our 3 reasons to love acrylic paint will persuade you of the creative potential that awaits, will get you experimenting and will trigger your artist’s muse.
Reason #1 - So planet-friendly
This is one of the major advantages of using acrylics; no chemicals - turpentine or mineral spirits - are needed for mixing your paints or for cleaning your brushes. Just add water, making clean-up such a breeze. (No noxious fumes or biohazard risks involved). Diluting or thinning your paints is also by just adding water. Residual paint that has hardened on the palette can be scraped off into the bin. (The solidified polymers encase any potentially harmful chemicals, like cadmium, preventing them from seeping into the groundwater).
Reason #2 - So user-friendly
The versatility of acrylic paints is one of our favourite reasons for experimenting and painting with this medium. It is also very forgiving - allowing you to easily remove a mistake or paint over it.
- You can paint here, there and everywhere. You don’t have to have a designated ventilated studio area; you can paint anywhere, from any indoor room. Love to paint ‘Plein air?’ Acrylics are so easy to transport - you just need to add water. This also makes them so easy to travel with. (Why leave your artist’s muse behind when you go on holiday?).
- Patience is a virtue - but no need with acrylics. Because of their quick drying time, painting with acrylics means you can layer colours and bright hues quickly without muddying your colours. By adding a glazing medium for more transparency and fluidity, you can also achieve a similar built-up layered effect to the Old Masters, but in a much quicker time period.
- Embrace your inner sculptor. Acrylic paints can become sculptural and take on a 3-dimensional form, creating visual impact, interest and depth on canvas. If left on a non-stick surface, they can be peeled off and used as a soft sculptural element.
- You are in control. By adding a thinning or thickening medium, acrylic paint becomes malleable, which means you can manipulate it to mimic qualities of other paint media. You can adjust the viscosity, lustre, coverage, transparency and texture which will transform your artwork. You can also paint with acrylics on fabric, paper and wood.
Reason #3 - So budget-friendly
Embracing your inner artist can be a costly endeavour with a hefty financial investment. This can be an unnecessary obstacle for budding art enthusiasts. That is why acrylic paints are your BFF - especially if you are a beginner. They are inherently cheaper than oils and watercolours and a low-maintenance medium. You do not need any fancy tools or cleaning equipment - just a canvas, a few inexpensive brushes (and some water) and you can start painting!
The principle of buying quality over quantity should always feature in your budgeting. The more expensive the acrylic paint, the more highly pigmented it will be and the better result you will achieve on canvas. (We advise Winsor and Newton, Liquitex and Reeves if you are serious and looking for a professional result. The talent is up to you, though)
Bonus reason - So easy @ The Art Materials Company
At The Art Materials Company, Ireland, we believe art should be fun, personal and a unique expression of your inner creative freedom. Acrylic paint is just one medium that deserves the limelight. (Browse all our premium quality ranges online). They have risen from the kindergarten classroom and proudly found their way into galleries, professional studios and homes all over the world.