19 March, 2018

Exploring Art: Acrylic Paintings

Read time 4-5 mins

William George & Co. invite you to part 4 of our art series. So far we have looked at the impactful world of oil painting, the eye-catching essence of watercolours and the brilliance of pastel paintings. If you're new to the series then you can start here.

You're now invited to delve into a medium which is still in its infancy, Acrylic paints. This medium was only introduced just over half a century ago. 

What is artistic acrylic paint?

Acrylic paint is a water-based paint known for its fast-drying attributes. When it has dried, it becomes waterproof. This creates a lot of advantages for painters and also gives the medium a competitive edge over the likes of oil paints which are known for their longer drying times.

Originally, Acrylic paint was designed for domestic use as house paint around the 1940's. Artists started to see its potential as an art medium and started to use it in their artwork. It was not until the 60's when manufacturers started to make artistic acrylic paint. 

How can you tell if a painting is acrylic?

The visual effects of using acrylic paints are that it achieves the soft effects of watercolours and yet the sharp effects of layered oil paints. Because of its versatility and the fact it dries quickly, it has become a popular painting medium among artists. 

One of the early pioneers of acrylic painting was David Hockney who created some of his most-known works in the 1960's. For example, Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy.

How do you make artistic acrylic paint?

Artistic acrylic paint is made up of tiny particles of plastic acrylic resin which is suspended in water (acrylic polymer emulsion) and pigment. During the evaporation of the water, the resin particles start to fuse which results in a strong paint. Depending on how much water is added, artistic acrylic paint can be both thinned or thickened.

Because acrylic paints are fast-drying, they cannot be blended to replicate the oil painting strategy of “wet in wet”. This is what can give a “harsher” look to acrylic paintings when compared to oils.

Well-known Acrylic Paintings:

  1. Drowning Girl by Roy Lichtenstein.
  2. Beginning by Kenneth Noland.
  3. The Bicyclers by Thomas Hart Benton.
  4. Campbell’s Soup Cans by Andy Warhol.
  5. A bigger splash by David Hockney.

If you enjoyed the article then hit the share button! Our final paint medium in our series is the difficult-to-master "Gouache" medium. Hit the button below to find out more.

William George & Co. Art Series: Acrylic Paintings
William George & Co. Art Series: Acrylic Paintings
William George & Co. Art Series: Acrylic Paintings