Some artists consider acrylic-based pigment a water-based medium because
when wet, the pigment is water soluble. But, acrylic-based pigments are not
a pure water medium. Acrylic-based pigments have synthetic properties that
alter their consistency, permanency, and application. For extended study of
acrylic-based painting, study contemporary works from artists such as
Georgia OKeefe and Helen Frankenthaler.
Acrylic-based pigments are pigments mixed with a synthetic binder of acrylic
resin emulsified in water or turpentine. Acrylic resin is a plasticizer that
gives acrylic paints elasticity and endurance. Acrylic-based pigments have
gained tremendous popularity since their introduction in the 1960s because of
their ease in handling, clean up, color intensity and choice. You will most
often encounter acrylic paint with a water base.
Acrylic paints are pigment and powdered acrylic resin emulsified in water.
Acrylic paint is water soluble when wet and waterproof when dry. Acrylics
dry quickly. Acrylic color is brilliant with strong covering power; however,
it sometimes stains. You can use additives to extend the pigment, change
consistency, and increase drying time.
An extender for acrylic paint is called an acrylic gel medium or acrylic
polymer emulsion. The extender has a milky white appearance that
disappears when dry leaving a gloss or matt finish to the pigment. Combing
gloss and matt extenders yields a semigloss finish. You can add water to
acrylic paint even after adding an extender. Expect the drying time for the
paint to increase.
An impasto is a thick mass of acrylic modeling paste, marble dust, and filler.
By mixing impasto with acrylic paint, you can add surface texture to your
painting. Impasto has the consistency of paste or dough and drys slowly.
The outside skin dries faster than the inside creating large cracks that may
require filling. When painting with impasto, use a substrate with a rigid
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