Acrylic paints first showed up on the market in the 1950s. This revolutionary new paint helped to bring about a new form of art. Acrylic art paintings which could be produced at a much faster rate that artwork created with other types of paint. The acrylic paint soon became a paint of choice for many artists, but there were also those who saw some disadvantages to this new paint. This made them hesitant to use them and to create acrylic artwork.
One of the top reasons why so many artists were drawn to the idea of acrylic art paintings was the paints fast drying time. Previously it could take weeks for a piece to completely dry when they were created with oil paints. That waiting time could become tedious when an artist simply wanted a piece to be complete. Acrylic paints offered a quick drying time and that was very appealing to artists. On the other hand, the quick drying time often results in harsh looking acrylic art paintings. This is because colors can't easily be blended or softened.
A Familiar Appearance
Acrylic paints also have the ability to be diluted with water. When this is done acrylic art paintings resemble watercolors or oil paintings. They are easily used to replace watercolors and oil paint. In many cases acrylic paints are preferred over watercolors because as the acrylic paint dries the color does not change as it does with watercolors. This allows for a more predictable final coloring of a piece.
Acrylic paints, when dry, are resistant to water damage. This makes it much easier to preserve acrylic art paintings and other acrylic artwork. They also do not yellow as oil paints often do. They resist cracking and changing at all. Some may actually see a problem with the fact that this paint is resistant to water because it makes altering an acrylic artwork very difficult if not impossible.
Many artists prefer acrylic paint because using this type of paint requires far less exposure to toxins. Acrylic paint can be thinned with only water and does not require any type of toxic substance in the thinning process. Also brushes can be cleaned in just water without the use of toxic substances. However, the paint itself may contain some toxins and if an artist is trying to slow the drying time then toxic substances must be used.
The advantages and disadvantages of acrylic paint is something the individual artist has to weigh for themselves. Some artists may find the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. It all really comes down to what look an artist in trying to achieve. Acrylic paints have a specific look and even though they may be able to somewhat mimic watercolors or oil paint, when acrylics are used it is usually a very distinguishable look. Besides that working with acrylic paint is a much different process. So, it really comes down to the artist and their preference of which type of paint to use.