“Synthetic Polymer”

Whenever I go searching in blog-land for fellow artists, I inevitably find scads and scads of Watercolorists and a fair dose of Oil painters. But I don’t seem to find as many Acrylicists. Those who care about their image, in the world of art are now calling it “Synthetic Polymer” apparently!  That got me thinking about this medium that I myself LOVE to use.

Acrylic paint for artists has been around since the 1940’s – almost 80 years! In that time they have undergone a sophisticated evolution to become a range of versatile pigments that can be used in as many different ways as an artists imagination will allow. No other single medium can be successfully painted on so many different surfaces canvas, wood, MDF, water-color papers, metal and plastic, to name but a few. None can mimic so many other mediums, from watercolor thru to oil paint. None can be made to dry either in the blink of an eye, or equally, take hours to slowly solidify.

Recently I also found that Acrylic paint will not yellow and will last for many years longer than Oils which require coddling like a child as they age, crack and yellow in the art museums of the world. Not that I think MY work will find its way into a museum or anything! but, I do have a scattering of works that are owned and treasured mostly by various family members, my own ever-growing collection and yes, those two mentioned in previous posts that are currently in an online art auction for charity. I may eventually set up a little online shop and sell some more or even do some portrait commissions – who knows?! It makes me happy to know that all these works will last for many years and remain fresh as the day they were painted! Even the cheapest of Acrylic brands can do this. Acrylic doesn’t fade or easily become damaged by water the way a water-color painting does. So what is keeping Artists from using this fantastic medium?

If anyone is reading this and at the point in their art journey where they are wanting to paint and wondering about all this and looking in catalogs and weighing up the $$$ – I say to you, do yourself a favor and set yourself up with a basic set of Acrylics. 3 warm primaries (say, Cad Red Medium, Cad Yellow Medium and Ultramarine) 3 cool primaries (perhaps, Alizarin Crimson, Hansa Yellow light and Phthalo Blue (green shade) ) and of course some Titanium White. Black? Well, you can add that if you MUST but to be honest, you can mix it yourself with these colors and get a nice lively black that is natural. Take those acrylics and play with them, use them like watercolors, if you wish! Nice layered washes, reserve your whites, enjoy the fact that the colors will not redissolve after drying so one colour will not muddy another that has dried. You want to do oils? Acrylics are a great first step in that direction too! Slow the drying with retarder or Acrylic glazing fluid – you can paint portraits with glowing skin tones, 6 layers of thin glaze, optical mixing! You don’t have to paint in bright, flat colors….some people think that’s all Acrylics are good for, they are good at it, BUT they can also make any subtle, muted shade you like….and be thickened and troweled on, thick and juicy with strokes and textures!

Have a good dabble and then you will find that you either want to expand your Acrylic collection to include more mediums, paints and such, or you will want to specialize in either oils or water color….Or perhaps you’ll just ditch it and take up Pastels instead! 😉

How about you? Have you tried Acrylics? Do you want too? Do you think Oils and Watercolors sell better in general? In Galleries? What do you think about all this??


3 thoughts on ““Synthetic Polymer”

  1. I started with acrylics, and love the way you can add texture or glaze with them so easily.
    In the past two years, I have been working with both oils and acrylics though. I love the speed of acrylic painting. How I can produce something in a couple of hours.
    I love though the brightness of my oils and how they blend and remain true to the colour as they dry, unlike my acrylics that tend to darken as they dry.
    I think acrylics are becoming as acceptable as oil paintings, as a purchase as they can produce some stunning modern pieces with all the different mediums and texture options

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good to hear your thoughts, Trish! Thanks for commenting – Have you tried the Windsor and Newton Pro Series (The Acrylics that boast that they have overcome the color shift problem)? Some say they are a big improvement, others that there is STILL some visible shifting…I only have a few tubes of them and have not used them enough, yet, to decide!


      1. I have a couple of tubes which seem pretty good but my preferred brand is Matisse Structure. It’s a lovely thick artist quality paint, but more affordable than some of the others. I have been more focussed on my oils in the last year or so, so my acrylics don’t get replaced as often

        Liked by 1 person

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