Notebook, 1993-

MATERIALS & METHODS - Painting - Sythetic Resin Paints

Acrylic Resins - Alkyd Resins - Cellulose Acetate - Cellulose Nitrate - Synthetics in Artists' Materials - Vinyl Resins

Prepared Artists' Materials - Polyvinyl Acetate Emulsion [PVA, Vinyl Polymer Tempera] - Acrylic Emulsion Paints [Acrylic Polymer Tempera] - Acrylic Solution Paints - Alkyd Resin Medium

[From: Kay, Reed. The Painters Guide to Studio Methods and Materials. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1983.]

Acrylic Solution Paints

Some of the methacrylate resins can be dissolved in turpentine, mineral thinners, or toluene to yield a clear acrylic solution. These solutions dry rapidly with the evaporation of the solvent and form clear flexible films. Some acrylic solutions have been used as protective coatings and binders for paint, differing most obviously from the acrylic emulsion paint binders in that they cannot be mixed or thinned with water but require a solvent such as turpentine or mineral spirits. Many varieties of acrylic resin are produced, each with its own range of solvents and characteristics. Although chemically related, they are by no means casually interchangeable, since some are harder, others more adhesive, and still others soluble in a different group of thinners. One acrylic resin, n-butyl methacrylate, has been used by experimental painters since the early 1950s and its sold under trade names such as Elvacite [E. I. Du Pont, Inc.] 2044 [formerly Lucite 44]. The resin, furnished as a granular white solid resembling lump sugar or dry snow, can be dissolved in turpentine or a mineral solvent in the proportion of 5 pounds of resin to a gallon of solvent to make a heavy crystal-clear syrup. This should be thinned with turpentine or mineral spirits for a consistency appropriate to its use either as a protective varnish, an addition to the painting medium, or as a finder for dry pigments. The acrylic solution dries out rapidly and forms a clear, moderately glossy film, which can be rather easily redissolved in turpentine while it is fresh.

Other forms of acrylic resin are sold already dissolved in various organic solvents such as methyl ethyl ketone, acetone, and toluene. One acrylic solution, Acryloid [Rohm and Haas Co.] F-10, is dissolved in mineral thinner. This rather heavy solution can be further thinned with turpentine or mineral spirits for studio use.

Artists should be aware that the regular use of products consisting of synthetic resin solutions that contain aromatic hydrocarbons such as benzene, toluene, or xylene may be a serious health hazard. See pages 43-47 in the book on poisonous effects of solvents.

One manufacturer of artists' materials, Bocour Artists Colors, Inc., began in 1946 to produce paints ground in an acrylic resin solution. The paints, labeled Magna Colors, are sold in the conventional metal tubes, are available in a complete range of artists' pigments, and can be thinned with turpentine or with the medium furnished by the manufacturer. [p. 198]

Conventional oil grounds, glue gesso grounds, or acrylic primings can be used as a base for painting in acrylic solution colors, and the adhesion of the paints to an oil priming is more like that of oil media than that of tempera.

In respect to painting procedures, acrylic solution colors resemble oil paints rather than water-thinned acrylic polymer tempera paints. However, even very heavy layers of these colors will dry under normal conditions within 48 hours, a more rapid rate than that of unmodified linseed oil paint. As is the case with other synthetic resin paints, there is a tendency for acrylic solution paints to be less buttery and to have a flow and brushing quality well differentiated from that of oil paint. The colors can be thinned with turpentine or with the acrylic solution somewhat diluted with mineral spirits. Turpentine will dissolve recently dried films of acrylic solution colors, and so glazes and washes of color, thinned extensively with turpentine, may soften or pick up the underpainting unless brushwork is light, rapid, and purposeful. Superimposed color layers containing substantial amounts of thinner tend to fuse and form homogeneous film structures. A rapid-drying varnish made of synthetic resin with a solvent that does not disturb the acrylic film is sold as Magna Varnish, and it can be used as an intermediate varnish to isolate and protect layers of underpainting so they are not disturbed by solvents in the overpainting. Like other materials made with acrylic resins, the acrylic solution colors appear more brilliant and higher in key than oil colors. The yellowing commonly associated with linseed oil colors does not seem to be a problem in the case of acrylic resin paints. [pp. 198-199]

[Kay, Reed. The Painters Guide to Studio Methods and Materials. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1983.]



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