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Acrylic Paint

Claire Tabouret
Tegyu and Terrin (pale) , 2020
Acrylic and ink on paper
73.7 x 72.4 cm (29 x 28.5 in.)
Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin, Seoul

Acrylic paint is a water-based, synthetic paint, and is made from pigment suspended in a polymer emulsion and other plastic-based chemicals. Acrylic paint was originally developed as ‘acrylic resin’ in Germany, in 1934, and became commercially available in the 1950s – marketed and sold as house paints. Soon after this, artists began to explore their creative potential and in 1956 the two first acrylic emulsion companies were born: José L. Gutiérrez launched artists’ acrylic emulsion companies Politec Acrylic Artists’ Colors in Mexico, and in Cincinnati Henry Levinson opened Liquitex colors – which still exists today. In 1963, George Rowney introduced artists’ acrylic paints to Europe, under the brand name Cryla.

Acrylic paint is likely to be the most versatile paint available as it can be used on paper, canvas, board and is often used in crafts to paint model cars and planes or toys, due to its ability to bond with many different types of surface. Like oil paint, acrylic paint is water resistant when dry, however acrylic paint is much easier to remove from skin using just water.

Acrylic paint can be mixed with water to vary its consistency, as well as with many different water resistant that allow the artist to change the finish, texture and drying time. For example, US-based paint manufacturer Golden Artist Colors has developed different forms of molding paste which give acrylic painters the opportunity to create thick, sculptural paint effects, as well as matte mediums, pearlescent gels and many other unusual acrylic-enhancers such as crackle paste, which gives the paint the appearance of fracturing on the canvas.

Jason Middlebrook
We Can All Relate , 2016
Acrylic on maple
69.9 x 61 x 2.5 cm (27.6 x 24 x 1 in.)
Courtesy of the artist and Miles McEnery Gallery, New York

Related categories




Color Field Painting

Still Life


Color and Form


Acrylic Painting

Acrylic on Canvas

Acrylic on Wood


Acrylic on Paper

Watercolor Painting


Smooth and Flat Surface

Gentle and Smooth Brushstrokes

Oil Paint


Riverscape / Seascape

Gouache Paint

Textured Surface

Blurred Images

Sculptural Painting


Acrylic on Board