HISTORY OF ACRYLIC PAINT
In prehistoric times the artists of the day would mix different coloured earths (now known as pigments) into a glue (or binder) which usually consisted of egg or resin from trees, and possibly used a little water (now known as a vehicle) to get a fluid consistency; thus paint was made.
Colourmakers have since tried every conceivable material as a binder and an even larger number of pigments.
The old masters used pigments ground in various oils. This paint served artists well for several centuries. However, in time, it was realised that the very process by which the oils dried was the process that saw the oils crack and peel. This process may take several centuries but is inevitable. Even today, the only sure way known to arrest this process is to apply a coat of solvent-based varnish to the work.
One of the major advances in artist materials is the development of acrylic paint
Acrylics can be loosely termed as a plastic that can be dissolved in solvents or more generally dispersed or emulsified in water. Water-based acrylics provide an extremely versatile glue or binder on which to base paint. These paints have many advantages over their predecessors with very few drawbacks.
For instance, using acrylics in the same manner as watercolours will give light transparent washes and at the same time, acrylics will allow overpainting and glazing without blending in with previous layers. However, if blending is desirable, it is possible to add a medium that will allow the acrylics to re-activate or re-wet (Derivan Drying Retarder).
Acrylics do not possess the problems of oils such as yellowing or cracking over time. They also dry much more quickly than oils, allowing the artist to overglaze or continue on with further layers in a much shorter time. If the acrylics dry too fast for the artist’s preferred style or technique, then some mediums will slow their drying rate such as Derivan Drying Retarder.