Acrylic Paints are water- based paints made with a material which is essentially a form of plastic. This material is a plastic resin. Because acrylic paints are water- based, there is no need for use of turpentine or other paint thinners. To dilute, or thin, Acrylic paints, all that is needed is water. Normally however, Acrylic paints do not need to be thinned. They are formulated to be used straight out of the tube or jar. Depending of the amount of dilution, Acrylic paintings can resemble Oil or Watercolor paintings. The more water added, the more a painting will resemble a watercolor.

Compared to working with Oil paints, which require turpentine or thinner, and can be quite smelly and messy, working with Acrylic paints requires nothing more than soap and water when it’s time to clean up. Acrylic paints do not give off an odor when they dry. Drying time is one of the advantages of using Acrylic paints over Oils. When using Oil paints, it can take weeks, if not months, for a painting to dry. When using Acrylic paints, drying time ranges from minutes to hours. Most Acrylic paints dry smooth, and somewhat shiny.

Acrylic paints were originally experimented with and put into limited commercial use in the 1930’s, but it wasn’t until the late 1940’s that Acrylic paints were commercially available. Early forms of Acrylic paints were mixed with turpentine and were compatible with Oil paints. Among the first influential American artists to embrace the medium of Acrylic paints were Roy Lichtenstien and Andy Warhol.

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