Artists' paints are pigments + binder
Pigments provide colour to the paint and each pigment has individual qualities and special characteristics. Discover which pigments are good for mixing colours, are transparent or opaque, slow drying or fast. Unlike ink or house paint, pigments in Artists’ paint are not dissolved in the binder but dispersed as granules within it; light is refracted through the granules giving Artists’ paint its particular brilliance. Coming from a variety of sources pigments can be organic or inorganic:
Organic Indian Yellow
Inorganic Lapis Lazuli
Binders are the vehicle which carry the pigment. Binders give their name to the paint and will affect; how it is handled, paint appearance and drying times. There are two main types of binder; natural such as Gum Arabic and Linseed Oil and synthetic such as Acrylic and Alkyd.
pigment + drying oil
History: Developed in Northern Europe during 15th Century. Initially prized for its ability to mimic textures and surfaces, due to its versatility and plastic qualities oil paint has remained immensely popular with artists ever since.
Attributes: Oils are slow-drying allowing for longer working times. Thin layers called glazes can build up rich, lustrous, colours.
Why study? Has Fine Art applications. An extremely versatile paint that can perform a very wide range of functions, giving the artist great scope for expression.
Oil paint ranges at Elephant Academy: Winsor & Newton Winton, Winsor & Newton Artists' Oil Colour
Pigment + acrylic polymer
History: Acrylic resin was developed by German chemist Otto Rohm in the early 20th Century. Water based acrylic paint as used today became available in the United States mid-1950’s.
Attributes: Fast, uniform drying times allow paint to be worked over quickly, cleans up with water, flexible and sticks to most surfaces.
Why study? Has Fine Art, Illustration and Design applications. Versatile and easy to handle, performs well across a range of applications.
Acrylic paint ranges at Elephant Academy: Liquitex Heavy Body
Pigment + gum arabic
History: Paleolithic cave paintings are a form of Watercolour but the modern Western tradition can be traced back to German artist Albrecht Durer (1471-1528)
Attributes: Watercolour is transparent and fast drying. Can be applied in washes or in finely detailed work. Is portable and easy to set up.
Why study? Has Fine Art, illustration and Design applications. Has a range of applications, can be seen as a transition from drawing to painting
Watercolour ranges at Elephant Academy: Winsor & Newton Cotman, Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour