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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • Cell Creation Safety in Acrylic PouringApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2017-04-30 18:12:23 ... Most recent comment 2017-09-25 21:21:15
    Acrylic Health and Safety Paint Additives

    I am exploring the technique of acrylic pouring / flow acrylic / liquid acrylic art, and am looking for suggestions on cell creation. Many of the artists I have found online share assorted techniques such as using a silicone additive or floetrol, often in addition to using a heat torch of some kind. (A good reference would be the YouTuber Annemarie Ridderhof.)

    My question is this: is there an additive or process that I can use in place of some of the above additives, that are odorless (I have medical complications that make me very sensitive to smells) and are safe to be used? I fear that applying direct heat to acrylic and whatever additives being used, can potentially cause fumes with dangerous effects.

    For context, I generally use basic liquitex student grade acrylic paint with water on assorted sizes of stretched canvas.

    Many thanks in advanced for any tips or suggestions!

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​We are not sure what you are comfortable using but there is an excellent article on Golden's website here that may be of interest. There is some information on how to generate cells using isoproponal which you might recognize "scent-wise" in ordinary rubbing if you are able to withstand smelling rubbing alcohol you might try to use isoproponal in your work. We will also reach out to some of our colleagues who are better versed in cell creation than we are.

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2017-04-30 19:43:59
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​Hi -

    I passed your question onto Mike Townsend, who has done the most testing and application research on pours and cell formation on our technical team. Below is his reply:

    Poured paint applications are currently quite popular.  GOLDEN recently published a article to help get artists off to a good start, located here: . You should be able to use various paints and mediums for this technique, but there are some important factors at play when trying to achieve cellular patterns.

    Our main testing focus for creating cells has been to add isopropyl alcohol. Cell patterns are produced by blending low density-pigmented paints with low density additives (Isopropyl Alcohol) in the lower layers, which in turn push through paints with a higher density, forcing them apart. Alcohol wants to readily escape the paint mixture and it takes the paints it is mixed with for a ride to the pour surface. This is of course assuming the paints are thin enough to allow for the rapid movement but not so thin that the developing patterns break down before the paint is able to dry. While there are other forces at play here, this is the idea behind the process. If the isopropyl alcohol is an issue for your sensitivity to various solvents, you may need to try other forms of alcohol or another additive altogether. There are concerns that the use of silicone oil in a paint mixture can cause poor film-formation in the acrylics, and also poor intercoat adhesion for any paints, mediums or topcoats/varnishes applied over them. Therefore, we cannot endorse the use of silicone in artwork that you hope will last the test of time. Maybe it will be okay, maybe not. We just don't know. The same reasoning goes with the use of a torch to coax the patterns to develop. We don't know what it being released into the air, or if the heat is great enough to alter the film formation process. Heat and/or flame with highly flammable isopropyl alcohol is a very dangerous combination, so please do not do this.

    We hope that helps!

    Sarah Sands
    Senior Technical Specialist
    Golden Artist Colors

    Sarah Sands, Senior Technical Specialist, Golden Artist Colors
    2017-05-01 14:14:35
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    Thank you both very much for your prompt and detailed responses, I’m glad I asked! I look forward to experimenting with your suggestions, and will keep an eye on the Golden blog for more tips and suggestions. Many thanks!

    2017-05-02 12:07:25
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​Funny, I just read an article today that the others mention on Golden's newsletter.  In the article they recomend using isopropyl alcohol, but in the comments about the article artists make all sorts of suggestions I this topic.  It is a great article!

    2017-09-25 21:21:15

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