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  • House acrylic paint interaction with artist acrylic ground/paintApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2018-02-08 16:53:46 ... Most recent comment 2018-03-09 09:54:24
    Acrylic Oil Paint Industrial and Non-Traditional Products
    While preparing MDF boards, I used two coats of acrylic enamel paint on the back and around the edges to provide some moisture protection. However, a small amount accidentally ended up on the very edges on the front side of the boards. Assuming I cover the front with three layers of acrylic dispersion ground, should I expect future failures of paint? I know house and commercial paints are generally not formulated with archival qualities in mind, but I was wondering if having them in the bottom-most layers would affect subsequent layers of artist-quality acrylics and oils?

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    If possible, I would just sand or scrape it off before priming over. Especially if you haven't started painting yet, why not just eliminate any possible problems? House paint is​ formulated for a different type of performance, to a different standard of durability than artists' colors. That doesn't make it inferior, just not always well suited for permanent art. It could be fine, but there may be components of the enamel paint that could affect the painting as it ages.

    Hardware/architectural paints often include additives that are not used or tested in the art materials industry. The polymer base might not be 100% acrylic- it could be styrenated acrylic copolymer, which can be prone to yellowing. Special coalescents may be included so paint can be applied outdoors in cooler temperatures, plasticizers may be present, and it may be formulated to shed particles for a "self cleaning" feature. These are desirable in a paint with an expected 25-year useful life, but not in artists' colors.

    Matthew Kinsey, Utrecht Art Supplies
    2018-02-08 19:42:16
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​Yes I concur with Matthew's statement. This is also why we included similar info (No. 13) in our "Myths" document that can be found in the resources section here.

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2018-02-08 20:09:58
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    It's a bit too late for sanding, as I've already laid the ground over these bits. Since I will be covering the surface with artist-quality paints, I don't think color shift or chalking is going to be an issue anyway. I doubt that the plasticizers used in either type of paint differ that much, or that the amount would cause damage.

    I'm not oblivious about the failures of some house paints (though, those were mostly alkyd- and oil- based, I think). If you have evidence of disruption of upper layers happening due to acrylic-based commercial paints, I would be interested in it. ​

    Tossing the boards into the trash seems a bit wasteful for me. What do you think?

    2018-02-08 23:45:36
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​I think being on a panel you will be fine. Can someone always imagine a 'perfect storm' scenario - probably - but then you can get perfect storms even when using only artists materials. Here I think the risks are truly miniscule. That said, going forward, keeping the commercial housepaints off of the front would probably be prudent.

    Sarah Sands, Senior Technical Specialist, Golden Artist Colors
    2018-02-09 08:52:33
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    This probably warrants a thread of its own at some point, but would be good to broach the topic that while we often see caveats along the lines of "commercial paints not being made to the same standards as artist materials", and give those caveats ourselves, the actual truth of the mater is somewhat worse - on the art side. I actually think few artist materials are probably tested as rigorously as high-quality commercial ones, especially when talking about acrylic grounds which have over the years, for many if not most manufacturers, been in a race to the bottom in terms of price and hence quality. Some commercial paint systems do extremely well in tests we have done, and many conform to far more rigorous ASTM test standards than those for the art materials industry. Obviously there are many commercial products that don't do great - but the same is true on the art material side. At least in our testing.

    I just worry that we project a picture of art material companies doing rigorous testing to make sure their materials are extremely durable, when I think the reality is that just a small handful of ones do much testing at all. I wish that was different but I will also say that very few manufacturers of artist materials even attend ASTM meetings anymore, which is a sign that there is no broad interest or deep commitment among artist material manufacturers to work on rigorous and scientifically vetted quality standards so that we CAN reassure artists that their materials are durable and appropriate for permanent works of art. Until that changes, I fear we are slipping slowly back to the wild west in terms of quality and even lightfastness of what is being offered in art stores.

    Anyway, it's a complicated situation.

    Sarah Sands, Senior Technical Specialist, Golden Artist Colors
    2018-02-09 09:17:24
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​That's a worrying picture you paint Sarah. I can understand the small boutique companies marking paints not having the resources to do testing. But if the large companies aren't doing testing then artists might end up with products then only reveal issues years or decades down the line.. :(

    2018-02-09 17:45:40
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    Thank you for introducing this tangential but important subject, Sarah.  I find many artists have implicit trust for art manufacturers products and advertising claims – as if people involved in the arts would never mislead or dissemble.  One example I often have to counter with students is the notion that "natural" based solvents are organic and thus somehow harmless – after all, many are marketed in exactly those terms.

    Many years ago, on the AMIEN forum, when I was first trying to understand for myself the issue of solvents, I keep trying to get a direct answer from the forum moderators as to whether the makers of "natural" solvents who market them as non-toxic are misleading.  You were the first to directly answer me (and essentially said "yes").  I appreciated your willingness to say the hard thing then, and continue to value your clarity, knoweldge and generosity on these forums.

    Koo Schadler

    2018-03-09 09:54:24

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