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Student Grade paintApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe

Question asked 2021-05-15 05:14:57 ... Most recent comment 2021-05-23 03:06:09
Acrylic Art Conservation Topics Oil Paint Scientific Analysis Technical Art History

I have the perception (whether right or wrong) that Student Grade oil paint from the main manufacturers contains an abundance of fillers and that these make cause long term problems with the paint film (aluminium stearates, etc..) compared to the use of Artist Grade oil paint.

I also have the perception that Student Grade acrylic paint (from a good manufacturer) does not have the same issues as the acrylic paint film is much more stable over time.

Am I wrong in these beliefs?

Thanks,
Richard

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User Comment

[2021-05-21 02:17:39]

​No opinions on this?

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Moderator Answer (mkinsey)

[2021-05-21 16:57:07]

​"Student grade" is more of a marketing term than a codified classification, but when objectively benchmarked, some products definitely fall short of the performance and permanence that a professional would expect. So, you could say that a "student grade" product is not well suited to a productive, professional studio, but could still have some training value for a beginner. And, some artwork is not intended to be kept after the initial exercise, so permanence is not always an issue.

The reasons a paint might be classified or marketed as "student grade" would be because it contains components that affect permanence or lightfastness, or because cheaper fillers have been used to increase volume while diminishing key performance benchmarks. In a usage scenario like a school classroom, it can make sense to use a cheaper, bulk product if the teaching objective is met. Sometimes, however, students have a better experience using "professional grade" supplies which tint, cover and mix better, as long as they can be taught not to waste or over-use.

Alternately, skilled professionals may be much more capable of achieving durable results with lower quality supplies. Diluted, "student grade" acrylic primer, for example, can be used as an acceptable painting ground, but only if preparation is executed perfectly. Also, the composition of the primer needs to include materials proven to be durable, so a product with 100% acrylic polymer base, diluted for bulk use could still be used for permanent painting, whereas something with unknown copolymer base might not be good enough.

Generally, oil paints that include enough stearate fillers to replace pigment (rather than a small amount for binding up free oil) are very fat and have weak tint strength, and paintings done with these products can develop problems as a result. The inert fillers used in acrylics don't have as much impact on film strength, but some "craft grade" acrylics use too much water to yield a strong enough film for artistic painting. Also, if the polymer base is called acrylic but instead includes styrenated copolymers or PVA, then performance may fall short.

Most of the time, a solid "professional grade" product is better for just about any artistic painting, student or professional, because many brands in this category are priced very well for the value they deliver. There are some bargains in the entry-level products, however- even the cheapest tube of phthalo blue is enough to paint your whole living room. If you learn to conduct benchmark tests for mass-tone, tint strength, undertone, covering power and handling, it will be easy to objectively determine which products best balance cost and performance appropriate for your studio or classroom.

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User Comment

[2021-05-22 11:50:35]

​Thank you Matthew for your detailed reply.

So, for the student grade acrylics I'm not looking at craft grade paints, but instead from major manufactorers (W&N Galeria, Liquitex Basics, D&R System 3, etc..). I believe some of these use the same binder across the ranges, just with lower levels of pigmentation:

Can I use your different acrylic formats together?

Yes. All Liquitex products are compatible due to their compatible chemical composition. Our chemists use the same binder system across all our ranges so that they will all blend and work together and give you stable, archival results. You don’t need to worry that the dried paints will pull apart, crack, shrink, yellow, gel

I imagine there hasn't been on testing on the binder used in student grade acrylics though?

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Moderator Answer (mkinsey)

[2021-05-22 18:14:45]

​Only the manufacturer would be able to speak to their testing and development procedures, but in general there is excellent compatibility between acrylic lines and brands. In the first-generation products, there were some compatibility issues but pretty much all acrylic dispersion paints and mediums can be used together. Aside from heavy use of fillers and use of pigments which are more vulnerable to fading, products sold as "student grade" may also be less generous with binder, so extreme dilution with water may be less successful in this category. 

One advantage to "student grade" lines that is worth mentioning is that often a whole color range may be able to carry a "safe for all ages" indication. The majority of colors in professional ranges often meet this standard too, but it's nice for an educator to be able to manage this without having to investigate every color.

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User Comment

[2021-05-23 03:06:09]

​Thank you Matthew :)

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