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Your Questions About Acrylic Painting Basics

Davina asks…

4 Weeks Pregnant. Are Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paints Safe?

I paint contemporary pet portraits and have been using Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paint. I have stopped painting since I found out I was pregnant. I was wondering if Liquitex Basics Acrylic Paint is safe to use while pregnant so I can start painting again?

admin answers:

A lot of paints, oils and acrylics both, use dangerous metals as pigments. Here’s the colors to look out for, followed by the dangerous pigment they contain;

True Naples Yellow (antimony)
Cobalt Blue, Cobalt Violet, Emerald Green (arsenic)
Anything Cadmium, usually reds and yellows (cadmium, obviously)
Chromium Oxide Green, Strontium Yellow, Viridian, Chrome Yellow, Zinc Yellow (chromium)
Flake White, Mixed White, True Naples Yellow, Chrome Yellow (lead)
Burnt Umber, Manganese Blue, Manganese Violet, Mars Brown, Raw Umber (Manganese)
Vermillion (mercury)

The best way to avoid dangerous pigments would be to get paints that have “hue” in the title, which means that the manufacturers tried to replicate the color without using harmful pigments. (For example; if you’re currently using a Cadmium Yellow, replace it with Cadmium Hue Yellow during your pregnancy.)

Happy painting and congratulations!

George asks…

Is Liquitex Basics Paint Safe for Skin Painting?

is Liquitex Basics (acrylic color) paint safe for skin painting?

admin answers:

Acrylic paints are not meant to be used on the skin. Just because the package says “nontoxic” does not mean that it is safe to put on skin. Many people are allergic to the non-FDA-approved chemicals and colorants used in craft paints (such as nickel) and will break out in a rash from these paints.

Best to seek out face or body paint specifically.

Hope this helps

Thomas asks…

How Expensive Would it Be to Start Experimenting with Acrylic Painting?

I would like to purchase canvases, acrylic paints, and supplies (brushes, sealer, etc.). In your experience, about how much would “the basics” cost?

Any tips for an acrylics newbie (I usually work with water colors or pastels) would be greatly appreciated!! :)

admin answers:

First of all, since you are an artist who has work with water colors and pastels, do you really want your acrylic painting comes out much less in quality than your water colors or pastel work?

Because acrylics dry fast, so there is no way to conserve it. Be prepare to to waste a lot of it.

The prices of paints vary from student-grade to artist-grade, regular to heavy-body, and series. Price also depends on the pigment that is used and how concentrated it is. Even in the same price range, paints vary in quality. Some have a lot of filler.

Although technically you could get by with three well-chosen primaries, a black, and a tube of white,  and mix the rest of the colors, most people start with at least nine tubes of paint. That is minimum $40.

However, if you plan to paint only small pictures, such as miniatures, you can find cheap sets of acrylic paint for under $10. That can be enough to get you started.

Later, if painting large canvases, you also may need retarder to slow down the drying time of the paints unless you paint really fast. That is about eight dollars, but not everyone needs or uses it, so wait to see if you need it.

As for the brushes, if you have any synthetic water color brushes that you don’t use it any more, try to use them for the acrylic. Depending how you paint, you may feel that they are too soft and unable to push the paints across your canvas. Then you can go buy some stiffer brushes, such as are used for oil painting.

You can buy the cheapest flat brushes. As for the round brushes, I recommmend that you invest in quality round brushes with tips that actually come to a point.

The least expensive way to get new brushes is to buy them in a set (a cheap set), then add some good brushes for details. That could all cost around thirty dollars (six to ten dollars for a set of brushes).

The prices of canvas vary from styles (how it was stapled), quality (regular or heavy duty bars) and sizes. For learning, try cheap canvases from discount stores like BigLots (in the USA). Often those are cheaper than the “canvas”-covered boards and much nicer to paint on, though they may work better with a coat of gesso.

If you decide to save even more money by painting on pieces of Masonite board, then you definitely will need to get some white gesso to seal it before painting, so that it will hold the paint. A bottle of gesso is around eight dollars.

The good news is that you don’t need any sealer for your paintings, because acrylic paints is the “sealer”.

All in all, you should probably expect to spend from about $50 to $100 for basic supplies, but you might get by with a little less.

John asks…

Does Basics Acrylic Paint Contain Lead?


admin answers:

No, it doesn’t.

William asks…

What Is the Difference in Basics for Painting with Acrylics, Oils and Watercolors on Canvas?


admin answers:

Acrylic: Dries fast. You can literally finish a piece in the morning and have it in a show by that afternoon (if you can frame it quick also). Mixes with water as well as cleans up with it.

Most acrylic colors are nonfading, they are not fugitive to light. You can use them on many different surfaces with the right sealer underneath. You can keep them open (wet) longer, using mixing meduims designed to work with acrylics.

Acrylic paint lends itself well for airbrush use when thinned to the consistancy of 2% milk. Colors can be deepened when you use a matt or gloss medium as a finish

But…no good paint goes unpunished. Unless you are good at wet blending, or use mixing mediums or dry brush techiques, doing portraits or skin tones, any surface that is suppose to be smooth can be tough. If the paint dries in the brush, you have to soak it in denatured alcohol.

Oils: Still the king. Though they have oils that are water soluble now, I have never used them. Oils stay open longer and have great hiding power (one color can cover another) My wet choice for portrait work. Superior color lasting abilities.

The down side. It stays open longer. So working in the field makes transporting the canvas tricky. Cost is expensive. So are brushes, but over oall I find them less easive to good brushes then acrylic. You can use mixing mediums to quicken the drying process. To some, the smell is a downer.

Water colors: Of the three, watercolors offer the most for the lowest cost. Good watercolors are costly but will last years. You can rewet good colors right on the palette. Most colors are lightfast. You can be very spontaneous, and do a painting in a day if not hours. You can gently roll the painting up in a large tube, making transportation easy.

Brushes are very expensive. Anything less then Kolinsky sables you will get frustrated if you become a master. Meanwhile decent (fairly expensive) brushes are essential even when learning. Cheap brushes (and cheap paper) are a truly false economy for watercolor painting.

Water colours are tricky, and very unforgiving. You make a mistake you may not be able to scrub it out(something you can do with better quality paper,and t are not cheap)or hide it. Have to have a good concept of working light to dark ause most have no hiding power, they are transparent.

Watercolor allows you to be spontaneous. You can carry a tiny portable set of watercolor pans (also a cheap way to get started in watercolor, BTW) and paint almost anywhere, especially with a few Niji waterbrushes. You can have fun with watercolors without being a great master of them, and they last a long, ,long time.

For art fun cheap, you really cannot beat watercolors. Just get decent brushes and paper and decent quality paint. Student grade is OK to start with. And with watercolor you really can start with just three well–chosen tubes of paint (a coordinated red, blue and yellow) and mix any color you will need.

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