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AS COATINGS, ARTISTS' PAINTS ARE DECORATIVE in nature and are intended to endure for decades or centuries under conditions of indoor storage and display. Relative to other coatings, they are highly loaded, most often with a single pigment. Thickness of application ranges from transparent washes to thick, textural builds. Typical tools used include the airbrush, paintbrush, and palette knife, but paints are also often applied by other means, such as rags, sponges, or with the hands. They are often modified at the time of application to change sheen, texture, color, flow, or other characteristics. The substrate used is usually paper or a cotton or linen duck stretched over an open frame, but may be almost anything else, including solid or compressed wood panels, paperboard, metal, synthetic fabric, glass, figurines, clothing, or walls. Artists' paints are categorized according to their vehicle or binder. Most common are oil (alkali-refined linseed oil), acrylic (acrylic emulsion), and water color (gum arabic). Variations of these include several types of vegetable-based drying oils, such as cold-pressed linseed oil, safflower oil or stand oil, and acrylic emulsion copolymers. Other natural and synthetic materials that are in more limited current use are acrylic solutions, poly(vinyl acetate), casein, egg, wax, and various gums. Although an artist will use almost any paint, those formulated for such use are expected, above all else, to be as permanent as possible. However, paint is only one element in the process of manipulating materials to transform vision and ideas into art. Stability of the finished work is a function not only of the paint used, but also of application technique, substrate, age, storage, handling, and ambient environmental conditions.
Golden Artist, Colors, Inc, New Berlin, NY