Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Canon, Charles

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Art


Acrylic resins; Paint materials; Watercolor painting


The water soluble media comprise the largest single family in painting. This study is an attempt to examine the variations of the water miscible media, in particular trans­parent watercolor, and compare them to the newest entry to the field, the acrylic polymers. Investigation into the working characteristics of polymer was carried out in order to acquaint the novice with the fundamentals of the medium. Data on the technical variations of water color was compiled through research into publications on each medium. Historical development of the pure transparent water color technique was traced through library research. The study of the technical problems encountered in painting with trans­parent water color is the result of the artist's limited ex­perience in working with this medium and any evaluation of fundamental handling difficulties is purely the result of his own findings. Historical significance of the acrylic polymers was the result of information gathered through the main manu­facturers of acrylic at the time of the writing of the study, Boccour Artists Colors Incorporated, and Permanent Pigments Incorporated. Information on the physical properties of the material was compiled chiefly through Rohm and Haas Corpora­tion which is one of the chief producers of the basic plastic ingredient of the paint. The research into the handling characteristics of the polymer paints was carried out by the author and is, again, purely the product of his earn in­vestigation and findings. Starting with an examination into the various facets of water color painting, the study traces the development of the medium back to the period of the Egyptian civilization. It follows the decline of watercolor as a painting technique during the 1600's, 1700's and 1800's as oil painting gained popularity. The "rediscovery” of watercolor is attributed to three main personalities, J. M. W. Turner, Winslow Homer, and John Marin, who are discussed in the study. The earliest traces of the acrylic polymer paints dates back to the discovery of plastic and the gradual de­velopment of this into a painting medium is covered. The acrylic polymers are examined thoroughly in terms of factors of concern to the artist, these being 1. the range of pigments, 2. solvability of the material, 3. brush­ing and handling characteristics of the paint, 4. the drying rate, 5. the various grounds employed and, 6. the computa­bility of the acrylic series with other painting media. In evaluating the position of acrylic polymer it is speculated that they will offer only a limited extension to the working tools of the artist. The real potential of the medium seemingly rests in its use in conjunction with other materials adaptable to collage form. Further investigation is yet to he made in terms of the adaptability of the mater­ial to weathering and direct exposure to the elements. Until such studies are carried out and proven effective it would appear that the acrylic polymer series will have little out­ward effect on the field of aesthetic painting.


Includes bibliographical references (leaf [57])


ii, 64 pages




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