I have often introduced how to make paints in the PIGMENT TOKYO features.
Therefore, in this article, I will like to talk about how to create acrylic paints!
Acrylic paint is a fast-drying paint that can be dissolved in water and becomes water-resistant once it dries.
It is a type of painting material developed by modern chemical technology during the 19th century.
Most of you guys may not know, acrylic paint is actually very easy to make! You just need to mix the pigment paste with acrylic emulsion and you will soon have your own original acrylic paint!
Although pigment paste cannot adhere on its own, it can be mixed with any water-soluble binders to create paints.
The biggest point of this art material is that it can be well-kneaded easily during paint making.
If you try to make paint from powdery-like pigments, it can be a bit of a hassle, as the powder may be all over the place during the kneading process, or be difficult to mix with the medium due to its specific gravity.
However, with this pigment paste, anyone can easily create a variety of paints with all kinds of binders.
In PIGMENT TOKYO FEATURES, I have introduced, interviewed and written many of the artists who work in PIGMENT TOKYO, but this time, I, the writer myself will be using these pigment pastes in my own artwork.
Here’s a sneak peek of what I am currently working on.
" The Background Part 1 " Installation view 「Image」series .2020 Gallery K (Tokyo)
The idea and concept of this series of my latest work, 「Image」, came from the images that pass in front of our eyes every day, such as insignificant urban landscapes, the proliferation of graphic data on the Internet and printouts, etc.
In my work, I usually explore the illusions of two-dimensional paintings by thinking about the images we usually see and reconstructing them with a minimum of information in terms of color and shape.
Moreover, through the process of painting and installation, I also work on the aesthetics of the space itself where the painting is located.
So without further ado, let’s start making paints!
In PIGMENT TOKYO, we have water-based paints from three different manufacturers: Zecchi, Holbein, and Matsuda.
Zecchi paints usually come in bottles and large quantities, so it is suitable for painting larger screens or surfaces.
Holbein has very low viscosity, so it is recommended for those who want to apply a thinner coating.
If you want to express yourself with color edges, it is best to use the paints from Matsuda, which has a more moderate viscosity.
This time for the paint making, I used "Tempera Paste" from Zecchi.
Although this is a colorant specially made for tempera painting, since the main ingredients are pigments, water and moisturizers, it can be used not only for tempera but also for acrylics and transparent watercolors.
And for this series of work, I wanted to create with an ochre tone, so these are the colors I used.
Tempera paste is very simple to use.
Just prepare a piece of the paper palette and a palette knife, then you mix it with the acrylic emulsion and you are done. A good rule of thumb is to mix the same amount of medium as the pigment paste. Please note that if the amount of medium is too little, it may not stick or apply well on the painting surface.
If the viscosity is too weak, it is difficult to create a color edge with masking, so you may need to add some thickener to balance up the right viscosity.
Incidentally, it also functions as a paint retarder to keep the paint dries slower, so you can express in your drawing with gradation easily.
If you want to create a completely flat surface, such as a printed piece, I recommend you to use a flat painting brush that is made of goat hair like the one below.
It’s easier to clean and very handy even for beginners.
Therefore, since for my works I prefer having a hand-painted texture on the surface of the painting, I use flat paint brushes that are made of horse, raccoon and mongoose hair.
Each of these brushes has a subtle firmness and flexibility that is quite different from a normal paintbrush that’s made of goat hair, so for me, perhaps if you’re getting tired of the usual ones, you may want to try a new kind of brushes!
So after the undercoating dries, I paint other areas back and forth with different colors until my work is done. Then, I remove the masking tape, and lastly, I varnish to protect my work!
《Image》Akira Oya, 2021
In this article, I made my own acrylic paints to create a flat texture for my work, but it is also possible to increase the amount of thickener to make the paints dry slower, or mix with Holbein's DUO paint medium to create water-based emulsion paints that contain oil.
For those who are new to paint making, it may be better to test your paint on a piece of base material before starting your work.
No matter how challenging it might seem to be, always remember to have your first step to explore the new world in art!
One last thing, I will also be participating in a group exhibition in Kyobashi, Ginza, in the first week of March.
If you’re interested, feel free to hop by and have a look at my latest works!
Title:「Physis & Logos」Part 1
by Oya Akira, Sotoyama Yuta, Tobari Hana
Place: Gallery K
4F Kyobashi Point Bld., 3-9-7 Kyobashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0031, Japan
( 6 min walk from Ginza Station / 2 min walk from Kyobashi Station )
Date and time : 1 March (Mon) 〜 6 March (Sat) 2021
11:30〜17:00（Monday & Friday open till 19:00, Saturday open till 15:00）
※To prevent the spread of the COVID-19, the opening hours of the gallery will be shorter than usual.
Please wear a mask while you visit the gallery.