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Preliminary Investigation into Two New Acrylic Emulsion Paint Formulations: W&N Artists' Acrylic Colours and Golden Open Acrylics

Keywords: Acrylic paint , golden , Winsor and Newton , conservation , materials characterisation

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This research outlines the results of an investigation into two recently launched artists’ acrylic emulsion paints. Golden OPEN Acrylics and Winsor and Newton (W&N) Artists’ Acrylic (replacement for the discontinued Finity range) paints contain formulation modifications aimed at increasing drying/working time (both paints) and decreasing wet to dry colour shift (W&N). The paints were characterised for their polymeric composition, pigment content, surface chemistry, water extractable components and surface gloss. Analytical results indicate that a 2-ethylhexyl acrylate monomer (2-EHA) has been either added or substituted into the acrylic polymer, and that the PEO-type surfactants often present in established formulations have either been reduced/not used. Simulated surface cleaning tests were also performed to explore pigment transfer and solubility issues. Pigment transfer was found to be both brand and pigment dependent, with the Golden OPEN colours proving less vulnerable than the range of W&N paints tested. Of the cleaning systems tested, the range of aqueous systems, soot sponge and the first generation Dow microemulsions resulted in some pigment transfer from these relatively young paint films. Findings will contribute to a growing body of knowledge on acrylic emulsion paints with a view to informing further research and the preservation of works of art.


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