What is the difference between acrylic paint and latex paint?

Is that a Damien Hirst SPOT painting?!

latex or acrylic

Oh wait, it's just some emptied prescription bottles I had laying around . . . With paint atop the caps!


A While back (Disclaimer: at times, I'm a bit unorganized), I realized I had accumulated more than a few medicine containers that I hadn't used, or the bottles were empty, and I hadn't thrown them away. Doing my small part to save the environment (and largely, because I’m EXTREMELY thrifty--NOT Cheap--NOOOO!) I decided NOT to throw the containers away, and put them to good use as miniature paint containers. If you've read my previous article, then you know I use latex paint quite a bit. Now before you go getting all judgmental on me, understand that I DO know (generally speaking) the differences between latex and Acrylic. But, for those who do NOT know the difference, I thought I would briefly take a moment to touch on this without belaboring it.


Latex and Acrylic are BOTH water based paints. Latex paint is known for having less of a shelf life, less pigments and overall just not being known for holding up over time, and largely considered, NOT a great choice for artists. However, there are ways to take house paint and acrylicize (if that's a word?) these paints. Meaning they will become more durable and have a much better shelf life. You can even change the texture! If you are familiar with gel mediums, then you know where I'm heading.

acrylic paint storage

So why use house paint in the first place? It's not exactly cheap. Even a little tester at Home Depot is close to 5 dollars. The answer, for me, and I would assume other artists, is that it is accessible, and you can find almost ANY color. Additionally, (and the main reason I use house paint), is I LOVE the way it moves. It's very smooth and typically will provide very good coverage. If you buy HIGH end house paints, they can come in an enamel, STILL water based, but finish nicely.


I don't discriminate!


When it comes to house paints, I also do not discriminate. Exterior, Interior, Just paint? Paint & Primer? IT's ALL GOOD! Especially if it's cheap or even FREE!


For those of you not aware, Home Depot and other hardware stores will carry what they call "Miss Tints." These are paints that were either tinted wrong, or not to the satisfaction of the customer. This doesn't make it bad, it simply makes it CHEAP!  Now, admittedly, it seems like a lot of painters and artist are familiar with Home Depot's miss tints. But to go a step further, and I believe a bit lesser known, is places like Sherwin Williams, Guiry's and just about ANY place you can buy paints have miss tints. Now, the beauty of the latter (Not Home Depot), is that by less people knowing, these shops tend to have great selection of colors (often bright and vibrant), and they are HIGHER quality, and CHEAPER! Just this past week, I was literally PRESENTED 2 Gallons of beautiful Benjamin Moor Blue and an Orange miss tints because I had to wait for a paint! These are $40 a piece typically. Both. . . Free!


Ok ok, you get it, Latex can be cheap, and easy to use.


So how does that tie in with FINE ART, and those tiny bottles? Well, when it comes pigments, I won’t lie, some house paints will not cut the mustard when it comes to color. But that is the exception NOT the rule (Aquamarine being one example.) However, you can still get beautiful, vibrant colors. AND, when mixed with a gel mediums, you are going to have essentially, an acrylic paint! Additionally, you can try the different styles of gels. You can get a chunky gel if you like texture, or you can add a smooth gel or even varnish directly to your paints for a thinner consistency. All the while maintaining HIGH quality, and ensuring your paintings will hold up over time. Gels are also a great way to control the sheen.


UV & Varnish:


Since I'm talking about the gel mediums, it's a good time to touch on UV and Varnish. Now, I'm not sure about ALL gels or varnishes being UV protectors, but you can absolutely find some that are both. However, Personally, I find I it useful to use a spray UV for absolute color protection, and then a varnish for that added depth-less, finish and beauty!




Ok, coming full circle. So why the little Containers? Well, now you know my penchant for latex, you can probably guess I buy in bulk! I buy on sale, or I buy cheap miss tints. So, what typically happens when mixing colors, I may end up with 3 different shades of blue, or, quite simply only use it for touch ups. In either case, the little containers come in handy for storage, OR for just popping open and using a few quick strokes or small, isolated areas. I don't have to DUMP out paint from a big container or even a medium size container. Clean up is great, and I can go straight from Bottle to canvas! And then boom, back into the paint closet. Nice. . .. Easy. . .. Breezy! Oh, and when it comes to obtaining these containers, if you don't happen to have several laying around because, unlike me, you stay organized and dispose of these bottles immediately. . . then you can always ask your parents, grandparents to save the containers for you. You'd be surprised at how fast you can accumulate things when you let people know to save something for you (and that literally goes for anything!) Just please do not become a drug addict to support your painting addiction 🙂 OK, go out and crush some canvases, walls or whatever tickles your pickle!


I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please like and share!


Peace, Love and Asscheeks!

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