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Old 03-28-2009, 04:09 PM
Aires Aires is offline
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Question Life Span of Acrylic Artist Paint

Recently I read on an art forum that the life span of a tube of acrylic paint is far short of that of oil paints. Does anyone have enough long term experience with artist grade acrylics to address this?

The long life span of tubes of oil paint is well documented. The article has made me question the wisdom of having a large supply of acrylics unless one has a rapid turnover. Would be very much interested in responses to this question as I use both acrylics and oils and my turnover is not rapid. I have accumulated quite a large collection of acrylics and would hate to think I may lose them from sheer age.
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Old 03-28-2009, 05:09 PM
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AndyMcC AndyMcC is offline
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Re: Life Span of Acrylic Artist Paint

I've got tubes of System 3 paint that are at least 4 years old and are still usable, in a couple the binder has split but all thats needed is to mix them back together and they work fine. I think if you store them in a cool place and keep the lids on tight they should last for years
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Old 03-28-2009, 06:27 PM
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idylbrush idylbrush is offline
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Re: Life Span of Acrylic Artist Paint

I have had some acrylics that lasted 30 years and are just fine. Others are good for 5 to 10 years before seizing up. Depends on how they are stored, cared for and handled.

One manufacturer told me to get a small refrigerator for the studio to store paint in as a way to prolonging their life. Might be of some merit. Do not store them in the household refrigerator. I have paint that I have had for decades and still can use it.

So, go figure, there are no hard and fast rules.
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Old 03-28-2009, 06:29 PM
Nilesh Nilesh is offline
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Re: Life Span of Acrylic Artist Paint

I have some that have lasted more than twelve years. I can't say for certain that they are exactly the same as they were originally (and they have probably changed somewhat) -- but it isn't easy to notice any difference or any problems. If the water cannot evaporate, they should be fine for quite a while.
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Old 03-28-2009, 07:28 PM
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Re: Life Span of Acrylic Artist Paint

When I started painting, my mother-in-law gave me some that she had used when she used to paint. They're over 30 years old and still work fine.
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Old 03-28-2009, 08:02 PM
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hogwild hogwild is offline
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Re: Life Span of Acrylic Artist Paint

Over the last 30 years I have developed a palette that I am quite happy with. I only use 9 colors, but in that time I still had left overs that I have collected over the years I don't use anymore. The other day I was going through my old acrylic paints to see what I could throw out, and just for the heck of it I opened a few of those old half used tubes to see if they were still good. To my amazement, tubes of brands that don't exist today were in perfect condition. Today I like to paint with Winsor & Newton Finity also I use Liquitex softbody titanium white. Does anyone remember Grumbacher?

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Old 03-28-2009, 10:01 PM
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Re: Life Span of Acrylic Artist Paint

Oh yes, I still have quite a few Grumbacher paints left. I recently switched to Liquitex Heavy Bodies.
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Old 03-28-2009, 11:12 PM
Aires Aires is offline
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Re: Life Span of Acrylic Artist Paint

Thanks, everyone, for the responses based on your own personal experiences. At the present I have a fair number of Heavy Bodied Liquitex, they are stored in a cool basement and well cared for so your experiences ease my mind considerably. The information I read seemed quite solid, giving artist acrylics a pretty short life span, so it had me concerned that I might be asking for trouble keeping more than basics on hand.

I gave thought to the above assertion because in my first attempts at acrylics, I did try a brand that dried hard as rock in the tubes after a very short time, caps and tubes intact and closed immediately after putting paint on the palette.
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Old 03-29-2009, 04:22 AM
bullyluvver bullyluvver is offline
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Re: Life Span of Acrylic Artist Paint

The only problem I have with acrylics is the open end clogging up. Unless I clean each tube every time I use it, it always clogs. If anyone has a solution I'd love to hear it.

ps..Hogwild...I love your art!
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Old 03-29-2009, 09:40 AM
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Re: Life Span of Acrylic Artist Paint

Acrylics should last if you store them properly. I have some grumbachers given to me 10 years ago that are like brand new. I've had them longer than I've been painting. If the binder separates, you just shake and squeeze the tube a bit to mix them up. the only reason oil paints have a record of lasting a long time is that they have been around a lot longer than acrylics and have a recorded track record. Besides Oil painters tend to be biased toward their medium. I paint in both oil and acrylic and have had some old oil paints that seem to get stinkier with time (Must be the linseed).
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Old 03-29-2009, 10:55 AM
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Re: Life Span of Acrylic Artist Paint

I still have and still use the first Acrylics I ever tried, the Grumbacher Finest, which no longer are made, and they're fine...now that would be like almost
30 yrs ago. I'll get booed here but the only ones I have found get hard in the tubes fast are the Golden Paints, and I take good care of all my paints, all the others stay fine and useable. When I dabbled in oils I found the longer they were around they'd leak oil from the bottom of the tube tho not
dented or poked or pierced. I have no complaint about "old" acrylic tubes.


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Old 03-29-2009, 11:55 AM
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hogwild hogwild is offline
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Re: Life Span of Acrylic Artist Paint

To bullyluvver, If you have trouble with a clogged top try puting it in warm water for a while. Sometimes I end up twisting them off with my teeth, or use pliers that does'nt hurt so much. PS Thanks for your comment'
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Old 04-04-2009, 02:39 PM
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Re: Life Span of Acrylic Artist Paint

It's hard to say how long they can last. I had to toss a 1/4 tube of Raw Umber once because it totally gummed up after a few years; on the flip side, I have a tube of Naphthol Crimson that is ancient: Windsor and Newton hasn't made "Naphthol Crimson" in their Finity line for many years (it's now "Naphthol Red Medium"), and the tube is of a very old design (3 versions ago of the Finity tube labeling). It's a good thing that paint keeps since I really don't use "fire engine red" that often in landscapes! However, I'd bet that Raw Umber, the iron oxides, and anything cobalt based would never keep that long based on my experience. Not sure about Cadmiums since I haven't used them.

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Old 04-04-2009, 06:02 PM
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mek42 mek42 is offline
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Re: Life Span of Acrylic Artist Paint

From a FAQ on Golden's website:

I use GOLDEN Fluid Acrylics and like to mix custom colors that I use often and store in my empty Fluid Acrylic bottles. Does mixing the paint diminish the shelf life of the paint in any way? (I don’t add any mediums or additives to the paint).
Most paint mixtures should keep well on the shelf. However, the earliest sign of a negative change is to notice the mixture thickening. This doesn’t necessarily mean the paint is unusable, but it’s an indication to try to use up the paint fairly soon.
Also, some colors simply have better shelf stability than others do. Whites, Blacks, Phthalos, Pyrroles, Hansas all come to mind for great long-term fluid stability. Some Quinacridones, like Magenta and Red, do much better than Quinacridone Gold and Violet. Earth colors commonly thicken up faster than other colors.
As you can see, this variation of pigment keeps us very busy in the lab, and we are constantly trying to improve shelf life. Our goal for each product is about ten years or more of shelf life when stored in normal room environments.
Blending colors does add another dimension to all of this; however, as long as the containers are sealed and kept well, they should remain usable for many years.

Hope this helps!
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:58 PM
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Lady Carol Lady Carol is offline
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Re: Life Span of Acrylic Artist Paint

I have some tubes of oil paint that are 80+ years old (no don't even go there, I am not THAT old). I inherited them from my great uncle. As for acrylic paint, I do not have tubes that are old enough but I have ones that are around 10 years and they are still fine.
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