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Acrylic Paintings and Mold

Postby Lukolu » Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:32 am

Hello to the forum.

I'm thinking of getting back into painting. I've painted a little in acrylics and a little in oils. I'm trying to decide which to go with now.

When searching for info I came upon this from the Smithsonian:


From the article:

Mold growth has been noted on acrylic paintings and has become an increasing concern among artists and collectors. Unfortunately, there is no ideal treatment that does not cause some degree of damage to the original paint. Mold growth tends to become apparent when humidity and temperature rise. Prevention is the best care.


Traditionally, varnishes provide surface protection from abrasion, dust and dirt. They also provide saturation to the paint they cover. There are concerns as to whether or not to varnish acrylic paintings and many artists insist that their acrylic paintings be unvarnished. Varnishing acrylic paintings has several problems: 1) Acrylic resin proprietary varnishes have similar solubilities to those of acrylic paint. This necessitates the use of solvents which might damage the paint layer for their removal. 2) Traditional natural varnishes, such as dammar, will yellow in time and the solvent used in their removal will dissolve or soften the acrylic paint layer. A water soluble varnish may be an answer. It is an issue that manufacturers might be able to address.

In a way, I find the latter even more distressing. The common wisdom seems to be to varnish your acrylic paintings. But here the Smithsonian seems to be casting serious doubt on even that.

I searched for more info or opinions on this, but it seems there's precious little to find on the net. When I searched to see if I could find a similar connection between oil paintings and mold, nothing worth mentioning came up. Or I haven't found any.

So, is mold a particular problem with acrylic paintings? If so, is it enough reason to avoid painting with acrylics? If it isn't, or if it doesn't bother you, why doesn't it?

Thanks for any info, thoughts, or opinions. :)
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Re: Acrylic Paintings and Mold

Postby Artsupplies » Tue Sep 15, 2015 2:21 am

Acrylic and oil painting both are the mediums with a few differences, so i don't think this kind of problem would occur with acrylic. Well I'll share with you if i found any info.
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Re: Acrylic Paintings and Mold

Postby CarlOwen » Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:38 am

Thanks for sharing what you have so far. I never knew of the mold issue with acrylics. I don't paint with acrylics because I simply do not like the medium. I only paint with oils. Been called an old fuddy-duddy among other things from time to time, but I am of the opinion that in the art world, oil is king, so I do oils as I don't want to waste my time with anything less. Besides I really like the luster of a good oil painting.
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Re: Acrylic Paintings and Mold

Postby ehoeveler » Wed Sep 16, 2015 2:51 pm

I have to admit, the colors with oil paint absolutely rule. You can't paint a bad pic ...
I use acryls because they're supposedly healthier to use. The mold prob has me a bit worried but I
keep things dry, I hope. I do want to preserve a couple of my pieces...spray acrylic, right? :lol:
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