Which paints to use?

Today it seems an artist needs a degree in chemistry to select paints and other materials to create with. The requirements for archival works seems to dictate and often limit us. The "Great Masters" of the Renaissance didn't seem to care. Leonardo daVinci's Last Supper began peeling almost immediately after it was installed. It has been under "repair-restore" ever since. Most likely because he had limited materials available and had to mix (experiment) with his own paint recipes. I believe he would have been baffled by today's options.

Pollock used house paint because it was least expensive option for his grand works. Graffiti artists use outdoor spray paint for obvious reasons. All of us have a plethora of materials in between and combined.

Galleries and museums use "archival" requirements. Societies are relaxing their requirements somewhat to reflect changes in needs and availability. Contests and "calls for artists" also have unique requirements. Your selection of materials would be governed by those above that you participate in or want to be involved with.

Otherwise, I recommend using what works for you on your project. Always test your new paint or other material on a separate piece of subtrate. And I personally never sell a work where I have experimented that might impact the integrity of the materials. For example, I back-painted with alcohol on the Mermaid. That alcohol also came into contact with bordering acrylic paint. I could find no research that speaks to the vulnerablility or longlastingness of acrylic paint that has been in contact with alcohol, so I would keep that work as a study, listing my experiments placed in an envelope attached to the back of the work. I would hang it in my studio and record observations over time.

Gasp?  No, it is not a lost work. I can make prints of that work. I can paint another that is similar but unique without the alcohol backwash. I can sell the original in the future if it has withstood the tests of time and with a disclaimer to the purchaser.

So go ahead. Use the unknown label of the perfect purple hue. Enjoy your work. And then make your considerations of the end result to suit the needs of your clients and the objective of your own work.
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