Arts & Culture



Paint has two essential elements: a solid pigment to provide colour, and a liquid binder or binding medium that acts as a glue and coats, lubricates and surrounds the finely divided pigment particles dispersed within it, allowing them to be applied as paint. As the binding medium dries or sets into a solid film, the colour within it is fixed in a durable way to the ground. In general, the same pigments may be employed with different media, so it is the nature of the binding medium and not the pigment that determines the paint type and its characteristic properties. The appearance and behaviour of a pigment can vary considerably according to the binding medium employed—a fact that has determined artists’ use of paint as well as the history of its use.

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