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       Experimenting with medium and colours and using of various materials for painting purpose has always been a pursuit of artist in their wake from the boredom of using the same medium again and again.

Ravindranath Tagore

  A mixed media work of Ravindranath Tagore

        Infact the artistic effects that are created by the sudden mixing of unconventional substances have often led many people to try art. The saying goes that while putting oil on his hair, Ravindranath Tagore had accidentally spilled a few drops on the paper on which he was supposed to write something. The mixing of oil with the ink on the paper, created a strange shape that sent the septugenarian into thinking if this could not be a new style of art. The idea seized the author so seriously that Tagore took up art at the ripe age of seventy-two.

Jamini Roy

A scroll painting of Jamini Roy made on a jute-mat surface: an example of use of varied surfaces in art work.

        But in days of Tagore artists painted never with the market in mind. so the question of restoration of old art-works never arose. With development of the art-market, artists however faced the dilemma of the need to experiment and yet make art works that were durable. The need for durable paints which lend themselves to easy mixing with other medium became pertinent.

           Thus we see that a majority of mixed media artists like Chitrobhanu Majumdar use acrylic as the base medium today. Though this severely limits the scope of experimentations, this is perhaps a necessity of modern times that cannot be ignored much.







    Acrylic is termed as the medium of the new century. It attempts to replace the most important two media of the previous century: Oil and water colour. Oil painting has for most part in history been used to make exact realistic images while water colours have been used as an apprentice medium but in later course some painters adopted it for their specific flow character which makes simplicity a necessity. Irrespective of their individual limitations, the two media had been taught in almost all art-schools while the other media like gouache, tempera , and even acrylic were left for students to learn on their own.

KG Subhramaniyan

KG Subbramaniyan was one the earliest painters to have tried acrylic as a medium for fine arts.


Prakash Karmakar

Prakash Karmakar 's acrylic work on canvas




        But Oil cannot be used on non-absorbent surfaces, and water colour cannot be used effectively on mast painting bases. Both the media are not amenable for use in combination with other media. Hence in modern times , artists are moving towards acrylic which can be used like oil, water colour, on any base, in any form and can be mixed with any other media.  

        Being a new medium, none of the Bengal School artists like Nandalal Bose or Tagore or Ramkimkar Baij had worked in acrylic. Among the firsts to use acrylic as a medium for fine arts was probably KG Subramaniyan who has spent a significant part of his life at Santiniketan. But Subbramnaiyan's acrylic works were not as developed as of today's acrylic art-works and it took years before the medium became truly popular.


Devajyoti Ray

  Devajyoti Ray, one of India's youngest artists paints in acrylic in a style of his own which is not learnt from the regular art schools.


        Paritosh Sen , Prokash Karmakar   and Suvaprasanna have also worked in Acrylic, but the best exponents of this new medium are the new generation painters like Devajyoti Ray 

        Acrylic with all its advantages, has one disadvantage, its colours are not always of similar consistency. Some of the shades are more transparent than the others. Artists of the present generation would have to deal with this problem till a newer better medium comes to the fore.


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