The problem of painting with Acrylics in cold temperatures

Hello everyone.
I'm an artist who paints exclusively with Acrylics. I like to do plein air a lot, which means that for normal temperatures I have to spray my palette of acrylic paint with a mist of water every couple minutes to keep it from drying too quickly. It's not a big hardship so I enjoy the acrylic plein air experience a lot.

The big problem for plein air with acrylics is that when winter comes with freezing, or close to freezing temperatures, you can no longer do outdoor painting, because the paint will freeze, or at least be damaged by the lower temperatures. This is because acrylics are partly water-based.

So, based on the information that I've researched so far, it's not possible to do plein air with acrylics in the 30 - 45 F temperature range, the acrylics most likely aren't going to function properly. I would like to know does anyone have any more information on this problem? Is the only solution to switch to oil paints for plein air in the winter time?



  • The only thing I can think of is that propylene glycol (which is used as a retardant) acts as anti-freeze and has a much lower freezing point. I don't know if using this with acrylics would help. I would email GOLDEN as their OPEN paint range has propylene glycol in it and might work at lower temperatures.
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