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Home>Acrylics> Application> Uncategorized > Defining the Difference Between a “Crack” and a “Craze”

Defining the Difference Between a “Crack” and a “Craze”

26 thoughts on “Defining the Difference Between a “Crack” and a “Craze””

  1. Hi, My acrylic dirty pours are crazing. I want to add GAC 800 to my paint mixes.
    How much GAC 800 do I add? Do I add it to every colour or only 1 or 2 colours?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Hello Cynthia,
      Thank you for your questions. The GAC 800 needs to be the primary product in all of the paint mixtures. I often mix around 10 parts GAC 800 to 1 part paint. This can be adjusted if you want more opacity or transparency, but more paint begins to result in more crazing, and can be color dependant. A 4:1 GAC 800 to paint ratio seems to be a good threshold for the amount of paint to add, but if you tilt the painting while wet and stretch the paint out it will dry faster and be a thinner paint layer, both of which help reduce the chance of craze development. You might also want to “tent” the fresh pour using cardboard or plastic to slow the drying time down. For small thin paintings you can simply use a clean pizza box.
      – Mike

      Reply
      • I have a Sam Timm painting with crazing (only with your help have I been able to put a name to it) It makes the picture look rustic but I worry about resale value. Does an artist ever use a technique that created that rustic appearance . Can an artist create a crazing look on purpose? Thank You

        Reply
        • Hello, Karen.
          Thank you for your questions and comments!
          Sam Timm is – as you know – known for his realistic scenes of country landscapes and wildlife scenes. It might be possible that he created a work with intentional crazing, but it would be atypical for him to do this. I think that it is more likely that the canvas you have is a printed reproduction, and that it might be what’s called a “Giclee” print which uses a high-quality ink-jet printer.

          The canvas is prepared with an ink-receptive coating that relies on being somewhat water-sensitive to allow the inks to absorb into it and then dry. If this water-sensitive coating gets printed and not properly sealed, or if moisture comes in from the backside of the canvas as with humid environments, the coating can swell up and develop crazing and cracking. I think this might be more likely than the artist doing this intentionally.

          If the artwork surface doesn’t have any signs at all of brush stroke texture, it’s most likely a print, and Timm’s work has been greatly reproduced for many years.

          You might be able to get an artist to carefully touch up the work, but it may need to be sealed with some of our GOLDEN Archival Varnish, which is a spray varnish to help with UV protection and protect artwork (and prints) from moisture.

          I hope this helps out!

          – Mike Townsend

          Reply
  2. Dear Cynthia,
    This was very helpful. I am very new to this, I usd to paint but after a couple strokes I can no longer express myself as I used to….but still have a lot of paints so pouring on a small scale seems doable to me…..but as I look at videos and Facebook, it appears cracking is a bad thing, yet some of my favorite pieces are ones with cracking….often used as examples of what not to do……is that just personal preference? Or is there something I am not understanding. I like texture or the look of texture but that seems to be something to avoid. Thanks for any insight!
    carolann

    Reply
  3. Hi Michael, if you get a large crack on an acrylic pour can it be filled in and with what Golden product? I used a mixture of GAC 800 and Liquitex Pouring Medium and a small amount of Floetrol. My painting looks great in all areas but one. Thanks, Karron

    Reply
    • Hello Karron.

      Filling in cracks/crazes can be tricky to not make it stand out even more. I believe the best approach is to use the exact same mixture and skim it over like one does spackling. Remember that acrylics shrink, so several passes (allowing drying in between layers) should eventually result in a more uniform surface.
      – Mike

      Reply
  4. Hi Mike,
    also temperature shocks might cause crazing:
    two years ago on a very hot summer day I applied a layer of self leveling gel. Knowing the studio would get even warmer when the sun turns around the corner I tried to slow the drying process (and thus to prevent crazing) by putting this small painting into the most shadowy corner of the studio, not being aware that the difference in temperatures in an old building can be enormous. I could immediately watch the fast crazing process. Fortunately spread almost evenly over the surface I could encorporate the crazes later.

    Reply
    • Hi Wally.
      Thank you for your insight about factors that contribute towards crazing. Ideally acrylics are allowed to dry in “room temperature” which is within the 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit range.
      – Mike Townsend

      Reply
  5. Mike, I’m just getting into painting with acrylics. I caught where you suggested a 60-80 degree when allowing paintings to dry. What do you suggest the humidity should be ?

    Reply
    • Hi Denise.
      Thanks for your question.
      Temperature while acrylics are curing is important because it can impact the coalescing of the acrylic polymers. Too cold, or too hot, can alter the process and create weaker paint films.
      While painting, higher humidity helps provide longer working time. For fast drying, lower humidity accelerates this. So, for most acrylic artists they prefer having more painting time and when they are done painting and need the paint to dry quickly it is very helpful to have low humidity and some air movement. But humidity doesn’t greatly impact the curing of the paint as temperature does. As with “room temperature” maintaining a comfortable humidity level is the studio is preferred. Anything lower than 70% RH will help the paint cure. Higher than 70% will help slow the drying time down. When doing pours, high humidity can greatly reduce the chance of crazes developing.
      – Mike Townsend

      Reply
  6. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for posting this article. Very informative!

    I’ve recently been getting into acrylic pours. My last couple have crazed. I did allow some outside air to hit the paintings after they were poured, but also I am wondering if old flow acrylic could have caused that. It was near the end of the bottle and it did not have a very good seal on the lid. Could this have played a factor? Could too much silicone also cause crazing?

    Thanks in advance!

    B

    Reply
    • Hello Kitbry!

      Thank you for your kind words and questions.

      When you blend a cocktail of products together, it’s very hard to know if one of the additives are the culprit in developing crazes. Mixing each color well does help, as does keeping the overall mixtures similar to one other helps as well. Perhaps if you create a larger mix of the base blend you can test it with a specific amount of paint and see how it fares.

      The most effect measure I have seen has been to “tent” or cover over the pour to create a humid micro climate. This slows the drying time down to allow the entire paint film to dry more evenly. For smaller pours a clean pizza box works great! Try to leave the paintings be for as long as you can without moving them. Ideally wait 3 days before picking up or moving the painting.

      Hope this helps reduce the crazing!

      – Mike Townsend

      Reply
  7. Hi Mike
    I’m new to this too , I wanted to paint on large canva , but I wanted to make texture to all of it , I found on another site some one who advice for that to use stucco with pva 3:1 ratio … and I did so .,but as soon as it dried alot of little cracks appeared . Now I’m upset , I don’t want to get rid of it and I don’t want to spend more time and effort to find that pieces of it started to fall down ..is there a substance to paint which can fill the cracks befor acrylic painting ….
    Thank you very much

    Reply
    • Hello Nedaa.
      Thanks for contacting us with your questions. We would not suggest to use stucco meant for walls and PVA glue especially on canvas, as this mix would be much too stiff and brittle, and mud cracking seems very likely because of this. The better option would be to use products meant for creating texture on canvas, such as the GOLDEN Molding Pastes and other similar products. These products are intended to be used thickly on panel and canvas, and are developed to be flexible enough to not mud crack during drying or crack when bent. In regard to your other question about filling, the problem is that even if you are able to fill the cracks of the stucco/PVA layer, you are very likely to see future cracking and delamination. PVA tends to have water sensitivity, so if you can’t flex and peel the paste off of the canvas. Remove as much as you can before applying an artist grade paste product. – Mike Townsend

      Reply
  8. Hi Mike
    I found on another site that I can use stucco and pva to give texture to my canva in 3:1 ratio …and I did so ,but I found plenty of little cracks in it what can I make to seal these cracks together before painting with acrylic colors please .

    Reply
    • Hello Nedaa.

      Sorry for the delay in response but we do appreciate your comments. Creating texture onto canvas using stucco and PVA is a bit of a gamble because you would need to add enough PVA to avoid “mud-cracking” during drying, or cracks from movement after it dries. An acrylic medium such as Fluid Matte Medium might be enough to saturate the spackle and help secure the texture, but you may have also simply created too weak and brittle of layer that even that could still allow for the texture to flake off from the canvas.

      – Mike Townsend

      Reply
  9. Hi Micheal,

    Appreciate the time and effort in maintaining the website and active flow of comments.
    As for my question. Reading on the matter here and thus knowing that GAC 800 should be the main part of a mix with acrylics [10-1] I do use it but at a level of 10% ……. in a PVAc/water mix. Any thoughts on that?
    Experiences of drying, flexibility, and overall look and feel are pretty good. But then again my experience [4 months] is nill as it comes to art. Surfing on the acrylic pouring wave which brings a lot of fun, but also a lot to study. If with a 10% participation in the mix GAC 800 loses its functionality is there any other product or solution to keep a pour mix a good quality for a modest price? And maybe you guys could figure out a good mix or setup for the acrylic pouring community which is affordable and still gives a good enough quality result.

    Again, thanks for the continued effort with testing and informing whoever wants to come over and read some reports.

    – Regards, Jan.

    Reply
    • Hello Jan, and thanks for your questions.
      At a 10% level the use of GAC 800 isn’t really overly different than adding any other acrylic medium in regards to film integrity. You might find that using Gloss Medium or GAC 500, etc would work just as well. The GAC 800 with just paint is the best chance for non crazing, and when blended with more water, again, most acrylics would perform similar similarly. My greater concern would be the heavy use of PVA glue. Be sure that type you are working with is tested to be resistant to yellowing and cracking over time.
      That said, we are always working on improving products and certainly appreciate a more affordable acrylic medium designed for pouring would be very welcome in the painting community! You have our ear.
      – Mike Townsend

      Reply
  10. Hello Michael. Very nice information provided. I have a chromolithograph from Louis Prang c1874 that appears to have crazing in one area. A darker green tree area. Do you think this is possible on a chromo with so many layers of ink applied?

    Reply
    • Hello James.

      Thank you for your question. I would assume that the cracking you are seeing doesn’t pertain to the crazing that develops during the acrylic process. It may just be from the ink’s thickness and age. I would suggest contacting a print conservator at AIC (‘Find a Conservator’ section) and ask them about this. They may be able to help identify the cause and potential repair of the print.

      Reply
  11. I have a Sam Timm painting with crazing. Not sure if it is a print or an original. Can crazing develop on a print. It makes the painting look rustic. Does an artist ever deliberately try to create that appearance? Does it devalue the picture or enhance it? Thanks for your info otherwise I would not have known what was wrong with it.

    Reply

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