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Resources for artists

Resene paints and primers are regularly used by professional and amateur artists alike to create works of art for both interior and exterior display.

To make information on these works accessible to all, Resene have developed this Artist's Canvas section.

Recommended products for artists


Controversy certainly exists in the area of artists wanting to use archivable products in their work as well as being attracted to the economies of mass produced house paints. A major hurdle is immediately imposed by the fine art suppliers, damning such products as 'ordinary house paint'. Whilst lower quality products do exist, high quality, modern architectural coatings are, in fact, quite extraordinary products... more


Resene Quick Dry acrylic primer undercoat is the ideal primer undercoat for both stretched and unstretched canvases. A very flexible, easy to apply coating, Resene Quick Dry has excellent opacity and provides a very receptive finish for topcoating.


Resene recommends using the lightly cross-linked products, such as Resene Enamacryl gloss waterborne enamel, Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel or Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen waterborne enamel, for artist work because of their 'non-blocking' properties and the ability to remove damage from inadvertent contact with potentially harmful or staining materials. Comparing Resene Enamacryl to Resene Hi-Glo, one achieves the same depth of colour, similar gloss, slightly lower exterior durability, slightly less flexibility, vastly better block resistance and vastly better cleanability.

There is always a compromise in selecting paint. The Resene waterborne enamel range of Resene Enamacryl/Resene Lustacryl/Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen gives the best compromise for the artist. Resene Zylone SpaceCote also has the best burnish resistance of any low sheen paint that we have tested. This completely overcomes sometimes reported problems of creating glossy patches when cleaning low sheen paints.


If painting murals on the outside of buildings then the case for overvarnishes is incontrovertible. They are the cheapest way to extend the longevity of any coating system. A product such as Resene Clearcoat UVS will at least double the lifetime of even the most light sensitive pigment compositions.

This type of protection is not needed indoor. Overvarnishing paintings can give a monotony of gloss level and impact on the overall effect. Varnishes are often badly applied - any brushmarks may detract from the enjoyment of a painting.

If overglazing is desired, a flat finish such as Resene Concrete Clear applied by spray is recommended. If spray application is not available, use a 'speedbrush' for fast, accurate application with a minimum of brushmarking.

Other products of interest to artists

  • Resene X-400 is a very useful material for palette knife painting - a white, an ultra deep tone and some MPS tinters can keep you busy painting for hours.

  • Resene Hot Weather Additive is useful to artists to control application.

  • Resene Broadwall Surface Prep & Seal is brilliant as a Gesso.

  • Resene testpots - handy 60ml testpots of Resene Lumbersider low sheen waterborne paint available in over 2000 colours. Ideal when only a little of any one colour is required. Available for ordering online or at any Resene ColorShop.

  • Resene FilmPro is a tough waterborne finish designed to colour and enhance sets. Available in a standard range of colours, digital blue and green and reduction and clear bases.

› View the Resene product range...

Technical notes

The Resene website includes a number of technical notes that may be of interest to artists...

  • Durability of paints
    The agents working towards breakdown of exposed surface coatings are U.V. light, water, and oxygen, in this order of importance. These agents not only work individually, but can gang up against the coating creating unholy synergisms... more

  • A pigment of the imagination
    By far their greatest technical benefit is however that they meld perfectly with the paint binder, blurring the distinction between pigment and binder. This translates into super tough, cleanable, burnish resistant surfaces... more

  • True blue - colour formulating
    The mixing of complementary colours will produce black and indeed Monet was known for never using a black pigment, preferring to produce his blacks by the blending of complementary colours... more

  • Waterbased enamels - an oxymoron surely
    The technology involves fundamental changes in how the polymer is assembled sub-microscopically to allow films that form easily yet develop very fast block resistance. Further technology allows subsequent curing to occur, changing the thermoplastic nature of the coating and allowing the development of grease, solvent and sebum resistance... more

  • Resene Quick Dry acrylic primer undercoat
    The product also has some very desirable features other than the convenience of being waterbased and fast drying... more

  • Weatherbeaten?
    Although U.V. alone is enough to damage human skin, it is a combination of both U.V. and moisture that wreaks the most damage on paint films... more


Artist's gallery
A wide range of artists are using Resene paints in their work, on everything from interior paintings to tactile artworks and mural masterpieces.

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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.

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