MSA Conservation Paints

Jump to Related Products


GOLDEN MSA Conservation Paints are made from Mineral Spirit-based Acrylic (MSA) resins. They are exceptionally useful in art conservation, as they remain soluble in mineral spirits. MSA Colors can be blended with Oil and Alkyd Paints.


GOLDEN MSA Colors are produced with a Mineral Spirit-borne Acrylic resin system. They dry quickly to form very durable films with excellent chemical resistance to acids/alkalis, water, and ultraviolet rays. All of the pigments in GOLDEN Acrylics are chosen for the greatest clarity & permanency within each chemical class.

MSA Colors remain soluble in mineral spirits, making them ideal for easy removal without disturbing the layers of paint underneath. For this reason, they are beneficial in art conservation for inpainting techniques.


There are several ways that these paints can be applied.

  • Direct Application
    Apply directly from the container or palette while wet.
  • Indirect Application
    Apply paints to palette, allow to dry, and re-solublize with a brush dipped in mineral spirits.
  • Spray Application
    Blend the paints with the MSA Varnish (10% increments to reach desired intensity) until smooth, then blend the mix equally with mineral spirits. Employ airbrushes that do not have "O-rings" that react with solvents.


Material can be thinned with full strength commercial mineral spirits (i.e.: paint thinner or white spirits with >6% aromatic content) as needed. Do not use "odorless" or "low odor" solvents, unless tested first for compatibility.

While turpentine that is specifically labeled as distilled or rectified is also a potential choice it is a more aggressive, "hotter" solvent and so presents additional health concerns and a greater chance of reactivating previously applied layers of MSA-based products. Because of these reasons we tend to not make this one of our top recommendations for thinning.

For additional information please see our Application Sheet for Solvent Compatibility for MSA Varnish:


Blend with GOLDEN MSA Gel or MSA Varnishes to achieve varied consistencies or to create glazes. Blending with artist oil and alkyd paints will permit oil-like working qualities with faster drying times. When mixing with oil paints, limit the ratios to either:

  • 75% or more MSA-based products to Oil Paint
  • 75% or more Oil Paint to MSA-based products

These ratios give the safest regions where proper film formation should occur. Other ratios may result in crack formation, particularly in thick applications.

Clean Up

Clean tools with aromatic mineral spirits or turpentine.

General Info

Avoid freezing. Minimum film formation temperature is 48ºF/9ºC. MSA Paints are resoluble in aromatic mineral spirits, turpentine or acetone. Dried films may be removed.


Multiple Layers

Because these paints are resoluble in mineral spirits, an additional paint layer can begin to re-solublize the previous MSA film underneath it. If this becomes a problem, such as when applications require more brushing out or blending, it will become necessary to apply isolation layers between the coats.


Anthraquinone Blue 4.3 Mars Black .26
Bone Black 1.1 Mars Yellow .66
Burnt Sienna .26 Naphthamide Maroon 3.3
Burnt Umber .6 Napthol Red Light 3.1
Burnt Umber Light .97 Napthol Red Medium 5.7
Carbon Black .53 Nickel Azo Yellow 3.2
Cerulean Blue .37 Phthalo Blue G/S 1.4
Chrome Oxide Green .28 Phthalo Blue R/S 1.5
Cadmium Orange 7.3/.112 Phthalo Green B/S .74
Cadmium Red Dark 3/.37 Phthalo Green Y/S .72
Cadmium Red Light 5.6/.33 Pyrrole Red .55
Cadmium Red Med 4.5/.37 Quin. Burnt Orange 2.6
Cadmium Yellow Dark NA/.35 Quin. Crimson 1.9
Cadmium Yellow Light 13.5/.39 Quin. Gold 2.6
Cadmium Yellow Med 11.1/.21 Quin. Red 2.7
Cad Yellow Primrose 20.3/.4 Quin. Red Light 1.5
Cobalt Blue .36 Quin. Violet 2.1
Cobalt Green .42 Raw Sienna .34
Cobalt Titanate Green .67 Raw Umber .47
Cobalt Turquois 1.27 Red Oxide .44
Diarylide Yellow 1.3 Titanate Yellow .38
Dioxazine Purple 5.3 Ultramarine Blue 1.7
Green Gold 2.9 Vat Orange 1.4
Graphite Gray .61 Violet Oxide .53
Hansa Yellow Med 6.2 Yellow Ochre .54
Hansa Yellow Light 2.25 Yellow Oxide .75

1) Testing followed the protocol of ASTM Test Methods for Lightfastness of Pigments Used in Artists' Paints (D 4303), Test Method A. Samples are reduced to tints of 40 % reflectance and exposed in southern Florida outdoors, under glass, at a 45° angle facing the equator. Exposure duration is 3-4 months, for a total radiation dose of 1260 MJ/m2. Samples were measured before and after exposure (specular reflection excluded). In accordance with the CE 1976 L'a'b' color difference equation, color change is stated in terms of total color difference units (E*ab). Changes of up to 4 units are considered excellent to very good, 4-8 units are very good to fair. As a point of reference, a true Alizarin Crimson tested at the same time had a color change of 17.46 units.

2) Cadmium pigments are not lightfast under the extremely humid conditions of outdoor exposure testing. They have been found to have excellent lightfastness when tested under conditions of accelerated exposure with relative humidity controlled to normal levels (50-60%). The second figures in the table for the cadmium colors represent changes measured after 400 hours of UVA-351 fluorescent lamp, simulated daylight exposure.


The above information is based on research and testing done by Golden Artist Colors, Inc., and is provided as a basis for understanding the potential uses of the products mentioned. Due to the numerous variables in methods, materials and conditions of producing art, Golden Artist Colors, Inc. cannot be sure the product will be right for you. Therefore, we urge product users to test each application to ensure all individual project requirements are met. While we believe the above information is accurate, WE MAKE NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, and we shall in no event be liable for any damages (indirect, consequential, or otherwise) that may occur as a result of a product application.