Acrylic Painting Techniques

When people search for a fun hobby, they often experiment with painting. Many begin with oil painting and quickly get discouraged because oil painting is messy and the results take several days, weeks or months to be achieved. Acrylic painting is a better choice if you are like me and don’t like to wait for results. When you understand the versatility and flexibility, you’ll probably choose this medium for your hobby needs. Painting techniques come as you practice and follow the suggestions in this article.

If you are taking up painting for the first time or looking to switch to an easy-to-use medium, acrylic painting is a wonderful choice with a lot of flexibility. Faster-drying than oil paints, acrylics are easy to use and even easier to clean up, requiring only soap and water. There is special soap however, that you can purchase if you choose to.

Techniques For A Quick-Drying Medium

Because acrylic paints tend to dry more quickly than oil paints, an entire painting can usually be completed rather quickly. If you need your paint to stay wet longer, they can be mixed with “extenders” that prevent them from drying too quickly. Acrylic paints can be purchased either in tubes of a thick paste or bottles that are thinner than the paste, depending on your desired consistency.

The versatility of acrylic paints allow you to add mediums like floaters and glazes to gain a watercolor-style look or texture to achieve an oil-painted look without having to invest in the more expensive and more difficult to use oil-based paints. (Oil paints must be cleaned using paint thinner and can take as long as six months to finish drying)

Because acrylics do dry out more quickly, it is important to only put a small amount of paint on the palette at a time. Close the container when you’re not using it. Tupperware and other plastic storage containers work well for storing the paint. I always use a mist or spray bottle and wet the paints before storage.

If you find that you work too slowly for the paint to stay workable, you can invest in a “stay-wet” palette to lengthen the time that the paint remains in workable condition or use a palette that has a lid that closes to protect the paint. I also sometimes use a large seal-able gallon size bag and slide my paper plate with paint inside for storage.

Painting Surfaces For Acrylic Paints

The versatility of acrylic paints allows them to be used on many different surfaces, from the traditional artist canvas to unique surfaces like wood, saw blades, or slate. Canvases can be purchased already stretched on a frame or in rolls or sheets. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination – acrylic paints can even be mixed with a fabric medium and used on fabrics (read the directions; they may require heat to set the paint).

If you choose to paint on porous surfaces like wood, prime it first. Every art supply store carries a variety of primers from which you can choose. While you can use acrylic paints on an un-primed canvas, they do come pre-primed and in my experience, this is preferred.

Acrylic painting is a wonderful medium. You may hear people complain about the paints drying too quickly, but I find that to be an advantage because I can finish paintings much more quickly and have more artwork out on the market or on display faster than if I used oils or watercolors.

So if you are looking for a great hobby, follow these tips and acrylic painting techniques to make the most out of this great activity.


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