Acrylic paint has become very popular for use by both beginners and experienced artists today, and it deserves its popularity. Unlike oil paint, acrylic paint does not need solvents to dilute the colors. It dries more quickly than oil paint, producing the finished product more quickly and making the painting surface easier to transport. Perhaps the greatest reason acrylic paint is loved by artists is because it is highly versatile to use in achieving many different painting effects. Here are some tips for beginners to keep in mind when using acrylic paint.
Start With The Right Surface And Tools
There are many different types of surfaces on which acrylic paint can be used, but acrylic paint should not be used on any surface which is oily or waxy. Acrylic paint does not adhere well on these, and will tend to separate. This means you cannot apply acrylic paint over oil paint; however, oil paint can be used over acrylics to add special effects.
Most acrylic painters like to use canvas as their painting surface, but you can also use water color paper or sealed wood as a good beginning surface. As you become accustomed to using acrylic paints and how they look, you can experiment with different surfaces. Remember that the texture of the surface you choose to paint on will affect its finished look.
It’s easier to use synthetic brushes rather than natural-hair brushes with acrylic paint. Acrylic paint clings more readily to natural-hair brushes. Try various sizes of round synthetic brushes for detail strokes, and flat brushes for softer paint strokes and blending.
A plastic palette works great for mixing different colors. Acrylic paint doesn’t adhere to plastic, so it is easily cleaned with water.
Using Acrylic Paint
Acrylic paint is available in tubes, jars and cans. Many people prefer the tubes, but use the one that seems easiest for you.
You can vary the thickness of your paint to achieve a different look. Thicker paint will give a stronger, more vibrant color to the painting. Thinning with just a little water will somewhat soften the look and make it more transparent. Don’t add too much water, however.
Keep a container of water nearby as you paint, to keep your brush damp while you are painting. Wash your brushes with soap and water after you are finished. Don’t allow paint to dry completely on the brush; it is much more difficult to remove once it has dried, and can damage the hairs. Use cold water, not hot water, to clean the brushes.
Beginning painters have trouble with the paint drying too quickly on the canvas. You can purchase extender from your art supply store, which will keep it wet a little bit longer.
Trying Special Effects
You can create many beautiful special effects by varying your brushes and brushstrokes in different ways. Experiment with different techniques on watercolor paper until you are confident enough to use them on your painting.
You can also create unusual optical effects by adding different painting mediums to your acrylic paints. Many of these are available in your art store, such as gloss, matte, and gel.
This is only the beginning of what you can do with acrylic paint. Once you learn how to master it, you will be able to use your creativity to its fullest potential in your artwork.