art classes in Santa Monica

Four Tips for Acrylic Painting

May 28, 2014 3 Comments

Acrylics are very versatile paints. They are fast-drying do not have the toxicity that oils have. They are used straight out of the tube and also can be thinned with water or a medium. Artists paint on paper, canvas and board with acrylics. Here are four simple tips to help you get nice results painting with acrylics.

Tip 1: Keep Your Colors Wet and Workable

Acrylics dry quite fast so squeeze out only small amounts of paint from the tubes onto your palette, adding more as needed. To keep the colors workable, be sure they stay wet. Use a recycled spray bottle to continually spray a fine mist over the paint on the palette to keep it moist. Otherwise, it will dry out and will not be usable. You can also mist your painting to keep the paint workable/wet.

Tip 2: Palette Paper

The best palettes are the paper, wax-coated sheets that come in a pad. Avoid the ones with the thumb holes as these are awkward to hold. Best to keep the palette on the on a table where you are working. If you cannot find this kind of palette paper in your local art supply store, you can also use kitchen waxed paper.

Tip 3: Clean the Brushes while Painting

It’s important to keep you brushes clean while working with acrylics. Keep two pieces of paper towel handy – one beside your water jar and another in the hand not holding the brush. Two good habits to develop are 1) with the first towel, squeeze extra paint off your brush before you rinse it – every time you rinse; and 2) whenever you rinse a brush, blot it on the second towel that is next to the water jar. These habits keep the water cleaner and the brushes cleaner so your colors won’t get muddy and gray on the palette from the brushes.

Tip 4: Glazing with Acrylics

Glazing is the term for applying a transparent and very thin layer of paint in oil painting and acrylics. Glazed layers are painted on top each another and each layer must be absolutely dry before the next is applied over it, preventing colors from mixing. This also allows the colors beneath to show through. While painting a glaze, spread the paint out thinly with the brush. The glazing technique is used build create depth as well as to modify colors in your painting.

  1. Marqi Philippe
    May 30, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    Thank you for all of the concise videos and blog posts. I’ve been painting for 10 years but have learned things from you that my teachers never mentioned!

    1. admin
      October 20, 2016 at 11:17 AM

      Sometimes it depends on how much true classical fine art training an instructor has had. For example, in Russia the fine art training is much higher – more extreme – than it is in the U.S. I have two Russian friends who are artists and both are amazing. One is a teacher as well, Alexi Steele, and I’ve learned things from him that were never taught to me by my own fine art teachers. Btw, you can see some of his work here.

  2. admin
    May 30, 2014 at 4:23 PM

    Glad to help!


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