Painting à Acrylic colors
Class 1: Working with acrylics
- Acrylic colors are water-based, meaning that when they’re wet, they can be diluted and washed up with water. However, when they dry, they become water-resistant, making them perfect for building multiple layers without disturbing the layer underneath, which also makes hiding mistakes much easier!
- Acrylics offer great flexibility as they can be thin and transparent like watercolors, or thick to build up multiple layers and create different textures.
- Unless mixed with mediums such as retarding agents, acrylics dry quick. As said, they can be diluted and cleaned up with water.
- For beginners and first timers, it is recommended to start with a limited palette containing the essential colors.
- Dryness of acrylics depends on several factors:
- How thick or thin you apply or layout the paint (on the palette and canvas)
- Absorbency of the surface you’re working on
- What you dilute the paint with, either water or a specialist medium
- The heat and humidity of the environment you’re painting in
- Tip: Mist the paint on the palette with water to slow the drying process!
The quality of acrylic colors varies based on the purpose:
Artist quality: Most expensive, highly pigmented and color tones barely change when dry
Student quality: Moderately expensive and ideal for large scale painting and under-painting
Palettes come in different materials. They can be made of wood, paper, plastic or glass. The most cost-efficient type is the plastic palette, as it can be washed easily.
- Acrylic paint can be applied on almost all surfaces as it sticks well when it dries. The best option for starting a painting is the canvas board as it lightweight, absorbs the paint nicely, easy to grab and can handle thin and thick layers of paint.
- For beginners, it is best to start with a few brushes… Keep it simple!
- The flat brush is great for creating very sharp angles and edges.
- A bright is good for moving thicker paint around the canvas.
- The filbert brush is just a flat brush that has been trimmed at the sides so it’s got a nice curve to it, making it excellent for blending colors together.
- A round brush is absolutely perfect for getting details in your paintings.
- Fan brushes are generally used for blending and feathering colors. Fan brushes can be used for painting trees, branches, grasses and detail.
- An angled brush cut at a slant, making it easier to paint clean lines.
- A mop brush is a large, round wash brush most commonly used to cover large areas in watercolor or other diluted or liquid color.
- A rigger brush is commonly used to paint the rigging on maritime paintings.
- Brush bristles are made of natural hairs or synthetic fibers. Natural hair tends to absorb more water, making them less ideal for acrylic colors.
- Tip: Always remember to clean your brushes regularly and keep the actual bristles moist. This is because acrylics dry so quickly, they can easily ruin your brushes and if they dry hard on to your bristles, it’s very difficult to get off.
- Other essential materials are a jar or cup of water (it is best to keep two jars, one for dark colors and the other for lighter ones), a water spray to mist the colors when needed, paper towels to reduce the water in the bristles, standing or tabletop easel and a palette knife to mix colors or to add texture to the painting.