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What are acrylic painting techniques

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Acrylic paint provides rich, vivid colors
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Tips for painting with acrylics

As with any paint there are certain idiosyncrasies when using acrylics that artistís should be cognizant of. For example, acrylic paint is extremely quick drying. While this offers a number of advantages such as being able to paint over layers creating additional texture and tones, which is all good. However exposing to much acrylic paint to the air results in wasting all the paint youíre unable to use right away. Not so good.


The versatility of this medium allows the artist to employ a number of different acrylic painting techniques, the option are almost limitless. So letís explore a few of the more common uses and maybe even pass along a tip or two.


Since acrylic is water-based mixing the paint with any number of substances is not only possible but recommended. The results can produce unique textures, consistencies and colors. Some artists will add a sand or glass bead gel to make amazing, one of a kind textures. The addition of water will result in what amounts to a water color paint too. Another common adaptation for acrylic paint is the use of a clear tar gel. As the name implies this additive will give your paint a stringy, tar-like consistency. A lot of artists will use tar gels for dripping paint onto the canvas, giving the painting a very unique look and feel.


As noted earlier acrylic paint dries quickly and can also be difficult to mix with other colors as a result. If youíre not a speedy painter or would prefer not to be, a trip to the local art store for an acrylic medium is time well spent. Acrylic painting techniques like the use of retarders will help slow the drying time. Another trick is the addition of a flow release which makes combining colors a lot easier.


The versatility of acrylic also means theyíre great for use on canvas, paper or wood; whichever medium you prefer. Being water-based means the simple addition of some gesso and now youíre ready to try your acrylic painting techniques on pottery or even fabric.


Glazing is another popular technique by those using acrylics. If a glaze look is your objective, make certain to thin the paint adequately and use multiple layers. Too thick and youíll end up with more of a gloss than a glaze. And speaking of multiple layers, because acrylic paint isnít soluble (like watercolors) you can paint right over the existing wash. The result can be fascinating as the undercoats will optically mix with the succeeding layers.


If you think your painting will look best with a hard, sharp edge rather than the softer image painting the entire canvas provides, hereís a simple little trick. Apply some masking tape around whatever surface youíre using. When youíre done just pull the masking tape off and any acrylic thatís made its way onto it will come right up with a slow, even pull.


Exploring a few of these and other acrylic painting techniques you discover as you become more comfortable with this flexible paint will allow you to stretch your creative wings like never before.

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