14 things to ALWAYS DO with acrylic paint

Before embarking on an acrylic painting project, it’s important to prepare a number of elements to ensure that your painting session is a complete success!

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1. Substrate preparation

Whether it’s paper, cardboard, canvas or even wood: you have to prepare a support!

Painting on paper & cardboard

If you’re working on paper or a heavier-weight substrate such as Canson paper. I recommend holding down the edges of your masking tape (to be found in my equipment guide). This will hold your support in place, limit the effects of warping, but also give your abstract painting a very pleasing frame.

How to paint on paper or cardboard
How to paint on paper or cardboard

Painting on canvas

First thought: What type of canvas will you choose? It’s important to know the difference between a painting with a linen or cotton canvas.

First, use your stretcher wrenches and tighten your canvas if necessary.

2. Gesso or not?

You can then use gesso. Caution : Bear in mind that it’s not compulsory to use gesso on a canvas. For the simple reason that most substrates are already primed.

3. Preparing brushes and knives

Arrange your brushes and knives according to your needs. In my case, I file them in front of me and put a few on my right so that I can easily find everything I need while creating an abstract painting.

If you don’t get organized, you’ll be neglecting this wonderful moment when all your attention should be devoted to your creativity!

4. Paint preparation

In my case, I put a lot of thought into the colors I use in my abstract painting. To do this, I put the tubes of paint I’ll need on my left. I also go so far as to anticipate the mixes I’m going to make.

5. Preparing my pallet

Don’t forget your palette! It must be clean, available and the right size. In fact, it will be indispensable for managing your various paint mixes. In my case, I use exclusively salvaged elements, such as bucket lids. I think it’s imperative not to use single-use tools.

paint palette

6. Containers

I use three containers for my acrylic painting:

  • One to thin my paint
  • One for quick brush cleaning
  • One to reserve my brushes until the end of my abstract painting project, to make sure my acrylic paint doesn’t dry in the bristles and fibers of my brushes.

7. Preparation of diluents

In my case, I only use water to dilute my acrylic paint. I use two types of diffusers. A commercial recovery spray (e.g. glass cleaner container). My second is a misting device. It allows me to dispense much finer droplets, making it much easier to create and dilute my paint directly on the canvas.

More academic way: I use a container with water. I dip my brush into it and then blend it on my palette.

8. Preparing the first coat

Anticipate your approach: If, for example, you want to create a painting with matter, with textures, then you’ll need to create your texture with modeling paste, for example, and leave it to dry for a good day before attacking your abstract painting.

Different textures for your abstract paintings
Different textures for your abstract paintings

9. Your rags

You’ll always need a cloth on hand. In my case, it’s recovery all over again. Old clothes that I tear into little pieces. Of course, they’ll allow you to wipe down your equipment, knives and hands, but they’ll also let you create stylish effects in your painting. Try it out!

Styling effect on an abstract painting with a cloth
Styling effect on an abstract painting with a cloth

10. Which method?

How will you work: On an easel? flat? On the wall? The whole organization will differ according to the working method you define. See this article on the different ways to paint a picture.

11. Music & podcasts

Playing music or podcasts is an important element that can boost your inspiration and creativity. In my case, I listen to music for the first coats of paint, and I’ll usually listen to a podcast when I’m sure the finishing work will take a long time.

12. Switch off your smartphone

Switch off your phone completely during the painting phase. Believe me, after more than 600 paintings, I can assure you that a text message, a notification or even worse, a phone call, will completely cut off this creative momentum and you risk literally ruining the result of your abstract painting.

13. Note-taking

It’s important to have something to write down during your painting session. Why? Because there are always things to note and record in order to evolve: A mistake, a discovery, a resentment, an observation…

What about you?

What are your preparation methods?

Pack offert : Techniques, matériel & guide

Pour vous lancer dans la peinture abstraite dans de bonnes conditions, je vous offre ce pack comprenant mon guide du matériel, un cours de peinture abstraite et une avalanche de conseils !


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