If there’s one paint that offers an artist a wealth of artistic resources, it’s acrylic paint! Multiple uses, varied techniques, alla prima or delayed, in thin coats or opaque applications…
Don’t worry, it’s just an ultra-versatile paint ! It adapts to the artist’s every whim!
To familiarize yourself with acrylic painting and get the courage (and personal satisfaction!) to start painting, I’ve put together a list of 15 tips to help you make rapid progress with acrylic paint .
Choosing the right materials to start with acrylics
The immense variety of brushes, the different shapes of knives, the multiple sizes of supports, all this panel of choice in materials will send stars in your eyes! Sometimes it’s a real ordeal to resist all these instruments at your fingertips, so you can finally create effects, textures and mixes!
You’re just starting out, so don’t rush things: you too will soon have your own fully-equipped workshop!
But to get started with acrylic paint, tip number 1: keep it simple!
- Take a small frame, size 20/20 or 30/30: it’s certainly a small surface, but for your first creations, it’s structuring. This gives you a small, well-defined, concrete, delimited framework within which to work. Starting with too large an area is likely to discourage you; you need to be able to fill the entire canvas, which requires investment and inspiration that are sometimes still limited in the early stages!
So small canvas.
- The spalter as your only brush: a wide enough brush for a good grip, so you can easily and safely familiarize yourself with the material and acrylic paint, and learn the basic strokes. Painting, like any other art (and music, too), requires perfect mastery of the tools (or instruments) used; the hand must become accustomed to dashing across the canvas (or harp!) with suppleness and assurance, until the gestures become automatic. You also need to find the right posture so that the whole body accompanies these gestures, and they become fluid.
Painting is a global activity!
The spalter is therefore the first tool you need to get started. You cover the chassis space generously, intuitively, with no concern for detail yet.
(Fine and very fine brushes are coming soon!)
Acrylic paint: creating harmonious blends
You start with just 3 colors: cyan blue, magenta red and primary yellow. With these 3 colors, you’ve got every conceivable shade under the brush.
They are called “primary” because they are not obtained by mixing, and are the basis of all other blends.
So try it out! Enjoy discovering for yourself how the blends work!
The color wheel will help you understand the reactions between different shades.
Mix two primary colors to create a “secondary”; then combine a primary with this newly discovered secondary, and you’ve got yourself a tertiary color! So many possibilities that you can create according to your whim and intuition.
Tame the color wheel, then listen to your sensibility: create your own hues, those that reflect you, and discover complementary colors, the opposite of each primary.
Once you are familiar with techniques for mixing colors and how they react with each other, you’ll already have a solid grounding in acrylic paint and its effects.
The harmonization of tones in a work of art is acquired little by little, through practice, trial and error, attempts and successes!
Composition, or the art of distributing elements
The key word is intuition!
The distribution of colors on your support, the layout of the elements that will make up your work, must be arranged in such a way as to attract the viewer’s first glance exactly where you want it.
It’s an art that can only be mastered with practice!
It’s important not to get bogged down in the choice or harmonization of colors, but to find a kind of focal point around which your painting will revolve.
It can be a shape, created from modeling paste, or a particular hue, around which different textures, collages of objects, or plays of light and shadow are added.
This subtle balance between elements will guide the viewer’s gaze to the point in your painting that you want to emphasize.
Textured backgrounds: use without moderation!
Numerous mediums, such as gesso and modeling paste , are easy to use, right from thebeginner‘s first brushstrokes.
- The addition of sand to gesso, for example, adds a grainy relief that’s very pleasant to work with.
- With molding paste, you can play with depth and movement: waves, cavities, prominences or hollows are all ways of giving character to acrylic paint.
- The techniques of adding various objects, small metal elements, bits of fabric, foliage, etc. also creep into your work, to give it a very special charm: your personal touch!
Try it out for yourself and discover how acrylic paint reacts on these different shapes created with texturing agents ! You’ll be pleasantly surprised by this unique experience!
Avoid an overabundance of materials
Bravely fight the irresistible urge to own every acrylic paint tool in the store, right from the start. You risk spreading yourself too thinly… and ultimately getting lost!
Keep it simple!
A little of each tool goes a long way, and it’s not essential to have several of the best brushes.
The beauty of your painting lies above all in your creativity, which will make it all the richer.
Daily painting: a regular workout
Challenge yourself every day: today, try the mixes, tomorrow, test the reliefs. It was through this regular practice that the budding artist mastered the art of painting with acrylics.
Canson paper is the perfect choice for all your printing projects: its structure is similar to that of canvas, so it costs less and is easier to store. There are no restrictions on your daily training.
I say no to procrastination!
You want to start experimenting with acrylic paint tomorrow… Oh, no, it’ll be the day after tomorrow, because you’re missing… A paintbrush? Talent? Artistic talent? Inspiration?
- There’s no excuse for putting off getting out your spalter, canson paper and 3 tubes of primary colors!
Take the plunge today and seize this wonderful opportunity to experience the thrill of your innate skills, and the prowess of acrylic painting!
Opening up to art to welcome new emotions
Get out! Visit museums, browse exhibitions, appreciate architecture, rub shoulders with artists. It’s not about plagiarizing or copying works, or stealing techniques from other creators, but simply aboutsharpening your perception of colors and shapes, and becoming aware of different artistic fields.
Your eyes will discover other things, perceiving new atmospheres within the works, unknown techniques that you’ll want to experiment with in your own way, with your own feelings.
Organize your workspace to perfection
It doesn’t matter whether you have a studio dedicated to painting, or whether you paint on the corner of a table: keep your work surface in tip-top shape.
Not to mention the fact that acrylic paint dries quickly at the end of tubes on a table, rendering uncleaned brushes unusable, and that you’ll lose motivation the next day when it’s time to paint, if everything is upside down. Don’t break your inspiration by having to tidy up first.
Prepare a functional space that’s ready when the urge to create strikes!
Tone up your creativity while painting
It’s up to each artist to find what will stimulate his or her creativity while painting.
For some, it will belistening to music, a fine melody or, on the contrary, rap! Others prefer total silence, but enjoy the scent of incense. For still others, it may simply be a small light nearby, or the presence of a cherished object.
First and foremost, your working atmosphere should be like you, and in perfect harmony with your emotions: it’ll invigorate your creativity!
Visualization as a common thread
It’s not always easy to have a precise idea of what’s going to be painted. However, having the desired objective in mind during the creative process helps to structure the elements on the canvas. It’s also a reassuring factor for thenovice artist, who can rely on this visualization of the desired final rendering.
Sometimes, as the painting progresses, desires (and brushstrokes) shift towards other things, which differ from the initial idea, for a positive or negative result.
But visualizing the colors, the composition and the different layers of paint in advance of the creation process allows you to apprehend the progress of your work with peace of mind.
Preparatory work to know where you’re going
Preparatory work is carried out in close collaboration with visualization.
Try out a few ideas beforehand, on canson paper, for color, relief, shading and composition. This stage is both structuring and reassuring when it comes to getting started on canvas: the sketch is the middle ground between the initial idea and the final painting.
The transition to canvas will be that much easier, and the fear of the first spalter stroke will be gone! Learn to play it down! Art is a joyful discipline!
When rushing rhymes with failure
It’s a little too diluted, so we add paint, which ends up being too thick: a little water will solve the problem, but ultimately leads to an unintended, unsightly mix of colors. Then cover with the original color, this time with a knife, and all is resolved!
Except that, in the end, the result is nothing like what was originally hoped for. The result of all your investment is wasted, with dull tones and mediocre, lacklustre blends: welcome, you’ve just touched on the ideal method for losing motivation!
Just one thing to remember:
Painting with acrylics requires a special technique: the paint is applied layer by layer (except in alla prima). Let it dry, then come back to it later, whether to repeat an effect you’re not entirely happy with, or simply to continue your painting.
To achieve very subtle nuances or modify the appearance of certain colors, consider using glazes.
Patience conquers all
With practice, unsuccessful attempts but above all splendid successes, regular training, perseverance and theaudacity to try new things, you’ll find your own style.
Or rather, your own style will find you and invade you naturally and gradually!
Listen to your emotions
Free yourself from reality and let your sensibility express itself.
Open up to your emotions: they are your inner language and your source of inspiration.
Look around you, the environment abounds in inventiveness and offers it to you: capture, without tension, the richness of colors, the diversity of textures, the multiplicity of objects!
Give meaning to your feelings, welcome them: they will help you renew your inspiration and transcribe your own perception of the world!
Get out into nature, meditate, work on your breathing… Take a step back.
All these moments of serenity regenerate your psyche and fuel your creativity.
And don’t forget to write down your ideas!
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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