Acrylic paint: 8 tips

It’s not always easy to know where to start with acrylic paint. What type of canvas to choose: linen or cotton? What frame size should I start with? Which brand of paint should I buy, and indeed, how many colors should I buy? Knife or brush? Where can I find painting ideas, and how can I arrange everything on a support? What is a glaze, how to create textures?

In short, don’t panic, everything will gradually come together as you learn, and as you experiment, you’ll find what suits you best!

Here are 8 tips for getting started with acrylic paint:

Think about the choice of colors

It’s hard to stand in front of a canvas and wait for color ideas to come to you spontaneously. Giving free rein to your imagination doesn’t mean you can’t plan ahead to get organized and create a balanced picture.

Before you start, take the time to think about the colors you’re going to use: try out some mixes before you start on your substrate, test new shades and visualize the arrangement you want to produce.

When it comes to choosing colors, you can draw inspiration from the chromatic circle: creating color mixes will enrich your ideas, until you find the tones you want to make your painting vibrant.

An essential tip: use the brown range, colors derived from the natural environment. Yellow ochre, sienna and unbleached titanium, alone or mixed together, create superb effects, boosting creativity and inspiration. They combine perfectly with red, a powerful color in acrylic paint.

Anticipating composition

Composition is the way you position all your colored or textured elements on the canvas.

The color scheme needs to be chosen, and the placement of the main image around which your design will revolve requires careful thought.

Find a shape and its colors, and imagine how to position it, so that the whole is well balanced and draws the eye to it: the canvas is a real universe, like a reading space for the viewer.

  • Take a sheet of paper, a pen and try it out. Practice creating shapes, imagine the perfect colors for them: in short, make a plan!

The final result of an abstract painting is the fruit of long reflection: it is by no means a set of colors thrown randomly onto the canvas! But don’t restrict the spontaneity that can emerge as your painting progresses!

Which technique to use?

Once you’ve found your basis for working with colors, shapes and ideas for arranging everything on the canvas, take the time to choose the tool that will help you create the desired effects.

  • Tools: spalters, flat brushes, brushes or fans, knives with different shapes and tips;
  • Mediums: gesso, modeling paste, to modify paint properties or create reliefs;
  • the effects: paint out of the tube or extremely diluted;
  • the method: alla prima (although this technique requires a good command of acrylic paint), or layer by layer.

As your painting progresses, you may also change your mind about which tools to use, because inspiration evolves as you create.

Working layer by layer

Take the time to create, to put down your ideas and emotions: acrylic paint is worked layer by layer, with the advantage of drying quickly: you can continue painting later, to add small touches of extra color, new effects and shading.

  • Experiment, try out new things, use glaze for perfect multi-layer work: glaze gives a veiled look, you can bring out hazy, less dense effects, or awaken points of light.

Creating depth

Initially, the look of your paint may give a flat effect, with colors appearing to be laid next to each other.

To create depth in acrylic paint, all you need to do is understand the technique and practice:

  • darken the edges of the canvas with darker shades (browns, for example): this gives the impression of plunging into the center of the composition;
  • lighten the center by adding points of light, to reinforce this volume effect.

Adding shadows

Shadows animate the picture and bring out the surrounding colors: they support certain areas of the picture, making specific spots stand out, while darkening others. These shadows can be created using a gradient of the color to be darkened, or by using complementary colors.

Inserting light points

The same way, shadows and light effects go hand in hand To create a contrast that will give relief and life to the painting, add light points in the center of the main element, adding depth and volume to the overall effect.

Playing with textures

Go ahead and let your imagination run wild. When it comes to creating relief and texture in acrylic paint, the possibilities are enormous.

Use modeling paste, or gesso to which you add sand, for example!

The impasto thus produced retains the desired shape as it dries, and the mark of the instrument used (such as the knife). But any other object used is likely to create variant effects! Modeling paste can be used to attach objects such as small metal parts, fabrics and shells.

So be original and try it out!

To succeed in acrylic painting, you need to organize your work in advance, think things through and persevere. Take the time to place your colors and textures on the canvas, step back, and come back later to continue working on it.

But never forget that the most important thing is always to enjoy painting.

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 !

Continuer et télécharger

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *