That’s one brushstroke too many. The one that ruins the painting you’ve spent hours on. Totally desperate, or completely pissed off, you’re ready to throw everything away and stop acrylic painting for good.
Bad idea! Because with acrylic paint, you can make up for anything: you can correct a mistake on your painting. It’s possible to erase a misplaced brushstroke or a careless stain!
How to clean a painting: equipment to correct a mistake on a canvas
There’s no need to go looking for overpriced magic products. No need to run to the 4 corners of the world in search of supernatural solutions either. Forget about reading billions of web pages to find a miracle cure. The good news is that you already have everything you need at home, and for a very low price.
The aim is simple: to clean the painting without damaging it, simply by erasing the error from the canvas.
Acrylic paint dries quickly, which is what makes it so attractive: you can paint coat after coat without waiting too long. But the stain you put on the board by mistake, or the brushstroke that doesn’t belong there, also dries quickly.
To correct an error on a table, you need :
- Patience and courage: don’t give up, your painting isn’t ruined for good;
- Water and spray if possible. Acrylic paint can be used straight from the tube, or diluted with water. Brushes and all acrylic painting equipment can be cleaned simply with tap water;
- One or more rags: old T-shirts will do just fine. Obviously, to remove a stain from a painting, you’ll need a clean cloth. Paper towels would also work, but in the interests of respecting the environment, I’d advise you to opt for eco-responsible gestures and avoid disposables.
If you really feel that your painting is a total failure, you can use gesso. Gesso is a coating that completely covers your painting. Once dry, you can sand it down and start painting all over again.
Let’s take a look at the two possible scenarios in the event of an error or stain on an acrylic painting.
1. How to correct a mistake with fresh acrylic paint
You’ve made your background in one color. You start your design and the color doesn’t look right. Or you’ve chosen the right color, but the wrong brushstroke has been used.
- Don’t try to remove the paint with your brush. The paint is fresh and the base is not dry. As a result, you’ll be mixing the two colors.
- And don’t try to wipe off excess paint with a cloth. As the paint isn’t dry, you’re going to spread it further and make the problem worse.
Here’s how to erase a brushstroke on fresh paint:
- Let your work dry. Stop your painting, don’t touch it anymore. Clean your equipment.
- When your canvas is completely dry, apply a new coat of the base color you used to make the background. Acrylic paint has excellent covering power. Your unfortunate line or stain will be covered. Then you can get back to work.
- Obviously, if the base color is rather light and the mistake is made with a darker color, it will be trickier to cover. You’ll simply need to apply more coats of paint, allowing them to dry thoroughly between applications.
That’s why it’s so important to choose quality acrylic paint.
2. How do I remove a stain from dry acrylic paint?
Another worst-case scenario: the undercoat is dry, you go back to the drawing board and there’s the little stain that’s too much. A brushstroke that’s too dark, a shadow that’s not quite right, or a spot of light that would have been more appropriate… In short, you’re not happy with the result and want to make up for the mistake.
Here’s how to remove a line of paint from a dry canvas:
- To remove acrylic paint that is still fresh and not yet dry, use a clean, slightly wet brush. Pass it gently over the paint to be removed, rotating it to collect the paint. Rinse regularly and repeat the operation until all the paint is “caught”.
- Another way to remove a fresh paint stain from a canvas: using a clean, slightly damp cloth, gently rub the paint in a single stroke. If you need to start again, remember to use a clean, dampened side of the cloth each time.
3. Progress in acrylic painting
The brushstroke too many, the unfortunate stain, the wrong color used: it’s pretty annoying, I grant you! Of course, it’s never fun to “miss a picture”. However, sometimes, with a little hindsight, these famous “mistakes” that we sometimes make when painting a picture allow us… to make progress. We try, we try again, we correct, we improve. And that’s how you gain skills from these experiences!
To work more fluidly with acrylic paint, you also need to be organized.
- Choose an airy workplace where you feel comfortable. Lay out your equipment nearby, neatly arranged for easy color selection: brushes, spalter, cloths nearby, water spray.
- Why not take a painting course discover the right materials, basic techniques and many other easy tips for progressing in acrylic painting?
But above all, painting is about having fun!
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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