July 23, 2018

So you have your paints and brushes and you’re raring to go? Right?


BUT your wondering..................

How exactly do I get going with acrylic paint? Do I mix? Do I use water? Which brushes Do I need?



  • You are going to need acrylic brushes, these are a firmer bristle to that of Watercolour brushes.  It is important to check you have the right brushes!

  • Also some acrylic paper or a canvas.  If you are starting out I strongly recommend the affordable supplies from 'The Range' or 'The works'.  (Do not spend a fortune at this point, you do not need to).

  • A cloth to clean excess water from your brushes, as well as a clean pot of water to clean your brushes

  • Some acrylic thinner if you desire (read below)

  • I even use 'Tin foil' as a pallet......once finished it goes straight into the bin (and no washing up hoorah).  No mess painting is the best!!!


Now to the best bit!


Techniques for acrylic painting!

The beauty of painting in acrylic paint is that it will look different according to how you apply it.



If you paint your acrylic straight to paper or canvas it will be bold and form brush lines.  Since you do not add water to the paint this effect is purposeful.  Adding water to your acrylic paint will lighten them immensely. 


Caution should be taken if applying the paint to canvas and adding water because over time it can cause your paint to fade and crack on the canvas.  I tend to use ‘Humbro’ or Windsor and Newton ‘Acrylic flow improver’ to loosen the acrylic.  This can allow for a finer detail and maybe more than one layer to be added.


If you are doing an acrylic wash on the base of your picture, then this is okay to use water.  The following layers of paint will be the most important.


Pointers to consider!

  1. Keep you acrylic paints malleable, they dry out very quickly therefore only release a little at a time from the tube. These paints can be expensive so wasteful painting is always discouraged.  Picking the right pallet for your paints will also help keep your paints moist.  Using a plastic pallet you will need to regularly spray a fine mist of water on them to keep them moist.  You can buy ‘keep wet’ pallets which saves you the effort.........Shhhhh I use 'tin foil' and then dispose of it in the bin when finished with.

  2. Blot your brushes…………what does that mean? Make sure you dry them off on a paper towel after  rinsing them.  Remember less water is best!

  3. Work your colours quickly, to prevent them from drying.  Unlike watercolour paints they can not be manipulated as easily.

Applying your acrylic!



This is my absolute favourite method of applying the acrylic.  You can buy stipple brushes from most art and craft places, they can be usually found in the stencil aisles.  Have a look at ‘George Surats' work to feel totally inspired.  I find using the end of the bristles on a brush create many small spots of colour.  This is a great way to create the illusion of 'grain' or 'texture'.  Try using this acrylic technique more broadly, it can help you paint leaves, trees and landscapes excellently.


It doesn’t get better than this, some of you I see during workshops have had a go at splattering.   Its fun, its relaxing and you will always be creating a totally unique piece.  

 This technique is excellent for creating an abstract textured piece of art.  I

like to splatter my art for night scenes and landscapes. 


This easy peasy method is what you may remember from art lessons at school.  Dabbing your paint on your paper usually with a sponge.  It creates a lovely textured mottled affect.  This technique makes a great background for landscape scenes and portrait scenes. 

Pallet knife:

This adds depth and texture when applied.   There is no expert way to achieve this either.  I like to use the same technique as if I was applying frosting to a cake.  You can build your image according to shadows and lines making it really texturised.


I like to start my piece of art by painting a sketch in the paint I am going to use, this is sometimes referred to as 'underglazing'.  It’s ok to use pencil, unlike watercolour painting as it is highly likely your lines are going to disappear.  I assume a basic colour pallet, and I don’t tend to mix the colours until I need them.  I never really know how my art is going to turn out until I have made a good start. 


Sometimes I like to layer my paint one on top of another.  usually I do this when painting in blocks of colour, or using washes of colour.  Each layer adds more refinement and finer details. 


Do not restrict yourself, you will get the most pleasure from exploring.  Be sure to set your 'mind set' in you are aiming to produce your own picture rather than a replica.  Do not try to produce the exact same image from your reference photo because you never will!!! 


Go and explore, and watch your very own techniques form your own style.


Be sure to send me your creations and comments!!!!






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