Acrylic Painting for Beginners

Acrylic paint is a fairly new addition to the world of painting.  It’s only been around since the 50’s, however many artists have benefited from it’s existence over the last 55 years.  Acrylic paints are super versatile and easy to use even for beginners.  They can be applied thickly or in thin washes similar to watercolors.  Unlike oils, acrylic paint does not yellow or harden over time.  It stays “fresh” looking rather than aged.

Many artists prefer acrylics because they are fast drying and they can be applied and layered much faster than oil paints.  As a beginner, be mindful of the quick dry time, as you can’t dawdle.  The dry time will be even faster if you decide to paint outside on a hot sunny day, so consider working with another form of paint if you must paint outside in the heat.

Some artists like acrylics because they can mimic watercolor washes, however you must wait for one layer of acrylic to dry completely before applying another of course.  After acrylic paint begins to dry it will be very difficult to modify and you will end up with hard edges.  There are 2 ways to avoid this problem:  1) dampen the paper before the paint is applied or 2) use an additional brush that is damp with water.  Use one brush to apply the acrylic paint and soften the edges with the other brush that has been dampened with the water immediately.

Do you need expensive acrylic paint as a beginner?  In the experimental stages it’s okay to use cheaper supplies, but as you improve you may want to invest in higher quality paints.  When it comes to buying art supplies, you generally get what you pay for.  If you buy cheap paint, you will get a cheap looking picture lacking in vibrancy.  If you buy cheap brushes, they will be likely to fall apart quickly.  If you decide to commit yourself to the joy of painting, invest in equipment and materials that will yield the results you want.