Acrylic Painting.Some general advice about acrylic painting.
Just few of the techniques and general information about painting on canvas with acrylics. By Artist Samuel Durkin
Painted onto canvas, either board or stretched, acrylic paintings can resemble oil paintings. The techniques used though differ in a number of ways . Acrylic paint is water based and non toxic. It is safe to use in a confined area as does not need the use of solvent thinning agents. This is perfect for a home with children and those who wish to work in a small room. It was my main reason I choose for using it, but now I have mastered it I wouldn't use anything else.
Acrylic paints dry extremely quickly. Within moments of them going on the canvas if the weather is hot. where as oil paints take over a day to be touch dry. This is both an advantage and disadvantage. The fast drying time can make it hard to mix the paint on the canvas as one part of the canvas is dry before you have covered the whole thing. This has lead to a my frantic painting style. It does however have the advantage of allowing the artist to work in layers and not have to wait a whole day to do so.
Opaque paint covers whats below it entirely, translucent paint does not (like watercolour). Acrylic paint has the ability to do both. This is achieved by the amount of water (or mixing agent) that the paint has with it. It is the artists skill in knowing how much water to add for the effect needed. I use a separate small canvas to test brush stokes out to find the effect before placing the brush onto the real painting. Remember as the paint dries on the pallet it becomes increasingly opaque.
Opaque and translucent.
Here you can see the progress of the laying technique. The colour being built up as time passes.
Dry brush effects.
This technique is used by having an extremely small amount of paint on the brush. Add paint to the brush then wipe some of it off on a small canvas or cloth before applying it to the main painting. It can be hard to master, but the effect makes the acrylic paint act a little like pastels which builds up the colour.
Dark to Light
Most of us learn to draw with pencils. This teaches us to work from light to dark, shading in the dark areas and leaving the white paper. A canvas comes white, but you get a far better effect by painting the canvas in a neutral tone. half way between the dark and light.
Then paint in the general dark areas of the painting, use a large brush to do this as you don't need to worry too much about accuracy at this point. leave it to dry for 5 mins. Then start building up lighter shades. Going from dark to light.
A life time to master.
Both oil and acrylic paints take a life time to master. I have painted in acrylics all my life, I started as soon as I was old enough to hold a brush. I still learn new things about the way the paint moves everyday.
The techniques you develop should become yours. You can take lessons from someone else, but you should always try and develop you own style. The paint always has new things to teach you.
I find painting abstracts can be a great way to practice paint techniques and explore the medium.
If you look closely at my work you may be able to spot where I have used some these techniques.
I hope you'll be inspired to make some art of your own.
Thanks for reading and happy painting.
Samuel D R Durkin