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Four Fun Tips for Painting with Acrylics for Beginners

Learning to use a new medium, such as acrylic paints, to express your creativity can be a fun and freeing experience. Acrylic paints are relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and unlike oil paints, you won’t need a well-ventilated space to use them in. Just grab your paints, paintbrushes, a bowl of water and some paper towel along with your painting surface and you’ll be good to go. But just before you do, here are four fun tips that a beginner may not be aware of.

Utilize Canvas Boards

As an artist, you may sometimes get attached to the investment you made on a big canvas and that attachment may stifle your creativity. If this is you, then canvas boards are the way to go. Compared to wrapped canvases, canvas boards are inexpensive; you can usually get a pack of ten for the same price as one wrapped canvas! Use canvas boards to explore your creativity and hone your craft to your heart’s content without worrying that you wasted a gallery-wrapped canvas. However, if you feel that a large, gallery-wrapped canvas will help to bring out the Picasso, Matisse, or Kandinsky in you, then by all means go ahead and practice one!

Prime Your Canvas

It is important that you prime your paint surface with gesso before you start painting. This goes for pre-primed canvas as well. Adding another layer (or two) of gesso to your canvas will help to prevent the paint from being absorbed in the canvas – the paint will sit on top of the gesso. This will also help to reduce the number of layers of paint you will need to use.

Use a Gel Medium

One of the first things you’ll learn with using acrylic paints, is that the drying time is very quick. This can be a good thing as your painting time will be relatively quick as well (as opposed to using oil paints). However, when starting to find your way around acrylic paints, you may want to prolong your drying time to experiment with mixing or blending colors. In that case, you will want to try adding gel mediums to your paints. There are different brands out there so you may want to get sample sizes of various brands to trial and see which one you prefer using. Look for key words such as “open”, “retarder”, and “slow dry” on these products.

Don’t be Afraid to Make Mistakes!

As Alexander McQueen, a British fashion designer, once said – “you can only go forward by making mistakes.” What’s the worst that could happen with making a “mistake” while painting? You may end up not liking it. Well that can be easily remedied by painting over it! Often times, the fear of making a mistake can stop you from taking risks and trying new, creative avenues/techniques. Don’t let that be you. Paint with a creative freedom and who knows, some of those “mistakes” may turn out to be a part of a masterpiece!

As a beginner painter (or even an intermediate artist), were any of these tips new to you? If yes, which one(s)? Please share any additional tips you may have so that we may all learn from each other.

Happy painting!

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