The Basics of Acrylic Painting

acrylic paintingAcrylic painting is a fairly new painting method where artists make use of acrylic paints instead of the oil based variety. Acrylic paints first became commercially available during the 1950’s. They were first produced as house paints that were water based. Soon enough, a number of artists started to explore and use acrylic paints for their art works. Hence, acrylic painting started.


One of the advantages of using acrylic paint is that it dries fairly quickly. This allows artists to paint different layers easily as compared with using oil based paints which require considerably more time to dry before painting on the next layer.

This results in artists being able to finish art works at a shorter time. Acrylics also do not smell or emit harmful fumes. And since it is water based, acrylic paints are also fairly easy to clean up.

Acrylic Painting Techniques

Artists make use of different techniques in acrylic painting. Some of the techniques developed over time a result of the properties of acrylic paints. Just as acrylic paints are preferred by artists because of their faster drying time, certain painting practices also have to be changed.

Sometimes artists need to keep the acrylic paint to stay moist for a longer time and this can be a problem at times.  Artists usually spray a light mist of water over the canvas occasionally to keep the acrylic paint from drying.

Another property of acrylic paints is that they can be made into fluid paints. Since they are water based, acrylic paint can be thinned to a point where they can be applied much like watercolor. This way the acrylic paint can also be used for glazing or washes on artworks.

Acrylic paint glazes are usually used by artists to create more depth to the artwork. An acrylic glaze can be painted on the canvas light enough to show the colors underneath. Light acrylic glazes also provide a softening effect on an artwork especially of painted over darker or brighter colors.

Pour painting is a technique that was developed with the use of acrylic paints. It involves pouring the paint directly into the canvas and moved around instead of applying them with brushes. This allows the natural blending of colors. The technique can either be applied one color at a time or using multiple colors simultaneously for color blending effects.

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