6 Go-To Acrylic Painting Techniques

Acrylic paints are a relatively new artistic medium, having only been around since the 1950s. Very quickly, however, they have become incredibly popular among painters and other artists due to their versatility, affordability, and relative ease of use.

At Artmart, we stock a wide variety of acrylic paints — just waiting to be used for your next masterpiece. But while the versatility of these paints is part of their appeal, it can also be overwhelming to decide exactly how you want to use them!

Consider these six techniques below the next time you’re looking for your acrylic inspiration…

1.) Dry Brush

Painting with a dry brush technique is a simple process — simply dip your brush in the paint, and stroke it along the canvas. Without water to dilute the paint and soften the edges of your brush strokes, you’ll create bold, even harsh lines of vibrant color. Using a very thin brush, you can “draw” the paint onto your canvas much the same way you would use a pencil.

2.) Washing

Washing is effectively the opposite of the dry brush technique. By diluting your paint with water, you can apply translucent strokes to your canvas, and can continue to manipulate the paint until it dries. The resulting effect can appear similar to a watercolor painting. Experiment with the amount of water you use to create different looks. A very thin and watery wash can be difficult to control, but that may be the effect you are looking for!

3.) Splatter Paint

Splattering your paint can be fun…and a little unpredictable! Using a brush loaded fairly heavily with paint, flick and tap the brush to splatter paint across your canvas. This can be a great way to finish a softer painting with a high impact contrast of texture.

4.) Impasto

“Impasto” refers to spreading paint thick and heavy across your canvas, almost like icing on a cake. This adds deep, three dimensional texture. You’ve probably seen impasto utilized heavily by modern and abstract painters. The thickness of the impasto effect can be manipulated by adding various mediums to the paint. For example, adding a modeling medium to the paint will produce an almost putty like substance to work with.

5.) Glazing

Glazing may seem like a more advanced technique, but it’s an important one for even a beginner to master due to the wide variety of ways it can be used. By diluting your paint with a matte or gel medium, you can create a translucent stroke that isn’t as runny as a wash. Then, by applying multiple layers of paint over each other one after another, you can achieve a luminous “glaze” effect similar to a stained glass window or a piece of pottery. Glazing can also be used to seal in pencil or pen drawings under a ribbon of color.

6.) Sgraffito

Sgraffito is not only fun to say (it literally means “scratch”), but also fun to execute. When performing a sgraffito technique, the painter scratches away a thick layer of paint to reveal a different colored layer underneath. The first layer must be completely dried, but the second layer should be slightly wet when you begin scratching away. Use different tools, or even your fingers, to experiment and achieve different textures.

Whether you use just one of the above techniques, all of them, or even a technique of your own invention, we’re sure that the painting you create will be a unique and beautiful masterpiece. Stop on in to Artmart and show us what you create, or tag your art on social media with #SayYesToArtSTL