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Acrylic Painting Techniques: 19 Techniques to Improve Your Skills

Are you looking to improve your acrylic paintings and take them to the next level? Look no further! In this article, we will explore a variety of acrylic painting techniques that will help you elevate the appearance of your artworks and make them look more professional. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, these techniques will allow you to create stunning effects and add depth and texture to your paintings.

Acrylic Painting Techniques: Exploring the Possibilities

Let’s dive into the world of acrylic painting techniques. For each technique, we’ll discuss the necessary supplies and provide step-by-step instructions for you to try them yourself.

Create Texture with the Impasto Technique

Impasto acrylic painting techniques

Impasto is a fantastic technique that allows artists to create vibrant and textured works of art. To achieve this effect, you’ll need heavy body paint and stiff brushes. The thick texture of Golden’s Heavy Body paint retains brush strokes on the canvas, while Princeton Catalyst brushes provide the necessary stiffness. For even more depth, consider using Liquitex Modelling Paste applied with a palette knife, stiff brush, or a silicone catalyst wedge.

To paint with the impasto technique, you can layer different colors on top of each other, allowing the underlying layers to show through. Experiment with brush strokes and marks to achieve the desired effect. For more detailed guidance on this technique, check out our impasto tutorial.

Blending Colors Seamlessly

How to blend acrylic paint

While blending colors seamlessly is often associated with oil paint, you can achieve similar results with acrylics by increasing their open working time. Golden Open Acrylic paints dry at a similar rate to oil paints, and Golden Open Mediums extend the drying time of regular acrylic paints. Soft brushes like the Da Vinci Casaneo are excellent for blending colors together. For more in-depth guidance, refer to our blending acrylic paint tutorial.

Alla Prima (Wet on Wet) Technique

Alla prima acrylic painting techniques
John Singer Sargent: A Torrent in Norway

Alla prima is a fast and spontaneous technique that involves applying layers of paint on top of wet layers. The purpose is to complete the painting or section before the first layer dries. While acrylic paint dries quickly, you can use a slow-drying medium or Golden Open Acrylics to give yourself more time. Stiff brushes are recommended, especially in later stages when you need to increase the thickness of the paint. To learn more about this technique, check out our alla prima painting guide.

Acrylic Painting in Layers

This technique involves blocking in, underpainting, and glazing to create works with both hard and blended edges. You can increase the open working time of acrylic paint by using a fluid retarder, which allows for blended layers. Blocking in is the first stage, covering the canvas with basic shapes of colors. With underpainting, you create a monochromatic layer, establishing values and composition. Glazing involves applying transparent layers to alter the color profile of previous layers. For a more detailed tutorial, explore our blocking in technique guide, underpainting tutorial, and glazing acrylic paint tutorial.

Additional Mark Making and Brushwork Techniques

  • Dry Brush: Apply paint without wetting the brush first, creating dry, broken texture.
  • Wash: Thin paint with water to create washes similar to ink.
  • Pouring Acrylic Paint: Try the satisfying technique of pouring acrylic paint onto a surface, yielding organic and intricate results.
  • Airbrush: Use an airbrush tool with fluid acrylic paint to achieve subtle color gradations and render fine details.
  • Other Techniques: Explore techniques such as splattering, sgraffito, creating three-dimensional works, adding texture with dry additives, dabbing with a sponge, mixing colors on the canvas, scraping paint, and stippling.

Acrylic Painting Techniques for Beginners

Acrylic painting techniques: Pin it!

If you’re new to acrylic painting, the impasto technique is an excellent starting point. It’s fun, immediate, and allows for experimentation with texture. Sketch your painting first to plan the elements and mix all your colors before you start. A stay wet palette will keep your colors fresh for longer. The other techniques discussed in this article are also suitable for beginners, although glazing and alla prima may require some practice to master. Check out our best acrylic painting tutorials to learn acrylic painting from scratch.

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Alexia Young

Hello and welcome to the world of Alexia. I am a passionate and dedicated artist who loves to create beautiful, mesmerizing art for everyone's walls. I believe in the importance of encouraging people to express their creativity and be happy.

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