About Acrylic Colour!

TIPS ON ACRYLIC PAINTING Acrylic paints, a modern medium which came into general use in the 1960s, have become very popular due to their extreme versatility. They are made from pigment, water and an acrylic binder, which forms a hard, clear film as the water evaporates. It is this transparent film, reflecting light from the pigment inside it, that gives acrylic colour its brilliance.

Acrylics dry relatively quickly, so you don't have to wait much before painting the next layers. The film is more flexible than that of other media and is unlikely to crack. Acrylics are resistant to water once dry, which means they can be overpainted without disturbing the previous colour. This means that colour cannot be dissolved with a damp brush as it can with watercolour. To thin the colour, simply add water, or a Winsor and Newton acrylic medium.

Acrylics become darker in tone as they dry, rather than lighter as with watercolour, so remember to allow for this effect when mixing your colours. You can mix them with water and use them rather like watercolour, or you can use them straight from the tube as if they were oil paints. Do not think that they are just a pale imitation of these other media, though – they are a fascinating medium in their own right and are used by many professional artists in a variety of ways.


When used straight from the tube, acrylics have a consistency very similar to that of oils. Like oils, they retain the impression of the brush or knife, allowing you to create a considerable variety of surface or textural effects.

Comparison with oils:

1. Acrylics dry rapidly; it is usually possible to overpaint within an hour.

2. Even when dry, acrylics stay remarkably flexible, which means they can be painted on to most non-shiny, non-greasy grounds without cracking or splitting. The colour can be built up into thick layers and, provided that you are careful, the painting can even be rolled up when it has dried.

3. Acrylics do not require a coating of size before being applied to paper, cotton, linen or wood, as oil paints do.

4. Because they are water-thinnable until dry, acrylics can be removed from brushes and palettes simply with soap and water. Be thorough about it, or paint can build up at the base of the hairs or bristles and cause damage.

5. Acrylics are weather-resistant (making them ideal for murals), and they retain their brilliance with age.


By thinning acrylics with a small quantity of water and acrylic medium, a paint that can be used like transparent watercolour is produced. Alternatively, an additive such as Winsor & Newton Acrylic Flow Improver will give acrylics the consistency of watercolours while maintaining strength of colour.

Comparison with watercolours
1. Since acrylics are water-resistant when dry, they can be overpainted without disturbing previous colour.

2. For the same reason, there is no need to frame an acrylic painting behind glass. For additional protection, it is advisable to use Winsor & Newton Acrylic Varnish, which can be removed if necessary when the surface becomes soiled.

When using acrylics, always remember to clean your palette after painting to avoid a build-up of dry colour.



Make blonde hair look like it belongs on your model.

by Butch Krieger, The Artist's Magazine

When experimenting with blond mixtures, start with the colors you use to paint fleshtones. This makes the skin and hair look as if they belong together. If you can’t get the hair color you want with just your standard palette, then step “outside the box” and introduce a supplemental color.

(Try mixing Rose Madder Genuine (your red) with New Gamboge (your yellow) to create a Orange Hue basic modeling. Next use Cobalt Blue to make the orange look more like flesh and to shade down the darker areas. Next, glaze the red into some of the flesh areas, and glaze the yellow into the hair. [If your model is a "strawberry blond," you may to add a touch of red to the yellow.] finally, use a Violet you've mixed withred and blue to indicate the color of the shirt, then brin that violet into the undersides of the flesh and hair, indicating the light reflected by the shirt. when you finish, compare your painting to the actual color of the model's hair to see how close you've come.)



(The Artist's Magazine, May 2005)


1. Acrylics are fast drying, lightfast, permanent and flexible.

2. Other media will adhere to acrylics as long as the surface is prepared properly.

3. Acrylics can be painted on a variety of surfaces: canvas, watercolor paper or board, gessoed panel, metal (when properly prepared), acrylic sheeting (like Plexiglas), leather, fabric, and wood. 4. Acrylic paint can be applied thickly, as in oil painting, or thinly, as in watercolor.

5. Fluid acrylics can be built up in layers without resembling mud. 6. Acrylic paint is flexible, meaning it moves with the support. 7. Cleanup is easy with soap and water. 8. There are no fumes to breathe while using acrylics.

9. There's no need to frame with glass when painting with acrylics, even when using a thin watercolor technique.

... and weaknesses

1. Because they're fast drying, acrylic paintings tend to be hardedged. This isn't always a negative, as acrylics are perfect for some technical illustration work that may require hard edges. One technique that will help you soften edges is to use a "retarder" additive or glazing liquid mixed into the paint. This addition will extend the drying time for wet-into-wet techniques.

2. Acrylic paint will become brittle and can crack at below-freezing temperatures. Also, because acrylics are thermoplastic materials, they can get very soft and tacky in hot temperatures. For that reason, never let any kind of material touch your finished painting during shipping.

"I enjoy using acrylics for their ease of use, durability and versatility. For example, heavybodied acrylics come in tubes and are known for good brushstroke retention. Fluid acrylics -come in bottles or jars and allow for fine detail work..."

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