An Intro to Acrylics

Liquitex Acrylic Paint

I had a friend ask me if I knew anything about acrylic paint. Why, yes I do. Here is my general knowledge and experiences with acrylic paint. First off acrylic paint is water soluble. So in order to thin out the paint all you need to do is add water. There are different qualities or grades of paint. What does that mean? The quality of the pigment and fillers are what determine the cost of your paint. You will see a noticeable difference between a $2.00 craft paint and an artist grade paint ($8.00-$♾infinity.00).

Golden Acrylic Mediums

One the first things I learned when I started out was I learned how to mix my colors. Learning color theory is a great way to explore new mediums and a must if you are going to seriously study art. When I was in college, my professor said we should read this book, Yellow and Blue don’t Make Green, by Michael Wilcox. As the title suggests, our professor gave us an assignment. He had students buy two red, two yellow and two blue tubes of artist grade acrylic paint. For instance Cerulean Blue, Cobalt blue, Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow, Quinacridone Red, Cadmium Red Medium. The first project was to make three color wheels, or in this case a color TRIANGLE, pairing one of each primary tubes. The results were… strange. The primary colors did not make a true secondary color. Why? It is the pigments themselves which determine the color. MINDS BLOWN!

Here’s a practice exercise Color Triangle.

I encourage you to take the Color Wheel TRIANGLE Challenge. It will be available down below. Practice mixing colors is a great learning tool and will always keep your visual skills sharp.

  • Write down the names of the 2 red, 2 yellow and the 2 blue hues you choose and go for it!

Acrylic paints are so versatile, they are not limited to canvas alone. If other material is prepared properly, acrylics can be used on wood, glass, and plastic. Acrylic paint can also be used with a pouring medium like Floetrol, or in epoxy resin. Acrylic paint can be used with other mediums for instance, modeling paste, gel medium, sand, glass beads, fiber paste, and many more. These mediums can be mixed with the acrylic paint and applied with a pallet knife or brush to add texture and dimension.

We have barely grazed the surface of the world of acrylic paints. If you have specific questions please leave a comment below. Learning how acrylic paint works, how the colors mix, and how they move on different surfaces is a great start. Happy painting!

Artfully yours,


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