How to paint on acrylic?

Como pintar em acrílico?

Acrylic Ink: A Brief History

Acrylic paint, derived from plastic components, such as petroleum, was developed in the 1940s for industrial use, that is, for covering the interior and exterior of buildings. Artists started to use acrylic as a way to explore their technical capabilities, because due to the watery form of the paint, interaction with other plastic media and techniques is viable, thus introducing the possibility of producing works of mixed techniques.

The invention of the first acrylic paint for artists was attributed to the company Sam Golden, in 1950. Previously, the manufacture of these was a knowledge that belonged to artists, however from the 20th century, with the technological development of the industry, companies began to possess rights to chemical formulas. This event offered artists greater freedom and acceleration of the artistic process, in addition to a higher quality of material. Thus, the acrylic technique enabled the emergence of movements such as Abstract Expressionism, ColorField , among others, with artists such as Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Clyfford Still, Helen Frankenthaler, Morris Louis and Jack Levine.

Do you want to take your first steps in the world of acrylic? In this article we've put together some tips and hints to help you become familiar with the materials and tricks you need.

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What are the materials needed to paint on acrylic?

Acrylic painting is one of the most recommended techniques for those who want to take their first steps in the world of painting, as it is an economical and quick-drying method. Designed to be applied to different types of surfaces, this technique encourages all kinds of possibilities. To start painting on acrylic you need paint, brushes or spatula, a palette and a surface (canvas, paper, wood).


Do I need a palette?

The palette, made of wood or plastic, is the tool used to arrange the colors in an orderly and accessible way. You can choose to put the colors directly on the canvas, but to make it easier it's better to start by putting them on the palette.


What brushes should I use?

For ease of use, the brushes are organized by numbers. When choosing, it is necessary to know the desired finish, that is, if you want to create the outlines of objects, such as a mountain, use brushes with a larger number, which are large and flat. For bottoms, the best option is to use opaque acrylic paint, that is, directly from the tube. The details, such as trees, river or flowers, are conceived after the general outlines, with brushes of a smaller number and more pointed, so that it is possible to create fine lines.


Which canvas should I buy?

The easiest and safest option is to buy a canvas with primer. You can get this kind of screens in practically every store. An unprimed canvas is the most affordable option but involves a lot more preparation work, which is not ideal for those just taking their first steps.

A material, cheaper than canvas, is paper. If you want to opt for this option, you have to choose a thick paper so that it doesn't tear with the ink. By using acrylic paint diluted in water, on a thick block of paper, you get a finish like watercolor paint.

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Tips on how to use acrylic paint

  1. First pour paint onto the palette. Start with the three primary colors (magenta, blue, and yellow) and black and white. If you want to create new shades, mix the paint with these colors. As acrylic paint yields a lot, just put a drop of each color on the paint palette. There is no need to create a sketch, just paint directly on the desired area with a brush lightly dampened with water to achieve a more even effect.
  2. To design different finishes, you have to learn to work acrylic with water. Adding more water makes the color more translucent. If you apply paint directly from the tube to the canvas, the effect is more opaque and thicker. If you don't want this effect, you can spray water on the palette. To form multiple layers, use a dry brush to create textures and detail.
  3. As with this technique it is possible to produce several layers, if you need to make changes, just let it dry and paint over it.
  4. Acrylic paint dries very quickly, so it is important, when you are not using the brush, to leave them immersed in water. Regarding the paint on the palette, it should be sprinkled with water so it doesn't dry out, every ten to fifteen minutes.
  5. To clean the palette, just wait for the paint to dry and gradually remove it with the spatula. In the end, no fixative is needed, although it is recommended to apply a protective varnish to ensure its conservation and durability.

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