Monday, September 04, 2006

Beginners Acrylic Painting

Need to Know What Painting Surface to Buy?

Starting a new hobby can be a bit daunting, don't you think? All the equipment to buy and no previous knowledge – how can I be sure that this is the right thing? Sometimes it's enough to put you off even starting!

You go into a store and the range is huge. Good grief, I only want to buy something to paint on!

Well, when you’re beginning with acrylic paints there are a few things you need to know before you get as far as the store. Also, once you have an idea of what you need to buy it will make the shopping trip a lot easier.

When you are just practicing painting techniques you can use any paper or cardboard you have to hand. Cardboard from packing materials is a good surface for starting. When you paint on cardboard you do not have the problem of the surface stretching when it is wet, this can be a problem with the thinner papers. So cardboard is great for beginners acrylic painting.

All kinds of cardboard are good and the inside of cereal boxes can be very handy too. Painting practice can make good use of your junk mail. You can paint on the thicker pieces of paper before you throw it out.

When you are ready to paint a picture I think the best surface for beginners (and still my favorite) is to use canvas panels. A canvas panel is a thick cardboard that has a painting surface glued to it. It comes ready to paint. You don’t need to do anything else but just start painting. Bliss!

If you paint on paper you will find that many papers need to be stretched before you can paint on them, otherwise the paper buckles while wet and the paint gathers in the hollows. This will give an uneven result to your final painting.

There are pads of pre-stretched paper. The pad has glued edges. The paper has already been stretched – you paint on the top paper and let it dry. Once the painting is finished and it is dry, then you use a knife to slice around the glued edge to release the top piece of paper. These pads are pretty good, but I still prefer the canvas board - it is just so much easier to use and convenient if you want to paint outdoors.

You can use stretched canvases too, although these can be a bit expensive when you are beginning with acrylic paints. You would be better spending the money on buying good quality nylon brushes.

Acrylic Painting Tip

No matter what surface you decide to paint on there is one important point. Acrylic paints will not stick to oily or waxy surfaces. Make sure that the surface you choose is suitable for acrylic paints. Some painting surfaces are made specifically for oil paints and are not suitable for use with acrylics.

Check the details on the painting surface wrapper or pack. It will usually tell you what paints (or ‘mediums’) the surface is suitable for. If you are in any doubt always ask if the painting surface is suitable for use with acrylic paints.

Just Starting to use Acrylic Paints?

Look out for other Beginners Acrylic Painting articles on buying the rest of your painting supplies – palette and brushes, and paints.

For the detailed step-by-step beginners guide on acrylic painting see the Acrylic Painting Course – with a free preview to completing your first painting click here

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