Thursday, May 22, 2008

Acrylic Painting Technique - Use a Credit Card

A new way to use your credit card – when you’re painting

Do you remember in the Karate Kid movie the part about Polish On and Polish Off to build up his muscles? Well this technique it a Paint On and Paint Off one.

Trying different painting methods to achieve a good effect is one of the most interesting aspects of painting. So here is another one for you to try.

Paint on

Remember you don't always need to apply paint with an artists brush. There are other options like using a palette knife or even your fingers.

An alternative method for highlights

Try this on a test piece first. You simply apply the paint thickly and then remove some of the paint for the highlighted area. One of the best things to use to remove the paint is a credit card. This is quite a common watercolour technique but it works just as well with acrylics.

Paint Off Example

You can paint some stones in a fairly flat way, they don't need to look particularly three dimensional, and then use a credit card to scrape off the paint for the lighter or highlight area. Some of the paint will be left on the painting surface giving a paler section.

I think that the final result works very well, especially for rocks. It can also be very effective for the texture on tree trunks.

As acrylics dry quickly you need to be speedy! If you want to have a bit more time to work the paint you can add some gel retarder to the paint to slow down the drying time.

I've seen the scraping off of the paint done using a razor blade too, but that's a bit too sharp for me! You could try using a palette knife instead of the credit card; it will give a slightly different result.

Painting surfaces

This technique is most effective when you're painting on a paper surface, particularly a rough textured one.

However you can practice it on any painting surface you're using to see what effect it will give you. Then you can decide if you want to include the effect in your picture.

I found that it was disappointing when used on a stretched canvas unless the paint is applied really thickly.

However on a suitable painting surface it can be very effective and is another technique to add to your painting arsenal.