What is Acrylic Painting?

paintsbrushessmartAcrylic painting – is a relatively new trend in visual art. The first acrylic patents were issued at the very beginning of the 20th century but the first ’emulsion paints’ didn’t appear until the 1930’s, and the first professional artist’s ranges in the 1960’s. Since then acrylics spread around the world and have gained a fantastic popularity.

But what makes this paints so special?


paint-1420886The answer is in unique characteristics of acrylic paints:

  • Acrylic paints are water-soluble but become water-resistant when dry.
  • They dry pretty fast, which allows working with layers.
  • Good quality acrylics don’t fade in time, the colors will look the same now and in 300 years (some kinds of acrylics turn to a darker shade when dry, and oil painting goes yellow over time).
  • Properties and expressive qualities, such as appearance, hardness, flexibility, texture, drying speed, can be modified by using acrylic mediums, gels, pastes or adding water.
  • Acrylics allow you to create thick, raised paintings, as surface quality of the acrylic remains flexible and painting won’t crack over time.
  • Acrylics can be used on many different surfaces – paper, canvas, glass, cloth etc. Furthermore, you can use media to modify their binding characteristics.
  • Acrylics can resemble an oil painting or watercolor and other water-based media.
  • Wet acrylic paint is easy to remove from paint brushes and skin with water (whereas oil paints require the use of a hydrocarbon).

Therefore, the use of acrylic paints have many advantages, and easy is use for both beginners and pros, although there are some different grades of paints.


workspace-smartEssential Materials and Tools
for acrylic painting.

Let’s touch the base!

  1. First things first – we need good quality Acrylic Paints. It’s very important to choose the right kind for your painting style and techniques you prefer.
  2. Paintbrushes are your magic sticks in the world of painting. There are dozens of different kinds, shapes, sizes – easy to get lost. But once you find the perfect ones for you, and learn how to use them. you will advance to the next level of your art experience.
  3. Painting knives come in many shapes and sizes that allow you to create incredible effects and extraordinary relief. Palette knives are used for mixing paint and cleaning the palette.
  4. Painting Surface for acrylic paints could be canvas, paper, or wood. The choice depends on their different characteristics and your goals.
  5. Gesso is a very important art supply which helps to prepare the surface for painting. It dries hard, making the surface stiffer.
  6. Acrylic Medium is the key to you paints versatility –  textured, thicker, thinner, slow-drying, glossy, matte and more.
  7. Varnish is your protective blanket from dust, ultraviolet rays, humidity, and scuffing. You varnish your finished paintings, which also can add a certain aesthetic appeal.
  8. Add-ons you can take advantage of during the process: pencil/charcoal, masking tapescraping tools (inc sponges etc)

No less important is to organize your Art Workspace!

To do so you will need some or all of the important tools and supplies, such as easel and artist’s palette. Click here to read more about Artist’s Workspace: Essential Tools and Tips.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief introduction to the acrylic painting materials.

there are always many options for supplies and accessories for different levels and budgets. You can find more information about it in related articles. You don’t need to worry about spending way too much money because once you begin your painting journey with a basic set, you can always pick up other materials as you become more experienced and feel like you are ready to expand your art arsenal.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me 🙂

2 thoughts on “What is Acrylic Painting?

  1. DamronDuo says:

    I love your introduction to Acrylic painting! You’ve really simplified things. Now I can’t wait to get out there and paint. I will look forward to what else you have to post. Though I am wondering mainly about the various surfaces you can paint acrylic on. You mentioned canvas, but I still get so overwhelmed when shopping for canvases, as there are linen or cotton, stretch or or panel canvas, or what texture to use. It gets pretty confusing, so for a beginner, what would you best recommend for the type of canvas to use? Thanks!

    • admin says:

      Hey, hey! I’m really glad I got you excited to paint! 🙂 Check this article http://smartartmaterials.com/canvas here I’ve covered a lot about canvases!

      I recommend you to start with pre-stretched cotton canvas or canvas panels (they are cheaper), pre-primed, and texture depend on what your goal is, I’ve covered the part about texture in the article as well!

      Have fun! 😉


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