Getting Started: Choosing a Painting Surface for Acrylics

“A great artist can paint a great picture on a small canvas.”
Charles Dudley Warner

Getting your Absorbency Right

Your choice of what to paint on can alter the working properties of the paint and give you a different painting experience but it needn’t be a mystery if you follow a few simple rules.

1.  Acrylics straight from the tube are the most flexible medium, so can be painted on anything – paper, canvas, cardboard, metal…literally anything.

2. Oils are more tricky, so have to be painted onto a properly prepared surface (see: The Trouble with Oil) I recommend a prepared canvas or prepared board.

3. Watercolours work best on paper, I recommend Cold Pressed paper (confusingly also referred to as NOT paper meaning ‘Not’ Hot Pressed). It’s ideal for less experienced painters as it’s more forgiving. (There is a huge range of Watercolour papers see: How to choose Watercolour Paper).

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Getting Started: What are Different Types of Paints made From?

From Oil to Egg Yolks

Same pigment, different binder.

In a nutshell, most paints are made by mixing dry paint pigment together with a wet binder.

The difference between the type of paints, such as oil paint, acrylic paint or watercolour, is simply due to the different binder type used.

So the binder could be oil, acrylic polymer or even egg yolk, and it’s this – that gives each painting its characteristics…

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