You don’t have to be Vincent Willem Van Gogh, Oscar-Claude Monet, Andrew Wyeth, or John Singer Sargent to enjoy painting. Anybody who has the desire can start painting. It may not be Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa or Grant Wood’s American Gothic, but it is your unique creation, your masterpiece.
With the right type of paint and brushes, you’re halfway there. If you’ve been around an artist, you’ll know the precision with which they choose their paint supplies. Working with the right material is almost as important as painting the masterpiece.
It’s fascinating to watch artists select the right brush. For a novice, the variety of brushes are overwhelming. Most beginners have no idea why the one brush is different from the one next to it on the shelf; to a novice, the brushes look the same.
Have you wondered how many potential artists never painted their masterpiece, because they crushed the idea without even trying? Perhaps they walked into an artist’s shop highly motivated to turn around and run away confused and overwhelmed with all the paints, brushes, and artist supplies on the shelves.
If you have a desire to paint but have no idea where to start, then this guide should help you get started.
All artists, including beginners, need necessary art supplies. Many novices mistakenly buy the cheapest and purchase one of everything. Refrain from buying the whole spectrum of inexpensive items; instead, buy quality and the few essential basics.
The quality of the paint, brushes, and, paint surface influence the outcome of the painting. An established artist who paints with inadequate quality supplies will have a masterpiece that won’t last. The paint could crack, fade, or shift color; brush strokes may be mediocre and streaky, or the painting surface could crack or warp.
If you’re uncertain if you want to paint, and want to experiment first, keep in mind inadequate quality supplies may be more challenging to control. It may even put you off painting for life. It doesn’t mean you have to buy expensive art supplies; there are enough inexpensive alternatives to experiment with for a beginner painting.
Start with these art supplies and expand as you gain experience. Experiment with different paints and brushes while you’re learning how to paint. Then gradually add the items you prefer using.
The type of paint prescribes the paint supplies required. It influences the surfaces to paint on, the tools to apply the paint, and the cleaning methods.
Each type of paint has its benefits and disadvantage; one kind of paint isn’t better than the other, only different. Beginners painting should experiment with oil, acrylic, watercolor, and Gouache to decide which medium they prefer.
Watercolor paint is probably the cheapest of the four types of paint. Dry layers of oil and acrylic paints, however, aren’t disturbed when painted over.
Oil paint colors are intense, giving you a rich, lustrous result. Oil paint takes weeks to dry. In cold, wet winters it may even take longer. For beginners, a slow drying paint gives them ample time to experiment. They have enough time to change aspects of their painting.
Additional care is needed to transport oil paintings during the drying stage. The art takes up space while drying. Acrylic paints, however, dry quickly, within minutes or a few hours, which is convenient for storage and transport purposes.
Fast drying acrylic paint requires working fast and accurate. There’s not much time to rectify mistakes, whereas oil paintings you have the freedom of time. Both allow for painting over the dry paint.
Despite the variety of paint colors available, most artists find they mix specific colors to create the right nuance. Oil paints blend easily. The slow drying oil pants allow artists to use the same paint days later or to mix a slightly darker or lighter shade you need. It’s not as easy with acrylic paints.
Acrylic paints cost less than oil paints. Oil paints tend to be expensive but may last longer. Acrylic paint is an excellent choice for beginners who paint fast and aren’t interested in mixing too many variations of color. Oil paint may be more expensive, but it is more flexible to use. Novices may linger over their painting and take their time in mixing the paints. There’s less wastage. While learning how to paint, beginners may miscalculate how much paint they need. The slow drying oil paint gives the artist time to use the excess on another canvas.
Acrylic paints are versatile and mimic oil paints and watercolor paints. Over time acrylic paint colors grow darker.
Gouache is also called watercolors with chalk or opaque watercolor paints. Although both, Gouache and watercolor paints are water-based paints with gum Arabic as the binder agent, the addition of white pigments changes how gouache paint reacts.
When painting over a dry layer of oil or acrylic paints, the lower layers aren’t affected. Gouache and watercolor paint layers, however, may lift or blend when painting over a dry coat.
The transparency of watercolors allows light through, which reflects off the white paper. The layers of transparent colors create the intricate beauty of watercolor paintings and textured effects not possible with gouache paint. Gouache paint contains white pigment or chalk, causing an opaquer color than watercolor paints. The light is absorbed and doesn’t reflect in the same manner as with transparent watercolor paint. Gouache paintings have a matte finish that photographers like.
Where watercolors are famous for its washes, gouache paints have larger pigments and in higher concentration than watercolors, creating the opaque effect. Gouache washes aren’t as transparent as watercolor washes.
Unlike watercolors, if an artist changes their mind painting with oils, they can easily scrape off the paint or paint over an area. Once the watercolor is applied on the watercolor paper, the section is no longer white. Although watercolor washes off, it is challenging to control the flow of water. Watercolor painting requires some planning to decide which areas of the paper stay white. The white of the paper is used as “white paint” instead of white colored paint.
Gouache paint is thicker than watercolor paints and easier to control and to cover up mistakes. The thicker paint with more pigments results in stronger colors than color washes created with watercolor paint.
Both use water to mix and dilute the paint colors. Gouache also uses white paint for mixing lighter colors. Lighter colors require more water (or white paint) than the darker shades. Where watercolors are always painted from light layers to darker, gouache paint is versatile.
Painting with watercolor is an inexpensive option for beginners. Correct mistakes by applying a wash layer or start over by rinsing the paint off under running water. Watercolor paint is water-based and dries the fastest of the four kinds of paint. The paint pigment stains the paper and isn’t easy to remove when dry. Gouache paint isn’t absorbed into the paper but deposited as a layer on top of the paper.
Illustrators and the graphic artist may prefer Gouache paint to watercolors. It’s easier to control and can create solid color blocks that aren’t always possible with watercolors. Gouache, however, dries fast like watercolor paints, limiting the artist’s painting time.
Gouache paint works well with watercolor and acrylic paints. Use watercolors to create translucent washes and acrylic over the Gouache paint to accentuate a detail.
Clean paint brushes after each paint session. Fast drying paints like acrylic, Gouache, and watercolor paints should be washed off the paintbrush immediately. Acrylic, Gouache, and watercolor paints rinse off with water. Oil paint, however, requires turpentine for cleaning the brushes.
Buy primary colors and mix the rest. Although you’ll prefer specific colors, each painting has its unique nuances and tones. It’s impossible to possess all the colors displayed in nature, but it’s easy to mix all the variants with primary colors.
When mixing colors, avoid mixing more than two or three colors. Too many colors create a muddy hue. When the color looks right, stop mixing.
Always lay out the colors on the palette in the same order. It saves time, which is vital when painting with fast-drying paints. With the vast array of mixed colors on the palette, it’s easier to find a specific color without becoming frustrated with the holdup of searching for a color.
Student grade paints are inexpensive compared to professional or artist grade paints. Artist grade paints, however, contain a higher concentration of pigments and last longer. Student grade paints use more fillers and often lower grade pigments. The artist-grade paint could be double to three times the price of a similar color in student grade.
Acrylic paint becomes slightly darker in color when it dries. The reason is the binder, acrylic polymer which is white and becomes translucent when the paint dries. Student grade paints contain more white filler than the artistic grade, hence the more significant color shift. Cheaper brands use more fillers and less pigment resulting in more considerable changes of color.
The same color may slightly differ from brand to brand; it could have a more yellow or blue undertone. Test the various brands and decide which you prefer.
Paint brushes with long handles are ideal for painting on an easel. Painting from a distance don’t overexert your posture, and it allows you to see the whole canvas while painting. Short handled brushes work ideally for a closeup, detailed and precision strokes.
An easel fixed at the correct height will support your posture and avoid unnecessary forward bending. A stand-up easel allows the artist to sit and paint if standing becomes too tiring.
No matter how neat and tidy you are as a person, painting is messy. Wear an artist overcoat or other protective clothing, like an old shirt or coat, to avoid paint stains on your clothes.
Some paints dry quickly. During a painting session, soak brushes in the appropriate solution to avoid dry paint sticking to the bristles. Caked paint may transfer onto the painting surface or to paint on the palette resulting in brownish, dirty looking colors.
Reduce waste and reuse excess paint on palettes. Store palettes with oil paints in the freezer for reuse. Water-based paints will last longer with lids; add water when ready to use.
Watercolor needs glass to cover it when hanging. Avoid hanging watercolor paintings in direct sunlight; the colors may fade faster. Gouache paintings also require protective glass or layer of varnish.
Avoid working on unprimed canvas. You’ll waste paint that soaks into the canvas and weakens the canvas. Priming your canvas saves costs and allows the artist to create a texture they want.
Learn the basic techniques of how to paint, but don’t let it limit your creativity. Painting for beginners should be fun. Be patient. Like any other skill, practice improves technique. Experiment with paint types, brushes, and paint surfaces; versatility is part of the attraction and pleasure of painting.
You get all of your supplies out, ready to start a new painting, only to find that you have the last project’s acrylic paint everywhere. Acrylic paint can be stubborn to remove, especially when it dries on your clothing, paintbrushes, or your palettes. This article will discuss how to clean up acrylic paint no matter where it ends up within your art station.
Acrylic paint is one of the most commonly used mediums for painting. Unlike oil paints, acrylic is famous for is its ability to dry quickly. However, this same quality is one of the reasons many artists let their paint dry onto surfaces.
Because acrylic paint dries so fast, it is crucial to get it cleaned up as soon as you can. The last thing you want to do is let it dry completely; otherwise, the paint may be forever stuck to your brushes.
If you do need to step away before you clean the area, keep the areas with paint wet. Acrylic paint is water-soluble, so keeping water on it can delay the drying process.
Paintbrushes are the most important items to keep dried acrylic paint off of in your artist toolbox. Acrylic paint can seep in between the small, porous bristles and essentially glue them together.
Paintbrushes, palettes, and clothing are the most common areas for acrylic paint to be let to dry accidentally. Here is how to clean up acrylic paint off of them.
Paintbrushes with acrylic paint on them can be the most challenging to clean, especially if the paint hardens to the bristles. The last thing you want to do is ruin expensive paintbrushes by making the paint get crusty and damage the bristles.
If paint hardens onto a synthetic paintbrush’s bristles, it can do a lot of damage. Synthetic brushes are made with nylon or polyester, so it is best to avoid any harsh chemicals or paint thinners as they can damage the bristles. The best way to clean a synthetic paintbrush is to use natural cleaners.
Here is how to clean synthetic brushes if the paint is still wet:
Brushes made with natural brushes are much easier to clean. They can withstand chemical washes, so you will have an easier time removing any dried paint in the bristles. Though natural brushes can be a bit more pricey, they are well worth it. If the paint on your brushes is still wet, repeat the same steps as synthetic brushes above.
Paint thinner is one option to get dried-out paint from natural brushes. Dip your paintbrush in a container with paint thinner, and swirl it around. Repeat the process as necessary until all of the excess paint is off of the bristles.
You may also use cleaners specialized in removing acrylic paint. Winsor & Newton Brush Cleaner & Restorer is an excellent option to remove any pesky crusted-on acrylic paint.
As soon as you notice the paint, clean up as much as you can while it’s still wet. After removing the paint, you can put the clothing into your washing machine. Add a gentle detergent and place your temperature settings on “cool.” Warm water can cause the stain to heat-set.
If you cannot use your washing machine right away, place the clothing in water until you can. The best thing you can do is keep the paint wet and keep it from drying.
Do not worry if the paint has already dried; you have a few options to get it removed from your clothing.
Surprisingly, hairspray is an excellent method to get stains out of clothing – even acrylic paint. Hairspray contains alcohol which can assist you in removing pesky stains. Typically, cheaper hairspray brands will have the highest alcohol percentages.
Soak the area with paint with the hairspray completely until the spot softens. Allow it to soak into the site for several minutes. Then, wipe off as much paint as you can get. Run lukewarm water over the area, and place it into the washing machine.
Fingernail polish works great not only to remove polish but also to remove acrylic paint. If you are worried that the acetone may harm your clothing, test a small spot that’s hidden first.
Soak a cotton ball or cloth with the acetone and press it over the paint. Gently hold it onto the stain to allow the acetone to soak in. After the paint loosens, scrape the small pieces off and wipe them away. Rinse off the acetone and place it in the water.
There are multiple commercial stain removers on the market that can assist in removing acrylic paint stains. With some stain removers, you will only need to use them as pretreatment, while others can go directly onto the stain. Read the directions on your chosen stain remover carefully.
Grandma’s Secret Spot Remover is one of the best nontoxic stain removers. This stain remover is chlorine, bleach, and toxic-free but works great to remove tough stains.
Many artists keep their brushes taken care of and let their palettes amass lots of paint spots. Luckily, there are methods to clean just about any palette material.
When using a wooden palette for acrylic paint, try only to use the amount of color you intend to use. Though this can be a little challenging for artists to do sometimes, it’ll help maintain the quality of your wooden palette.
Here is the best way to clean your wooden palette:
Cleaning acrylic paint off the plastic, glass, or ceramic palettes is typically easier than wooden.
Here is the best way to clean your plastic, glass, or ceramic palette:
Depending on the brand of acrylic paint, it may or may not have toxic chemicals. Even if you use nontoxic acrylic paint, it is still best to work with it carefully.
Even if you have been painting for years, it is never too late to sharpen your safety knowledge, especially if you have kids or dogs running around.
Many acrylic paints are nontoxic and primarily safe for artists and professional painters. However, acrylic paint may still contain chemicals harmful to pets and humans.
Although acrylic paint is known to be a paint that doesn’t produce a lot of fumes, it is vital to use them in a well-ventilated space. To further your safety from potentially harmful fumes, choose paint brands that are naturally derived.
You may notice that the label on your acrylic paint states that it is “nontoxic.” In some cases, this label doesn’t refer to humans but the intended surfaces for acrylic paint. Even paints with nontoxic labels can be harmful and irritate your skin.
If you are an avid painter, you may have had a scare or two accidentally picking up your water paint cup, thinking it was your drinking glass. Keeping your food and drinks away from your painting area can help prevent you from subconsciously grabbing the wrong cup. This is an easy mix-up to make when you are lost in your work.
When snacking, you may transfer some paint from your hands or station onto your food. Ingesting small amounts of acrylic paint isn’t usually too serious. However, if you ingest a large amount of paint, it is possible to get poisoning, and you will need to call poison control immediately.
Even though you should always work with paints in a ventilated area, it is imperative when airbrushing. When airbrushing with acrylic paint, tiny paint particles will blow all around you and can be easy to inhale. If you are an airbrush artist, wear a respirator or a high-quality face mask to keep particles out of your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Here are the most commonly asked questions regarding cleaning up after acrylic paint.
No, acrylic paint does not clean up with just water on it’s own. If you get to acrylic paint while it is still wet, water can help with the process but won’t be enough all by itself.
Acrylic paints are water-based; therefore, they are typically easy to clean up. Use a plastic, glass, or ceramic palette for the easiest clean-up after painting. Unlike wooden palettes, nonporous palettes allow you to remove hardened paint easily. However, it is important to keep paint from drying onto paintbrushes or clothing as it can be challenging to remove.
No, it would be best not to wash acrylic paint down the drain. Throw away as much of the acrylic paint as you can. When removing excess paint, use a paper towel. Clumping cat litter is one method you may use to dispose of paint water. Allow the paint water to clump up and dispose of it in the garbage.
Use a paper towel in lukewarm water to scoop up as much paint as you can get out of the carpet and dispose of it in the trash. Mix one teaspoon of mild dishwashing detergent for every cup of lukewarm water. Soak a rag in the mixture and gently blot the stain from the outside in. Once you have removed all paint, allow the carpet to dry, and follow up with the vacuum.
Denatured alcohol can work to remove most acrylic paint stains. Use a cloth or cotton ball to absorb the denatured alcohol, and gently press over the stain for about a minute. Use small circular motions on the stain until it softens. Use soapy water to clean the area and remove any leftover alcohol.
If you get acrylic paint on a table or another hard, nonporous surface, vinegar can help remove it. However, vinegar can be hit or miss when removing acrylic paint from other surfaces.
Acrylic paint can dry quickly, making it challenging to clean up afterward. Cleaning up acrylic paint before it dries is the best way to speed up the cleaning process. Paintbrushes can be the most challenging art materials to remove dried paint from, but Winsor & Newton Brush Cleaner & Restorer can help clean natural brushes. In conclusion, using denatured alcohol or commercial cleaners is the best way to clean up after painting with acrylics. If you have any questions, leave a comment below, and we will be happy to answer them