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motivate me - acrylic paint on canvas

(52 Posts)
PimpMySittingRoom Thu 16-Jul-15 20:43:52


I've not used acrylic paint since secondary school (some time ago). But I bought some paint, brushes and a canvas a few weeks ago which has been gathering dust ever since.

Truth be told I haven't a clue what to do or where to start. If I don't write this post I doubt I'll ever do anything at all.

Do I need to draw on the canvas in pencil first or just go for it?

What type of scenes are best in acrylic?

Do I use water to mix the colours?

Any other tips for a total Novice?


ArtyBat Thu 16-Jul-15 21:07:28

Ok -
*Have you got a subject in mind - landscape, portrait, still life, etc?
*Some people find drawing a simple outline first gives them more confidence, others just go straight for the paint, so whatever you're happy with. You could even use coloured chalk as that will blend in with the paint easier.
*I've never painted scenes, just portraits and life poses, but I imagine any landscape will be fine.
*Yes, you use water to mix acrylic.

Any other tips.... basically, there is no hard and fast rule - art is personal and individual. When I was an art student thousands of years ago I remember feeling very self conscious and judged by my peers, but I wasn't, that was just my lack of confidence.
Now, I paint what pleases me, and I paint it how I like it, in my style, in my colours, because it is an extension of myself. And that's what you should do too.
Be brave, be bold, follow your instinct and enjoy it.

PimpMySittingRoom Thu 16-Jul-15 21:19:56

Arty thank you! If I didn't get any replies I wouldn't bother, I just know I wouldn't. So thanks.

I don't really have anything in mind. But I bought a small art book on monet for my sister's birthday, and forgot to give it to her, so it's still in my possession. Maybe I could copy something in there? Think I'd find landscapes easier as it's less detail I think?

What can I use to mix the paint?

JimmyCorkhill Thu 16-Jul-15 21:30:56

I am planning on creating this just to get used to painting/colour mixing.

JimmyCorkhill Thu 16-Jul-15 21:32:40

In my evening art class we put blobs of acrylic paint on a sheet of tin foil and used that as our mixing pallette (no washing up afterwards!)

PimpMySittingRoom Thu 16-Jul-15 21:33:18

Oh that's lovely. Something like that never crossed my mind. Maybe I'll give it a go.

Probably the hardest thing will be to decide what to bloody paint!

PimpMySittingRoom Thu 16-Jul-15 21:33:46

Thanks for the foil tip. Will do that.

ArtyBat Thu 16-Jul-15 21:35:10

By asking what to use to mix the paint - do you mean to mix it ON? If so, I use an old dinner plate, sometimes bits of inner cardboard boxes or anything else that's hanging around.
Re paintbrushes - don't go buying lots of expensive ones to start with, maybe just a couple. Cheap decorating brushes are good. Also, look at things that are good for making marks on the canvas - chopsticks, toothbrushes, wire brushes(small ones for shoes) (I'm rummaging through my box now) spatulas - the list is endless.
Re the paint - mix with water to various thicknesses, use it neat, mix other substances such as sand, flour, sawdust into it. Experiment. It's all about texture, depth, movement. Acrylic paint dries pretty fast, so if you find you're not happy with something, then just paint over it.

Some of my students often start out by copying others, but are often disappointed when it doesn't turn out EXACTLY as the copied piece, and so end up feeling they can't paint.
BUT, the real reason it doesn't turn out the same is because everyone has a different style. So, can I recommend that rather than copy another artists work, take a camera and shoot some landscape scenes of whatever takes your fancy, and work from those to begin with, then maybe move onto working from an actual landscape when you're ready.
As for the detail, again - you put in as much or as little as you wish - it's all pertinent to the artist.

The best thing about it for me is the excitement, waking at 3 in the morning all fired up and having to go make coffee and create for a couple of hours.

PimpMySittingRoom Thu 16-Jul-15 21:39:35

Wow Arty great post thanks I'm feeling all fired up myself now! Lots of tips, didn't realise you could use so many different tools to create so many different effects. Shame I only bought one canvas! And I only bought that because it was reduced to 3 quid, due to there being a small hole in it confused

tethersend Thu 16-Jul-15 21:43:54

Just go for it!

The best thing about acrylic paint is that it dries quickly, so you can paint over and over any mistakes.

I wouldn't bother drawing with pencil first.

Try and block in the scene you're painting (I'd recommend still life to start with, copying photos doesn't allow you to experiment with light and tone in the same way) within the first ten minutes. You may want to prime the canvas with a darker colour first and work up the light, or just paint a wash of watered down paint over the whole thing before you start; this makes the canvas seem less intimidating somehow.

Painting with a mirror behind you is a good way to check the proportions of your work.

Have fun smile

PimpMySittingRoom Thu 16-Jul-15 21:48:33

Thanks Tether! I really am getting excited about it now. I have been wanting to do this for such a long long time but always stalled, I think because I was scared? That I couldn't do it. But who cares if it's shit anyway?! I can just paint over it

Good tip about the mirror. Do you mean I should water down a darker colour in the acrylic paint (say a creamy colour?) and completely cover the whole canvas, before painting the actual picture?

ArtyBat Thu 16-Jul-15 21:53:43

OP, do you have a Home Bargains store near you? They sell canvases of all sizes really cheap in there, which are perfect for starting out .

tethersend Thu 16-Jul-15 21:56:35

"Do you mean I should water down a darker colour in the acrylic paint (say a creamy colour?) and completely cover the whole canvas, before painting the actual picture?"

Yes, exactly. Covering the canvas can make you feel more confident, and also means that you paint the lighter tones rather than be tempted to leave the white of the canvas showing through.

PimpMySittingRoom Thu 16-Jul-15 21:58:35

Don't have a home bargains anywhere near me unfortunately. Maybe I can buy in bulk online? Do you have any recommendations?

Okay, will do that, Tether.

ArtyBat Thu 16-Jul-15 22:05:28

I just typed in 'cheap blank canvases' into my search engine and quite a lot came up - Ebay has a number of good bulk buys, Wilkos has a 3pk assorted size for £4, and Hobbycraft look to have some special offers too.There's far too many for me to put on here, but all are easy to find.

So there you go, you can paint to your hearts content!

PimpMySittingRoom Thu 16-Jul-15 22:07:30

You are a star, arty. So sorry just realised how lazy I've just been. I could've used Google myself!!

Allgunsblazing Thu 16-Jul-15 22:09:43

OP, I can't paint to save my life, but I bought some watercolours and paper and I am literally dabbing in...
I take them on holiday normally and just muck a out with's fab!
Do you have any flowers/plants in the house/garden? Try starting with those, just for the colours smile

ArtyBat Thu 16-Jul-15 22:27:38

Glad to help Room -more tips.....

*To add undertexture, paste (with wall paperpaste, not PVA) various papers -eg tissue, newspaper, etc, to the canvas,, and leave to dry before starting to paint. But don't paste it flat, allow creases and curves to form into the paper as you paste it on, to give depth and shape.

*You can also use string, fine fabrics, mesh etc.

*Best of all, I like using my fingers to paint with, it's amazing what results can be got.

Hope you have lots of fun OP, and let us know how you get on.

PimpMySittingRoom Fri 17-Jul-15 09:45:19

Morning all! Thanks for all the posts and messages. Today is the day. I still don't know what I'm going to paint though confused

Can anyone tell me what these are? They were attached to the canvas

tethersend Fri 17-Jul-15 10:30:02

They go into the corners of the wooden frame of the canvas to help it stay taught and square. Look at the back in the inside corners of the frame and you'll see some slits to push them into. Do this before you start painting.

PimpMySittingRoom Fri 17-Jul-15 11:55:06

Thanks Tether have done.

Well I chose a rather adventurous first piece. I just picked it because I liked it.

I'm half way through. Although it's quite hard I am loving it. Listening to a bit of Richard Hawley and getting into the flow. grin

Having a little break now though...

ArtyBat Fri 17-Jul-15 12:01:11

Sounds good OP. I'm so glad you took the leap and went for it. I've been an artist for 35 years or so, but still feel excited when I start a new piece.

brassbrass Fri 17-Jul-15 12:08:37

how are you getting on Pimp?

show us your progress!!

PimpMySittingRoom Fri 17-Jul-15 13:14:26

I think I've finished. Going to leave it to dry and see if I need to add anything!

Pic to follow confused

PimpMySittingRoom Fri 17-Jul-15 13:41:10

Here it is

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