As a painter, you must have a thorough working knowledge of different mediums and painting techniques. This knowledge is essential not only to your commercial success but also to your ability to express your artistic vision. Here’s an overview of what you should know about mixing various mediums and using different techniques.

Introduction to Acrylics

Acrylic paints have a rich and fascinating history. The first acrylic resin was crafted by German chemist, Dr. Otto Röhm who originally intended it to be used for industrial applications. Many potent and popular painters have used acrylic paints in their artistry throughout history. From David Alfaro Siqueiros to Andy Warhol have turned to acrylics to bring their artistic visions to the world.

Acrylic Painting Techniques

The techniques you use have a direct impact on how your painting will turn out when using acrylics. Different techniques can be used to produce various effects. For the most part, the Old Masters knew best. Here are some of the most useful and interesting techniques.

The Splattering Technique

The flick of your brush can create a unique splatter that conveys a valuable artistic element, emotion. When you flick your brush you can harness the energy that you have at that moment and channel it into a feeling. That feeling will be projected into your piece as it splatters unto the canvas.

Try tapping into different emotions and see how they affect the outline of the splatter. An angry flick of the brush will make a different splatter than one that is careful, deliberate, and methodical.


Like Watercolors? You’ll Love the Washing Technique

Washing is a technique in which the paint is mixed with water to produce a translucent effect that mimics watercolor paints. While diluting your paints might sound counterintuitive, it can actually make for some very pleasing effects on the canvas. Don’t be afraid to experiment with it.



Another useful technique you can use with acrylic paints is called dabbing. As the name suggests, you simply dab lightly on the canvas. When employing the dabbing technique, you should use either a brush with stiff bristles or a paper towel. It is important that you apply only the lightest bit of pressure when dabbing.

Dabbing is a great way to weave small deliberate accents of color into your painting. Claude Monet, one of the greatest painters in the history of the craft often used dabbing to experiment with the worlds of light and color. He successfully brought those two worlds together with this technique.


The Palette Knife

Among the most unique techniques in acrylic painting, is the use of the palette knife. Artists who use a palette knife are often more advanced. This is a powerful technique that can produce spectacular effects for those who have either the skill or the will to possess it.

You can use the palette knife technique to create sweeping layers of texture that enrich your painting and give it more substance.

This technique can be exercised by using a palette knife or a painter’s edge.



Now that you know more about the techniques that you can use when painting with acrylics, it’s time to introduce you to some mediums. The medium you choose will have a dramatic effect on the look and feel of your painting.

Matte and Gloss Acrylics

Two acrylic mediums that you should know about are matte and gloss. Acrylic paint is glossy by nature. A glossy acrylic medium can be useful when you want to make your painting more luminous and reflective.


Matte paint is comparatively much flatter and is a smart choice when you want to tone down the natural glossiness and shine of acrylic paint.

Texture Gels for Acrylics

Artists use texture gels to create distinct textures on the canvas. These textures range from sands and stucco to glass beads. While there is a wide variety of texture gels available for purchase, you can make your own if you so desire. A simple texture gel can be made by mixing in materials like sawdust and sand.

Using Modeling Paste with Acrylics

If you want to add 3-dimensional elements or make a collage. Modeling enables a bolder use of texturing. As a creative artist, you’ll likely find many exciting applications for this medium.

Most modeling paste is white after drying. It can be painted over and adjusted as needed to create the effect you want.

Unleash Your Imagination

You now have a rudimentary knowledge of acrylic mediums and techniques and are ready to start painting! Let your imagination run wild, never limit yourself. Take your best ideas and put them to the canvas. Whether you use the abstract powers of the splattering technique or the precision of the palette knife you are an artist, and you are free.