Acrylics, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.... Seriously — I know I'm biased, but for good reason — acrylic paints are the most versatile paint medium today.
You can use them using traditional painting methods; you can create washes and stains with them; you can make glazes; you can make them look like watercolors or oil paints; you can add mediums that create a variety of kinds of special effects, including textures, drips, and pours; you can use them in collage and mixed media; you can make them look like encaustics; you can apply them with palette knives or spray cans; you can use them on any number of different kinds of surfaces... well, you get the idea?
Two very different paintings created with acrylic paints — on the left, a mixed media painting with collage — Do It on Purpose • Acrylics and collage on canvas • 10" x 10" • © 2014 Karen Lynn Ingalls (AKA Karin Johansson-Bolin - my alter-ego mixed media self). On the right, a landscape painting — Autumn Celebration • Acrylics on canvas • 12" x 16" • © 2014 Karen Lynn Ingalls
And acrylics are forgiving! Don't beat yourself up if something isn't turning out in a way you like! (You should NEVER do that anyway.) You want to change it? Just let it dry a little, and paint over it. No problem.
They dry faster (oh so much faster!) than oil paints — but you can extend the drying time if you like blending and mixing your paints on the canvas. They dry permanent, unlike watercolors, but you can give them the appearance of watercolors.
In short, it's the perfect medium. (Well, yes, I'm biased — but, as you see, I have good reasons for it.)
This Saturday I'll be teaching Acrylic Painting 101, my introductory workshop to painting with acrylics.
If you're new to acrylics — or new to painting in general — this is a good way to get started. We'll begin by exploring many of the ways you can apply acrylic paint to a surface, and practice mixing colors.
Then everyone will create two paintings. The first is an abstract painting — you'll receive open-ended, guided instructions to get you started, so there's no feeling of being intimidated by looking at a blank canvas. And although everyone hears the same guided instructions, because they are open to individual interpretation, each person's painting will be completely unique and unlike anyone else's.
The second painting is a simple still life, so that you'll get some practice in working from an object. You'll learn how to start your painting, and how to approach it each step of the way until you have a finished painting.
One of the things I love most about this workshop is that we approach painting with an attitude of experimentation. There is no judgement here! This is all about diving in and exploring the medium in a way that will give you a strong basic foundation. Then you take what you learn and go on whatever direction appeals to you most....
I'll be teaching Acrylic Painting 101 is at the Calistoga Art Center, 1435 North Oak Street in Calistoga, California — and the time is this Saturday, June 28th, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Bring a lunch! The registration deadline ends soon — you can find out more on my Acrylic Painting 101 page, here on this website.
You can also learn more tips and basics about acrylic paints on my new Acrylic Painting 101 website. I'll be adding to it over time, but there are some very helpful tips there now.
Karen Lynn Ingalls
I am a working artist in Napa and Sonoma Counties, in northern California. I paint colorist landscapes of rural California, teach art classes, workshops, and private lessons, and live in Calistoga, California. I also teach private, group, and corporate art workshops in Napa Valley, Sonoma County, and other parts of Northern California. In 2016, I will begin giving Napa Valley Art Retreats. Contact me to find out more!