Using Art As A Therapy Tool

Tips For Selecting High-Quality Acrylic Painting Supplies

If you are new to acrylic painting, you may erroneously believe any supplies will do or you may want to avoid wasting high-quality supplies. Even beginners need to select quality supplies, otherwise, you may not get the results you want and it will be harder to develop your skills.


Your canvas is the foundation of any painting. Many beginners start with canvas panels because they are usually economical for learning and they take less space to store. You should choose the grain (or "tooth") and weight of your canvas based on how you will want to paint. People who desire smooth, wet-into-wet blending will want a canvas with little grain and is fairly smooth. For impasto work, you will need a heavier canvas that is capable of holding thick layers of paint.

Rougher tooth canvases also work well for painting with a pallet knife. If the tooth of your canvas is not ideal, you can always improve the texture with gesso. You will allow the layer of gesso to dry, then sand the gesso in between layers. For a rougher texture, you will want a lower grit sandpaper and for a smoother canvas progressively work your way up to a higher grit. Whatever canvas you use, make sure it is primed for acrylic paint. An oil-primed canvas will not work for acrylics.


Good acrylic paints typically have a high pigment load, which means you get more color for your money. The best way to test any specific brand is to purchase a kit that might a small amount of several colors. Once you decide what brand you want, you can start building up a collection of paints. Although you may want every color you see, it is not necessary in the beginning. Start by developing a split primary palette. This means you should select warm and cool versions of the primary colors. In addition to these colors, you will want white and black. Learning to mix colors allows you to create any color you want and save money. In the future, if you see a color you like, you can read the label and see if it contains some of the colors that you already down. Then you can simply mix your own version.


Good brushes are also critical for acrylic painting. Fortunately, you can usually find good-quality brushes at an affordable price and you can get by with only a few brushes. Some brushes are designed to be used for several mediums, such as acrylic and oil. It is best not to mix mediums with your brushes and have a set of brushes dedicated to one medium. Most brushes appropriate for acrylics are synthetic, which means they do not contain animal hair. For acrylics, you want a firmer brush that is capable of holding paint while maintaining its shape. Since brushes come in different shapes and sizes, the choices can be overwhelming. Start with a flat, oval, and liner brush and add shapes as you need them.

The right brush size will also depend on the size of your painting. A large brush on a small canvas can be difficult to maneuver and impossible to create fine details. Conversely, a small brush for a large canvas will not allow you to get paint on the canvas quickly. In addition, it makes wet-into-wet blending difficult since you will likely end up with dry edges. Some people have large brushes for creating smooth backgrounds and smaller brushes for details. A mop brush can also be useful for smoothly blending areas, especially where you want to fade one color into another.

There are three basic tools beginners need to start acrylic painting. Investing in good-quality supplies will make it easier to learn painting. Contact a company that supplies acrylic painting kits for more information.