Let's Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!!!
Today I'm spilling ALL my Mixed Media Painting SECRETS about WHY ACRYLIC PAINTS are best for layering. If you're a beginner in the world of mixed media art, or just curious about how many crazy types of acrylic paint are out there to help you make a little mixed media MAGIC - today's video is FOR YOU!
One of the biggest questions/complaints I get from my students has to do with using watercolors in mixed media art.
They always ask me WHERE in the Hamburger System to put their beloved watercolors, and WHY their watercolors "won't sit still" if they try to put mod podge over them.
If you know me, you know I LOVE some special time with my luscious Daniel Smith watercolors, Noodler's Ink, or really ANY watersoluble product I can get my hands on (black stabilo all, anyone?!)
The thing about watersoluble art supplies is... they are DESIGNED to move, not stay put - even if they're fully dry. Even something as simple as putting a layer of mod podge OVER watercolors to "seal" them...isn't gonna work. And right here is where I get most of the complaints from my watercolor lovers.
I'm a watercolor lover as much as the next girl. But, when it comes to acrylic painting vs watercolor for mixed media layering, acrylic paints win hands down because they DON'T MOVE.
They dry to a plastic, nonporous surface. What this means in the world of mixed media is that acrylics are AMAZING for layering (something we do a LOT of as mixed media artists)!
Acrylic paints are non-watersoluble, and don't re-activate. That fact alone makes them magical to TONS of artists.
My biggest advice to my watercolor lovers is to ... learn to USE (or love!) ACRYLICS whenever you intend to do lots of layering for your mixed media art!!
Don't worry, there are SO many types of acrylic paint out there. I'm actually gonna show you some THIN acrylics that behave kinda like watercolors, so stay with me!!
Here's a mixed media art example of a piece I created with some unique layering. AND, I did my collage later at a different point than I normally would if I were using my Hamburger System.
I typically love to start my mixed media art projects with collage. In the above mixed media portrait, I started with a layer of acrylic SPRAY PAINT (super FUN process)! Then I collaged over that, did some more acrylic painting, and collaged over that AGAIN.
The reason I could do that is because I was using acrylic paints!
Speaking of my Hamburger System, I've got a 1 page cheatsheet of this layering system I can send to you if you like. Simply click the button below, and I'll send it straight to your email!
There are LOTS of options when it comes to the types of acrylic paints on the market. Beginners, listen up, because this will help you understand your mixed media painting supplies SOOO much!
Each brand has a range of products you can try, depending on the type of effect you're in the mood for.
Additionally, most brands also have a "student" grade (like Liquitex Basics, featured below), if you don't want to spend a fortune on acrylic painting supplies.
I pulled together a wide variety of options to show you for today's acrylic painting demo so you have an idea of what each one does in case you're interested in trying them!
If you like the look of something chunky, you might want to try knife painting, or using a "heavy bodied" acrylic paint. This type of acrylic paint keeps its form, is very thick and opaque. Most heavy body acrylics come in tubes like the ones above.
HOWEVER...there are also heavy bodied paints that come in an applicator like the one below!
Check out this fun 3D Liner by Sennelier! This is a fine art product (that means it's light fast, and not moving around). It goes on kina like "puffy paints" for adults!! How fun is THAT?! You've gotta see how this works!
If you're interested in trying a softer bodied acrylic you might be interested in trying a line from Matisse called "Flow." It has a nice consistency to it, but if you're into knife painting, this isn't going to give you the texture you'll find in a heavy body acrylic.
Not only do the consistencies of acrylic paints vary, but their sheen will as well. Take a look at these GORGEOUS iridescents by Arteza!!
While you definitely can add acrylic painting mediums to your paints to get results like this, I tend to be in the kinda girl who wants to grab a bottle, know what to expect from it, and go!!
This is just pure fun. I mean, look at that GREEN!!
In addition to soft bodied acrylics, there are fluid or "high flow" acrylics. These are heading into the direction of a consistency similar to watercolors, and where my watercolor lovers need to listen up!
If you are one of the peeps adding water to your acrylic paints to get a thinner consistency out of them, please stop :) I say this with LOVE.
Adding water will alter the chemical makeup of your acrylics. For the most part, it's just going to dilute your colors so they won't be as vibrant as they would be in their natural state...right out of the tube.
You may not know this, but I don't even wet my paintbrushes prior to using my acrylics. Speaking of acrylic paintbrushes, if you need help understanding what paintbrushs to use, you'll want to check out this video. There are TONS of variations out there, so this will help to set you on the right path.
Golden makes a great line of fluid acrylics and even has some awesome transparent acrylics if you enjoy the look of a thinner wash. If you are interested in creating an effect similar to watercolors, but using acrylics- I recommend reaching for "high flow acrylics."
If you're in the mood for something EVEN "drippier," you have to try Liquitex acrylic inks! Make sure you click over to watch this video so you can SEE the drips!!!
SERIOUSLY soooo fun!!
Liquitex even put their professional, artist grade ink into some GIANT markers for us to play with (see below).
Who doesn't want a ginormous, hot pink marker FULL of paint?! These can help you make some quick splatters with zero effort.
Another fun acrylic product to try is called acrylic gouache. This is super matte when dry, and very flat.
Gouache actually comes in different forms, and may be something you've tried if you're into watercolor or have done any classes with my favorite Scottish bud, Lucy Brydon.
Liquitex has an awesome, artist grade acrylic gouache that is light fast and has a fun applicator tip you can play with.
While you absolutely can go out and buy a collection of ALL these acrylic painting supplies, you DON'T have to, because acrylic paints have a HUGE collection of mediums that were made just for this purpose - to change the properties of acrylic paints!!
How cool is that?!
There are literally DOZENS of acrylic painting mediums you can try.
The ones I pulled to show you are a handful of my favorites.
Sometimes there is a ratio of how much medium should be added to how much acrylic paint, so be sure you read the instructions on the side of your bottle to get the best effects.
If you're interested in the flat look of gouache, you might want to try Ultra Matte Medium by Liquitex.
If you watch my mixed media YouTube channel, you know I use matte medium all the time as an adhesive for my collage pieces, but it can also tone down the glossiness of your acrylic paints.
If you want to try thinning your acrylics, Golden makes a great airbrush medium that will thin your acrylic paints without diluting the pigment of your color!
So if you're one of my friends who reaches for water to thin your paints...stop! PLEASE use this instead!!
If you want your acrylics to behave more like oils, you can lengthen the drying time by adding a retarder.
If you want to get drizzly with your paint while playing with textures, you can add Clear Tar Gel by Golden to your acrylics!
PHEW!! That's a LOT of products!!
Of course there are more, but this is a helpful foundation of acrylic painting basics and will DEFINITELY get ya started.
Make sure you click over to actually WATCH this video because it helps to see what each product actually does on canvas!
Are you in the mood to do some acrylic painting now?!
I thougt so!! If you need a simple acrylic painting tutorial for beginners, this one is FREE, super cute and FUN!
Interested in doing some acrylic painting at home, or looking for acrylic painting online classes? This one is perfect for beginners if you're ready to step up your game!!
Thanks SO much for hanging out with me today!!
I hope you have a wonderful week!!!
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Founder of Awesome Art School. Mixed Media Artist. Author of 18 Instructional Art Books!
"Karen is flipping hilarious and she's very real...I like the way she teaches in a way that really gives you confidence, whether you're a beginner or advanced there's always something new to learn!"
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