A Guide to Beginner’s Acrylic Painting Part 2: Paint!

So now that we’ve covered brushes, now let’s cover paint on those brushes. Today the basics of paint, from cheap to expensive, I will show you what’s worth it an whats not.  Let’s begin with the grades.

What’s The Difference Between Student Grade and Artist Grade?

This is a very frequently asked question in the paint world, so let’s get our facts straight. Student grade is what the very beginner would use. It’s cheap, and less high quality, yes, but let’s face it. Your first painting is going to be no Mona Lisa. So wouldn’t it make sense that you work up to the dollar signs?

That’s where artist grade comes in. Artist grade is the true, expensive, high quality stuff the professionals use.

What Does Light Fast Mean?

Light fast is something quite important, that all beginners should know the basics of. Basically, light fast is the difference between red roses that turn into white roses a few years later due to the sun, or red roses that stay red. No painting should be placed directly into the sun, due to this fact. Student grade paint is less light fast (more common to make red roses white in the sun) and artist grade is more light fast (less common to make red roses turn white in the sun) you shouldn’t have to worry too much about this, because if you keep painting your favorite will turn into your least favorite and what used to be on the walls won’t be on the walls in a few years most likely. However, this is important, and not to be ignored. So, don’t buy the cheapest of the cheap, which in a few minutes I will get to the best brands to buy… But until then, just keep this in mind when hanging up those beautiful paintings, and next time that tube of paint runs out.

What Paint Should I Buy?

Liquitex is a pretty trusting brand. They do have a line of student grade paint that is perfect for beginners called Liquitex Basics. This is great if you’ve just picked up your first brush, and want to try out this media. It’s also nice to get familiar with artist grade shades, and color names, which we will get to in another post. Craft paint, like Apple Barrel, or Ceramcoat, is nice for paper projects, that won’t be hung up, and just some simple practice. Although you may get confused about colors, since they have all those weird names that are similar to house painting names.

If you are ready to get into the artist grade stuff, brands like Liquitex, Matisse, and Golden are an option. Liquitex Heavy Body is great for your first artist grade paint. Matisse and Golden are dipping more into the pricey side, but are also very nice and quite high quality paint. Matisse is an Australian company, and Golden is USA manufactured. Don’t be worried about trying all those different brands, that’s a good idea! Trying different brands an different colors, and branching out of things you might be a little comfortable with, is great because you’re making yourself a better painter, seeing if you might like something else a little more.

What Are “The Medias”?

Well, there are many medias, but the most basic ones are Acrylic, Oil, and Watercolor. These are three different types of painting, and completely different to each other. Acrylic is the one we’re learning about, a quick drying paint that carries many techniques an methods, including wet on wet, and others. Another thing to know about acrylic painting is it cannot be wet down more than 20%, the exception to this rule being that you can wet it down as much as you like if you are on an absorbing surface such as paper, or wood. Acrylic brushes include synthetic brushes,  and are relatively fairly firm, depending on the artist’s preference.

Oil painting is another type of painting, that has more colors than acrylic, and dries very very slowly. You have to wash your brushes with oil instead of water, like acrylic.  A painting takes several weeks just to dry, especially with cold weather. With oil painting you’re likely to get a texture with the paint. Oil and acrylic can be used together, although you must be very careful when doing this. Oil can be covered onto acrylic but acrylic cannot be covered onto oil. Oil painting brushes include hog hair bristles and are relatively rougher. Last but certainly not least, we have watercolor.

Watercolor painting is relatively new to the world, this meaning you won’t see watercolor paintings in many museums. There are many of the same colors in watercolor as there are in acrylic, and the cool thing about watercolor painting is that the paint can be reactivated with water, meaning once the paint is dry put a wet brush on and you have paint again. This cannot be achieved by acrylic or oil. The  bad thing about watercolor is that you have to have an absorbent surface, such as watercolor paper. Therefore you cannot hang watercolor paintings as easily. Watercolor brushes are softer and include natural hair brushes, so they absorb more water.

If you enjoyed this post, please like and share with your friends. If you have any questions or comments, please state your thoughts in the comment section below.

Yours Truly, The Blue Eyed Crafter


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