The Teach-Yourself Method

Where do you find the time to paint in this busy world? It can seem like an impossible accomplishment if you try to paint in your spare time. It can be a bit of a struggle to locate a space and get your paints out. Sure, you’d love to try new paint colors, mixing and exploring, but you have a family and friends, a job, and a thousand responsibilities that are more important.

However,  if you want to fit your creativity into your already busy life just click here to follow these simple steps. If you are one of the lucky ones who has plenty of spare time to teach yourself painting then follow the steps below …


Here is what you will need:

  • A designated, comfortable painting space or area
  • An old table and a stool or chair
  • Water cup, paper plates or palette, rags, paper towels
  • Brushes, paint and a painting surface  (canvas, canvas-board, etc.)
  • A stand-up easel or table-easel 
  • Courage

Let’s get started …


Step 1  –   Choosing A Painting Location


6237651994_0464d18a83_nSelect a comfortable location with lots of natural light for your painting area. Good lighting is important. Make sure the back of your canvas never faces the sun or light source.

Find an old table or desk that is big enough to accommodate your cup, paints, and brushes, with room to spare for miscellaneous needs.

You will presently devise your own system for setting up your supplies. Place your supplies just the way you please  and consider wearing an old shirt or smock for protection against spills and accidents .

Your painting area should be out of the way and traffic free. Find a quiet space with no distractions.



Step 2   –   Choosing Paint


81XvfEL72EL._SL1500_When choosing paint, keep in mind that the cheaper brands of acrylic paint are less thickly pigmented than more expensive brands. The cheaper brands require 2 to 3 more coats of paint for the vibrancy of a single coat of an expensive brand. However, the cheaper brands are best for beginners.

Begin by purchasing the basic colors below because any paint color you need can be made from a combination of  these colors …


Cadmium Yellow Medium – Cadmium Orange – Cadmium Red Medium – Alizarin Crimson – Burnt Sienna – Pthalo Blue – Dioxazine Purple – Pthalo Green – Ivory Black – Titanium White


download (10)
Cadmium Yellow Medium
Cadmium Orange
Cadmium Red Medium
Alizarin Crimson
Burnt Sienna
Pthalo Blue
Dioxazine Purple
Pthalo Green
Ivory Black …

and   Titanium White

For starters, consider purchasing these colors in tubes because tubes offer smaller quantities. Paint quality does not vary between tubes and jars, there is no difference. Alternatively, paint sets or kits are available and will supply you with many of the above colors in one inexpensive package



Step 3  –   Choosing Brushes, etc.


71pcC73OelL._SL1480_If acrylic painting is just a hobby for you, go for the synthetic brushes which are softer and easier to clean. Focus on the quality of paint for the time being. If your painting hobby  becomes a serious pursuit then you  might consider purchasing quality brushes.

Palettes – A paper or plastic plate works fine for acrylic paint beginners. If you are mixing large quantities of paint you might consider small plastic cups with lids. Any paint left uncovered on your palette will dry quickly.

Painting Surfaces – Canvas board, stretched canvas, wood, and watercolor paper are the most popular acrylic painting surfaces. Because acrylic paint is relatively thick and heavy, a sturdy painting surface is required. Consider starting with paper plates and working your way up from there.



Step 4  –  Deciding On A Subject


art_of_still_life_drawingNow, its time to think  about a subject for your first painting …

Rather than creating a mental image to work from, try using a photograph or a three dimensional object to start.

If you draw a blank  in regards to your subject matter, consider a bowl of fruit … or any object from your home, a vase with flowers. If you like landscapes try a sunrise or a sunset.

Unless you are able to paint exactly what you see, you might create a rough sketch of your ideas on paper before you begin painting. A regular no.2 pencil will do for outlining your shapes and forms. Why not do multiple rough sketches to get it just right before you paint?



Step 5   –  Mixing Paints


Color Wheel Small Color Mixing Guide (3501)   $5.94

A great habit to establish from the beginning is to mix all the colors you need before you start painting, rather than mixing them as you work. The color wheel is a handy reference for mixing your paints.

You can make many colors by mixing the primary colors, red/ blue/ yellow, in various combinations. Mixing yellow & blue will give you green … red & blue make purple … red & yellow make orange, etc.






Step 6 –  Painting Techniques



There are endless techniques for adding color to a surface. Here are a variety of options —

Use a palette knife to sweep on broad strokes of color for a rough, unedited paint look. Coat the knife in a thick layer of paint, and move it across your canvas to load up thick layers of paint.

Use a brush for  a wash effect by simply thinning your paint with water. By using washes, you create an effect that is very much like watercolors. Washes are great for creating a gradation effect.

When you hold your paintbrush vertically and tap it onto the canvas, you create a ‘stipple’ effect. Using a dry brush and a small amount of paint gives you a multi-dotted effect that is  quite unique.

Once your work is completed and thoroughly dry, you might add acrylic varnish to your painting. Varnish gives the painting a finishing coat that helps the paint chemically bond to the canvas. Varnish also seals the paint and helps to protect it from damage.

Try different ways of applying paint to your surface. Be creative and settle on the methods that work best for you.



Step 7  –  Painting In Objects


Many beginners like to use a grid when painting their subject. It is very easy to split up your canvas into parts using an imaginary grid, Work one entire grid space before moving on to the next.

This is an optional approach to painting where you work one small section at a time … stay in your comfort zone.






Step 8  –  Painting In Details


images (12)cOnce you have gotten in your basic shapes and colors, try some of the above techniques for adding in details like texture or movement  …

Use your palette knife for broad sweeping strokes of color. The knife should be coated with a thick layer of paint for thick textures.
For gradation effects use thin washes of color for a watercolor-like appearance.
With a dry paintbrush and a small amount of paint, you can stipple on paint by holding your paint brush vertically and tapping it onto the paper. It will give you the appearance of many small dots.



Step 9 – In conclusion


Dive in and forget about all the questions you may have, for now. Just have fun painting!



 Step 10 – Post conclusion


Most important to remember …  Painting is a stress reliever … Want to ask an expert? … click here.



Is It Better To Paint Indoors or outdoors? … Hmm, carrots or peas?


Once you are familiar with acrylic paints and feel confident about using them, pack up those acrylics and paint outdoors!

Painting outdoors is a fun way to explore acrylic painting. Keep in mind that acrylic paints dry very quickly, and they dry even more quickly outdoors. Be sure to have a  spray bottle of water handy in order to keep the paints moist.

It is a good idea to use smaller amounts of paint on your palette. It is better than using large amounts that will dry out and be wasted. The ideal solution to the “dry out” issue is to get a stay-wet palette.


If you prefer to paint indoors while practicing your acrylic painting techniques, maybe a still life arrangement will be a great subject for you. You might even consider exploring the more decorative acrylic paints like those with iridescent colors, or the fluorescents. Glimmering metallics are also great to play around with.


Showcase your new paintings


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