View Full Version : acrylic brush technique?

08-12-2001, 07:50 AM
Hi, I'm a newbie at acrylics (or even painting). I've been reading quite a bit and learning and painting, but I haven't found a lot on brush techniques and acrylic painting. I'm assuming that brush techniques in general would be helpful, but that there may be specific info regarding acrylics.

I'm interested in the interplay of paint strength (mixing with water), retarder, and brush techniques.

My apologies if this isn't a very clear request. :-)

08-13-2001, 04:14 PM
The key thing is that your brushes must be kept wet. (There are exceptions to this rule. More on that later) Not as wet as you would have them for a watercolor wash, unless that's what you're doing, but some moisture needs to be in the hairs. Without this, acrylic paint hardens quickly and will ruin the brush. Because acrylic requires wet brushes, synthetic hair brushes are preferred, since natural hairs like hog bristle swell when wet, making them soft and prone to breakage. Acrylic also contains ammonia, which can be hard on sable brushes if you don't take extra special care of them. If small amounts of paint remains in your brush after regular washing, it can be removed with rubbing alcohol.

08-14-2001, 06:40 AM
I'm glad I read your letter. I am just going back to acrylics after 30 years and forgot all about the basics like damp brushes. Thanks .Carole:cat:

08-14-2001, 07:25 PM
Hey STP:
The only advice I can offer is to use a good water spray bottle to keep things misty and damp.
If you live in a humid area of the world then all the better. Retarders work well but I think they're a pain. Water rules. And get a good set of synthetic brushes. But for big brushes
--Buy the cheapos. They work great and save you money.
Mix to a consistency that suits the painting that you are visualizing.
Sometimes I'll mix till I get the consistency of watercolors other times I want the texture of pavement! That's the great thing about acrylics. It doesn't matter.
Other times I'll apply the paint right from the tube onto the canvas - This cuts down on brush wear and tear! :-)
And keep in mind that style and technique become a personal thing over time.
If you're just getting started though I reccomend painting spheres, cubes and cylinders. Everything in life is made up of them.
Paint these till you perfect them then move onto naked women.