Acrylic Painting Basics

Learn the basics about brushes, paints, mixing colors, foundations, and blending. You will also learn to varnish, wire, and frame your works of art!  We will all paint the same subject to prepare you for more advanced tools and skills.


  • Lesson 1 – Getting Started
    • Canvas – Board, Stretched, ¾”, 1-1/2” Gallery Wrap. Tighten a canvas:  Wet/spray; blow-dry or air-dry.
    • Brushes – See handout.  Discussion.
    • Paints – Heavy body vs. non-heavy body.  USE ENOUGH PAINT!
    • Foundation – purposes. Fill in canvas tooth; makes painting fine lines easier/smoother. Multi-colored makes repairs easier.
    • Items you need for Painting in Class or at Home.  (Handout.)
    • Paint your background. 
    • Skim dry and sketch your subject with chalk.

Instructor Demo – Heavy body vs inexpensive paint.  Paint a foundation.

  • Lesson 2 – Mixing Colors
    • Primary colors:  Red, Blue, Yellow
      • Secondary colors:
      • Red + Blue = Purple
      • Blue + Yellow = Green
      • Yellow + Red = Orange
        1. Hue = pure color Red
        2. Tint = adding White
        3. Tone= adding Grey
        4. Shade = adding Black

Instructor Demo – Discussion of Warm and Cool Colors.  Class and Instructor Mix Turquoise.

  • Lesson 3 – Blending, a Wash, and Values
    • Blending – The action of mixing or combining things together.  That can mean we want to mix an entirely different color, OR it may mean we want a smooth transition from one color to another.
    • Wash – A wash is used to modify an underlying color. 
  • Values and what that means.  Why the importance? 
  • Tip: take a photo next to your painting; change the photo to black & white to compare Values.

Instructor Demo – Demo Blending, demo a Wash, View photo for Values.

  • Lesson 4 – Sealing/Varnishing a Painting, Frames, Wiring
    • Discussion of varnishing:  Matte, Satin, Glossy.
    • Discussion of frames
    • Discussion of wiring

Instructor Demo – Varnish, frame, wire.

Always sign your work!