Acrylic Painting – Basics (details)

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 learn skills and prepare you to move on to more advanced skills.

This is a four (4) week structured class where we will all paint the same subject. After completing the Basics class, you paint what you wish (while you learn) in the Advanced class.

Instructor provides all materials: Paints, Brushes, Canvases, and other needed materials.

Session 1 –

  1. Canvas – Board, Stretched, ¾”, 1-1/2” Gallery Wrap. Tighten a canvas:  Wet/spray; blow-dry or air-dry.
  2. Brushes – See handout.  Discussion.  You will practice brush strokes in Session 2.
  3. Paints – Heavy body vs. non-heavy body.  USE ENOUGH PAINT!
  4. Foundation/Underpainting – purposes: Fill in canvas divots (tooth); makes painting fine lines easier/smoother. Multi-colored makes repairs easier.
  5. Colors: Primary Colors:  Blue, Yellow, Red. Secondary Colors:  Green, Orange, Purple
    • Hue = pure color
    • Tint = hue + white
    • Tone = hue + grey
    • Shade = hue + black
  6. Wash – A wash is used to modify an underlying color.  Paint three 1×3 inch stripes; yellow, pink, light blue.  Let dry; we will come back to this.
  7. “COOL” COLORS vs. “WARM” COLORS.  Instructor demo going from cool to warm.  Students may participate.
  8. 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. 


Session 2 – Mixing colors; Brushes

  1. Practice mixing colors:  turquoise, brown, magenta.
  2. Practice blending and transition.
  3. Brush strokes.


Session 3 – Values and Detailing

  1. Lightest to darkest.  More important than color.
  2. Check your paintings values.  Take a photo, change it to black and white. 
  3. Detail your painting with highlights and shadows.  Highlights do not need to be WHITE, and shadows do not need to be BLACK.  Try using lighter colors for highlighting, and using blues, violets, or other colors for shadowing.

Session 4 – Finish your painting! Instructor will demo/discuss the following:

  1. Varnish a painting.
  2. Wire a painting.
  3. Frame a painting.

Always sign your work!