How to paint on canvas with acrylic

The painting acrylic provides the versatile artist to paint on canvas medium. Acrylics let down with water to a transparent state type watercolor, or the colors can be applied in thick layers imitating the oil. Unlike watercolor, acrylic paint is easily erased when it is wet. Acrylics, unlike oil painting, are flexible and can be manipulated on canvas for acrylic paints or works with mixed media.


  1. Find a theme to paint. In the first place, it would be useful to sketch miniature drawings of the motif. The subjects of acrylic painting can come from outside, from still life, photographs, models or they can be abstract.
  2. Remove some acrylic paints of different colors and place them on the palette. Use tones that combine with the theme to create a realistic painting. Abstract artists are free to choose their colors. Over time, artists of acrylic paint can create their own specialized palette with colors of their authorship.
  3. Dip a paintbrush in the paint and move it to check its consistency. Each pigment and each brand has its own viscosity level. Playing with paint is a way of seeing how easily it moves and slides. Add an additive to improve the acrylic flow so thick paint moves more easily on the canvas.
  4. Creates a background layer with shades of gray to guide the back layers of light and shadows. You can use a complementary tone as the background layer when the primary paint palette is planned. A layer in shades of yellow, for example, would complement a painting with violets.
  5. Work on the canvas with thick acrylic paints to produce a thick texture. Use a spatula to give thick strokes of paint or to scratch it.
  6. Experiment with different acrylic media including gloss, matte or gel type to create different effects on the canvas. Use flow improver and retardant solvent, one drop at a time, or dilute the paint.
  7. Try acrylic media such as black lava rock, sand and foam to sculpt on the canvas.

Tips & Warnings

  • Mix the colors on the palette and not on the canvas, since the acrylic paints dry very quickly. Spray paint the palette with water to prevent it from drying out while painting.
  • Wash the brushes carefully when you have finished the job. Do not underestimate how important acrylic media can be when you try to achieve specific effects on the canvas.

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