Acrylic Paintings

I’ve used acrylic paint my whole life. Even before I started taking art seriously and pursuing an effort to improve my skills, I was familiar with the medium. While I have been using acrylic paint for a decent portion of my life, I was never good at it nor did I like it. I was always envious of people who used oil paint, because the way in which that paint blended amazed me. I never liked that acrylic paint dried too fast, but I also never experimented with it to give it a chance because I felt that if I couldn’t use it as is, it was entirely useless to me. 

Even during my Painting I class, I used acrylic paint, but only because I was too uncomfortable to use oil paints. It dried quickly, and that helped for when I wanted to work on projects close to the time of my class concluding, especially because I was a commuter. However, that was in the spring semester of 2022, and I was still struggling with allowing my artworks to go through a ‘process’ phase. Therefore, acrylic paint still had a hard time giving me what I wanted. I was far too impatient to allow the paint to dry before adding another layer, and I never fully realized that I needed to allow layers in my process. It certainly helped that a few assignments had to do with excess paint used, to the point where it was raised up on the canvas, because I felt that through that, I had control over the paint. 

“I had some kind of revelation over the past two weeks or so.”

I had some kind of revelation over the past two weeks or so. I promised my friend that I would paint her something for her birthday, and she really enjoys horror movies, but more specifically, the character Ghostface from the Scream franchise. I spent literally the entire year promising that I would paint him for her, so I did just that. I started the night before I was going to see her to give her her presents, because when I say I am working on my time management, I don’t actually mean it. I sketched the character out first, and I shaded with pencil so that I would have an easier time with the shading later on. When I applied the first coat of white paint, I noticed that the pencil almost dyed the white paint, and that it basically shaded the mask for me. It almost felt like the kind of blending that I had always wanted acrylic paint to be capable of. Although it was then that a switch felt like it had been flipped in my head; I was suddenly okay with my painting going through an ‘ugly’ stage.

I didn’t go in expecting the paint to be immediately opaque, and that seriously helped me finish the painting on time. I was far less stressed out, trying applying copious amounts of layers while failing to truly add dimension, because I understood that I could thin the paint out, and paint in layers. I could even add white paint where it had dried to help with my blending. Of course, I knew all of this information prior to creating my friend’s painting, but for some reason I felt that I couldn’t do any of that because it didn’t give me the immediate satisfaction of looking complete.


This newfound ability to see my paintings through more unfinished phases really helped when repainting a sign for my mom, too. Over winter break, she was re-decorating outside for the rest of the winter season when she realized that the front of our house seemed to be lacking. She noticed that she didn’t have a sign for the front of the house like she usually does, and last year she had a fall one that was fading and I had previously sanded over and primed. Therefore, I had a blank canvas at my disposal to create a wintry scene with. 

We discussed ideas that she might have wanted on the sign, and we ended up deciding on cardinals. While I know that with more practice I could be even better, I truly think through my best efforts, I made the cardinals look their best. I painted the blue background first, and then I thinned the red paint down with water so that I could fill in the cardinal outlines with red. I didn’t take progress pictures, because I didn’t think I would be writing about the sign, but I do have pictures of how the cardinals turned out, even though the sign itself isn’t yet complete. 

I think that I really utilized painting in layers, and the birds certainly look more fluffy than traditional cardinals thanks to that, but I am also in love with the effect. Before, I felt that I needed to see part of my work all the way complete if I were to feel encouraged to complete the whole piece, but typically, I would give up halfway through. Now, I can say that it feels much more rewarding being able to see the work throughout all of its stages. I won’t know what my work looks like until it’s completed, because for the most part, the composition is in similar stages of completion, and thanks to that, I feel more encouraged to actually finish it.


2 thoughts on “Acrylic Paintings

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.