When you are just starting out with acrylic painting, you will most certainly make your share of mistakes. This is the natural process of painting and we all learn and grow from our mistakes. This article introduces some of the more common mistakes beginner acrylic painters make.
Mistake #1 to avoid: Not using enough variety in your painting. An interesting painting has variety. It creates curiosity and interest, and the viewer wants to return again to observe it. So how do you create an interesting painting? Use a variety of different brushstrokes, techniques and values in your paintings. Change the direction of your brushstrokes or mix different techniques in the same painting.
Mistake #2 to avoid: Being too technical or copying. In order to truly paint a subject, and when I say “truly”, I am not saying you should copy the subject exactly as you see it. I am referring to connecting to the painter inside and truly painting your own impression of what you see. This is how your inner creativity shines on the canvas. It is what set painters like Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet apart from the rest. They each injected their own style and heart into their work. I believe your own unique creativity comes to the surface the moment you stop relying on the technicalities and theories associated with painting. I am not saying one shouldn’t study techniques and theory, but at some point we have to put that stuff on the back burner and let our creativity do some of the thinking. Whatever you do, don’t copy other artists. There is nothing wrong with allowing other artists to influence you, just make sure you allow your own unique style to come through.
Mistake #3 to avoid: Not observing your subjects. Do you spend time observing the subjects you feel inspired to paint? If you are a portrait artist, have you done any studying of the human anatomy? If you paint landscapes, do you spend enough time outdoors in that environment? If you aren’t spending enough time observing the subjects that you wish to paint, then you won’t know have enough knowledge to paint them.
Mistake #4: Not using quality art supplies. Are you using quality acrylic painting supplies? A really experienced and talented artist could probably create an entire painting using a toothpick, but who really wants to work that hard? When it comes to fine art supplies, you usually do get what you pay for. If you paint with a 50cent paintbrush, it will probably paint just like a 50cent paintbrush. The ferrule will more than likely become loose and the hairs will probably shed. If you are using really cheap paint, you will more than likely get really cheap results. The colors will not have the same brilliance or the right consistency. So invest in quality art supplies and take great care of them as well.
Mistake #5 to avoid: Not using enough paint. Learn how to apply paint to your canvas. Many beginners don’t reload their brushes often enough. I made this same mistake when I first began painting. I would squeeze out a little glob of paint and try to cover as much area as possible. In my case, I was just lazy, but many beginners are fearful of wasting paint. This is a reasonable concern considering the cost of supplies. The truth however, is that your paintings will be more interesting if you lay down the brush stroke, leave it alone, and then reload your brush. Don’t try and scrub the paint into the canvas, otherwise you are just staining, and not painting.
Mistake #6 To Avoid: Over Thinking. Don’t overly criticize or judge your own work while you are painting. This only creates discouragement and forces many beginners to become frustrated and quit. Just relax and let go. Trust yourself and your abilities.
I hope this article on acrylic painting has been helpful. Never get discouraged if you are making mistakes or not happy with your work. Mistakes are learning tools. Learn and move on. The most important aspect of painting is the enjoyment we receive from it anyway. Frustration and discouragement should never dominate the painting experience. Happy painting!