Sunday, December 24, 2006

Help with blending acrylic

Hi, I'm really struggling with learning to work with acrylics. Trained in oils and I tend to want to overblend and end up with a mess. How do you create soft edges with acrylic? I see in Brian's paintings that he makes nice soft edges and Jeffrey's paintings seem to have a nice mixture. What's the secret to working with acrylic and not making a mess?

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks,



  1. Hi Mona, yes one issue with acrylics is they dry so fast. I find that edges must be softened when the paint is wet and tonal changes should be done while the paint is wet. Softening can be done by glazing but it is very delicate work and I don't have the patience for it. Another solution would be to buy slower drying acrylics such as "Graham & Son" paints or using a retarder to slow down the drying time. In my own work, I find what works best for me is to do all the blending and softening while the paint is wet. With oils, we have all the time in the world to blend and play around. With acrylics however, you need to move quickly and work much faster unless you use retarders. Hope this helps, Brian

  2. Thanks, Brian...I have purchased the Sta-Wet Pallette and it works wonders to keep the paint moist so that I don't have to work at a frenzy pace. I'm also learning to plan my color scheme which helps avoid confusion and time consuming mixing when I don't know what color to use. Anymore comments would be appreciated. Mona`