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Making Art

The Joy of Painting in Acrylic: Part I

We turn to painting as a path toward creativity and self-expression, as a way to tap our inner soul and give it wings to fly wherever it chooses or needs to go.

Ready to Embark on a Creative Joy Ride?

In my own artistic journey, I have found no better vehicle to take me on this magical journey than acrylic paints and the array of exotic gels, mediums, pastes, and specialty products. To me, these are not simply acrylic products; they are toys just waiting to carry out any creative acrylic toy box, the sky is the limit—the world drops away, and I step into a delightful expedition that leads me to unknown and unexpected destinations.

how to paint creative

Image via Shutterstock

Did You Know?


Acrylic paint is made up of pigment particles (color) suspended in a fast-drying acrylic polymer dispersion, which is also called the "binder." Just as linseed oil is the binder for oil paint and gum arabic is the bider for watercolor, polymer dispersion is the "glue" that holds the pigment in place and adheres it to your surface. This polymer dispersion is made up of two main ingredients: water and polymer solids (tiny plastic spheres). When the water evaporates, the spheres stick together and form a film that dries and traps the pigment in place on your canvas.

This polymer dispersion (binder) is white when wet, but it turns clear and glossy when dry (like glue). As a result, your paint will look lighter when wet and slightly darker when dry. Matte mediums and gels, however, dry with a slightly frosty finish; they will not be perfectly clear.

How does understanding your materials and tools help you as an artist?

Image and text excerpted from Modern Acrylics by Patti Mollica

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I don't want life to imitate art. I want life to BE art.

Carrie Fisher

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