Painting with Acrylics

Painting with acrylics is favoured by many artists because of the quick drying compared to oil. If you are an artist who likes to work fast (like me…), acrylics is the medium for you. Another of their popular qualities is that they can be mixed with water or acrylic gels, so that once dry they can resemble a watercolour or oil painting.

Types of Acrylics

There are two main types of acrylics, namely:

Artists’ acrylics – these are professional-quality acrylic paints that contain the greatest amount of pigment and are designed to resist chemical reactions resulting from exposure to water, UV rays or oxygen. It often mentions artist or expert. Brands to consider are: Amsterdam Expert, Liquitex Heavy Body, Lascaux Artist, Golden Heavy Body, Winsor & Newtons Artists’.

Student acrylics – these are similar to artists’ acrylics, but have lower pigment concentrations, fewer colours and lower tinting strength. They are also cheaper to buy. Brands you can think of are: Amsterdam Standard series, Winsor & Newton Galeria, Daler Rowney System 3, Schmincke Akademie.

There are also differences in viscosity between the various acrylic paints, which affect the way they appear on the canvas. Heavy body acrylic paints have a much thicker consistency, which lends itself better to colour mixing and more visible brush strokes. While liquid acrylic paints are thinner, making them better suited for finer detailed work and techniques such as dry brushing or making acrylic cast artworks.

On the website of Van Beek Art supplies you can find many more brands and they give a good description of the various brands. They also explain a bit more about the special acrylic paints and acrylic paint products. I have no experience with that… (yet)

My first Painting with Acrylic Experience


I painted the lion with Liquitex Heavy Body Paint using only the primary colours (and black and white).

Then (over another painting) I made my PiKazzie with a mix of Liquitex Heavy Body and cheap Action paint that I still had lying around…. This was to see the difference and THERE IS ONE! What a relief it is to work with a better type of paint. The Action paint doesn’t even cover it, was very matt and probably faded very quickly. (Yes, nice bridge to lightfastness! 🙂 )

I do like painting with acrylics, so on the hunt for more paints than just Liquitex Heavy Body. You can understand that the Action paint will be thrown away now; we still have to find out where and how that can be done in the most environmentally-friendly way possible… The artist brands mentioned above are very expensive. My box Liquitex was about EUR 45,- for 6 x 60 ml at Amazon. I’ll get through that in no time, of course! After some Googling I came across Toon Nagtegaal’s blog about Professionele Acrylverf: het verschil met standaard- of studiekwaliteit. (only Dutch…) What a good tip he gives at the end of his blog: build up your painting with standard/study quality paint and finish with Expert quality paint.

I already have the Expert quality (Liquitex Heavy Body), but now I need a good study quality. The most lightfast study paint I can find is Amsterdam Standard and I also ordered the primary colours in pots.

So more Acrylic paintings will follow!

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