Art Lessons in Acrylic: Paint the Night Sky


The night sky is a beautiful and awe inspiring thing that many of use love to look at. The sky has been the subject of many great artists, and its beauty never ceases to amaze. You can create your own lovely rendition of the night sky using simple acrylic paint techniques.

To start you will need a canvas; whatever size canvas you have will work. You will also need a palette to mix your colors in. You will also need various colors of acrylic paint; blue, purple, black, and white are all essential, but varying shades of these colors are welcome. If you only have these colors do not worry because you can mix them to create various shades. It is also useful to have a cup of water and a rag to wipe your brush on.

Now start by putting some paint into the different areas of your palette. Next lightly wet some of your canvas, but remember to leave some places dry. These dry places will remain white, and they will help you make a moon and star later. Now add some blue and purple to your wet spots. The paint will get pulled out by the water, and it will swirl around on the canvas. Add more colors and enjoy this process of blending. Allow these layers to dry before beginning the next step.

After you have colored in most of the sky and it has dried you will need to pick a spot for the moon. A large round or crescent shaped white area is perfect, and you will notice that there are plenty of options available to you when you look at the blank spots you originally left dry. Now use the white paint to accentuate a round or crescent shaped area. You can add some light blue spots to this area to create detail and interest.

To create starts you should find other white spots and dab a tiny dot of white on it. Using your finger you should smear the white paint in a line out from the middle point. Repeat this process until your stars are bright and twinkling.

This is a simple way to paint a gorgeous night sky that doesn’t require a lot of supplies.

Acrylics are wonderful

These paints have many qualities that, though different from oils, make painting easy and fun. There are also many additives to give you many different effects, including: a matte finish, a glossy finish, a pearl finish, glitter, and an additive that will make the paint almost as thick as clay.

How Acrylics Differ from Oils

There are two main features of acrylics that differ from oils. First, since they are water-based emulsion paints, they can be mixed, and thinned, with water. This means that you don’t need to use thinners or mediums. If fact, you can’t even mix thinners with acrylics. This is good for people who don’t like the pungent odor of thinner, or are allergic to it.

The second feature that sets acrylics apart from oil painting is their drying time. Since acrylics dry through the evaporation of water, they dry quickly.

This fast drying time is the main complaint that oil painters have against acrylics. If you need to lengthen the drying time of acrylics, you can add an extender. By mixing an extender with the paint you will lengthen the paints drying time.

How much you extend the drying time depends on the amount of extender used, the temperature and the humidity. You can also slow down the drying time by spraying the painting lightly with water. By giving you a longer drying time, you can more easily blend your colors.

You can keep the paints on your palette from drying out by using several techniques. The easiest is to spray water on your palette while painting. Use a palette that has a wet sponge under a wet piece of paper. It comes with a tight fitting lid for overnight storage.

Tough, Versatile Acrylics

Acrylic paints are very tough, even tougher than oils. Once dry, acrylics are permanent, flexible and water insoluble. If you wish, you can gently wash the surface of a dry acrylic painting with soap and water. Acrylics will not yellow with age, either.

Another great quality of acrylics is that they can be used for a variety of projects where durability and flexibility are needed. You can apply these paints straight from the tub or jar, or thin them with water for watercolor or airbrush. They are also excellent for decorative painting around the house, collage, airbrush, murals, silk screening, paper-mache, brush and pallet knife, fabric painting, silk screening, photo retouching and more. Acrylics are usually less expensive than oils, too.

Since acrylics are waterproof when dry, they are excellent for outdoor murals. However, dried acrylic paints are microscopically porous, so it’s a good idea to use a varnish, especially if the painting will be exposed to the weather.

Cleanup is easy with acrylics. As long as your brushes are kept wet, you can wash them with soap and warm water. Instead of using a wood palette, one made of Plexiglas or glass allows you to easily peel off any excess paint that dries on the palette. You can also use a disposable paper palette for easy cleanup.

The Downside of Acrylics

There is a dark side to acrylics. If acrylics dry on a brush, you will probably need to replace the brush, as it will be almost impossible to remove the dried paint. It’s best to use synthetic brushes with acrylics. Acrylics will adhere more strongly to natural fibers, making natural fiber brushes harder to clean.

Temperature can also be a problem. The colder it gets, the more brittle acrylics become, and you should never roll, unroll or bend an acrylic painting when it is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, don’t store tubes or jars of acrylics at temperatures below 35 degrees Fahrenheit.



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