Acrylic painting is a lifelong pursuit. Even as you develop your skills (and master them), there is always something new to be created. While the possibilities are truly endless, it just might not be. Sometimes you get a creative block. It may seem like you’ll never have a great idea again, but trust us, that’s not true! To help you get back on track, we’ve compiled a list of acrylic paint ideas that take advantage of its unique properties.
Acrylic paints include pigments suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion. They can be diluted with water (unlike oil paint, which requires linseed oil or white spirit), dry quickly and, most importantly, can be added with mediums to give them additional characteristics. . Some mediums slow down the drying time, add texture, and alter the flow of the pigment itself. They are great for experimenting and giving you flexibility when painting.
With the unique properties of acrylic paints in mind, the following ideas are ideal for beginners and professionals alike. Scroll down for our list. And for creative concepts for any type of painting, check out our growing list of over 60 ideas that will get you to pick up a brush.
Need recommendations for acrylic paint? Check out our guide to the 10 best acrylic paint sets that beginners and professional artists alike will love.
Acrylic paint ideas to try with mediums
To learn more about acrylic mediums (including our recommendations), read our guide.
Gel medium is ideal for increasing fluidity and transparency, and for creating thin, even coats of paint. If you use the “heavy body” gel medium, it will make the paint thicker and the brush strokes visible.
- Paint a still life and use the icing technique.
- Gel mediums are perfect for collage (they act like a glue); try incorporating cut-out paper into a pet portrait.
- Use a palette knife make a portrait of someone in a style inspired by the work of Françoise Nielly.
- Take advantage of the increased fluidity (and the ability to create thin layers) when painting the plumage of your favorite bird.
- Try to use the medium heavy body gel and paint with fingers-no brushes allowed. Need some inspiration? Discover the work of Iris Scott.
- Use the medium to thin the paint like watercolor to paint a beetle with an iridescent shell.
With the texture medium, you can change the composition and experiment with sand, beads, pumice, and plasticine.
- Represent a mountain landscape.
- Imagine your beach getaway using a sand textured medium. Try adding fluffy clouds!
- Evoke the spiciness of a cactus by painting a collection of your favorite cacti.
- Paint your favorite furry creature. (Real or imagined.)
- Make a curling ocean wave using plasticine to convey its white caps.
- Recreate your favorite building using gel glass beads.
- Use plasticine to mimic the scaly texture of a reptile.
This medium changes the consistency of paint and is best for staining or acrylic casting.
- Splash on your canvas like Jackson Pollock.
- Pour a variety of colors onto your paint surface to create psychedelic swirls. Make sure each shade dries before moving on to the next.
- Using the fluid and an airbrush, create a stencil and apply it to a shirt.
- To create a swirling starry sky using bright purples, blues and blacks. Don’t forget to sprinkle the sky with stars.
- Make a underwater scene with your favorite fish.
- Go abstract and create designs and shapes that focus on vibrant colors.
Slow drying medium
Acrylic paint can dry in minutes, but not with a slow-drying medium; adding it to your pigment will double the setting time.
- To paint flowers in a vase inspired by Dutch artists of the 16th and 17th centuries …
- … or try it swirling patterns found on leaves, such as the calathea variety.
- Created a Impressionist-inspired landscape. For an added bonus, head to the place you are going to paint.
- Paint a collection of glass bottles. Use the extended drying time to manipulate the highlights you see.
- Imagine a rainy cityscape when you look at it from a window (it will probably look distorted).
- Copy a oil painting masterpiece that you admire.
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