Impasto – Painting with a knife

Yes! That is the term used for a painting technique – ‘IMPASTO.’ Impasto technique in simple words is painting with a knife. A painting knife is different from a regular knife. The blades come in different shapes and sizes to create different textures. You could relate better if I named a famous artwork created with this technique – ‘Starry Night’ by Vincent Van Gogh.

Impasto technique is commonly used in paintings of the ‘Abstract and Impressionist styles’. Instead of using a brush to apply paint on the canvas, we use a knife. It is a metal piece (flat) not exactly sharp but more of a shaping tool with a wooden handle. We can create a variety of textures using it. The texture created will depend on the pressure applied and how the knife is held by the artist.

Showing textures of Impasto
Holding the Knife to Paint

Hence, the texture created by two different people using the same materials can be different. The method of application is what matters. This method is not exactly taught. The artist must try different strokes to see which one he/she is most comfortable doing. Like they say each one of us has that one special movement in which, only we can do best.

Demonstrating the Impasto method
Painting on the canvas

Initially, when I learnt this method during school days, we referred to it as ‘texture painting.’ This term expands the scope to use other tools for application to create textures with paint. For example, we can use the blade of a cutter or a simple piece of ply laminate. These can be sharp, so please be careful while using them. Ever noticed a worker applying a white base (putty) or cementing the cracks in the wall?

Variety of Painting knives
Different blades of painting knives create different textures

I know, to be safe please use knives and not these other things. All I meant was that we can create textures with anything, even combs. It’s like the application of icing on the cake. In this case, think of paint as the icing that we are using. I gave that connection on purpose. The consistency or feel of how the paint should be for a good output can be understood through this connection- soft, quick drying and thick.

Painting with a Knife

This painting technique gives a 3D-like output. There is no need to paint various layers. We only need to give a background colour to the canvas and then we can paint directly on it. Impasto is originally done with oil paints. But it’s expensive and takes very long to dry. I have tried this method with gouache paints (on paper) as well as acrylic paints (on canvas). Both work very well in their way. The paint dries quickly and the artwork can be completed in one go. We also get various mediums that we can add to acrylic paint in order to enhance this work.

My Painting using the Impasto Technique

Textures can also be created with ‘Guesso’ at the beginning for the background and then painted. However, most of the time we just directly apply a nice rich thick coat of paint directly to the canvas. Please note, this method uses a lot of paint. So make sure you are stocked up with enough paint in the colours that you need. The exact amount depends on the artist’s usage but the amount of paint that is used in a painting with this method is almost 3-4 times more than a regular method.

A trending art that uses this technique but with different material is ‘Russian Sculpture Art’ or ‘Russian Sculpture Painting.’ Readymade ceramic pastes in various colours are available in the market. These are used to make florals. Do check this art on the internet if you heard it for the first time. It isn’t exactly sculpting but it uses ceramic paste with the painting knives.

Try different textures on small pieces

And finally, where will I get these knives? In earlier days artists would make their knives but we are in the modern world now, right? That means it is available at almost all stores selling art material. It is also called a ‘palette knife’. It is barely sharp enough to cut the paint. So even children can use it under their parent’s or teacher’s supervision. Go ahead and try a new technique of painting this week! Have an Arty Week ahead!

Solving the Easel Puzzle

A short simple post answering questions about selecting an Easel or a Drawing Board. People usually have two opposing thoughts on this topic. Some feel “what is there to select? Every artist or painter needs an Easel” while others feel “it is the last thing to invest in”. There are a lot of myths about an Easel. No doubt it makes an excellent gift to give an artist, but do you know which one to select?

Easels are a one-time investment and costly. Every artist uses whatever he or she is comfortable with. Not all artists draw, sketch or paint on an inclined surface. Different painting styles can mean using or not using the Easel. What I feel is that earlier people began carving or drawing on walls and ceilings most people would draw or paint like that. Then later when the paper was discovered, our writing desks had a slight inclined table top. Now if you have noticed, our table tops are flat.

Great! So do you need an Easel or not? All photos depicting an artist will always show an artist with an Easel. It is very symbolic. However only artists painting a canvas use an Easel. We can and many artists sketching in pencil or charcoal attach their paper to a drawing board and put it on an Easel.

For my art exams and in school we did not have Easels. Drawing on our school desk during class or then most of the times sitting on the floor. It was with the drawing board in my lap sitting cross-legged on the floor. Yes, it can mean a backache after long hours of work. Whenever, I draw and paint on paper, I keep the paper on a drawing board or a flat table top. But for Acrylic Painting or Oil Painting, I need an Easel. The canvas is painted keeping it upright.

Easels are usually wooden or metal. An Easel made of metal is more versatile and is like a tripod for lights or a camera. It is suitable both outdoors and indoors and the height is adjustable. Next, we get travel Easels with a drawer for art supplies to carry on outdoor trips. Then there is the authentic symbolic wooden Easel. Yes, we do get two or three variants in them. Last but not least we get Easels used only with a display board.

Things to keep in mind while selecting an Easel are :-

  • The Easel is heavyweight and sturdy. It stands upright correctly balanced and doesn’t move or shiver while painting.
  • The Easel is suitable to draw or paint on the size of the canvas or drawing board that the artist most commonly uses.
  • The height of the Easel – whether the artist paints while sitting or standing and if by any chance the artist is taller or shorter than average. The comfortable height that he or she paints at.
  • The finish polish or coating on the Easel that is there to protect it from rusting. This is important because the canvas or paper can develop stains or mould if the Easel is damaged.
  • Outdoors or Indoors – some artists paint outdoors on tours or trips.

Similarly when selecting a drawing board it is important to look at it from a similar point of view. I would say it is like selecting a cricket bat. The drawing board gets seasoned over time and the artist gets used to it. Common sense isn’t it? But a very important decision. Because it is a one-time buy and it is the highest investment compared to all the other art materials.

Some artists prefer custom-made Drawing Boards and Easels. It is a good idea to get one made if one has a source. We can put our drawing board on the Easel as well. Special clips that will not leave a mark on the paper when secured tightly to the board are easily available. Note the thickness of the drawing board while selecting the clips.

Then after years when it wares off and the artist has to buy a new one, it takes a really long while to set up with a new one. It affects the art or rather the comfort level while drawing or painting. That’s a small post on Easels and Drawing Boards this weekend. Have a great week ahead!

Did you know? The wooden pieces that come along with the canvas are actually keys used to tighten or stretch the canvas.

Photo Courtesy – WordPress Library

‘Still Life Painting’ – by Guest Blogger Dr Shaazia Hawai

Bold and expressive brushwork to convey the beauty of the mundane ordinary subjects around us is what I love to do. Hello! I am Dr Shaazia Hawai, a dentist by profession and an artist at heart.

Art, for centuries, has been a means to express individualistic creativity. To me, art is a language that I intend to speak fluently. It thrills me when I see someone who has mastered the language of art. It intrigues me when I discover someone adding new layers to its tapestry of possibilities.

Being a dentist, I was miles away from indulging in anything creative. Science and Art are very different after all. I started painting as a means to explore my creativity after a visit to an art supplies store.

I felt overwhelmed looking at gorgeous landscapes, realistic portraits and stunning abstracts. ‘Still Life Painting’ or ‘Object Drawing’ had this strange attraction for me. It was something that I felt I could dabble with. And that is how my journey as an impressionist still life artist began.

I enjoy painting with acrylics as the medium is versatile and allows room for experimentation. Painting still life has its advantages like the subject doesn’t get tired, doesn’t move and it’s so easy to procure ( just raid your kitchen). I suggest painting one new object daily.

For the initial few months, I used to paint only in my spare time. As time progressed I started dedicating more time to paint because I was enjoying the process. I set up a small workspace in the corner of my bedroom for painting. That really kickstarted the daily morning ritual of painting. The ritual then became a habit. It got me focused and gave me clarity with regard to what I needed to do with my art.

If you are beginning your journey as an artist my suggestion to you is to form your own daily routine. I saw massive progress in my painting style and brushwork with this system of practice. I started posting my artwork regularly on social media.

I was approached by an art supply store to conduct online workshops for them. I had not learnt painting the formal way and so teaching art or even painting in front of a live audience gave me goosebumps. Overcoming my fears and conducting the first workshop was a game changer for me.

Not only was the workshop a success, but I also had a blast interacting with fellow artists. This gave birth to my Saturday live paint-along sessions on Instagram. I still conduct them. You may drop by and check my page to join the party.

The idea of being around like-minded people enhances creativity. We challenge and help each other by supporting the artist community.

My paintbox consists of primary colours (red, blue & yellow) and white. A few flat and round brushes ( I use mostly 6,4,2 flat brushes & 6,2 round ones) a substrate on which you will paint ( paper, canvas, wood, cardboard, etc)

A great tip that I have learned is that – acrylic paints tend to dry dull if diluted with water, so I usually use a medium (gloss/matte) to increase the flow of the paint and limit the use of water to only for cleaning brushes. (Note: Wash brushes immediately while painting with acrylics)

Let’s Paint ‘A Pear’

It is best to simplify the object. A pear looks like an alphabet ‘A’ or a triangle over a circle. After establishing a loose sketch, I apply a thin wash of neutral colour. This underpainting helps eliminate the whites of the paper and creates depth in the painting. Next, I establish the dark tones in the painting and paint from dark to light. You can also paint from light to dark. It depends on your chosen medium.

A loose brushwork like mine can be achieved by holding the brush at its tail end. Then I add the highlights, background and fine details to bring out the likeness of the subject. One can always add more details and finer brushwork to make the subject more realistic. But if you prefer an impressionistic style like me, leave it in a loose expressive state.

I am a firm believer in what Van Gogh said, “Paintings have a life of their own that derives from the painter’s soul.” An artist paints from his soul to produce magic on canvas. That’s why a true artist’s work is easily recognisable such as Van Gogh’s starry night, Monet’s lilies, Cezanne’s still life & Klandinsky’s abstracts.

My suggestion to all beginner artists is not to copy styles or trends on social media. Paint what your heart desires, and you will make mistakes but keep practising because Bob Ross said, “There are no mistakes in art, only happy accidents.” And as you embrace these happy accidents, you will evolve as an artist.

Dr Shaazia Hawai is a dentist, who spills her love for colours onto the canvas. She is also adept at Arabic Calligraphy and Paper Quilling.

It’s Beautiful! Stained Glass Paintings

Large panels of coloured glass at the Church, is where I probably saw stained glass paintings for the very first time. Most of them are florals or abstracts. Some of the best works I have seen share stories of the church. This art form is very ancient and people have been doing it for years. A striking point of the design is the blocks or parts of the painting and the translucent colours. Have you noticed it?

The motifs and panels are large, the larger the better. But they can be used in our homes too. I painted a mirror for my dressing room with this method. I also designed the acrylic ceiling for my bathroom using the same technique. Yes! We also get DIY kits with simple designs for kids to paint. I clearly remember, back during my school days stained glass painting had become a fad. There is a chance almost all of my creative friends would have tried it at least once.

Photo Courtesy WordPress Library

Notice how the dresses of the human figures have been sketched as blocks? The drawing is never one single large piece in a stained glass painting. Even after so many lines it looks beautiful, isn’t it? Also, from what I understand this painting is five panels joined and set in a single window. The black horizontal lines are the frame.

The painting process is very simple. Two steps 1) Create the Outline and 2) Fill the colours. The skilled part is in doing it. And like they say, you have to do it to know it. The texture that you see is the original texture of the glass. We select the glass based on the type we want. The material except the glass isn’t very expensive. The colours in a set are enough to make two or three glass panels. So if you want to re-use or recycle a piece of glass from the renovation, consider stained glass painting. It will give a fresh and majestic look to your decor.

Stained Glass Panel
Stained Glass Panel with Square Tiles – Photo Courtesy WordPress Library

The Paint used for ‘Stained Glass Painting’ is very different from others. It is translucent and self-setting. It is available in small bottles with droppers or changeable caps. A box of glass paints by ‘Fevicryl’ has a black outliner tube and 5-6 basic colours. This is enough for a beginner. Red, Yellow, Orange, Brown, Green and Blue create pretty designs. It is amazing how we can create such beautiful artworks using barely a few minimum shades.

The Black outliner has a pointed nozzle with cap for precision or can be transferred to a cone. The bottles have a dropper. I don’t know if you understood what that means. It means we do not need a paintbrush. The colour is dropped into the blocks created. However just like most artists I also prefer to use a brush to spread the colour evenly or create shading. We need to be careful because if the paint is old and thicker than needed, it will not give a smooth finish.

Painting a Stained Glass Panel – Photo Courtesy Unsplash

I shall try to explain this with a detailed process of creating a stained glass panel. For the first project select a small glass panel. The size of A4 or a little larger is good. Next, select a design. A simple abstract or floral one with large blocks. There are templates available on the internet that we can download and print on a home printer. Then we place the design underneath the glass and trace it on the front or top side with an erasable marker.

After that using the outliner tube we create a steady outline in black for the design. It looks like a 3D piping. We then have to wait for the outline to dry. It would be a good idea to do this on the previous day and colour it the next day. If the line is thick at some places and thin at others or if it is very light at some points, the colour will make its way through like water. It flows out. Erase the marker lines after the outline dries.

The ready kits have this step already done. The kids only have to pour the colours. Next we use a dropper and drop the colour in the closed portion. By ‘closed’, here I mean the black outline is sealed correctly. Units that we want in the same colour, try and drop the same quantity of colour. For example the leaves of the flowers in the picture below are all of the same colour.

The colour automatically spreads to the edges and sets like a block of jelly. There will be darker or lighter shade within the same colour, if we do not drop the same amount of colour. That’s correct, this is the tricky part. It can be understood only after trying to paint. Hence we need to spread the colour evenly and equally, knowing how many drops of colour to add in each of them. Once we get this right, we have aced it!

And there is another unique idea of putting a crushed silver foil as the backing for the the stained glass painting. We then mount the dried finished glass panel in a frame. It also looks good as wall art and not just the usual ceiling or windows panels.

Oops! Don’t be in a hurry. The paint may seem dry but it takes at least 24hrs to set completely. Only after that we can pick it up or change the level to tilt or hang it. Yes! The painting has to be done laying it flat on a levelled floor. Nah! We don’t paint the walls. Only after the pieces have dried completely it can be lifted and fitted.

An interesting similarity of this art is with acrylic pieces that they weld together as sun catchers for outdoor decorations. Have you seen them? If you have and know what they are called, please share the details in the comments section below. Have an Arty Week!

Painting a Silhouette

How to say that? It is ‘Silu -et’. That’s right! I am not talking about a soft fabric but a technique of painting. Silhouette is also a popular method in photography. It is an object or profile in dark black against a very bright source of light, usually the Sun.

To understand it better, do a small experiment. Take a camera and try clicking pictures of any object with the Sun at Sunrise and Sunset. The object will always come dark. On the other hand if you click in the other direction where the Sun illuminates the object, we get a crisp clear photo with details of the object. That is why they say don’t click against the Sun. Unless of course you want the special effect.

A example of how the photo will be – Image from WordPress Photo Library

The reason is the immense brightness creating a contrast with the object. Thus the object appears completely black or dark with only an outline or profile. A distinct shape of the object will be seen. This is called a Silhouette. Sunrise and Sunset are the perfect backgrounds.

It is a very simple method for painting and can be done by just anyone. No need to know anything about painting. One can paint with any medium of paint. In digital it is super quick to draw one. We can even paint it using markers. Relief techniques as well.

Silhouette Example
The Knight – I painted it digitally to explain Silhouette

It is 3 simple easy steps 1) Decide the placing of the objects 2) Paint the background in colours of yellow and orange 3) Draw the object and colour it in black – as simple as that. One thing to note is the position of the Sun. White followed by lemon yellow followed by orange to red, brown and black. This is the colour blending of the Golden Sky.

Silhouette Example 2
Yoga Pose – Another one that I painted digitally

Drawing the object directly seems difficult? Let’s make it even easier. Download a ‘Silhouette’ of the object, print it and cut it. Place it on your drawing and mark the outline. Now paint it black. We can use a stencil also. For a first timer it is ok to use assistance. Once we understand how to paint it we will be able to do it without any assistance.

It is like the learning side wheels in a bicycle. We can let them off once we learn to ride. It helps overcome the stigma ‘I can’t paint’. A beautiful blend of colours with a distinct object highlighted. The colour on the outside and the object in single solid colour – Silhouette. The internet has ample images for inspiration. Choose something you like.

I paint them digitally because it is super quick. Beach scenes or by the sea shore are best drawn using this method. One of my favourites to paint would be the Knight holding the flag and the other is a famous scene from the movie ‘The Lion King’ where Mufasa roars from the top of the cliff. A woman standing at the cliff point with open arms and breeze blowing through her hair is another one I like to paint.

Painting Silhouettes is easy and hence can also be very easily replicated and copied. Hence, I don’t sell them at my shops. Decided to do a post on them for learning and understanding. One can always paint them for their learning without any worries OR If photography is your area of interest, try clicking some pictures.

Have an Arty Weekend!

The Perfect Blend – Exams & Coffee

What is Coffee got to do with Art? 😀 My young followers have exams coming up at schools, colleges and universities. Coffee will be their best friend keeping them up studying late nights. Just like a good coffee is all about the blend. Art is also all about blending and having the right combinations. All set? Prepared?

A coffee cup with my design available at my shops – NMartworks

I will do posts on ‘Latte Art’ and ‘Coffee Painting’ later after exams. This post is to wish them ‘All the Best’. No last minute advice or instructions before the exams. Just go out there and do your best. A sweet follower wrote to me saying she has her art exams coming up and my posts were helpful in preparing for them.

artist at coffee table
An artist sketching at a coffee table – Image from Unsplash

I am so glad the posts were helpful. I am sharing links to some of them once again as they have been pushed off the main blog page due to the space limitations. The posts might be of interest to the new readers or followers who just joined and missed the previous posts. I will put a search the website option once I do a few more posts.

Wishing everyone all the best with my coffee theme cards

I made them using Coffee theme stamps, Black Ink archival ink stamp pad, Watercolour Markers and Brush Calligraphy Pens. Here’s a very extra special tip that one must always remember :- You can paint with Coffee but you can’t drink Paint Water. Hehe..Just to lighten the mood. Have an Arty Weekend!

Getting to know ‘The Washi Tape’

The title says it all ; this is a all you want to know kind of post and it is all about ‘The Washi Tape’. Ok! What is so special about it? Fine! It is just another tape, so use it as one. True! I think it is a door to creativity. Especially for storytellers who cannot draw well but have so much to say and share.

What is Washi Tape?

The name literally translates to Japanese Paper Tape. In India we have been using paper tapes for painting jobs. It is usually to protect an edge from unwanted paint. It is often referred to as masking tape. However Washi Tape is way better in terms of quality. It was originally used for Arts and Crafts. I think it is a must have for everyone, for students and professionals both alike. If your children are in school and have to do a lot of projects or journals, you will definitely agree. I just love them.

Washi Tape
Photo Courtesy- Downloaded from Unsplash – Photo by Sticker Mule

What is so special about it?

The paper is different. It is strong and stiff like a tape but light and semi transparent like paper. Layering is possible. Next, the glue is very good to stick it smoothly on a surface. At the same when we remove it, it will not leave any stickies or damage the surface. Comes off very easily. The glue can be easily cleaned with soap and water, if any. Last but not the least we get them in a HUGE, yes HUGE variety of colours, sizes and designs. We can cut and use them as stickers too!

Japan Washi Tape Idea
This is a portion of my collection – An idea on how to use it

Where will I get them? What is the price point?

It is a Japanese Tape so obviously it is available at stores that sell art craft materials and stationery from Japan. I bought mine during my visit to Japan. I have original Japanese Washi Tapes from The Japanese Paper Museum. In India, we now get them online as well as at all Art and Craft stores. We do get products that may not be the original one from Japan but are referred to as Washi Tape only because they are decorative tapes made from paper or titled so for search engines.

Washi Tapes are available in different sizes (broad) and usually bought in combos. Depending on themes, designs, colour matching and so on. It all depends on how you wish to use them. The prices are also offered like wise. The more you buy, the higher discount. For example INR. 30/- for one or 6 for INR.120/- It is an example, actual price may vary but is approximately in the same range.

How to use them?

  • As a regular tape in your diary to stick or attach something
  • As a decorative tape for borders, arts crafts, projects. journals, diary, your writing book, greeting cards, memory journals and more.
  • As a protective edging tape while painting surfaces. We tape the surface we don’t want the colour on. So when we remove the tape the extra colour or resin is removed and that surface is clean.
  • To create effects in some abstract geometric art
  • Labelling products
  • Marking a straight line while painting or drawing

Special Tip – A new Tape may have strong glue that may erode the paper surface a teeny bit. To avoid that simply paste the tape on the paper and lift immediately once or twice. Then stick it. Now when we remove it, the paper will not erode.

Removing Washi Tape
A photo to explain the special tip

Paper Tape can be used on any surface for edging or protecting the edge or surface. I used it to protect my coasters while coating resin. It works well with liquid paints as well as spray paints. It is an essential for re- furnishing and re- painting jobs. The plain colours are cheaper than the fancy ones.

Yes! I think they are totally worth the investment. There are ample ideas on creatively using them shared on Social Media. Take a look to get started. I have covered all the important information for a crafter or artist in short. If you wish to know more, you can always search online. Do check my Pinterest Board – Washi Tape Ideas to get started. I have pinned 50 different projects or ways one can use Washi Tape.

Valentines Day tomorrow! You can buy Washi Tapes and make your last minute preparations like a pro. Have an Arty Week!

Link to my Pinterest Board –

A Photo Frame – It’s Handmade

Click! Click! Hehe! We don’t get to hear this clicking sound anymore. The cameras are silent but we still click as many pictures or probably more. Now that our phones have a very strong camera lens, we like to capture every memory.

It is a memory, it is special. Then why let it remain in the phone. Let’s print it and put it in a nice photo frame. That is my topic for today’s post – a very simple easy DIY Photo Frame. It also makes a great handmade gift to share with your loved ones.

Handmade Photo Frame
The Photo Frame that I made

Earlier if I had to make something like this I would have to buy mount board or ply and then cut and make the frame myself. Also cut such vintage design decorative pieces. I agree, it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea to get a good finishing at these. Tedious too!

Now we easily get ready made stuff like plates in different shapes, pen stands, photo frames, coasters, alphabets and much more. The art and craft stores stock these. Further we get a large variety in primed chip board pieces. These designs are laser cut from plywood or board. They are primed ; meaning painted with a base paint. Won’t require gesso or primer to paint. We can directly use acrylic paints.

The material is plywood or fibreboard for all of them and hence for any craft or painting it is the same family. I did do a project earlier with the same materials – A Nameplate and Coasters. In case you wish to read those posts, the links are at the bottom. Yes! The material is mainly used for Mixed Media projects. Some stores are offering DIY kits with these.

I think one can always get more creative and use them differently, isn’t it! A big smile 😀 How is this project different? The method of painting is different. This method is super easy. Anyone just anyone can make it and it will still be a masterpiece.

Materials Required :

  • Ready Plywood Base – Photo Frame – any design of your choice
  • Decorative Primed Chipboard pieces – any design of your choice
  • Acrylic Paints and Brushes
  • Embellishments
  • Varnish for Acrylic – Spray or Liquid – either will do
  • Your enthusiasm to create something new

Minimum materials and most of it will be from your paintbox. No need to buy them. Make use of whatever you already have at home. Let’s get started! Put enough newspapers or plastic to protect your table or floor, wherever you are working. We do spill paint while doing this.

Material for Project
Ready Base and Chipboard Pieces

Special Tip : Cut out a rectangle from the plastic envelope of the frame or chipboard pieces. The size of the photo to be inserted. Insert it in the photo slot to avoid it getting blocked due to paint. This way we give a protective base and avoid colouring that portion.

Further we can use stencils to create textures on the base. We can use Tape to create designs as well. Pack the edges with Masking Tape or Washi Tape to avoid colouring the wrong side. We can even paint the edges in a different colour. Remove it once done. I will do a post on using tape soon.

Photo Frame - DIY
Trying and deciding their placements

Arrange these pieces and roughly decide their placements. Next select the colours. Individually paint all the pieces in any single colour. Here, I have painted the chipboard pieces in Gold. Chipboard pieces are by the brand ‘Little Birdie’. We can shade them but they are already 3D and hence I feel a single colour looks better.

Making a photo frame
Work in progress

The frame base is painted in Titanium White. One edge I have painted in Pink – Medium Magenta. After that I have dusted the frame with the same Gold used for the pieces. Gold on White is blended to look like gold is dusted on it. Finish the edges and back side likewise. Acrylic colours are painted in layers and blend even after the base colour dries. Use a wet brush only if needed. We use water only to clean the brush.

Thereafter I added the Gold Border using acrylic pens or paint pens. I use ‘Posca’ and ‘sharpie’ brands. They work well. This one is a bronze by sharpie. Once the pieces dry we can assemble or stick them together. They dry very well in about half an hour maximum. Next, we assemble or stick them together with glue. I use ‘Fevicol’ – India’s most popular glue.

Photo frame painted
It’s painted! Time to add embellishments

Next we add the embellishments. Any finishing touches if you require. Let this dry completely. Varnish it the next day and it is ready for use.

Handmade DIY Photo Frame
Photo Frame at my table

I like the colours in this one. Reminds me of my doll houses and princess fairy tales. I have mentioned the shades if you wish to use the exact same shades. Acrylic Paints are Artist Colours by the brand ‘Camel – Kokuyo Camlin’. I use spray varnish also by the same brand.

As you see, ones painting skills will not make much of a difference. It will still look as elegant and beautiful. Don’t forget to add your photo! Hope you enjoyed this post. Have an Arty Weekend!

View Post – Mixed Media Project ‘Name Plate’

View Post – Art Project Set of Coasters

Mixed Media Project : Nameplate

The first thing we usually ask or get to know about someone is their name. That is how we relate to them. We all like it when someone calls us by our name, isn’t it? That is what my next project is all about – a name. In this post, I am sharing about making a nameplate. It could be a simple door sign for your room or studio, an open or close sign for your store or a board sign for your home.

I wanted one for my creative corner. My initials are ‘NM’ and my shop name is ‘NMartworks’. Although I do various Arts and Crafts but mainly I’m into Drawing and Painting. That is why I selected a ‘Palette and Brush’ theme for myself. I wish to to make this project using the art materials that I already have and buy as little as possible. A common problem for such projects is about assessing the quantity of various materials required.

The first step to any project is to visualise. I visit art and craft shops to look for what is available. After that I design the project. Next I list the requirements and make a rough estimate considering the variance. I check my stock, meaning I check the material that I have at home and then I source the remaining. Most of the time this works out just great and other times I have to re-work it to cross the hurdles.

If there is a special price or discount on the material it is a bonus. Once in a while, that stuff you really wanted can get picked up before you get your hands on it. Certain materials are available only in large packs or you run out of it at the last minute. Also sometimes the same design is unavailable later. These hurdles are a part and parcel of the making process. Unless you are into selling and regularly stock material, these little hiccups are for everyone. Doing my homework makes me feel in control of the situation for my peace of mind.

List of Materials

  • MDF Board – Palette Shape
  • Primed Chipboard pieces – Vintage design and Floral
  • Old Brushes
  • Glue – Fevicol
  • Gesso
  • Acrylic Paints
  • Embellishments
  • Gold and Bronze Sharpie Pens
  • String
  • Acrylic Varnish
Acrylic Colours
The material I have used

The quantity for all the material for this project can be the smallest size bottle or tube available in the market. It is a small one. We can use all the material for other projects too. To know more about selecting art materials check my previous posts. I have covered the topic in detail.

Let’s get started

I have made the Nameplate on the lines of a Mixed Media Project. What is Mixed Media? As the name suggests it is mixing different media or materials. Wood, Metal, Fabric and Paper are commonly used for Mixed Media Projects. We use objects made from different materials, arrange the objects and make one new object. I placed the MDF Palette, the chip board pieces and brushes together.

The objects I have used are of the same material family – wood. The best way to glue wood is using India’s most popular glue – Fevicol. If you don’t believe me? Check their advertisements. Yes! Even if we were to use fabric, metal or paper in our project we would have used Fevicol. The surfaces of the objects that I have used for the nameplate have different colours and textures. Some are polished, some unpolished.

Mixed Media Palette in the making
Assembling the small objects to make one big object

Colour always sticks well on a clean rough surface. Sanding them is one option but not ideal. The other is ‘Gesso’ pronounced with a ‘J’ and not as a ‘G’. Gesso is a kind of primer. It primes the base and makes it ready for painting. Gesso is a mixture of POP (Plaster of Paris) or Chalk/ Gypsum and Glue or a binder. I have used a textured one. It is thicker than paint and is used to create textures. We get a variety of them. The cracked effect is one of them. It develops cracks as it dries. We have two colour options – Black and White.

Priming the Base
Painting the Gesso

What is a primer? As the name suggests it is the first or prime paint applied. Think of it as the base coat. It prepares the surface for painting. A primed and painted surface will look very smooth and finished. It also lasts longer than a non primed one. Gesso is quick drying. It is always applied as a single coat. We can paint on top of the first coat only if any spot was left out. If we paint another coat it destroys the texture of the previous coat. Let’s paint it now.

Mixed Media Gesso Painted
Primed the Base with Gesso. Looks like one object now.

I wanted a red gold finish. I painted it using Gold, Crimson, Black and Copper colours. I added little highlights in White colour. Last but not least I used Sharpie Pens to paint the leafy texture in the background and added silver embellishments. Thereafter I tied matching Gold string to hang it. In case you bought an MDF Palette that does have the holes, make these in the very beginning itself.

Painting the Nameplate
Painting the Nameplate

Alternatively we can paint the pieces individually and then arrange them. Even that works. The chipboard is already primed and can be painted directly. Chalk Paints work very well on MDF pieces. About two coats is good and no need to prime it. I wanted the whole plate to look like it’s made from one single block. Hence I painted it as a single piece in the same colours.

All of this is fast drying. However it is important to let it set and dry completely before varnishing. What is varnish? It is a clear coat. A kind of resin. We get gloss or matt options. I often use gloss because I like a little shine that the acrylic colours give. We get liquid ones to apply using a brush and a spray as well. Personally, I like using the spray because it covers the whole canvas equally without any lumps. A varnish protects your work from dust and other particles and seals the paint.

Palette Design Nameplate
It’s Ready! The Nameplate

It becomes easy to clean an artwork after varnish. To clean a varnished Art we lightly wipe off the dust using a dry paintbrush or soft cloth. No need to frame the Paintings either. Hence varnish is a good idea for a nameplate. Now it’s ready to use! Let us put it up as the door sign.

Do share your views about the project in the comments below. Have a creative weekend!

Playing with Colours and Textures

On my way home, I stopped to grab a coffee at my regular coffee joint when I peaked at the new poster coming up on the notice board. It was a poster of an Art Exhibition coming up at the display gallery on the first floor. The exhibition was by a five-year-old artist.

Wow! At that age, I didn’t even know how to spell art or write anything. A little girl, just five having an entire gallery display, a solo artist. Did I wonder how? What? Why? When? Who? My mind began to run at the fastest speed that I had known.

Modern Art, Abstract Art and Contemporary Art these terms are used together or in place of the other many times. This little artist was into Contemporary Art. Her guardians were organising her show. She was trying for the world records as the youngest artist to have a solo art show.

I don’t know if she made it but it got me my topic for this post. Yes! We will be discussing Modern Art, Contemporary Art and Abstract Art in this post. Are these the same? Not really. Honestly very few people understand these or know. It is more about visual appeal. If they like to look at it, they buy it. Simple!

Abstract Art
A square tile of my Abstract Art

Modern Art is a term used for the thought process. The artist is painting something that is not restricted by the traditional boundaries of the past. Abstract Art means it doesn’t resemble anything in form as such. Contemporary means more of the style of today. As art styles evolved every landmark change coined a new term. More like the terms are used for the art style in a particular era.

Modern Art is better defined in terms of shapes and textures. It looks more like patterns and designs. Contemporary Art on the other hand is more abstract than modern Art. Modern Art is a style popular in 1860s to 1970s. Contemporary Art is more as today’s Art style.

The key point in selection is the colour scheme. This art goes well with today’s modern contemporary interiors. It doesn’t represent or mean anything. Just adds a look and feel to the whole place. Many people like to purchase Art that doesn’t have an exact defined meaning.

Highlight a Wall with Abstract Art

This Art looks better on a nice big canvas. Reprints are easy. Selections are quick and simple – most of the times people just go with what their interior designer suggested. And the prices are affordable. Art galleries also like to stock more of these because it is a fast-running product for them.

Abstract Art
One of my artworks shown in an actual space – Living Room

Jokingly I am sure at least one person looking at it will be like “Hey! I can paint that!” Haha! True and False both. True because people think it is easy I can dip a brush in colour and run it on the canvas and call it Art. False because you can’t recreate the same thing. Your Art will always be different. Interesting! Isn’t it!

Abstract Art is all about shapes, textures and colours. It completely depends on the artist’s aesthetic sense. The Art can be geometric or random. The artist paints a mood, an emotion or a feeling using colours and creating textures with brushes, hands or tools. Big bold strokes and striking colours are my style.

Abstract Art
Two of my artworks shown in a commercial space – Work Desk

There is no good or bad here. One either likes it or doesn’t like it. No two ways about it. One cannot say if this was like this maybe it will be better. Here it is an artist’s call when to say complete. It must be visually appealing. This Art gains meaning when it is installed in a space. It is more like it completes the space and gives the look to a place. What one feels is too much may be perfect for another. Always to your taste!

Abstract Art
One of my artworks – square prints – Bathroom

‘Dream of your Art and Paint your dream.’ All in all paint whatever comes to your mind with complete confidence. To get that beautiful artwork preferably paint on a canvas in acrylic colours. This gives a lot of options in creating different textures. You may want to read my previous post on painting with acrylic colours to know why it is a preferred medium to paint. View Post on Acrylic Colours.

Modern Art
Two of my artworks – Bedroom

No one can teach anything here, we paint what comes to us naturally. We can browse the internet and look at paintings by famous artists for inspiration. The technique is we paint directly with colour. No erasing, going back and forth or smoothening or anything. And paint in layers. One colour over another is completely ok. No need to blend.

I have made abstract modern art designs for my products at my Society shop and Redbubble shop NMARTWORKS. Here I am sharing some printable posters with my Art which would make suitable Wall Art pieces for residential as well as commercial spaces. These are more on the lines of contemporary art. These artworks have been created digitally for prints in different sizes but exactly on the lines of how we would paint them offline.

Have an Arty Week!

Say it with Flowers – Greeting Card

If there is something you want to say, say it! And as they say, say it with Flowers. A floral design card works for so many expressions. Please! Sorry! Thank You! and More! In this post, I am sharing an easy to do design you can try at home.

This simple, elegant and classy design will suit any occasion. We can make a gift tag, a greeting card, a postcard or have it as a letterhead on the letter to your pen pal.

You require some colours, pens, paper, basic drawing skills and your enthusiasm for making a handmade card. The same design can be made for a horizontal (landscape orientation) card as well as a vertical (portrait orientation) card.

Step-by-Step process to making this Floral Design Card

Step 1

Step 1 – DRAW : Draw double borders to the page as shown above. We want one thick outer border and a thin inner border.

Step 2A  drawing
Step 2A

Step 2 – DRAW and OUTLINE : Draw the flowers and leaves. Tulips are the easiest to draw. They have long leaves and very few petals. A floral bunch looks better when it totals to an odd number. I have drawn two flowers and three leaves. We need not fill the entire space. Cover the area enough so that it looks well spaced out. Outline the final drawing with a waterproof black pen. If you don’t have a waterproof pen. You need not outline it at this stage.

Step 2B Drawing
Step 2B

Step 3 – COLOUR FILL : Fill the background with colours. Select any two colours – one for the thick border and one for background. Leave the flowers and thin border in natural white of the paper. For this card I have used markers. Even paint will look good.

Step 3

Step 4 – FINAL OUTLINES : Outline the flowers, leaves and borders with a thick marker. Leave the thin border. Add little lines or fill patterns to the flowers and leaves in black. Give the thin border a thin outline. This thick and thin outlines makes it look better.

Tulip Greeting Card
Landscape or Horizontal Orientation
Yellow Gree Tulip Card
Portrait or Vertical Orientation

Colour combinations like Pink – Blue, Yellow – Blue, Red – Green also look good. Bright colours or Pastel shades both look great. A design like this is a ‘you possibly cannot go wrong kind of a design’. Here are both cards together :-

Tulip Design Greeting Cards
Tulip Design Greeting Cards

That was easy right? So try it out yourself and let me know if you have any questions. Have an Arty Weekend!

You may also want to see my other post on making Cards Let’s make Greeting Cards with ease

Oops! I made a mistake .. Eraser Stories

‘Life is the Art of Drawing without an Eraser’ I am sure you have heard this one before. But the truth is most of us cannot draw that well. We all make mistakes at some point in time. Nobody is born knowing it all. What we do after that .. how we correct it .. what we learn from it .. is important. Think! What is it that we could do differently so that the mistake is not repeated? We learn by asking questions and making mistakes. We grow as we learn. It is a part of the process.

People can be a bit too hard on themselves. They discard things with the slightest flaw or even a single mistake. In Art, we can either incorporate the mistake into the design or erase it. Then it is about how big or small the mistake is. My Art teacher always said, “It is ok to make a mistake. What you should also know is how to correct it. You cannot keep throwing away everything or stop painting altogether because of them.”

Reflecting, I realised I had made mistakes on my art journey as well. Sharing them with you could help you avoid them, rectify them or at least feel that you are not the only one. Here’s a list of the ones I could recollect.

  1. If one uses a very sharp pencil or a hard graphite pencil on paper, it creates a dent. The pencil graphite can be erased but the dent or mark will stay.
  2. Excessive erasing can peel off the paper. Hence it is important to select a good eraser as per our use.
  3. Erasing when the paper is slightly wet will erode the paper. Literally!! There will be a hole. This happens if we use pencils along with watercolours. It is best not to draw with a pencil before using watercolours. If at all we do use them, make sure it is very light and will get covered in paint. We won’t have a problem if we use gouache colours because they are thick and opaque.
  4. Drawing with a pencil on a canvas and erasing it is a big no-no. The graphite will mix with the paint and the colour will change to dull and dark. It is a good idea to draw with a paintbrush on a canvas. We can use a very light shade (almost white but visible to the naked eye) for drawing or making the markings. This will get covered up when we paint on it thereafter.
  5. We do get ink erasers. Pencil erasers can be used for colour pencils too. I tried erasing a little pencil mark when the paper was almost dry but not completely dry and the paper peeled. This was because of the moisture in the marker. The idea is that once we paint or colour on the paper, the pencil mark goes under it. Hence it cannot be erased even after drying. Whether we use pencils, markers or paints it is best to erase all the extra markings before painting. We can always keep the outlines that will get covered with thicker outlines or enhanced after painting.
  6. This is one of my favourites – Give a light wash in the background and then detail and then more detail. Same way in pencil shading. Do the light tone, then darker and then darker as and where necessary. Work on the whole piece simultaneously, so that the colours of the artwork mix and match well. Also, there is a complete flow in the picture. By any chance, if we make any mistake or want to make changes after doing the other portion we will be able to correct it. Once the dark or final touch is done, it becomes a lot more difficult to correct it. That is why it is always better to work in layers.
  7. Spilled a colour and ruined the spot? Lighten the colour by removing the pigment by lightly dabbing on that portion. Let it dry completely and then paint over it. That is what I meant by it can be easily corrected in the beginning. That is why nobody paints one part of the art to the finish while the other part doesn’t even have a base wash. That’s 99% a digital edit.
  8. Want to remove dried paint? Acetone works well to remove Acrylic paint on surfaces like glass or plastic. I have used it on canvas too. The cotton in the canvas will have to be treated with gesso once again before painting.
  9. The paint water glass tipped and dripped water onto the paper. This happens a lot when we work in small spaces or a hurry. Especially during art exams. For many of us, it can even be a horrifying experience. Don’t worry this can also be corrected. Take a dry cloth and lightly dab on the paper to soak up the excess water. Some paint will come onto this cloth. It will be back to the light wash stage. Let it dry and repaint only that portion.
  10. Last and very important – In the process of correcting the mistake, don’t try too hard. Sometimes people focus so much on the mistake that it ends up becoming the highlight instead of blending or fading away in the picture.

One thing I clearly understood is most of the times we are the only ones to know what the mistake is and where. The onlooker doesn’t know it unless we specifically point it out or highlight it or in any way make it very obvious. If we manage to blend it and make it flow along with the rest of the painting it can add to the beauty. Yes! Some mistakes can be beautiful. A little here or there adds to the beauty of handmade. It makes it different and unique. It makes it special.

What if none of these methods works and we have to do a re-do? Then think of what Thomas Edison said ‘I haven’t failed, I just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.’ We are all human. To err is human. I like to wear my bruises as my badges of honour. So if at all we make a mistake, there is nothing to worry about. It is ok to make mistakes.

Fortunately, we have erasers for art. And there are different types of erasers too. Hehe.. Yes! There are different types of erasers. And no please don’t call it rubber. It is called an eraser. We all have this one vinyl eraser or a regular soft eraser (with a brush to clean the dust) for regular use. This can be used for Art as well. A pencil eraser for erasing precise lines (this is an eraser pencil, see the picture) and a kneaded eraser (magic eraser as I call it) that absorbs graphite and charcoal is something every artist should include in their toolbox.

Different types of erasers that I use for my Art Projects

Having a good eraser and more so the right ones can be very helpful in drawing and painting. I don’t use erasers that are hard on the surface such as the sand eraser and the pink eraser. An eraser mounted on the pencil is a big no for me. It is not for drawing or sketching. One can use it for regular writing work. We also get changeable erasers and electric erasers in the market. These erasers are more pricey and better suited for specialists or professionals.

Do you also have eraser stories? Feel free to share them. We could all learn from them. Have an Arty Weekend!

Selecting Art Materials : Canvas and Paper, Paintbrushes

Most of the people I know buy brushes that are labelled as watercolour brushes and art paper that is mentioned as suitable for watercolour at the store and they are sorted. “Look! the company says I can use them for watercolour painting, so I bought them.”

They bought it either because someone told them, they saw someone using it or the brand company had written so on the product. Very few people bother to find out the product details and know if it is the right product for their use. Many a times we don’t want to stock different materials for different Art and so we use the same brush or paper for all. The selecting pattern is same for them and so I grouped canvas and paper with paintbrushes.

For beginners it really won’t matter; however artists and professionals will be equally choosy or selective about these materials. It makes a difference in their work and once we are used to a particular one, we only use that. Most artists start off with the trial and error method and once they like a particular brand or product, they stick to it.

Different kinds of brushes, what they are called and their suggested uses are printed on packs. As always a lot of information is available on the Internet. So I will not get into repeating that printed knowledge.

We have discussed ‘Selecting Art Materials’ in our previous posts. On the same lines I will share about selecting paintbrushes, art paper and canvas in this post. I do not endorse any brand and this is not an advertising or promoting post. I share about my understanding of these materials so that it helps others make an informed purchase decision.

Selecting a Canvas


Any surface we paint on is called the canvas. So if we are painting on fabric or wood or paper, all of them are actually our canvas. However when we go to an Art store and ask for a Canvas we usually get this fabric like drape wrapped on a board called BOARD Canvas, a stretched drape pinned to a wooden panel frame called STRETCHED Canvas and a ROLLED Canvas which is a roll of the drape. All three have the same material, only the mounting is different. Once the painting is complete we have to get it framed before hanging the painting on the wall.

The board canvas is a hard and flat painting surface, the stretched canvas is mounted on a frame and has a slightly bouncy feel while the roll canvas more floppy like a loose fabric. A stretched canvas can be directly hanged on the wall using the existing wooden frame. Hence it is also called wall mounting canvas. A canvas sheet that is cut from the roll will have to be stretched or mounted before painting.

Canvas was traditionally used more for oil painting. Earlier when I learnt mural painting we would have to apply oil and colour to prime the canvas. Now a days canvases are already coated and primed. Cotton is the main fibre of a canvas. Did you know? We also get paper sheets made from cotton linen pulp which are used as canvas for oil painting and acrylic painting. They are like a sheet cut from roll canvas: have the same texture and feel but are relatively sturdy and stiff like paper.

All of them will be acid free and primed and have some treatment or coating for protection against pests. It really won’t matter which one you buy, almost similar. Only the tension of your canvas will differ. That would be the basis of your selection. If you are using them for acrylic painting a canvas primed with gesso works well. You can use others too. If you are into oil painting you may be more selective while choosing the canvas.

Not all art supply stores stock all sizes of canvas. It is a good idea to buy the quantity together if your project uses multiple canvases. In case the size you need is not market ready, you can buy the roll canvas and get it custom made or mounted to your required size. Canvas is also used for Art prints. Digital prints of artwork is quite common. Flex banners are also a type of canvas.

Selecting Art Paper

Art Paper

We get sheets of art paper in bundles as well as bound in books. Books have perforated sheets which can be pulled out. Smaller sizes such as A4 and A5 sketchbooks are very popular and will be easily available everywhere. Art Paper is used for all mediums including pen drawing, pencil shading, acrylic painting, pastels painting, charcoal sketches, watercolour painting and oil painting.

In the info section they print the size in inches and cm. They print the thickness in ‘GSM’ or lbs. GSM stands for grams per square metre that is the weight of the paper or pulp for every square meter. It is how the thickness is measured. How does that make a difference? The thickness of the paper is an important attribute because for watercolour painting we need thicker sheets like 250-300GSM that will absorb water but will not tear while for ink art we can work with 120-180GSM.

Next we look for textured or plain. The grains on the surface. Depends on the artwork one is working on, whether they want a textured feel (a rough surface) or a plain background. For pastels and charcoals a little grain or texture is required. It helps hold the powder while for ink and watercolour art a smooth or plain surface can be selected. This gives a plain edge or a straight neat line finish while painting.

Artists usually use ‘acid free’ meaning paper that has been neutralised. In simple words if the paper is acid free it will not turn yellow with pitting and can be preserved longer. Paper made from cotton will have more absorbency for water based painting. It can be 100% cotton or mixed with other natural fibres like cellulose. I select the ones with 20-30% cotton for my artworks.

Selecting Paint Brushes


Selecting paintbrushes is very simple. Each of them are built as such for a purpose or for a particular style of painting. It may sound weird but some artists manage to get fine lines with a thick brush of size 8 and a thick like with a brush of size 4. With years of practice we don’t change brushes for each size. So buying them in odd numbers like 0,2,6,8,10 is enough. For finer lines and intricate work I use finer brushes of size 0, double zero 00 and triple zero 000. These are smaller or finer than zero size brushes.

For painting on a canvas on the easel we require long handle brushes. Regular size handles are good when we are working on paper. Further we would need a mix of round and flat brushes in our art tool box. Flat brushes are used to paint backgrounds, round brushes for fills and riggers for fine lines. Filbert brushes are useful for one stroke painting or creating visible strokes and design. I even use the back of the brush handles as round stumps for dot painting.

Brushes can be made from natural animal hair or synthetic fibres. Use brushes with soft thin bristles when you want the colour to be applied evenly. It gives a smooth neat finish. Thick bristles cause an uneven finish with lumps of colour which can be left as it is or smoothened by using a roll over it. Bristles of brushes made from natural hair expand when soaked. They are best suited for oil painting. For painting using acrylic and watercolour paints we can use brushes made with natural or synthetic bristles. Watercolour and Acrylic, both being water based paints we can use a common set of brushes. No need to keep another set.

One special kind of brush is the water tank brush. This brush has a plastic body with a water tank attached to it and bristles of the brush are synthetic fibres. When we press the tank, the water drips to the brush tip and soaks the bristles. It works very well for quick sketches and on the go painting using watercolour cakes.

Paint Brushes
Just bought new Paint Brushes

I was surfing the Internet the other day when I came across a video titled ‘How it’s made – Paint Brushes?’ ‘How it’s made’ is a very popular show and I like watching it. They show how various products of our daily items are made. Helps us understand about the products, their usability and the thought process of the maker in creating it.

I understood which problem faced by artists are they trying to solve by offering a particular type of brush or why it is made the way it is. Every product is manufactured keeping in mind a certain use. Similarly they also have videos on ‘How it’s made’ for canvas, paper and many more products. If possible do take out some time and see them.

Selecting Art Materials

Links to posts related to this topic are listed below. Click on the title to open the post in a new tab. Have an Arty Weekend!

Why is Acrylic Paint the most preferred medium to paint?

If there was something like a ‘People’s Choice Award’ or an Award for the ‘Most Popular Paint’, I am sure it would go to Acrylic Paints. While the others are more natural dyes and colours, Acrylic Paint is synthetic and man made. It is easily available at stores selling Art Supplies as well as all Paint and Stationery Shops.

Acrylic  Painting  Poppy  Flowers
Poppy Flowers – An Acrylic Painting that I have done

Acrylic Paints vs. Oil Paints

Oil Paints take 7-10 days to dry completely. It is this quality of oil paint that helps in mixing colours and blending them. Any artist who has worked with oil paints will agree, it is this property that really helps in making those realistic paintings.

Oil paints have one major drawback ; by any chance if any little traces of water get trapped between the colours because of humidity then the painting develops moss. Refurbishing, Repairing or Repainting- nothing works.

Oil Painting  on Canvas
Indian Mural Style Oil Painting. The ornaments are modelled from clay

When beginning a new oil painting, the canvas needs to be seasoned (sizing) to absorb oil. The more oil it absorbs the better finish. Whereas for Acrylic Paints we only need to use ‘Gesso’ to prime the base. Gesso is like a paint which when applied to any kind of surface prepares it for the paint to be applied. Last but not the least having a glass frame and making the frame airtight ensures that the Oil Painting stays well for longer. Acrylic does not have any such requirement.

Brushes and Palettes can be cleaned with water. If we get some paint on our hands or any surface while painting, it can be easily cleaned with water or removed with acetone. It usually petals off like a plastic coating. We all know that is not the case with oil paints. We need to keep a separate set of brushes for Oil Painting which cannot be used for anything else. On the other hand it is possible to have a common set of brushes for Watercolour and Acrylic Painting since both are water based paints.

Acrylic Paints vs. Watercolour Paints

It is possible to achieve a Watercolour like finish using Acrylic paints. We can mix the colour with different mediums such as Gel, Gloss, Matt, Pearl and so on to get different effects. We can create textures and even achieve the level transparency we want in the colours of the painting with Acrylic Paints.

This image is created from stock photos for explanation

Watercolour is basically for Painting on paper. Even after a painted layer dries, water can be used to mix or blend both colours. Water can be applied on the paper and then colour drops can be added, giving this grains effect. This painting method is suitable to Watercolours. So most artists specialising in Watercolour Painting will not want to use Acrylic Paints. Watercolours are also easy to work with, portable and can be carried along. The cake form is very compact and portable. Mixing of colours to get your shade is easily workable.

I use a mix of Watercolour and Acrylic Paints for my paintings listed on the shop for sale. You may visit my Etsy Shop or Social Media pages to see those.

Here are some of the reasons I think this Acrylic Paint is preferred equally for both Arts and Crafts :-

1) It has a unique property. It is soluble in water and hence diluted with water to paint. However once the paint dries the polymers bond to give a water-resistant painted surface.

2) Acrylic Paints can be used to paint on multiple surfaces including Canvas, Paper, Wood, Glass, Walls, Ceramic and Fabric. I have personally tried them on all of these. We need to seal the completed work with varnish and we are good to go.

Recycled Pen Stand Acrylic
Recycled this old plastic container by repainting with Acrylic Paints

3) We can select the consistency of the paint. The Acrylic Paints that are available in Tubes have a slightly thicker consistency as compared to those available in bottles. The ones in the bottles are liquid like pouring consistency. Both are Acrylic Paints and can be used together on all the projects. The pouring consistency colours work well for projects like Dot Painting and Fluid Art.

Recycled Roll up Brush  case
Roll up brush case I made from my old jeans. Dot painting with Acrylic Paints

4) These paints are available in smaller tubes of size 9ml to larger tubes with 40ml to 120ml. Also available in bottles and larger cans. We even get Acrylic Sprays. Art and Craft Schools and Studios can stock large containers while people who do one off projects can buy the smaller ones. Further if we run out on a particular shade, we can buy just that single shade too!

Photos of my Acrylic paints
I use Artist quality Acrylic Paints by the brand ‘Camel’ or ‘Camlin’ because of its easy availability and reasonable pricing locally.

5) Water Resistant surface makes it easy to combine it with other art materials such as permanent markers or watercolours. Acrylic colours can be used on watercolour painted surface but not the other way around because for watercolours to work, the paper needs to absorb the water. Acrylic paints make the paper impermeable. Acrylic paints can be used alongside or as highlight on watercolour painted surfaces.

6) Acrylic Paints are preferred for creating textures. An artist can achieve the effect he wants with the colours – solid thick, translucent or transparent finish, all by mixing different quantities of mediums and/or water. It is like painting in layers. The bottom layer dries completely and then we paint the next layer. We can even paint a white on a black without the previous layer smudging at all.

Knife painting on canvas
A closer look and method for Knife Painting with Acrylic Paints

The fast drying property and thick paint consistency make it suitable for Impasto or Knife Painting. By using these methods of painting artists can create a good variety of textures. We can use ‘retarders’ to slow the drying process and increase the working time for blending.

7) Almost anything can be painted with Acrylic Paints. These paints can be used for Painting on pots, Painting Clay, Canvas Painting, Painting on Paper, Painting on T-Shirts and Tote Bags, Pebble Art, Wall Murals, Painting on Glass and Mirrors, Painting on Tiles, Mixed Media and a lot more variety of Art and Craft Projects.

Mixed Media on Canvas
Mixed Media Acrylic Painting. Flowers are modelled from clay

8) These colours remain unaffected by humidity or extreme cold or heat conditions.

9) Framing is optional. Hence we have wall mounting canvases. To clean it simply take a dry brush and lightly dust of the dirt that may have settled on it and it will be clean.

Wall mounted  Impasto Painting
Wall Mounted Canvas – Knife Painting using Acrylic Paints

10) Variety of Colours and Shades. Mixing colours might not be a good idea because it dries very fast. So buy them in the colours or shades needed. There will usually be a whole shelf dedicated to it. Any colour that we need can be bought anytime. We get neon shades and glow in the dark paints too!

The only drawback with Acrylic paint is that the colours will dry out if the water from the colour evaporates or if the bottle is left idle, so cap them well. Remove the colours in disposable containers in the required quantities instead of painting directly from bottles and leaving large containers without the lid for long hours of painting.

Acrylics are easy to work with. Rectifying a mistake is also easier when using Acrylics, so it works well for beginners as well as professionals. I really don’t know what more can they offer to make these paints better. Definitely worth buying a box and trying out some Art projects. I have shared some of the recent Projects that I have worked on using Acrylic Paints. All these are still with me and not for Sale. The paintings for sale on the shops are different. These are all from my personal collection.

Have an Arty Week!