I hear a lot of complaints that acrylics dry too fast!  Well here are a few tips to slow down the drying  time, both on the palette and on the canvas.  That way you can enjoy the painting process even more than before!

 1.  Always gesso the canvas. I've told you to do this before, but in this case you start your painting on wet gesso!  Even better is to tone that wet gesso with color so you are not working on a white canvas.  So in other words, over your top layer or coat of gesso, while it's still wet of course, paint a light layer of color to tone the canvas.  Any color will do, but I usually use a grayish brown or blue-gray.

2.  Before starting to paint, turn your stretched canvas over and spray all over the back with water to moisten the raw canvas.  This will slow down the drying time of the paint and help prevent paint from leaching through to the back. You can repeat this process each time you sit down to paint if you don't finish in one sitting.

3.  Keep your palette wet!  If you don't have a palette with a lid that seals, then get one.  This is highly advised for acrylic painting!  And, instead of buying expensive sponges and palette paper for your palette, use paper towels and parchment paper.  Wet a couple layers of paper towels well.  Then place parchment paper on top that has been cut to fit the palette.  When done painting,  seal the lid, but leave a small space loosely sealed.  This allows a small amount of air in so as to prevent mold. Hint:  add a few drops of bleach to a spray bottle and spray the paper towels and paper.  This also helps prevent mold from forming on the paint.

4.  When putting out paint on your palette.  Group the warm colors together, the cool colors together, and the neutrals together. (white & black).  Use the same locations each time you set up your palette.  That way when you reach for colors you don't have to look around for them because you know where they are.

5.  Always have 2 cups or tubs of water by your canvas or palette.  One is for clean water to wet the brush and the other is for cleaning paint out of the brush.  That way you do not pollute the colors on the canvas with dirty water!  ALSO:  Do NOT leave brushes sitting in the water as it will ruin the bristles!  Rather, rinse the paint out in the wash water and lay the brush on the palette while still wet.  They will stay wet until you're done painting, when you'll wash the brushes thoroughly.  Note: if you paint daily, you can put those wet brushes into a plastic bag wrapped tightly and place in the fridge to keep them wet.  It saves a lot of washing time, and you can do the thorough cleaning when finished with the painting.

6.  Do NOT dip the brush all the way into the clean water to get it wet!  Instead, lightly dip the tip of the bristles into the water, or you can dip into water the first time only, and then pull bristles between fingers to squeeze out excess water before painting.  When you dip back into water just touch the side of the cup at the water line and water will be taken up into the bristles.  This usually gives just the right amount of water needed.  One BIG mistake most beginners make is to get too much water in their brushes when painting with acrylics and this breaks down the paint pigments.  Even though acrylics can be used this way, it weakens the pigment and they don't last as long.  So if you want a watercolor look,  use watercolor paints!

7.  Before you start painting, LIGHTLY spray the canvas with water.  This will make the paint easier to move around and slow down drying time.  You can go back during painting as well, but be very careful your sprayer has a very fine mist and spray from a distance, otherwise it will make your paints run and can ruin your painting!!

     I hope these tips help you in your Acrylic painting endeavors!  I love working with acrylics but when you know how to make them work for you, it's even more enjoyable!

One more tip:  this doesn't have anything to do with acrylics, just a tip of a nice brush for grasses, etc.

Take a bristle say size 6 or 8 and with scissors cut out some of the bristles so that it is sawtoothed.  Some longer and some shorter, something like this: WWW.  A brush like this makes beautiful grass strokes!  You can buy these brushes (called a comb brush) but if you have older ones sitting around, try it out before you buy one!  Enjoy and thanks for following me!

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