This simple DIY acrylic painting technique allows you to paint two pieces at once while developing your painting skills. It’s a fun way to loosen up and produce some great pieces as well. A big thanks to Decoart for sponsoring this post!
Hey guys! I am really excited about today’s post, and I hope it gets you excited to bust out some paint and brushes do some creating! If you follow me over on instagram, you might have seen that I’ve been doing a lot of painting lately. Part of it is that this new house just seems to have so many big empty walls staring at me all the time begging for some art work, and part of it is that I just really enjoy it! As I have been painting and experimenting, I stumbled onto a simple acrylic painting technique that I really like and I wanted to share it with you all today.
Here’s the idea – you paint two paintings at once! Why would you want to do that? Haha… Maybe you have never thought, “If only I could paint two things at once,” but let me explain why I love this little tip/technique/exercise. This isn’t a groundbreaking idea, but it may be new to you, and if so, I want to pass it along. First, let’s gather up our supplies.
Acrylic Painting Supplies:
- Americana Premium Acrylics (On my Palette: Cadmium Red Hue, Vermillion Hue, Cadmium Yellow Hue, Hansa Yellow Light, Yellow Green Light, Sap Green, Ultramarine Blue, Prussian Blue Hue, Dioxazine Purple, Titanium White, and Carbon Black)
- Americana Premium Extender Medium (Optional – gives your paints more working time)
- Canvas, Canvas Board, or Paper (I like to pick up a nice canvas with my 40% off coupon every time I go to the craft store, so I have a bunch on hand.)
- Palette (I like to use palette paper so I don’t have to worry about cleaning a palette when I’m done.)
- Flexible Palette Knife
- Variety of Brushes
For these pieces, I used Americana Premium Acrylics, which is DecoArt’s fab new line of medium-bodied artist acrylic paints. These paints are highly-pigmented, smooth, and blend beautifully. If you have done any acrylic painting, you know those paints can be expensive! I love the value of these paints – they are beautiful and very affordable.
I also really like the Americana Premium Extender Medium. One potential downside of working with acrylics is that they dry out pretty quickly. The extender medium gives you more working time. Just work a little bit into your paint when you mix your colors.
How to Paint Two Paintings at Once
1. Set Up Your Work Space and Palette. The first thing to do is get your work space ready. You will need your canvas, board, or paper for your main piece, your palette and paints, brushes, water cup(s), paper towels, and a piece of paper for your second piece. I also like to have some reference photos handy to refer to while I am working. For my primary painting for this project, I was inspired by the idea of this photo. I printed off a few reference photos and taped them up in front of me (this time attached to my tripod ha!).
2. Start Painting Main Painting. You can begin painting your main piece however you like, but I really like to start with a background. One of the great things about acrylics is that they are opaque (unless thinned with water), which means you can easily cover that background up. Then I like to go back with a color that will complement the subject and roughly sketch out the shape of the subject. You can see below how I sketched out the general shape of the girl and her flowers very loosely. This step helps me to get the general ratios and positioning down, but I don’t worry about any of the details. Those will all come later.
3. Clean Brush on Second Painting. So here is the “secret” to this technique – every time you need to clean off your brush, clean it off on your second painting. That’s it! Rather than rubbing the paint off onto a paper towel or murking up your water cup more than is necessary, put that paint to use on a side painting. I always make these paintings loose and abstract. I have really found that these side paintings allow me to develop my sense of style, think about color and composition, and practice different methods of mark making without the pressure of that main painting. I don’t worry about messing up things up and just play around with the paint.
4. Rinse and Repeat! That’s really the whole idea! Continue your main painting, and any time you need to clean off your brush or use up some extra paint on your palette, move it on over to the side painting. Who you are finished with your primary piece, use all the remaining paint on your palette to finish off the abstract if you like. I think this is a great technique to keep yourself loose and experiment. Plus you end up with two pieces when you are done!
Here are how my two pieces turned out:
They are totally different, but I’m pretty happy with both, and they feel like sisters to me. Here are a couple other “sister paintings” that I have created with this same simple acrylic painting technique:
The abstract I made with the mountain girl is actually one of my favorites. I have made a little video showing a sped-up version of my entire painting process for the two pieces I created for this post, and you can check it out below. Hope you enjoy it!
That’s it for today, friends! Hope you will grab yourself some paints, and give this acrylic painting technique a try!
Check out some of my other DIY art tutorials: