An Acrylic Painting - My Process

Updated: Feb 7, 2020

So friends, how's the weather been in your part of the world? I'm in Canada - on the east coast...and it's winter time.

Today was definitely a stay at home day and a very good day to finish a painting I've been working on. I will back track and take you through my process when creating an acrylic painting.

This first acrylic painting of the new year is sized at 8" x 10" on canvas board. I took the time to compose a quick sketch which I transferred onto tracing paper. Using graphite or carbon paper lets me apply the sketch to the canvas once the canvas has been toned using a wash of burnt sienna.

Toning Canvas - Acrylic Painting
Transferring Sketch Image onto Canvas

Why tone your canvas? Because it sets a warm undertone to the painting that is to be applied over top of the wash. It also helps give the painting a more complete, uniform look once finished. If any small spots are missed on the canvas it will be less obvious to the observant eye and will blend better instead of leaving a stark, white background to show through. Burnt sienna isn't always a necessary choice but a common and favorite one among many artists.

Acrylic Painting Palette

I use a piece of wax paper adhered to photo frame glass with a few pieces of masking tape as a palette. Be careful if you decide to do the same. I tape around all the edges of the glass with masking tape to keep from cutting myself on the sharp edges. I would also recommend testing your brand of wax paper beforehand. In my experience some are better than others as far as deterioration of the wax paper goes. For the photo above I placed the wax paper onto a piece of sketch paper to provide a better illustration of the colors and give an idea of the mixing. Colors consist of:

- titanium white

- cadmium yellow deep hue

- burnt sienna

- raw umber

- hooker's green hue

- phthalo blue

- mars black

From here it is a process of mixing and applying many layers of paint to build up to a realistic finish. When painting with acrylics, I tend to use watered down thin coats for the most part. I find it gives a smoother finish to the piece and allows multiple layered shades to show through together.

After I am satisfied with the piece I let the painting dry overnight before applying two coats of varnish. I leave three hours in between coats or possibly more if there is humidity in the air. I use a satin finish varnish suitable for acrylics. Applying varnish to the finished painting will protect the surface from dirt, dust, UV light and help it to last much longer.

Preparing to Varnish an Acrylic Painting

And here is the finished painting. I like the contrast of colors and subjects in the composition, and it is nice to see a flower in bloom with all of the snow outside.

8" x 10" Acrylic Flower Painting by Kari Weatherbee

I will be listing this painting for sale in my Etsy shop. To view this and other works of art available for sale click here:

If you would like to try painting this piece yourself you can get the reference photo from Pixabay as I did here:

Questions or comments? Contact me via my contact page or leave a comment here on the blog. Much love and may God bless!

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