Is That Acrylic or Oil? How to Blend Like a Boss

One of the most common things I hear about why artists use acrylic is that it’s versatile. You can use it in many different ways, including blending it as you would oil paint. See what I mean in this lesson on how to blend acrylic from Acrylic Revolution by Nancy Reyner.

acrylic still life painting by Sherry Loehr |

Green Bowl Still Life (acrylic on canvas, 30×24) by Sherry Loehr

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Oil-Like Blending (from Acrylic Revolution by Nancy Reyner; click here to tweet this free demonstration)
Since oil paint dries much slower than acrylic paint, oil is often considered an easier medium for blending purposes, especially for softening the edges between two colors. This is an acrylic technique that simulates the oil-like blending of wet paint.

Materials: painting support; flat, soft brush; palette knife; acrylic paints; acrylic glazing liquid; paper towels

Apply Paint Near the Hard Edge
1. Apply Paint Near the Hard Edge
Where two colors meet with a hard edge, revert the colors with paint right along that edge. (For large areas, add up to one part acrylic glazing liquid to four parts paint before applying the paint.)


Oil-Like Blending 2
2. Blend
Before the paint dries, blend the colors with a soft brush. Gently stroke back and forth along the edge. Extend each stroke beyond the sides of the painting’s surface. Turn the brush as needed so the colors on the brush always correspond to the colors to be blended.


Increase Transparency of Paint Colors and Reapply One Color
Increase Transparency of Paint Colors and Reapply One Color Add acrylic glazing liquid to one of the paint colors and mix well. Apply the colors a bit further from the edge you are blending. Using a clean brush and the brushing technique in step 2, gently stroke the paint back and forth. Slowly move the brush and paint toward the edge you want to blend. Remove any excess paint from your brush by frequently wiping it on a paper towel.


Allow color to gradually disappear
4. Allow Color to Gradually Disappear
Dip your brush into acrylic glazing liquid without adding more colors and stroke this over and a bit beyond the blended area. Let this dry, then repeat steps 3 and 4 for the other color. Add more medium each time. Continue until the blending is acceptable to you.

Find more demonstrations within within the Innovative Acrylic Painting Techniques Premium Palette, exclusive at North Light Shop. It includes all of the following resources:
• Acrylic Painting: Color, Texture and Value with Chris Cozen (DVD)
• Acrylic Painting: Glazing Techniques with Chris Cozen (DVD)
• Top 10 Acrylic Painting Techniques with Chris Cozen (DVD)
• 500 Acrylic Mixes Book by Sharon Finmark (Book)
• Acrylic Innovation by Nancy Reyner (Book)
• Rethinking Acrylic by Patti Brady (Book)

That’s three DVDs and three books that will teach you an abundance of techniques for painting with acrylic. There are a limited number of these packages available, so don’t wait to order yours.

Best regards,

Cherie Haas, online editor**Click here to subscribe to the Artists Network newsletter for inspiration, instruction, and more!



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