How To … Paint

 How to...paint

Would you like to have a go at painting or would you like a few pointers on where to start? Well, here are a few top tips from artist, Rowena Payne, to get you started.

Acrylic paint

Acrylic is a good starter paint as it’s not expensive. You can mix it with water to thin and use like watercolour.

Be aware acrylic dries very fast, especially in a warm room. So, store in a cool place. Any paint you are already using can be stored in a screw top jar.

Retarders and spray bottles

Buy yourself a pot of acrylic retarder, mix into your paint according to instructions. This keeps the paint ‘open’/ workable for some hours.

Alternatively, use a small spray bottle, cheap plastic travel size spray bottles from a hardware store, or any other smallish spray bottle you have. Fill with water and lightly mist your paint on the palette as you paint, this will help keep it workable.


Plastic fruit, veg and meat trays can be washed and used as palettes. As acrylic dries fast and will eventually dry even with retarder, these are a cheap throwaway form of palette.

Another idea for palettes is to get a sandwich box with a lid, line it with a spontex sponge. Wet the sponge, lay blotting paper over the top and pop your paint on top, which will keep it moist. When finished painting, lightly mist the paint with water from your spray bottle, put the lid on and it will keep for a good few days like this.


Just use cheap ones to start with. They too may dry out with paint on and be useless, so constantly rinse out and leave in a pot of water while painting. Leave in the pot of water with the water no higher than the silver ferrule, as above that it starts to weaken the bristles. Once you have finished painting, rinse your brushes, shake/ squeeze dry and store upright in a jam jar.

Any truly hardened paint on a brush is difficult to dislodge but if you put the brush in a jar of boiling water and work it that should help shift it.

Painting pads and bases

A cheap base to paint on is stiff cardboard. Paint them with undiluted white acrylic and let it dry, you can then paint on top of this with no fear of the paint sinking into the cardboard.

Acrylic painting pads are the next best thing to paint on, but a heavy weight cartridge pad is also good. A cartridge pad will have information on the front cover as to what media (pencils, crayon paint etc) are suitable for the paper.

You can paint over any acrylic colour once dry with a new colour as they won’t mix. This is a good way to correct paintings.

I hope these tips encourage you to get the paint brushes out and give it a go! Don’t forget to share you creations over on Twitter and Instagram, using the hashtag #simplestylishmakers


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