Whether you’re just beginning to dabble with painting or have been using acrylic mediums for a while, gaining inspiration from modern art can be a great way to expand your skill set.
Contemporary art acrylic paintings are often eye-catching and challenge what audiences traditionally consider “art”. They utilize unique color mixing and painting techniques to create truly one-of-a-kind pieces.
Read on for our favorite acrylic painting techniques that you can use to make your artwork stand out.
What is Contemporary Art?
Essentially, contemporary art is art made and produced by artists living today. It can truly be anything, from paintings to sculptures or mixed media pieces. The experts at The Getty explain that when engaging with contemporary art, viewers are challenged to set aside notions of art being “good” or “aesthetically pleasing” and instead ask themselves if it’s interesting or what barriers it’s breaking.
Contemporary art is meant to stand out and go against the standard. It often tells a unique story that resonates with audiences or makes them question what constitutes art. Anyone can implement contemporary acrylic painting techniques to join the movement.
Acrylic Painting Techniques for Contemporary Art
These contemporary acrylic painting techniques are what artists are using today to create stunning pieces.
1. Dry Brushing
This is perhaps one of the easiest contemporary acrylic painting techniques for beginners to master. As the name suggests, rather than using a wet brush, use a completely dry brush to create scratchy or textured strokes on your canvas or other material.
Dry brushing is an extremely versatile technique as well. You can use large brush strokes to create thin layers of paint or a fine brush to add detail. Contemporary acrylic painters often use this technique to convey strong emotions in their work.
Another popular contemporary acrylic painting technique is stippling. It involves creating a collection of tiny dots that make up a larger image. It is a unique method because it can be used to create everything from intricate landscapes and deep shadows to more abstract art and pop pieces.
Stippling with acrylic paint is a fun and worthwhile process. The white space around the tiny dots can help make your colors appear more vibrant. And while this technique has its traditional uses, try to think outside the box when creating a contemporary art piece.
If you like the look of dots but want something even more abstract, consider splattering. This more unpredictable technique was popularized by Jackson Pollock and is still something artists of all levels can experiment with.
While many contemporary acrylic painting techniques focus on keeping the texture and vibrancy of the paint at the forefront, washing can help soften your palette. This technique changes the consistency of the acrylic paint so it is applied and appears more like a watercolor.
This is ideal if you want to create a soft, transparent layer for the background of your painting. Alternatively, you can also use an acrylic wash as one of the final layers of your piece to add new dimensions, shades, or a filter effect.
This classic technique is still being used by artists today, albeit with different mediums. Impasto was traditionally used with oil paints, however, acrylic paint is often used by contemporary artists because of its affordability and versatility.
Impasto painting is recognizable due to its thick layers and textural details. Artists have long used thick layers of paint to create organic art or capture scenes like landscapes and oceans. Contemporary artists tend to push this technique further outside the box. Using a palette knife and other tools, they can create stunning textures.
With this method, the acrylic paint dries at a slower rate. It’s important to let each layer set permanently if you want to build texture.
This contemporary acrylic painting technique is ideal for adding spots of color and texture to your artwork. Simply dab accents of color onto your canvas or other surfaces with a paper towel or other tool, like a sponge, that can also create an interesting texture.
Depending on the amount of pressure you apply while dabbing, you can achieve different results. You can even use this technique to build layers of paint or dimension to things like trees and bushes.
As you can see, there are no rules when it comes to contemporary acrylic painting techniques. It’s all about thinking outside the box and challenging the status quo. When you’re ready to create modern art pieces, Nova Color has all the acrylic paints and mediums you need.
Shop our selection of acrylic paint today.