Artist Acrylic Paints and Ceramics | Big Ceramic Store


You may have noticed our new Acrylic Painting section, and wondered what that had to do with ceramics. This tip should help answer that question.

One thing we have learned over the years is that many of our customers are not just clay artists; they are simply Artists, whose medium of choice at the time may or may not be clay. Some are excellent painters, and while they may be painting on clay today, they may be painting on canvas tomorrow. Others, like me, are pretty incompetent at "drawing" and are more into the three dimensional, textural effects you get from clay. And of course some of you are simply creative, talented people who do art of all kinds.

Artist Acrylics have some very interesting qualities that should be of interest to clay artists. For one thing, they can be painted on ceramic bisque. In fact, many ceramic sculptors use a combination of glaze and acrylics, or acrylics exclusively to finish their pieces. We have always carried the Duncan Acrylics which were designed specifically for painting on bisque. However the Liquitex line of Acrylic Paints and Mediums offers a while new range of artistic possibilities.

The other reason I personally got so excited about Artist Acrylics is that they can be used in a very textural way, similar to working with clay. By adding texture gels and mediums, you can create very thick textural paintings, even using the same techniques as we use in clay.

For example:

  • Add fluid and gel mediums to make the paints thicker or thinner. When thick it feels like working with clay. You can stamp textures into it, carve it, etc.

  • When used with pouring medium, you can pour out some colors and use the rubber triangle comb to marble them, just like we do with slip.

  • Add texture mediums such as glass beads, black lava, white opaque flakes, blended fibers, natural sand, ceramic stucco, or string gel to get various texture effects.

  • Use crinkled plastic wrap to create textures in the paint.

These are all techniques I learned from working with clay, and frankly the reasons I love working with clay! But sometimes it is fun to do things a little differently, and other times it's just not possible to do clay for one reason or another, such as because you don't have access to a kiln.

Acrylic paints are so versatile that they can also be used just like watercolors or oil paints. They work great for collages, as many of the mediums are transparent when dry, and things stick well to them. In fact, because of this stickiness you can paint on almost any surface: paper, canvas, fabric, compressed hardboards, plywood, fiberglass, metal and glass, plexiglass, acetate, mylar, masonry, and more!

You can even paint onto a sheet of glass, let the paint dry, then peel it off! Mount this object as a free standing or hanging sculpture, or cut it into pieces and use the pieces to make a mosaic.

When you do want to add textures with mediums, there are many ways to do it. You can add them to the paint. You can add them to the surface first, then apply the paint on top. Or you can add them over the paint.

I hope you can see what I am so excited about painting with Acrylics. If you want to give it a try, we have everything you will need. Just start on the Painting tab where you can see the various products and all the written how-to information. We also have short videos (click on mediums to view some of the videos about textures.)

The techniques I have been talking about are referred to as Modern Acrylics, so check out the books in that section of the books page. The book "The New Acrylics" is a great place to start and was the book that got me so inspired!

If you are a beginner, I recommend starting with the Liquitex Basics line of paints. They are inexpensive and still have great pigments.

And remember, the best thing about paint compared to clay is that you don't need much in the way of equipment or space. It takes a very minimal investment.