Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Jane's Art Basics: Acrylic Paint Quality

Use the Paints That Work for You

If you are a beginner, you may well get conflicting advice on what kind of paint to buy. Many feel that starting with the highest quality paints you can afford is necessary to have success as a beginner. If you are beginning with a teacher who requires specific, high quality, paints, then that makes sense. 

If you are starting without a teacher, your choice of paint will depend on what your goals are. Do you want to explore image-making as a way to express yourself, or just to relax and do something that takes you out of your everyday life activities? Or do you want to learn, step-by-step, how to make a certain type of painting? Is it a casual interest or a commitment to mastering something specific?

If you want to do art to relax, explore, discover what is in you as an image-maker.... my recommendation is to begin with fairly affordable paints so that you can freely experiment without worrying about 'wasting' expensive material. If high quality paint is going to intimidate you, leave it out. For now.

Once you are  comfortable with a few techniques, and you are committed to your practice, I HIGHLY recommend introducing professional quality paints, such as Golden Fluid Acrylics or Heavy Body Acrylics from Golden, Holbein, Sennelier, or other manufacturers. Start with just a couple of colors that you use a lot, or primary colors - blue, red, and yellow - that you can mix into other colors. Then add more as you grow into your commitment to painting. You will likely extend them with acrylic mediums, as they are very pigment-rich. A little goes a long way.

High Quality Professional Grade Paints

Golden Fluid Acrylics are super easy to use, and come in a huge range of colors. They are professional quality paints, with heavy pigment load, so you can extend/dilute them with any acrylic medium and still get vibrant colors. Other manufactures of high quality paint include Holbein, Sennelier, Kroma, Tri-Art, and many others.

Student Grade Paints

Liquitex Basics are one of several brands of student grade, affordable, paints, that may be a good choice for a beginner. They come in sets, and are very affordable.

Blick Studio Acrylics are similar to Liquitex Basics. They are affordable, and come in a wide variety of colors.

Arteza offers a few lines of acrylic paints. The "premium" are a decent student-grade paint. There is not a lot of information on the packaging, so it's not clear how light-fast or permanent the colors are. Still, if you are just beginning, these aspects of paint may not be your highest priority. 


Ultimately, if you are committed to a painting practice, you will want to explore the range of qualities of paints. You will find the variety of paints that work for you. I hope this gives you some guidelines.


  1. Thanks Jane, helpful suggestions- I use both Golden (a variety of types, though like the fluids) and Kroma which I really like. Using a limited palette means, to me, more experimentation! Then I can get a few tubes of splashy wonderful colours to play with.


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