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All moms need a hobby. Whether you work or not, taking care of kids is emotionally draining at times and it is easy to lose “yourself” in the slog of being a parent. Not all of us are creative – or want to be – but a creative hobby is a wonderful way to let your tired mind unwind from the stresses and strains of family life. If you are looking for a new hobby, why not give acrylic painting a go?

What are Acrylic Paints?

You are probably familiar with acrylic paints. These are the paints kids use in school. They are water soluble, but unlike watercolours, acrylics can be layered up to create texture, in the same way as you would do with oil paints. Unlike oil paints, however, acrylics dry quickly and don’t smell.

Acrylics are a great place to start if you want to try painting. They are easy to work with, not as messy as oils or tricky as watercolours, and you can share your paints with the kids. If this sounds like fun, here is a list of a few essentials you will need to get started.

Essential Art Supplies

  • Paints – invest in a set of cheap acrylic paints. Starter sets don’t cost the earth. The paint is not as dense as ‘artist’ quality acrylic paints, but if you decide you like using acrylics, you can always invest in better quality paints later.
  • Brushes – buy a set of nylon brushes in different sizes. Three brushes will be enough to begin with. You’ll need a large, flat brush for background washes, a fine brush for detailed work, and a short, flat brush for everything in between. As you gain experience and learn new techniques, invest in different sized brushes from an art and craft supplies
  • Paper or canvas boards – you can paint with acrylics on heavy watercolour Look for pre-primed paper. If you prefer, buy some cheap canvases or primed boards.
  • Palette – an old plate will do, but disposable palette pads are quite handy (and cheap).
  • Water jar – have a jar or jug of water handy to clean your brushes.

You don’t really need anything else. Use a board or a table for your paper/canvas. Or, if you prefer, buy a small desk easel. You can pick these up very cheaply from good art stores or eBay.

Subject Matter

Deciding what to paint is a personal thing. You might be drawn to landscapes or still life – only you can decide what you feel like painting. To begin with, however, concentrate more on learning the techniques of painting, rather than trying to create a masterpiece. Things will go wrong and most of your work will feel like a failure. But that’s OK! You are learning the ropes, so don’t worry. In time, your painting techniques will improve, and as they do, you will find that some subject matter is more appealing than others.

Set Up a Studio Space

Bag a space where you can paint uninterrupted. This could be a spare room or even the shed. Set up your tools and have fun learning how to paint!

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