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Hard-edge Acrylic Painting

Master the art of creating a hard, sharp edge by using masking methods that are perfect when working with fast drying acrylic paint.

You're almost ready to get started. But first, you'll need these items:

Hard-edge painting is an approach to abstract painting that began in the west-coast of America in the late '60s, and is characterized by areas of flat colour with clear edges. When using this technique it is very important that the right consistency of paint is achieved. Ideally the viscosity of the paint should be somewhere between single and double cream.

We recommend using Matt Medium to thin your paint, as in the video. Adding solely water to make the paint more fluid will affect the binding of the paint, causing the polymer in the acrylic to break down and lose its adhesive qualities. You can also add Flow Improver into the water that you use to dilute the paint; this will break down the surface tension and allow you to apply your colour more smoothly.

To begin with you must first apply an even layer of colour onto your chosen surface, which in this demonstration is a canvas board. Once this layer is dry add another layer over the top; the more layers you add the more solid the colour will be. The main thing to remember is to allow for the final layer to dry thoroughly before applying the masking tape.

Once the top layer is dry, apply masking tape to the area where you want your hard edge to be. Make sure you apply even pressure along the edge of the tape to make sure that there is a continuous seal along the line. You don't need to press very hard, but you must make sure not to miss any section along the edge of the tape.

To prevent the paint from bleeding apply a thin layer of matt medium along the edge of the tape. You don't need to add too much, just enough to seal the edge of the making tape edge. Once this had dried thoroughly you can apply your second colour. After you have added your layers of the second colour you must allow them to dry; be sure that the paint is not just touch dry but completely dry.

Once the paint is completely dry, you can remove the masking tape. The best way to do this is to pull the tape up at an acute angle, rather than pulling directly upwards. Once removed you should be left with a clean, sharp edge.

Read more about Winsor & Newton Professional Acrylics

Read more about Winsor & Newton Acrylic Mediums

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