I got asked this question and it made me think of the time I was an art student and I kept hearing the term gesso. I had no idea what it was and felt to embarrassed to ask because I felt it was something I should know. Several years later I found out that it was a primer and it is used to prime surfaces for painting. I use it often and wouldn’t be without it now so it seems funny that it was such a mystery to me for so many years. This is why this site is so useful for so many, there are no silly questions!
When we start painting many are confused by the paint media, there is acrylic, gouache, oil, watercolour so what are the differences? Which one are best for the beginner? I will explain the characteristics of each type of paint media.
Acrylic paint is fast-drying paint, water-soluble and becomes water-resistant when dry. The paints are made from a by-product of the plastic industry so they are fairly new as an art medium (1960’s) and have become much more popular in the last few decades.
They are easy to use for beginners, they can be used in a diluted way in washes a bit like watercolour or thicker to achieve an opaque finish. You can layer the paint as it layers with ease because the paint dries quickly so you can go over areas again and again. The fast-drying qualities of the paint does make blending challenging as you will get lines where the paint dries.