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How to Blur a Background With Acrylic

Updated April 17, 2017

The task of adding depth to a two-dimensional painting is a challenge that many artists face. If you would like to create a blurry background to an acrylic painting to make the foreground seem closer and sharper in contrast, you may not know where to begin. Unlike watercolours, it's difficult to use water to blur acrylic paints. The dry-brush painting technique is a simple way to create a blurred background for your picture, and can help to add complexity and texture to any painting.

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  1. Sketch out a design for the painting on a scrap piece of paper.

  2. Select your colour scheme for the background of the painting. Create a colour pallet for the background that contrasts the colour pallet for the foreground.

  3. Paint the entire canvas with a layer of the acrylic paint of your choosing, using a wide-bristled brush. This will prevent the canvas from showing through when you do the dry-bristle painting. Allow the paint to completely dry before continuing on to the next step.

  4. Squeeze out acrylic paints that will be used for the background onto the pallet.

  5. Dip the dry bristles of a paintbrush into the acrylic paint colour of your choosing. The bristles should be lightly coated with the paint. Avoid loading too much acrylic paint onto the brush, which will result in a solid layer of paint.

  6. Lightly brush the paint onto the canvas so that the background paint slightly shows through. Paint the background image according to your design. Rinse out the paintbrush and thoroughly dry it before adding a different colour.

  7. Allow the background to dry completely before painting the foreground.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Acrylic paint
  • Palette
  • Brush
  • Bristle brush
  • Canvas

About the Author

Missy Farage began her writing career in 2008 when her freelance articles were published in the Washington life-and-style journals "425 Magazine" and "South Sound Magazine." She has won awards for her poetry and writing. Farage holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the University of Puget Sound.

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