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  • Marc Primo Warren


Updated: Mar 12, 2021

This is an article “Convey Your Messages Using Nothing but Art and Paint” by Marc Warren

So you’ve educated yourself on the basics of drawing, acquired the necessary tools, and fixed a workspace for some serious art exploration with paint. Every artistic journey starts with an inspiration—a message you want to convey to your audience or simply release from your system. Soon, you’ll discover that you can convey them effectively with a few lessons on style, brush strokes, and technique.

Before you embark on your art journey, it’s important to have a good grasp of basic elements such as tone, color, texture, and composition that will define which technique best suits you.

With that, let’s check out five prominent ones that will give you the proper confidence in conveying your ideas and messages with paint.


Underpainting is created when you use burnt umber or sienna to express shadows and color in your acrylic work. Acrylics are quick-drying so it works best as an initial layer for monochromatic art wherein you put in additional layers of paint to work with your palette and define color values more aesthetically.

Some of the best examples of underpainting art are those done by Giotto, and Roger van der Weyden among many others.

Blocking in

Commonly used in oil paintings, ‘blocking in’ is usually done at the beginning of the painting process when you block general colors and shapes to define the composition’s groundwork and palette prior to focusing on more specific details.

If you know your brushes well, you know that each one paints a different shape and fibre type with every stroke for different results. Do a little trial and error and figure out which ones would work best for your art.

Set aside a mix of synthetic and sable brushes that both come in flat or round types along with a filbert which works best for blocking in techniques. Most artists use the latter for detailing large areas on the canvas before switching to smaller tip brushes to polish their work with complimenting strokes.

Check out this awesome collection from artists who are masters of the technique.

Dry brushing

This technique can be achieved by overlaying a certain color partially over a previous layer via quick, directional strokes. Do this to apply lighter hues over your dark areas such as in your depiction of rock and glass textures using a dry brush that still holds a bit of paint.

Dry brushing results in scratchy brush strokes that present rougher appearances that can effectively blend with and accentuate your whole piece. Such styles are reminiscent of works by Fan Kuan, Rembrandt, and Kevin Fitzgerald.


The process of scratching away paint while it’s still wet to expose a lower layer of contrasting color or underpainting is called Sgraffito. Typically used by applying plaster in stucco on walls, this technique is best for depicting scratches, hair, stained grass, or other such surfaces.

Originating from the Middle East, Sgraffito is commonly used in pottery, wall painting, ceramics, and glass art to further unveil the aesthetics of one’s work. Use pointed objects, rubber-shaping tools, or a brush’s end to achieve the effect.

Known modern artists who use this technique include Natalie Blake, Judy Weeden, and Rachel DePauw among many others.


Laying a coat of transparent paint such as acrylic or oil over a dry portion on your painted canvas is called glazing. This is essential if you want to accentuate shadows or modify your colors. It’s basically mixing thin layers of transparent hues with sharper colors to create new shades, like how transparent blue over yellow can create green.

Glazes allow you to present depth by playing around with colors yet without really mixing them physically as the initial layer should be dried before applying the second layer.

If you want to know more how glazing can work for your art, check out works from Johannes Vermeer or the Italian painter Titian.

If you want to find out more about Marc Primo Warren our services or just say hi, please reach out here.

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