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Quarantine, boredom or the need to find an activity that allows us some stress relief has led many of us to pick up an assortment of hobbies during this time. We have seen a boom. One of my favorite hobbies is painting.Painting is fun in that not only do you create something, whether it is for experimentation or to express yourself. It allows you an escape from the real world as you can focus on your creation for as long as you like. So how do you start if you want to start painting? First and foremost you need to choose which medium you want to use. 

Women painting roses
Photo by Tabitha Turner from Unsplash

The most popular of the two mediums is watercolor, which is a medium that is activated by water and can be diluted by it, it tends to be less opaque compared to other mediums. This is really good for those who want a more gentle approach and would like to take their time. Watercolor can continue to be activated, although they take a bit longer to dry. This is good for cardmaking or just coloring a sketch. For watercolor you usually use watercolor paper unlike other mediums that you can usually use on canvases(can find a watercolor canvas, except they’re not as good as paper). If you want to try watercolor you should start off with the basics of mixing with water and testing each color on paper.As you get use to watercolor you can experiment and see what you like and as long as you keep practicing you’ll get better and soon you’ll be able paint people or nature, whatever you prefer! If you want to see how amazing watercolor can be check out the instagram account @kelogloops by a well known watercolor artist.For beginners I suggest starting with Artist Loft’s watercolor pack of twelve as they are fairly affordable and also buy the regular Artist Loft brushes. Crayola is also pretty good just to start off. As for watercolor paper you can use Artist loft watercolor paper too. 

painting pallete
Photo by Sarah Brown from Unsplash

The next medium is acrylic which tends to be thicker in consistency as well as a higher opacity, it can be used with water however there are also other substances than can be mixed with it to thin it out. Acrylic tends to be seen as a bit harder to use than watercolor as it dries very fast and therefore gives you minimal time for mixing. However this can be solved with acrylic thinner or by adding small amounts of water. The great thing about acrylics is how full coverage it is in that you can put down a layer without a need for reapplication. Although you have to work at a fast pace as long as you continue to work on it you’ll master mixing and will be able to create whatever you imagine. A great demonstration of the range of acrylic paint can be seen by instagram artist @theobanoth.You can also use it on canvases and paper alike. For beginners I suggest you go with Artist Loft Acrylics and Artist Loft paper for its affordable price. As for brush Artist Loft brushes are good as well.

paintbrushes in pots on a table
Photo by Sema Martin from Unsplash

Overall, both mediums are great and unique, however depending on experience and what type of art you want to make you should take into consideration the different characteristics of each medium.Personally, I started off with watercolors and later switched to acrylics. However, do what makes you feel comfortable and take risks. If you need something to relieve stress or just want to pick a hobby, give painting a try!

Paulina Herrera

UC Riverside '22

Paulina Herrera is a junior at UC Riverside studying English. She has spent her time refining her skills as an art director intern for The Naked Magazine and as an intern for The Art Collection, NY. When she is not working on her art or writing you can find her reading copious amounts of comics and books or attending conventions.
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