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How to Blend Paint on Canvas?

how to blend paint on canvas

It might seem difficult but learning how to blend paint on canvas is actually easy. When you know how to blend acrylic paint on canvas, it will open a whole new world of creative possibilities.

Blending colors will allow you to create beautiful gradients that you can use as a background for your paintings. If you like painting landscapes, this technique will help you create a beautiful sky.

This article will teach you several techniques for blending acrylic paints directly on paper or canvas. After reading this article, you can start creating awesome-looking gradients easily.


Step 1: Wet the Brush

Let your brush soak in some water for a couple of minutes. Take it out and shake off the excess water. The brush does not need to be dripping wet. You can blot it out a bit on a kitchen towel if you want.

Step 2: Paint using one color across the top of the paper or canvas

Using broad strokes, paint the first color on top of the canvas. Go back and forth from one side straight to the other using a straight line. Try to cover at least ¼ of the canvas with color.

For instance, if you are painting a sky background, start with a dark blue on the top edge of the canvas.

Step 3: Use the next color

Without rinsing the brush, dip it into the second color. Start coloring at the bottom edge of the first color. Use the same broad strokes that you used with the first color. Move down the canvas gradually. The color should lighten as you go and the color above should blend with the new color.

Step 4: Add more of the second color

Dip the brush into the second color again and start brushing under the second application of paint. Again, use broad strokes and gradually go down the canvas. Repeat this until you reach the bottom of the canvas.

What you should end up with is a canvas that starts with one color and then turns into the second going to the bottom of the paper.


Step 1: Paint your base coat

Typically, the base coat would be the darker of the two colors you are using. For example, if you are painting a sunset sky, use a reddish-orange for the base coat. Using long and broad strokes, paint the base coat across the canvas.

Cover as much of the canvas or paper as you want. If you will be transitioning to the second color, it is better to paint just a bit over half of the canvas.

The nice thing about this method is that you do not have to worry about your paint drying too quickly.

Step 2: Allow the base coat to dry

You do not need to wait too long, though. The base coat does not even need to be completely dry. It should be just enough that the other color will not muddle it. If the first coat is thin, it would have dried in just a couple of minutes.

Dip your brush into the second color. Start at the bottom of the canvas or wherever you want the color to start. Make sure you have a solid color along the edge. Gradually move upwards up until it meets the base color. As you move upwards, less paint will be on the brush so the color will automatically lighten.

Using Acrylic Glazing

how to blend acrylic paint on canvas

Step 1: Paint on your base color

Starting with the darker color, cover as much of the painting surface as you want. Use broad strokes crossing from one side of the canvas to the others.

You do not have to cover the entire canvas with the base color. Again, you just need to cover the space where you need the color to be. For instance, if you will be coloring a sky, cover only around a third of the canvas. The horizon and the foreground will cover the bottom half anyway.

Step 2: Combine your second color with a bit of glazing medium

Acrylic glazing medium turns your paint, which is typically opaque, into a semi-transparent color. You can choose between gloss, semi-gloss, or matte glazing media, depending on your preference.

You do not have to rush with this step. The glazing medium slows down the drying process of the acrylic paint, so you can take your time. However, you will have at least 25% more time for you to work.

Step 3: Apply the glazing on the canvas

Dip your brush into the glazing paint and make sure that it picks up a lot of it. Start from the bottom of the canvas or wherever you want the color to start. Make sure to create a line with a solid color then gradually go to meet the base color.

You can add more glaze to the paint the closer you get to the middle. This will help the colors blend smoothly. Make sure to use broad strokes to make the transition a lot more smoothly.

Helpful Tips

  • You can use lots of different brushes for blending colors, but beginners might find it easier to use a flat, round, or fan brush – For larger areas, you can use a wider brush, like a 2-inch flat brush, to cover more area faster
  • When using the wet-on-wet blending method, you can paint the canvas with clean water if you do not want the paint to dry too fast – However, this will only give you a couple of moments of leeway. You still need to work quickly
  • If you want to slow down the drying time of acrylics even more, which is essential for the wet-on-wet blending method, use a fluid retarder medium – This product will slow down the drying time of acrylics by as much as 50%, so you will have more time to ensure that the blending is smooth
  • You can also use an always-wet palette – This is essentially a paint palette with a sponge underneath that keeps the paint hydrated. It retains its moisture for longer


Blending acrylic colors may look like it is a complicated process but once you know the basics, it gets a lot easier. Now that you have reached the end of this article, you already know how to blend paint on canvas, or at least the basics of it.

Practice the techniques mentioned above, and pretty soon, you will be making great-looking blended backgrounds that would make Bob Ross proud.