Acrylic Paintings

Acrylic Paintings by Tatyana Zen

This collection of acrylic paintings by Tatyana Zen. Colorful portraits of celebrities, vibrant animal art and dramatic landscapes make the perfect art for a modern and contemporary space.

Portraits in Acrylic

Acrylic Painting Techniques

DryBrush Technique

Drybrush is a great technique to add dimension and texture to paintings. I use it often in landscape painting to create blades of grass or fabric highlights on the portrait. It’s also an excellent technique to add dimension to an underpainting. 

Wash Technique

The acrylic wash technique allows to build up transparent layers of colors for a watercolor look. The finished result will set permanently based on how much water is added. Using a flow aid medium will allow you to achieve a wash consistency without compromising the pigment.


Pointillism is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image. A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte is the price example of this technique. Georges Seurat and Paul Signac developed the technique in 1886, branching from Impressionism.

This easy, versatile technique is applied with round stiff brushes that allow small dots of paint to be applied across the surface. By layering different colors, it’s possible to make subtle color blends that create dimension and texture.

Pointillism is a great choice when working under tight time limit. See Pitbull Puppy, James Bond-Daniel Craig and Evander Holyfield as examples of painting with dots.


Acrylic pouring is a fun, creative way to produce abstract art or abstract background for realistic paintings. The psychedelic paintings that acrylic pouring produces can be enhanced by incorporating different pouring mediums, glitter and texture. The unpredictable design is unique and surprises every time! I use this method whenever I want to bring more playfulness, spontaneity and energy into my art, or to overcome a creatieve barrier.

Quick Drying

One layer of acrylic paint dries in less than thirty 30 minutes.  In contrast, oil does not become dry to the touch for 48 hours.

Although acrylics dry quickly on the surface, you should wait at least a week before varnishing to make sure that the paint is bone dry. Not surprisingly, a very thick oil impasto may take up to two years to fully cure. Even if an acrylic painting is dry to the touch hours after painting, it is often still a bit wet underneath.

If you varnish your painting too soon, before the acrylic paint has dried all the way through, the varnish may wind up cloudy due to the trapped moisture.

History of Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is a fast-drying paint made of pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion. Acrylic paints are water-soluble, but become water-resistant when dry. Acrylics became commercially available in the 1950s and since then have dominated the arts and crafts market.  

Acrylic paintings now make up a significant part of the permanent collections of museums and art galleries.  In addition, artists have accepted acrylics as a viable alternative to more toxic oil paint.   The behavior of acrylics as a painting medium and their physical and chemical properties are different from oil paint. 

Since conservationists had only short few years to monitor, the aging characteristics of acrylic paintings are just beginning to be understood.  At present, preventative care seems to be the best care for acrylic paintings, according to Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute.

Properties of Acrylic Paintings

  • There are two groups of acrylic paints used in the fine arts: solvent-based and water-based.  Usually, common acrylic paint used by most artists is water-soluble.
  • Acrylic paint dries differently from oil paint.  Acrylic paint “dries” by evaporation of solvent of water.  Oil paints dry by the interaction with oxygen from the air with their binder and evaporation of solvent.
  • Acrylic films are not as hard as oil films.  The surfaces of the soft acrylic films hold onto dust and dirt.  The paint may even flow around the particles, over time, so that they are incorporated into the film.
  • A variety of additives are added to the acrylic paint to achieve a desirable working. Examples of these additives are thickeners, stabilizers, preservatives, surfactants, coalescing solvents and defoamers. 
  • Acrylic paintings develop cracks much less often than oil paintings because they are more flexible and can withstand much greater forces without breaking.   However, cracks do form in acrylic paintings.
  • When they are exposed to sub-zero temperatures, acrylics become increasingly brittle and they will crack.

When & Why to Varnish

Traditionally, varnishes provide surface protection from abrasion, bugs, dust, mold and dirt. They also provide saturation to the paint they cover, smoothing unevenly glossy and matt parts.

Acrylics are different than oils because they are more flexible when they dry leaving a softer exterior than oils. This makes it easier for dirt and dust to adhere to. However, varnishing acrylic paintings has several problems. Since acrylic resin varnishes have similar solubilities to those of acrylic paint, it can easily damage the painting upon removal.  So, many artists chose not to varnish their acrylic paintings, or place acrylics behind glass and not varnishing.  A water soluble varnish may be an answer. 
I have always varnished my paintings following a proper procedure as I prefer the aesthetic without glass.
Personally, I prefer the more physical approach and display my acrylics without glass. After properly curing acrylic paintings, I varnished with UV-protective archival varnish.

Decorating with Acrylic Paintings

Here’s some of ideas on how to decorate your place with acrylic paintings by Tatyana Zen. Also view Limited Editions, embellished by the artist. Read further about 5 Luxury Decorating Ideas on a modest budget.