do you want to know how to paint a painting?

Yes, you want to learn how to paint a painting.

Start painting with easy subjects in a small format.

Begin with a minimum number of colors. A limited palette of red, yellow and blue is great. It's easy to handle and good for mixing colors.

When I was giving my sister an early painting lesson, we painted her goldfish named Speedy and Tuna. Lots of fun!

Start painting with simple subjects."Speedy and Tuna" A small painting with 3 colors

According to the steps of how to start a painting: You have subject, got all the painting materials and the drawing is on your painting surface.

Now comes the joy of painting!

how to paint a painting

Every artist has their own method of painting a picture. A simple 1, 2, 3 is my favorite way:

First: Block in an underpainting. Cover the painting surface with the general color and value for each area of the composition.

Second: Paint the painting. Paint the subject and the background.

Third: Detail and finish the painting.

One way is not better than any other, as long as you get to a finished painting. 

painting with oils or acrylics

  1. An oil underpainting is quickly scrubbed without trying to make it smooth or perfect.
  2. Paint the way you want the finished painting to look. Use the colors, brush strokes and texture you desire.
  3. Apply the highlight colors last and complete the final details of the composition.

painting watercolors

  1. A watercolor underpainting is done with the light colors.
  2. Glaze more layers to darken the colors. Paint darker colors where appropriate.
  3. Paint the darkest darks of the composition. Erase pencil marks and scratch out highlights, if desired.

Use these guidelines when you are learning how to paint a painting. Artists can bend the rules and do their own thing after they are comfortable with painting.

what steps do we use for painting a landscape?

The logical order of landscape painting is to paint things behind or underneath first. Paint from the back of the painting to the foreground.

Look at the painting below and imagine yourself painting it in the order of the numbers.

Detail of steps for painting a painting.Paint the background first, then paint forward.
  1. Paint the background things like the sky, distant hills or water.
  2. Come forward and paint the middle ground items. They are closer, so they overlap the background.
  3. The water is painted before the buildings, boat and bushes because they rise out of the water.
  4. Next the buildings are painted. Note how the buildings overlap the foliage of step #2.
  5. The boat and its reflection are painted on and into the water.
  6. Paint the foreground foliage on the sides of the painting. They overlap the water.
  7. Lastly paint the details and make any corrections. For example, you may want to darken the base of the grasses because they are in shadow.

Painting from back to front is a good way to start painting landscapes.

After we are familiar with how to paint a painting, we may approach each painting differently. For example, the sky may be the last thing to be painted.

how do we paint close-up subjects

When we are learning how to paint a painting of closeup things like butterflies and people.

Paint the subject first. Then paint the background around the main subject.

When painting a portrait, I like to paint the subject first.Paint the subject first.
Painting the background around the subject.Paint background around the subject.

This is my preferred method of painting a close-up subject. If the subject is painted first, then I have a better idea of how to use values and color contrast to highlight the subject.

Many artists do it the other way around. And, sometimes I do paint the background first and the subject second.

Either way is correct. It is just a matter of personal preference.

how to paint a painting with oils

There are a couple of guidelines for using oil paints.

Paint fat over lean

The first layers you paint will be mixed with medium or thinners like mineral spirits or turpentine. This makes the paint lean, thinner.

The top layers of the painting are painted with little or no medium or thinner. Oil paint contains linseed or other oils, that's the fat.

Paint dark to light

It is fairly easy to paint light colors over dark oil paint.

However, it is difficult to paint a dark color over a light oil color. Especially, if the color has been mixed with white.

It is not impossible, but difficult. You may let the light color set up awhile, then paint a dark color on with a very, very soft touch. It's best to follow the dark to light rule.

Find out more about using oil paint.

When you are painting with oil paints, paint the darks first.Paint the dark colors first.
If you are painting a picture with oils, paint the light colors after the dark colors.Then paint the light, white colors.

watercolor painting tips

The values in watercolors are painted in the reverse order of oil paintings.

Paint Watercolors light to dark.

The light colors are painted first. Then paint another layer on top or around the first layer.

You may use transparent colors painted on the top of the first colors. This traditional way of painting watercolor is called glazing.

Watercolor paintings are layered from light to dark.Paint dark over light underpainting.

It took a second layer of paint the get the butterfly wing tip dark enough.

Use less water to make your colors darker and/or more vibrant.

How-to-paint-WC--6Layering darks onto the light colors.

The light flower colors were painted first.

While the colors are still damp, add darker or different colors. The colors will softly blend.

learning how to paint is a journey

Painting a picture is not a one-time adventure.

The more we paint, the better we will be. And the more we will enjoy it.

How long did it take me to learn how to paint a painting? Actually, it has taken me a lifetime and I am still learning.

It is a privilege to share my experience with you.

You can learn to paint anything from flowers to butterflies, giraffes to ocean by following the step-by-step tutorials. They are on the 'Practice Painting' tab on the menu.

Enjoy your art journey!

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