you have a subject, paper, paints and brushes
now how do you start your painting?
- You want to learn how to paint a painting.
- You chose your subject and have all your painting supplies.
- You put the drawing of your subject onto your painting surface.
You may want to review these first steps of getting ready to paint.
now comes the joy of painting a picture!
how to paint a painting
- Start with easy subjects.
When I was giving my sister a painting lesson we painted her goldfish. Lots of fun!
- These guidelines are a good place to start when you are learning how to paint.
After you are comfortable with painting, you can bend the rules. There are many different ways to
paint a painting. But for now, here are some simple guidelines.
The logic of landscape painting is to first paint the things that will be behind or underneath.
Paint the background first, then come forward.
1. Paint the background things like the sky, distant hills or water.
2. Come forward in the painting and paint the middle ground items. They are closer than the sky or distant hills, so they overlap the background.
3. The water needs to be painted before the buildings, boat or bushes because they all come up out of the water.
4. Next the buildings are painted. Note how they overlap the background foliage of number 2.
your main subject
5. The boat and its reflection is painted on and into the water.
6. Paint the foreground foliage on the sides of the painting. They overlap the water.
detail and finish
7. Lastly paint the details and make any corrections.
For example, the base
of the grasses would be in shadow. So you may want to darken the base
of the grasses.
- The rule or painting from back to front is a good way to start with landscapes.
- However, after you are more experienced and you know how to paint a painting, you may approach each painting differently. For
example, the sky may be the last thing you paint.
oil painting tips
There are two guidelines to follow for learning how to paint a painting with oils.
The first layers you paint may be mixed with medium or thinners like mineral spirits or turpentine. This makes the paint thinner (lean).
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 part).
- Paint dark to light. It is fairly easy to paint light colors over dark paint.
However, it is difficult to paint a dark color over a light color. Especially, if the color has been mixed with white.
It is not impossible, but difficult. You may let the paint set up awhile, then paint the dark color on with a very, very soft touch.
Paint the dark colors first.
- Paint the subject first, when you learning how to paint a painting of anything close up like birds, flowers or people.
- Then paint the background around the main subject.
Paint the subject first.
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 value contrast to highlight the subject.
Many artist 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.
watercolor painting tips
- Watercolors normally are painted light to dark, layer after layer.
The light colors are painted first, let them dry.
Then paint another layer on top of the first layer. You may use dark colors or other colors added over the top of the light colors.
This a traditional way of painting watercolors, called glazing. Learn More
Paint watercolors light to dark
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.
Layering darks onto the light colors.
The light flower colors were painted first.
While the colors are still damp, add darker or different colors. Then the colors will softly blend together.
what makes a good painting?
- While you learning how to paint a painting, have you thought about what makes your paintings attractive?
learning how to paint is a journey
- Painting is not a one-time adventure.
The more you paint, the better you will be. And the more you 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.
I am privileged and I enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience with you.
You can learn to paint anything from flowers to butterflies and giraffes to ocean with the how-to tutorials.
enjoy your painting journey!
Start A Painting
How to Paint a Painting