How to
painting artwork

how do you paint artwork?
use the basic principles of good art
learn to paint with the how-to painting tutorials

What do you want to learn? ---

  • How to painting watercolor
  • Painting with oils
  • You want to paint flowers
  • Or maybe some critters


you're in the right place! - you can paint these, plus more.

Whether you want to paint flowers, critters or even a seascape, learn about oils, watercolor or mixed media, you will find it in the how-to tutorial pages.

  • Daisy Painting with Oils

    Confidently do an easy daisy painting of white daisies with oils. Speed up your art journey while learning how to paint daisies with this step-by-step tutorial.

  • How to Oil Paint - Answers to FAQs

    Answers to frequent questions about how to oil paint. What you need to oil paint, how to use oils, best paints, brushes, colors, drying time, cleanup and more …

  • Paint a Giraffe

    Three ways to paint a giraffe with watercolor. Express yourself with a traditional, an easy or a fun, colorful giraffe painting - step-by-step instructions.

  • How to Watercolor

    You can learn how to watercolor. Watercolor doesn't have to be scary. You can paint with confidence and knowledge. Paint a hummingbird and a daisy step-by-step.


what makes good paintings?

The art lessons will teach you the principles of successful paintings that attract the viewers.

  • Color Schemes for the Painting Artist

    Master your art painting color schemes with the secrets of color selection. Artists can take the stress out of choosing the paint colors for their paintings.

  • Creating a Focal Point In Paintings

    The focal point is the main emphasis of a painting. It is what attracts the viewer’s eye. What tools do artists use to create focal areas in their paintings?

  • Using Values in Our Paintings

    It’s fun painting color, but values are the backbone of successful paintings. Use the light and darkness of colors to create strong, attractive paintings.

  • Easy Composition for Appealing Paintings

    Easy composition tips take the stress out of painting. Use the rule of thirds and other tips in your art to create appealing paintings that draw the viewer in.

start your art painting with 5 easy steps

How to start a painting - Your how to painting checklist by artist Carol MayYou are "Going Places"

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how to painting a picture

  • Get ready for your how to painting lessons.
  • Use these steps to confidently start your own beautiful creations.

#1 pick a time and a place

  • Have a special place to paint.

If it's possible, have an area where you can leave your paintings things out. You will be more likely to paint.

  • Set aside time to paint.

Painters progress rapidly when they paint regularly. Dedicated artists have painted daily for generations. It's just like learning to play the piano.

The more we practice the better we get.


#2 choose your subject

  • A good place to start painting is to choose something you see around you. We are familiar with our surroundings. We do a better job of painting the things we know.

You may have photos you took on your vacation, a photo of your pets or flowers, etc.

  • A Word of Caution - Photos from a postcard, calendar or a magazine are covered under copyright laws.

Do not copy them directly without giving credit to the photographer.

  • Artist's paintings are also covered by copyright.

Alternately use Free Images that have no copyright restrictions.

Cedar Key Canal an oil painting by artist Carol May"Cedar Key Canal" from my photo

#3 get your supplies ready

what paint will you use?

Choose your painting media (watercolor, oils or acrylics) and the brushes suitable for the media.

Professional artist grade paints have more pigment and cover better than student grade paints.


what will you paint on?

Choose a painting support suitable for your media - paper, canvas or panels.


what size will your painting be?

Small things like hummingbirds or butterflies normally go into small sizes.

Landscapes and seascapes are usually painted larger.

WC or oil Paints


WC paper or canvas


#4 draw your subject

  • Do some thumbnail sketches about the size of a postcard.

Sketch the large portions of the painting to lay out the composition. Pay close attention to the values. Contrasting values create stunning paintings.

  • If the subject has a lot of intricate detail, do a drawing to scale.

When you are satisfied with your composition transfer it to your painting surface.



drawings for watercolor

Do your drawing on a separate piece of paper.

Transfer the drawing to your selected painting surface with graphite paper.

Alternately, if you are good at drawing, you may lightly sketch the drawing on the watercolor painting surface.

Use a graphite pencil and do it without erasures, so you don't damage the surface of watercolor paper.

Erasures on your watercolor support may damage the painting surface.


watercolor painting of Leafy Sea Dragons by Carol MayThis drawing was done on paper first.

drawings for oil paintings

If there is a lot of detail, do the drawing on paper first.

When there is not much detail, do an outline sketch with thinned yellow paint directly on the canvas.

If you don't like a line, rub it out with a rag or a paper towel.

Pale yellow lines are easy to paint over. They will not show in the final painting.


God's Lighthouse oil painting by artist Carol MayThis drawing was done on the canvas.

#5 select your colors

  • Don't use all your colors in each painting.

A painting with too many colors is disconcerting. The viewer's eye doesn't know where to go.

Select a color scheme to give cohesiveness and punch to your paintings.

  • Three to five colors will give you a harmonious painting.

Mix additional colors from your selected colors.

This is how to painting commonsense.


Select your painting colorsChoose Your Painting Color Schemes


now comes the joy of painting a picture!

painting landscapes

  • Paint the background first. This would include things like the sky, distant hills or water.

Then come forward in the painting and paint the middle ground.

Lastly paint the foreground and the details.

painting portraits

  • Paint the subject first, when you are painting anything close up like birds, flowers or people.

Then paint the background around the main subject.


5 how to painting steps

  • Pick a time and place to paint
  • Select your subject
  • Get the materials for your media
  • Draw your subject
  • Select your color scheme

Enjoy painting with good light and ventilation in your painting area.


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 to learn to paint?

Actually it has taken me a lifetime and I am still learning.

I enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience with you with the step-by-step paintings on the How-to Tutorial pages.

You can paint everything from flowers, to butterflies and giraffes and even ocean waves.

have lots of fun and enjoy your painting journey!



visit these popular pages

  • Painting Watercolor Flowers

    The most important thing about painting watercolor flowers is - watercolor is fun and exciting! Learn how to paint watercolor Iris, Poppies and Echinacea flowers.

  • Daisy Painting with Oils

    Confidently do an easy daisy painting of white daisies with oils. Speed up your art journey while learning how to paint daisies with this step-by-step tutorial.

  • Critter Paintings

    Critter paintings are lots of fun! Oil and watercolor paintings of all the intriguing animals God created; dolphins, koi, giraffes, sea turtles, birds and more…

  • How to Oil Paint - Answers to FAQs

    Answers to frequent questions about how to oil paint. What you need to oil paint, how to use oils, best paints, brushes, colors, drying time, cleanup and more …


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    Learn how to paint ocean. Understand what makes waves. Follow simple steps to create your own seascape paintings. Then you can enjoy the beach at home anytime.

    Read More

  2. Frequently Asked Questions

    Feb 25, 20 01:07 PM

    Find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions painting artists may ask about paints, supplies, techniques and much more.

    Read More

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