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After you learn how to start a painting, practice. Painting daily is a great way to learn.
You may have photos you took on your vacation, a photo of your pets or flowers, etc.
Do not copy them directly without giving credit to the photographer.
Artist's paintings are also copyrighted.
You may use Free Images that have no copyright restrictions.
Student paints are less expensive, but professional artist paints contain more pigment. Artist paints cover better and provide more color than student paints.
Choose a painting support suitable for your media - paper, canvas or panels.
Watercolors are most often painted on paper. Oil and acrylic are generally painted on canvas or panels.
Small things like hummingbirds or butterflies normally go into small sizes. Landscapes and seascapes are normally painted larger.
If your time is limited, smaller paintings may be a better choice. That way can have the satisfaction of completing a painting. Large paintings will often take several sessions before the painting is complete.
Learning to draw is a part of learning how to start a painting.
Lay out the composition by sketching the large portions of the painting. Pay close attention to the values. Contrasting values create stunning paintings.
When you are satisfied with your composition transfer the drawing to your painting surface.
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 painting surface.
If there is a lot of detail, do your drawing on paper first and then transfer to the canvas.
Otherwise, do an outline sketch with thinned yellow paint directly on the canvas. Pale yellow lines are easy to paint over. They will not show in the final painting.
If you don't like a line, rub it out with a rag or a paper towel and paint it again.
It's good when you learning how to start a painting to not use all your colors.
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.
Mix additional colors from your selected colors.
Get some guidelines for painting with oil paints. How do you approach painting with watercolor?