how to start a painting: Use five easy steps to start any art painting

  • Learn how to start a painting with a few basic steps that get you ready for the actual process of painting.

Painting is exciting! We are excited about the things we see around us and we're anxious to get them into a painting.

Use these five steps to start painting any of the step-by-step tutorials.

You can also, confidently start your own beautiful creations with these same easy steps. The process is the same.

Learn how to start a painting with five easy steps.Your art is "Going Places"

how to start a painting

Painting can add a lot of joy and accomplishment to our lives.

You can learn how to paint! Where do we start?

#1 pick a time and a place for painting

  • Have a special place to paint.
Painting daily is a great way to learn how to paint.Painting is fun!

If it's possible, have an area where you can leave your paintings things out.

Set aside a place for your home art studio. You will be likely to paint more often.

  • Set aside time to paint.

Painters progress rapidly when they paint regularly. Dedicated artists have painted daily for generations.

After you learn how to start a painting, practice by painting regularly. The more we practice, the better we paint!

#2 choose your subject

  • A good place to start painting is to paint something you see around you. We are familiar with our surroundings. So we do a better job of painting the things we know.
Paint from your own photos.Paint from your own photos.

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

Please Note: Photos from a postcard, calendar or a magazine are under copyright laws.

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

Artist's paintings are also copyrighted.

The best bet is to use your own photos. We may go on line and use free images that have no copyright restrictions.

#3 get your supplies ready

It's a good idea for artists to keep a stock of supplies. Then we can paint anytime.

what paint will you use?

  • Choose your painting media (watercolor, oils or acrylics). Get the brushes and supports suitable for your medium. 
Get answers to frequently asked questions about painting art."Springtime" a prophetic painting

Student paints are less expensive, but professional artist paints contain more pigment.

Artist paints cover better and provide more color than student paints.

Find answers to beginning painters' frequent questions.

what support will you paint on?

  • Choose a painting support suitable for your media.

Watercolors are usually painted on paper. Oil and acrylics are painted on canvas or panels.

what size will your painting be?

  • When you are thinking about how to start a painting, decide how much time you are going to spend painting.

If your time is limited, smaller paintings are a better choice. That way we can have the satisfaction of completing a painting. Large paintings will often take several sessions before the painting is complete.

Small things like hummingbirds or butterflies normally go into a small format. Landscape and seascape paintings are usually painted larger.

#4 draw your subject

  • Do some sketches the size of a postcard.

Then lay out the composition on your painting surface by sketching the large portions of the painting. Pay close attention to the values. Contrasting values create stunning paintings.

  • If your painting includes a lot of detail, draw the subject to scale.

When you are satisfied with the drawing, transfer it to your painting surface.

Learning to draw is a part of learning how to start a painting.

drawings for watercolors

Learning to draw is part of learning to paint.This drawing was done on paper first.
  • 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.

drawings for oil paintings

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

If there is a lot of detail, do the drawing on paper first and then transfer it to the canvas.

#5 select your colors

  • Three to five colors will give you a harmonious painting.
Select a painting color scheme.Choose a painting color scheme.

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 painting color scheme that will give cohesiveness and punch to your paintings.

We mix any additional colors from our selected three to five colors.

how to start a painting with 5 easy steps

  1. Pick a time and place to paint
  2. Select your subject
  3. Get the materials for your media
  4. Draw your subject
  5. Select your color scheme

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

get started painting - it's fun!



more about painting

  • Can painting daily really make you a better artist?  Regular painting will put your art into overdrive! You don’t have to paint perfect. Just paint more often.

    Painting Daily

    Can painting daily really make you a better artist? Regular painting will put your art into overdrive! You don’t have to paint perfect. Just paint more often.

  • Answers to beginners' frequently asked questions about how to oil paint; supplies, how to use oils, best paints, brushes, colors, drying time, cleanup and more.

    How to Oil Paint

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  • Feel the joy and passion of the artwork by the award winning artist Carol May. Purchase originals or prints and learn how to paint with the how-to lessons.

    About the artist Carol May

    Feel the joy and passion of the artwork by the award winning artist Carol May. Purchase originals or prints and learn how to paint with the how-to lessons.

  • Paint a butterfly and learn how to paint watercolor with the technique of preserving the white paper. We use paper because there is no white watercolor paint.

    How to Paint Watercolor

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  • What is the best painting medium for the artist? What mediums are good for beginners while they are learning? What are the popular painting mediums for today?

    Best Painting Medium

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