Painting 101

Painting can seem very difficult for an inexperienced artist. There are so many different styles and tools and techniques that it gets very confusing. And that's why I am here. I've explained some techniques to help beginner artists get a feel for painting and become more comfortable with creating art. So, channel your inner Bob Ross and get to painting!

Stippling:

Stippling is an easy technique that is applied by painting with stiff brushes that lets you paint small dots of paint to the canvas. It creates dimension and textures that make the painting pop! A Sunday On The Island Of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat is an amazing example of stippling.

Splattering:

Splattering is one of the more abstract painting techniques. To create this look, you can drop or flick your brush with paint onto the canvas. To make this technique easier, thin your paints with water or a thinner. Jackson Pollock is very famous for using this technique.

Sponging:

Sponging is created by dabbing paint in a sponge to the canvas. It creates different textures that are difficult to get with a brush and you can get a nice blend of colors with sponging.

Impasto:

Impasto is a technique that can give you a three-dimensional look to your paintings. Impasto involves you painting with a thick amount of paint and then spreading it with a palette knife. You can layer different colors to create a cool look for your painting. Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night uses this technique beautifully.

Sgraffito:

Sgraffto means “to scratch” in Italian, and that’s exactly what you do. First, you paint a base color and let it dry. Next, paint in a different color layer and scratch the wet paint off, which exposes the first layer. It creates a nice contrast in the painting.

Scumbling:

Scumbling creates a smoky effect in your paintings and blends colors very well. To create this effect, use a dry brush to paint thin layers of paint over a dry layer to expose the color underneath. The painting Impression, Sunset by Claude Monet is a great example of this technique.

Tools

Now that you know some different painting techniques, it is time to learn about tools for painting and the best ones to use!

Wash Brush:

Wash brushes are used to cover large parts of canvas or paper quickly. These brushes are also thicker than most other brushes. This allows for the brush to pick up the most amount of paint and water.

Angled Brush:

An angled tip for the bristles is very useful for curves and being able to create lines and shapes that vary in thickness and coverage. This is a very flexible brush that is easy to use for beginner artists.

Fan Brush:

Fan brushes are a very fun brush to use. They have a fan shaped tip and are great for blending backgrounds and skies, as well as adding subtle highlights to darker areas. They are also great brushes to use to paint trees and shrubbery.

Round Brush:

These brushes give you control for different details in your painting. The handle of these brushes have a narrower design so they feel more like holding a pencil. Adding details on your painting is effortless with this brush.

Liner Brush:

Liner brushes are best used for fine details in your paintings. You can even use these brushes to add lettering to your art and you can even use ink with these brushes instead of pens.

Palette Knife:

You can use palette knives to create different textures, spread paint, and build up various layers. Palette knives are most popular to use on canvas, because the paint tends to be applied very thickly. This is the tool you would use to do the techniques Impasto.

Color Wheel

Every painter needs to know about the color wheel. So let's do some learnin'!

A color wheel is a visual representation of colors arranged according to their chromatic relationship. They are made up of primary, secondary, and tertiary colors.

Primary Colors:

Primary colors are the main colors on the color wheel. The primary colors are red, yellow, and blue. Mixing these colors will create the secondary colors.

Secondary Colors:

Secondary colors are created by mixing different primary colors on the color wheel. The secondary colors are orange, green, and purple. Mixing these colors will create the tertiary colors.

Tertiary Colors:

Tertiary colors are created by mixing different primary colors with different saturation on the color wheel. The tertiary colors are yellow-orange, red-orange, red-violet, blue-violet, blue-green, and yellow-green.

Complementary Colors:

Complementary colors are any two colors that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel. For example, these colors could be blue and orange, purple and yellow, or red-purple and yellow-green.

Analogous Colors:

Analogous colors are  are groups of three colors that are next to each other on the color wheel that also includes a tertiary color. A great example of this would be red, orange, and red-orange.

Painting Time!

So now that you know about the color wheel, techniques, and tools, you can get started on creating amazing art! Lets start with clouds!

Step 1:

Paint your background before painting your clouds.

Step 2:

Use a dry brush with white paint to brush it on the canvas in circles. Make sure the pressure is light so that the clouds look fluffy.

Step 3:

After the white cloud dries, add shading. There are many colors you can use for shading but my favorite colors to use are grey, dark purple, dark blue, and dark pink. Make sure to not only shade the bottom of the cloud. You want to give the loud depth and volume, so shade parts of the middle.

Step 4:

After you finish shading your cloud, take your brush and blend the hard and soft edges. Clouds are a fun and easy thing to paint!

Wow! Those clouds look great! But they do look a little lonely. How about we add some trees! Let's paint some evergreens!

Step 1:

My favorite way to paint trees is with a fan brush. The first step is to get your fan brush and put some brown paint on it for the tree trunk. Just paint a thin, brown line going up for the trunk.

Step 2:

Next, you're going to clean the brown off of your brush and then dip it in the darkest green you are planning to use. Start at the top of the tree and work your way down in a zig-zag motion with the brush. The top part of the tree should be the smallest part and the bottom should be the biggest part. 

Step 3:

If you want, you can pull a Bob Ross and give that tree some friends. Remember to give the trees varying heights.

Step 4:

Lastly, add your highlights. Lightly tap on your light tones so that it looks like the sun its hitting the leaves. Keep practicing painting so that you can get comfortable with the basics and eventually become the next Van Gogh!

Those trees and clouds look amazing! Now, the only thing you need is a background for them... How about a pretty sunset?

Step 1:

Step 2:

Step 3:

First, I like to start with a darker color at the top, like a blue or purple. Spread that color across the top of the canvas. Then, you're going to move down the canvas from darker blues and purple to reds, oranges, and yellows. I like to have yellow be the color at the very bottom of the sunset.

Next, blend your colors together. You don't want to blend them together so that it creates brown so only blend where two different colors meet.

Lastly, add in your trees and clouds (if you want to)! You can make your trees normal or a silhouette, whatever you think looks best. Make your clouds shading whatever colors are in the sunset, and you will be good! Happy painting, friends!

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Briee Daniels

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