Before I wrap up this blog for good with this final post, here are my top 8 tips for beginner painters based on what I’ve learned these past few months.
1. Don’t be afraid to mix colors directly on your canvas.
(How to Paint an Abstract Landscape)
For this sunset landscape, I wanted to make the red a lighter shade closer to the horizon. But I didn’t realize that until after my first layer of red dried. And simply adding a thin layer of white paint doesn’t make the red lighter, it just makes it whiter. Make a game plan ahead of time of what colors you want to mix because acrylic paint dries fast.
2. Anything can be a paint brush.
(Birch Trees Painting Tutorial)
The circles above were made with the rims of candles. The black streaks on the bark were made with the edge of a credit card. The background was painted with a sponge. Using objects besides traditional paint brushes gives you the chance to create different textures. This ended up being one of my most visually interesting pieces because of that!
3. Try out new techniques.
(Create Flowers with Paint Splatters)
Have you heard the expression, if your hands aren’t covered with acrylic paint then you aren’t doing it right? That’s probably not a real expression… but this paint splatter technique coated my fingertips. Trying out a new painting technique will force you to step out of your comfort zone and learn a new way of painting that can be applied to future projects. I ended up using this paint splatter technique on my Hokusai painting (below).
4. Accept that your art might not always turn out like you originally imagined…
(Create a Swirled Abstract Painting)
If you didn’t watch this video tutorial, here’s what you missed: a soggy panel canvas that was leaking paint from the corners. Trying to dry this paint puddle with a hair dryer couldn’t save this unappetizing piece of “art.” But that’s okay! Think of it as a learning experience! Don’t think about the paint or canvas you just wasted on this failure painting…
5. … but that doesn’t mean the painting is worthless.
(Let’s Paint a Pumpkin!)
You can’t get that paint back that you used, but you can reuse the canvas for another project! I turned the previous swirled abstract painting into a backdrop for this pumpkin painting. Side note: I recommend canvases over panel boards any day, but you have to be careful not to stretch canvas.
6. Think about layers before you paint.
(Fall Trees: Paint Leaves in Less Than a Minute)
If you look at the blue sky on the painting above, you can see some yellow peaking through. To prevent this from happening, either a) paint a layer of blue, let it dry, paint another layer of blue, let it dry, keep adding layers until you can’t see yellow OR b) don’t paint the whole canvas yellow, just the section you know needs it, which means thinking ahead and also means saving paint!
7. Work on projects you are excited to finish.
(How to Paint a Rose / How to Make an “UGH” Sign)
It’s so easy to start a painting then abandon it because you lost interest. Work on projects you want to hang on your wall or give as a gift. You’ll be more likely to finish. I was pretty stoked to finish this one, especially since I combined one of my own ideas with another tutorial to create something original.
8. Your artwork doesn’t have to look like other people’s art.
(Paint a Wave Like Hokusai)
I know, the whole premise of this blog was trying out other people’s tutorials. However sometimes copying someone else’s work gives you the chance to focus more on your technique, which is great way for beginners to practice. But don’t worry about making your painting look exactly like the example. Make it your own style!
To those who have been following my blog from the start, thanks for sticking around these past few months. If you want to keep in touch, see my future art projects and/or share pics of your own art with me, follow me on Instagram. I hope if anything my blog has inspired you to get creative in some way!