Top 8 Tips for Beginner Painters


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.

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Paint a Wave Like Hokusai

I think it’s safe to say everyone has seen the wave painting by Katsushika Hokusai. If you’re not sure, here’s a reminder of which painting I’m talking about, which is also the focus of this week’s Let’s Paint tutorial:


Quick history lesson: Hokusai was considered Japan’s leading expert on Chinese painting, according to this biographical website dedicated to the artist. He is most famous for his Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji series, including The Great Wave painting (you can see Mount Fuji behind the far boat). Apparently Hokusai painted Mount Fuji partially because during the 1820s it had become a popular travel destination but also because he just really liked that mountain. The artist started painting when he was six years but did not begin the Thirty-Six Views series until he was around 50+ years old.


This week’s tutorial is inspired by a tutorial by Stephanie at Harrington Harmonies, which is more so for kids and uses markers, watercolors and acrylic paint splatter technique similar to the flower garden tutorial I tried about a month ago.

And finally, this is my last video tutorial for this blog! This blog was part of a class assignment, and as the semester comes to an end, so does my blog. Although I’m sure I will continue to find time to paint, my days filming and editing together tutorials have come to an end. If you’re interested in keeping in touch and/or seeing any of my future art projects, you can follow me on Instagram.

Stay tuned for my final blog post next Thursday: Top 8 Tips for Beginner Painters (based on lessons learned from my past 8 painting tutorials).

Until then, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Let’s Paint a Pumpkin!

Halloween is getting closer! Watch this week’s video to learn how to create a pumpkin that takes less than an hour to paint. Like the creator of the original tutorial Jennifer Rizzo says, art skills are not required to follow along.



This week’s video doesn’t include a voice over (I loved that Halloween music too much to talk over it) so here’s the basics:

  1. Paint the background and let it dry. Use any colors you want! I used a canvas that I painted for last week’s blog about painting an swirled abstract painting.
  2. Outline the pumpkin, dividing it into chunks so you have a general shape to work with.
  3. Fill in each section, adding lines of darker paint. I choose shades of yellow, orange, and brown to match my backdrop — and to look more Halloween-y.
  4. Don’t clean your brush in between! Let the colors mix together a bit.
  5. Paint the stem. Make one side darker, the other side lighter to create a slight shadow effect.

To see the original step-by-step instructions with pictures on how to paint a pumpkin, check out Rizzo’s tutorial on her website. She uses shades of blue, green, and brown. (Not everything has to be orange during the fall season!)

How to Paint a Pumpkin, tutorial by Jennifer Rizzo

How to Paint a Pumpkin, tutorial by Jennifer Rizzo

If you can’t tell by all of my exclamation points, I’m excited for Halloween! What are you doing to prepare for the spookiest night of the year?

Create a Swirled Abstract Painting

This was a rough one, guys. Not sure what I did wrong — maybe I added too much water to the paint, or maybe I used the wrong kind of canvas? — but it didn’t turn out how I imagined…

This is kind of how it was supposed to look, according this tutorial by Azure11.


Beautiful ocean wave-like paintings, right? Not so much for me.

Let me use this failure to say, be sure to buy the right kind of canvas for your painting project.

  • Cotton duck canvas is common and cheap, but easily stretched.
  • Linen canvas is weaved tighter than cotton duck canvas, making it ideal for detailed paintings
  • Watercolor canvas (as opposed to watercolor paper) allows the paint to stay wet longer
  • Canvas panels are what I use for these weekly paintings because they’re cheap and sturdy, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them for any serious projects

I honestly almost threw the painting away, it was a mess! Have you ever had a similar experience?

Create Flowers with Paint Splatters

Paint flowers in a rush with a flick of your brush. This flower garden painting is based on a tutorial by Tammy Northrup, who has a lot of splattered paintings similar to the one she highlights in her tutorial I referenced.

She suggests watercolors for the background. Since I only own acrylic paint, I watered the paint down to make it thinner and easier to spread. What’s the difference between the two paints? Mainly, watercolor tends to be more transparent, making it great for layering. Acrylic paint is opaque, so you can’t add a transparent layer over other layers. Acrylic also dries faster.


BONUS: My dog makes an appearance in this week’s video. 🙂

Which do you like better, watercolors or acrylics? Answer below, or tell me about what project you’re working on now!

Birch Trees Painting Tutorial

These birch trees may look tricky to paint, but there’s actually a simple trick to it!


Besides the usual paint and canvas, you will need:

  • masking/duck tape
  • on old gift card or credit card
  • something circular (e.g., a cup, a bottle lid, a soda can)
  • a sponge

For a more in-depth guide, watch the full tutorial by Angela Anderson available on youtube.

This was my first time painting with a sponge and I loved it. Much faster than using a brush. What’s the strangest object you’ve ever painted with?

How to Paint an Abstract Landscape

Looking for an easy tutorial that can still teach you how to paint something you can proudly hang on your living room wall? Then check out How to Paint an Abstract Landscape with Acrylics by Robie Benve.

Using this tutorial, I paint a bold red and blue landscape that any beginner can do.

Have you ever painted an abstract piece? Tell me about it in the comments!

Before You Start: Quick Tips for Acrylics

There’s nothing wrong with making mistakes, but why not prepare yourself a little bit for what’s ahead—especially if this is your first time painting with acrylics. Now at this point in my life, I have only painted with acrylics twice. But these 13 Tips for Working With Acrylic Paint have info in them that I wish I had known eight months ago when I stayed up late Christmas Eve just to finish painting my dad’s gift… that was a coffee night for sure.

After reading through these 13 tips, I thought a few stood out.

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