How to Use the Paint Brushes in Real Draw Pro

Real Draw Pro

In this guide I will show you how to use the different paint brushes in Real Draw Pro. This program has many different brushes that you can use to apply things to your photos, to create wallpapers, to create buttons, and more. Open your Real Draw Pro program and we will get started.

We will start off by using an image. Open an image or import an image to Real Draw Pro. Then click on your paint brush tool in your toolbar on the left. If your paint brush is not clickable then click on your image. Your image must be selected before your paint brush will be clickable.

When you click on your paint brush tool a brushes box will pop up on your screen. Click the top icon in the box which is the black paint brush. You will see the Set drop down box in this box. Drop that box down and select Nozzle 1. That will show two rows of graphics. Click on one of the graphics to select it. Then click on your photo to apply that graphic. You can add flames to a photo, smoke to a photo, and more.

You can drop the set box down again and select Nozzle 2 to see more graphics to add to your photo. If you click the second brush which is the Stamp it will leave an imprint of the graphic in the photo. The third and fourth brush will make a cut out of the graphic.

Next, we will create a wallpaper using the paint brush. Create a new document. Then select your square tool from your toolbar. Draw a square to cover the entire document. Then click on your paint brush again. Drop the Set box down and select what you want to use for the wallpaper. You can create a flower wallpaper, a card wallpaper, or whatever. Once you have selected what you want to use keep clicking your mouse on the document to create your wallpaper.

You can also create wallpapers using textures with the paint brushes. Create a new document. Draw a square over the entire document. Then click on the paint brush tool. Drop the Set box down and select Live Painters 1. Then select the first graphic in the window. Now you will need to select your texture that you want to use. Go to the right side of your window and you will see your Color box. Drop the Texture box down and select the texture that you want to use. Then paint on your entire square to create your wallpaper.

You can do many different things with your paint brushes. You can add many different effects to your photos with the brushes too. If you have any problems with this guide please feel free to leave me a comment at the bottom of this page.

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How to Paint a Portrait

paint a portrait

You can paint a portrait. It is quite simple. You do not need any special skills. Although it would be easiest to paint with at least one hand, it is not necessary. There are painters who use a foot or a mouth. What you will need is desire and inspiration. The rest is a three-step process, so let’s get started!

1) Select your medium

As with any type of painting, you will need paint. There are many types of paint to choose from: oil. Acrylic, watercolor, tempera, aerosol spray, and finger are some examples. If you have no paint, that is okay. Colored liquids in various viscosities can be found all over your home or office: toothpaste, transmission fluid, pudding, gravy, fingernail polish. Be creative! You can combine ingredients to get the colors you want.

After you’ve acquired your paint, now you need something to paint on. Canvas is great, but it is rather expensive. Poster board, slate shingles, and plaster board are all very good to paint on. If you are painting wit toothpaste, you might as well paint right on the bathroom mirror. Just remember one thing: if you are going to paint on community property, ask permission.

2) Select your tools

There are many types of brushes available to artists: filberts, fans, rounds, flats. They come in many shapes and sizes. The bristles are either made of synthetic materials or animal hair. Some animals that have generously donated their precious hair to the noble cause of art include mink, camel, horse, and badger. Some artists in Java use the hair of the nearly-extinct wooly rhinoceros for brushes. These artists greatly cherish these exotic brushes and protect them ferociously. You should love your brushes, too. Take care of them and keep them clean. Animal hair brushes are expensive. You may want to try to make your own. If you have a dog, cat, or pet ferret, you can make very good brushes. Just snip one to three inches of fur, glue it to any old stick, and use a cut-up pot pie tin for a ferrule. It is that simple!

You don’t need brushes to paint. You can use rollers, feathers, turkey basters, and most power or hand tools from the garage. You can use your fingers. Some artists paint by poking their fingertips with a lance and paint with their own blood. This is not suggested, because your palette would be extremely limited.

3) Choose your subject

Sometimes the hardest thing for an artist is not how to paint, but what to paint. You should paint someone you like. It can be a friend, relative, or acquaintance. You can have your subject pose in person, or you can paint from a photograph. Maybe you could paint the portrait of a famous person: rock star, actress, athlete, war hero, living or dead, man or woman. It is up to you, so choose wisely.

You can paint your subjects realistically or abstractly. You can flatter them with portraits or you can dignify them. If your subject is posing in person, allow time for breaks.

Now that you know how to paint a portrait, go get started. It’s fun, easy, and relaxing. Painting portraits is good art. All you need is Inspiration!

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How to Paint Figures in Landscapes

paint figures in landscapes

Deciding to Paint Figures in Landscapes

Whenever you paint cityscapes you will encounter a lot of people, some purposefully stroll past, others relax peacefully reading or sunbathing; however while they will be abundant in dense urban areas their presence will be extremely sparse in rural areas. Ultimately, the decision to paint figures in the remote countryside is at the discretion of the artist.

Watercolor sketches of figures are generally more effective when they strive to capture the essence of a particular moment; an impression of spontaneity and originality. Such sketches are useful in various ways; improving your fundamental life drawing skills; discovering which postures and compositional placement are aesthetically pleasant and learning how to render them so they appear natural.

The first step in learning how to paint figures in landscapes is to learn how to properly observe. Life drawing provides you with the opportunity to learn how to observe and comprehend human postures. Inevitably, this is a challenging task as your “models” will usually be mobile. If you find this difficult it is crucial that you focus on improving this skill through practicing quick, gestural outdoor sketching more often. Generally you have to learn to forget about detail and preconceived ideas and instead interpret the model using broad, sweeping strokes and adding only a few touches. If you focus on accuracy you risk overworking the piece and achieving a detailed yet static and artificial image.

Using a No.2 pencil, quickly draw the outline of a group of figures in a public place. Strive to capture their postures and interactions while omitting most of the trivial details such as clothing designs and facial features. Then, paint the neutral colors, focusing on both high contrasting colors in the group of figures and accurately depicting the shadow using the glazing technique. This creates compositional interest while ensuring proper tonal balance, an integral part of a harmonious successful watercolor painting. Moreover, the shadows can later be as reference when rendering details affected by the direction of lighting and reflective lighting cast on the figures. You can also make quick color notes using your own numerical system.

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A Guide to Acrylic Paint Brushes

paint brush

A Guide to the Acrylic Paint Brush

While painting with acrylic, there are many different brushes that can give you your desired effect. Many beginner artists wonder what each paint brush does and what they are used for. This article will explain some of the key brushes when painting with acrylic.

Filbert – This paint brush has a flat profile with a point that is slightly rounded. When using it on its side, it will give a thin line. When used flat, the filbert gives a broad brush stroke. It is used for softening edges and giving a variety of strokes.

Fan Brush – The fan brush has a flat profile and spreads out like a fan. It is used for blending from color to color. Also, I like to use it for creating fur on animals. I dip the tip of my brush into my paint and very lightly and smoothly make a stroke. There are different sizes depending on what you are trying to create.

Round – The more you press down the wider this brush becomes. It is thin at the top coming to a point. It can create a variety of thin and thick lines depending on the pressure applied to the brush. It is easier to use with thinned paint.

Pointed Round – This brush is thinner than the round paint brush. It too has a pointed tip. It is best used for small detailed areas.

Detail Round – The detail round has shorter hairs than the round and pointed round. It is very small and is best used for areas that have a lot of detail. I use this brush a lot if I am painting words, eyelashes, cracks, and a lot of other objects.

Bright – The bright paint brush has a flat profile with short hairs. The hairs curve inwards as you get closer to the tip of the brush. It is good when painting with thick, heavy paint.

Flat – Of course, this brush has a flat profile. The tip is very squarish and has medium sized hairs. I use this brush a lot for fine lines, and edges. The square tip makes it easy to use when trying to get straight lines.

Angular – The angular paint brush also has a flat profile with long hairs starting at one side and getting shorter at the other side. The hairs end at an angle. This brush is great when try to fill in corners because of its angle. It can be used when trying to get into small areas.

The more you experiment with these brushes, the better you will become at using them. My advice is to get a piece of paper and try all the different techniques with each brush. Learning the techniques will help you in painting a finished piece.


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How to Paint a Landscape

paint a landscape

Painting in general isn’t exactly everybody’s ballpark. Some people do it professionally, some as a hobby, some not at all. However, painting has been proven to provide beneficial stress-relief affects for anyone, regardless of their full-time profession, their skill, or their intent for painting in the first place. Actually, if painting is practiced without the pressure involved in a professional art career, it is of much more benefit as there is nothing involved but the sheer enjoyment of the experience of say, to paint a landscape just outside your own front door. The best part about painting and art in general is that you’re the boss of your own creation, there are no rules (or no rigid rules) except that the more you experiment the more fun you’ll have and the better the result will be.

How to Paint a Landscape with Watercolors or Acrylic Paints:

Step 1 (Optional):

– Map out your composition or design and/or decide on a general color theme.

Step 2:

– Choose a large size brush, any kind or make, then choose any color you like and water it down with a little bit of water. Strain your brush.

– With large free brush strokes, start applying the watered paint across your paint surface, paper or canvas; start filling in the largest areas first, most importantly, the background.

Step 3:

– Choose another color, one in contrast with your first color would be best. Then start filling in the foreground or the area on the bottom of your paint surface.

Step 4:

– Observe which painted areas appear too thin or transparent, if you like it that way then move on to the next step. If you feel it needs more work, then start applying more layers, either of the same color mixed with other colors, or just that one color without so much water.

Step 5:

– Fill in any areas which you don’t want to leave empty, then consider adding texture through applying dots with your brush, or use a tissue, or your fingers. Apply several layers of colors with different affects to get the final mood you’re striving for.

Step 6:

– Step away from the painting. Think about what else it needs. If you feel like adding splotches of green, blue, yellow, etc. then just go ahead. Do what you feel till the image appears relaxing to your own eye.

Step 7:

– Congratulate yourself on your first attempt to paint a landscape!

Tips:

Mixing colors can be a bit tricky, here’s a quick guide;

Red + Blue = Purple

Red + Yellow = Orange

Yellow + Blue = Green

Any color (eg. Green) + white = a lighter color (eg. Light green)

Mix all the colors together, you’ll get a brown-black

The secret is to play around with it and simply enjoy the process. Art is about experimentation and expressing whatever you feel through colors and brushstrokes. The landscape is YOUR landscape, it can be any color you wish, and can have any horizon you desire. If you’re observing a landscape, try to capture the contrast in colors, whichever colors you choose, it doesn’t matter, as long as you try to get the feeling of what you see.

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Simple Paint Thinner Safety Tips

paint thinner safety

Paint thinner is an oil-based paint and is often used to clean paint from tools and surfaces but it is a toxic chemical. Toxic chemicals like paint thinner are harmful to animals and people and serious medical illness can set in if you inhale or ingest it. A lot of people use paint thinner to clean off their hand or leg if paint gets on it and do not think of the safety concerns this poses. Paint thinners need to be used in a proper manner and also need to be disposed of properly to ensure your safety as well as the safety of other people. If you are going to be using paint thinner then you might want to follow some easy tips to keep you safe while using this toxic chemical.

The first thing you want to do if you are using paint thinner is to wear safety equipment while handling this product. Safety glasses and solvent-resistant gloves and shoes need to be put on before you open the container of paint thinner. You want to make sure your eyes are protects as well as your skin from the possible splashes of paint thinner. You should also be wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants while working with paint thinner to protect your skin from the paint thinner if it splashes on you while you are working with it. The safety glasses will help with unintended splashes that might occur and will also protect your eyes from the fumes of the paint thinner.

Working in good ventilated areas is something else you need to do if you are using paint thinner. Since paint thinner gives off fumes the best thing you can do is prevent those fumes from making you sick by using them in well ventilated areas. The paint thinner can make you feel nauseous as well as dizzy and can give you a headache or respiratory problems. Windows and doors should be open and you should also use fans to circulate the air during the time you are using the paint thinner. If it is at all possible, only use paint thinner outdoors so that you do not have to open windows and doors in your house for circulation.

You should also keep paint thinner away from acidic materials because it can cause a huge chemical reaction. Never mix the paint thinner with anything other than paint because explosive reactions can occur. Paint thinner is designed to be used only with paint and if you are using other chemicals with paint thinner then you are putting yourself and everyone around you in danger.

Paint thinner is also combustible so it should not be anywhere near explosive or other combustible materials. Liquids and heaters could spark a deadly chemical explosion if it comes into contact with paint thinner so make sure you place the paint thinner in a separate area. Smoking should also be avoided while you are using paint thinner due to the possibility of an explosion which could kill you. If the end of your cigarette falls off near the paint thinner then this could cause a serious deadly reaction and it would start a fire with flames that you could not control.

It goes without saying but you should also never eat near the area where paint thinner is located and never eat while you are using the paint thinner. Paint thinner could be splashed onto your food items without you knowing it and just a little bit in your food could make you really sick. Ingesting paint thinner is a very bad idea and if you do not know you ingested it then it could cause serious internal problems.

Since paint thinner is a hazardous chemical, you should always dispose of this chemical in a safe manner. There are rules in regulations in place that say you should not dispose of paint thinner down a drain or in the trash can because of the hazard it causes. Paint thinner needs to be disposed of properly and you can find that information on the side of the paint thinner.

When you are using paint thinner you should also keep the container closed tightly and stored in a proper location. If you do not put the lid on the paint thinner properly, then you could be potentially leaking fluids and this could cause a safety hazard. Store the paint thinner up high on a shelf where children and small pets can not get to it.

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How to Paint a Mural for Your Child’s Bedroom

child's bedroom mural

Painting a mural for your child’s bedroom can create a unique environment for your son or daughter. The choices for mural topics are endless. My wife and I have painted murals in two bedrooms in our house. If you would like to do the same, please consider the following tips based on our experience.

Tip1: Choose a Theme for the Mural

Themes can range from bumblebees to trains to Disney Princesses. The sky is the limit! However, when painting a mural for your child’s bedroom, consider how long the child will enjoy the theme. Your five-year-old daughter may love Little Einsteins now, but will she two years from now?

When our daughter was born, we painted a jungle theme for her bedroom, complete with a pink elephant and a yellow giraffe on the walls. Our daughter is almost four and still loves her bedroom. We just finished another mural of Mulan in the spare bedroom because we are expecting another daughter in three months.

Tip 2: Get your Equipment

Painting a mural for your child’s bedroom is so much easier when you have access to an overhead projector. Using an overhead projector allows you to draw your mural on a smaller scale, like 8 ½ inches by 11 inches, which is much easier than drawing on a wall free hand. Also, using an overhead projector allows you to just print a template off the internet, if you find something you like.

I am a fairly artistic individual, but when painting a mural in my daughter’s bedroom, it still would have been difficult for me to get the proportions correct when drawing large figures on the walls. Using an overheard projector allows you to get these proportions correct and also allows you to appropriately space out figures, trees, and other objects on the walls.

Tip 3: Trace in Pencil

Yes, it is quicker to just start painting, but my tip is to trace in pencil first. This is time consuming, but so is painting a mural for your child’s bedroom in the first place. If you wanted to save time, you would have just bought some border and some large wall clings and called it a day instead of spending hours working on a mural.

Tip 4: Pick your Paint

Many different paints can work when painting a mural for your child’s bedroom. Much of the decision boils down to personal preference. We have used both Dutch Boy Dirt Fighter acrylic latex paint and Apple Barrel acrylic paint. Both paints applied well, but they required two coats, as expected. We used a variety of brushes, including traditional brushes, rollers and sponge brushes. My tip is to buy a variety pack, especially if your mural includes very intricate details.

Tip 5: Outline Correctly

Unless you are going for a bold, comic-book type mural (think Superman bashing through a wall), do not outline the characters and details in black. The outlines will be too harsh. For a softer, more organic feel, mix the color with a little bit of black.

In our daughter’s bedroom, the pink elephant is outlined in a darker shade of pink. The yellow and orange giraffe is outlined in a dark orange. This technique works with all but the darkest colors. With very dark greens, browns and blues, you may need to use black to outline the details.

I hope you consider these tips when painting a mural for your child’s bedroom. Your child will appreciate a special bedroom of her very own!

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How to Select Paint Colors for the Perfect Artist’s Palette

select paint colours

Painters have endless choices when the time comes to select paint colors for their painting palettes. Any seasoned artist knows that too many colors can detract from a painting, not enhance it.

With so many different hues and brands, how is a painter suppose to select paint colors to build their perfect palette?

One way to select paint colors for a painters palette is to start with only a few colors. Start with a palette of the primary colors and add on from there. Many artist’s palettes contain at least one or two blues, one or two reds, and one yellow.

Even when you decide to start with three to five colors, how do you tell the difference between each hue? You could purchase a pre-selected set of paints. However, the yellow in that pre-determined set may not be the right yellow for you. Then again, you don’t want to purchase a tube of every paint available. Chances are you cannot afford to do that anyway.

Here is a guide to different hues of different colors, and best choices for creating the perfect artist’s palette for your work.

Select Paint Colors for the Perfect Artist’s Palette

Paint colors all exhibit different levels of opacity or transparency. Colors are also warm or cool. Select paint colors that are the right colors for your purposes.

Blacks

Mars Black should be used in small increments. It is best suited for tinting paint.

Payne’s Gray is the most versatile “black” available. Payne’s gray is a cool, bluish gray that can create shadows. Payne’s Gray can also be used to modify any other color. When diluted with watery, Payne’s gray becomes incredibly delicate. Payne’s gray cans also appear ink-like.

Blue

Cobalt Blue is a cool blue. Cobalt blue is also a softer blue than others. Cobalt blue is a good choice for a landscape artist. When mixed with yellows, delicate greens can be created. Mix cobalt blue with brown and white for a pearly gray color. Use cobalt to shadow pale peach colors.

Creulean Blue is an opaque, cool blue. Creulean blue is a top choice for landscape artists, and can be used to paint skies. Landscapes will also find that when mixed Creulean blue creates greens and grays that are delicate.

Manganese Blue is a bright blue sky hue that is transparent. It can be used to effectively express both water and sky. Seascape artists will want Manganese Blue in their palette.

Thalo blue is a general purpose blue for many artitist’s palettes. Thalo blue is transparent. It is also a cool color. Thalo blue can dominate a painting, so it should be used with a light stroke. Thalo blue makes a good choice for watercolor washes, or for an acrylic glaze painting.

Ultramarine Blue is a warm, not a cool blue. Ultramarine blue is also a transparent blue, which makes it an ideal blue for glazing techniques. Ultramarine is the most versatile blue, and for that reason, is the best blue for any artist’s palette.

Ultramarine blue can be blended with other colors for a range of new colors. Ultramarine blue can be mixed with yellow ochre paints to make subtle and soft greens.

To make purple, do not mix Ultramarine Blue with a cadmium red unless you are trying to make a purple color is cloudy and muddy. Instead, mix Ultramarine Blue with transparent crimson, instead, to make a very useful violet color.

Browns

Many shades of brown can be made by mixing a warm red with green. Adding yellow to that resulting brown also creates a family of yellow, earthy browns. For tube browns consider these colors:

Raw Sienna is a somewhat opaque brown. Raw Sienna is a warm brown.

Burnt Umber is a deep brown. Burn umber is somewhat opaque. It can be mixed with blue and white to create cool gray colors.

Raw Umber is a yellowish brown. Raw umber is subtle and subdued. It is best used when mixed with other colors to produce a range of color tones.

Greens

Chromium Oxide Green – Chromium Oxide green is an almost dusty green. It resembles a faded olive green. Chromium Oxide Green is an opaque green and will not reveal the underneath color or underpainting. Chromium Oxide Green is an earthy color that can be used to indicate shadow, or used in an underpainting.

Hooker’s Green – Hooker’s Green is a transparent green. Hooker’s Green is a must for any landscape painter. When mixed with other earthy browns and yellows, Hooker’s Green can create an endless outdoor palette of nature. Hooker’s green is also a soft green.

Thalo Green – Thalo Green is a vivid green. Thalo green is also a transparent paint, which is ideal for glazing techniques. Thalo green is a strong tinting color. Thalo green, when not toned down will actually jump of the canvas at the viewer. One way to warm up Thalo green is with a brown or red. Any palette with Thalo Green should also include one of those colors.

Mix Thalo Green with a transparent yellow to increase its intensity

Reds

Alzarin Crimson

Cadmium Red comes in light, medium and dark. Cadmium Red is a dense and opaque red. When mixed with yellow, it makes a perfect orange.

Cadmium Red Hue is a substitute for Cadmium Red. The hue is not as brilliant as Cadmium Red.

Thalo Crimson is a bright and transparent red.

Yellows

Yellow is a color that cannot be created, unless you are making your own paints. The yellow pigment, however, cannot be created. Select at least one yellow for your palette.

Azo Yellow

Cadmium Yellow comes in light, medium, or dark. Artists could start with medium, but will find that the light Cadmium Yellow offers the most versatility. Cadmium Yellow is more opaque than transparent, do not be fooled because it is considered a “light” color.

Cadmium yellow can be mixed with many earth colors to create diverse landscape palettes.

Hansa Yellows Light also comes in in light, medium, or dark. Hansa Yellow is a transparent, lemony yellow. Hansa yellow also adds a delicate quality to paintings.

White

Watercolor purists will not touch white. The white for watercolorists is the white of the paper. Acrylic painters, on the other hand, live and die by large tubes of white paint.

Titanium is the only choice for acrylic painters seeking a dense, bright white.

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Everything You Need to Know About Paint Brushes

paint brush

The number and length of the bristles on paint brushes are what primarily determine it’s quality and spreadability. If a brush is dipped 1/3 to 1/4 of it’s length into a can of paint, a good brush will ideally pick up the perfect amount of paint and spread it on a surface in a film that is smooth and uniform and absent of any drips, dips, or brush marks.

Professional painters and contractors are very particular about using a quality brush and therefore look for certain characteristics when selecting one. A good painter will require a brush that has lots of “body” and reasonably long bristles that are capable of picking up a good load of paint and spreading it uniformly across a surface without dripping or running out.

Paint brushes typically come in two forms, synthetic, and natural. Synthetic brushes are usually made from products such as nylon, while natural refers to bristles from an animal source. A good quality brush of either type will exhibit “flagged” ends, or split ends, occurring naturally in animal source bristles, and being created in the artificial ones.

If you are applying a watery, or free flowing product the best brush to use would be one that is softer and has less spring. Brushes in this category are usually trimmed to a wedge shape end known as a chisel edge and can be made from a variety of animal pelts or artificial fibers. The chisel edge allows the applicator the ability to lay a line of paint with precision without pulling a bead of product along. Another feature of the chisel edge is it’s ability to allow the painter to perform one single stroke without the need to brush-out or re- work the paint in a single, one directional brush stroke.

A simple and easy way to determine the quality of paint brushes is by spreading the bristles in a fan like fashion with your fingers and thumbs. This test will determine density and body of the bristles and whether they are inserted in the brush base/block in three or two rows. Once the bristles have been parted they should bounce back into place upon release. The majority of bristles should return to their original place. If the odd strand is loose or astray that is OK. Generally the best quality brushes have three rows of bristles anchored in the body or block of the paint brush.

When you are finished with your paint brush it is very important to clean it immediately and not allow any materials to dry on the bristles as this will spoil the characteristics of the brush. Be sure to clean the correct brush with the correct solvent or cleaner which can be determined at the store that you purchase your paint supplies at.

Some brushes are intended to only be used once and then thrown away, however for the more expensive brush you will want to take some steps to prolong it’s life when it comes time to store it. The first step is to ensure that it has been thoroughly cleaned and even brushed out with a wire brush, then it should be wrapped tightly in glossy newspaper or even a plastic bag in a manner that ensures that all bristles are laying flat and that as much air as possible is removed.

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How to Paint: Techniques

how to paint

Welcome to the fifth article in the series “How To Paint,” on techniques of oil painting. The other posts hopefully have laid some groundwork for the actual painting process, and now we finally get to the whole point: painting! You can read the Intro,Materials,Subject and Composition, and Color posts to get an idea of what we’ve gone over so far in order to get ready for putting brush to canvas.

Let me say that while these posts have been pretty long and I go into as much detail without writing a book, the whole painting process itself doesn’t have to take that long. Once you have your materials and supplies ready the next thing to do is just do it. Put on some music and let the painting flow. Some masterpieces took years to paint. Most of my paintings I completed in one sitting (maybe it shows). Of course those sittings can be anywhere from a couple hours to eight, but the point is it doesn’t have to be a big deal.

I explained some of the points on composition and color earlier but I must say you don’t have to follow anyone’s instructions to the t, just do what feels right. Painting can be whatever you want it to be. Perhaps you get out what you put in but it’s all a matter of perspective. You’re only going to learn by doing, but at the same time try to absorb as much information as you can about the subject. So let’s get on with it, shall we?

General Pointers

All this might be very difficult to explain so I’ve included some pictures of the techniques taken from my little camera. Be forewarned that this camera does not have a macro setting, and I never claimed to be a photographer. So take it or leave it!

Let’s re-hash on the materials. You’ve got your

  • Paints- paint tubes of at least the primaries, white, and some browns
  • Canvas- got to paint on something, right?
  • Easel- got to hold that something somehow, right?
  • Brushes- got to- yeah you get the picture
  • Turpentine, or turpentine substitute, a paint thinner with rag
  • Palette- disposable or not
  • Desire- I have to be cliché some time!

So that’s all you really need to get started, and all you’ll ever need really. But you can always get more into and get a “mahl” stick to steady your hand, a “graticola” or other perspective finders, pencils or crayons for the sketching, extra mediums and solvents (though turpentine works fine for a thinner), and maybe a few more things.

I don’t go along with the idea of putting all the paints in a row on your palette before you paint for good reasons. I did this probably the first time I painted and haven’t since. I put my paints on the palette as I need them so I don’t waste any paint. If you put all that paint on your palette, who’s to say your going to use every color? So although you’ll see many artists do this, I don’t do it and don’t recommend it. But I do always put white and raw umber, because there will never be a painting that I don’t use white to mix, or raw umber to darken.

Now let me point out some properties of the paint you’re going to be using. This whole tutorial is centered around oil painting, and I probably should have said this earlier but much of these techniques can be used with acrylics as well. Acrylics are cheaper and possibly easier to use (thin and clean up with water, etc.), but I’ll concentrate on oils specifically.

As I said oil paints are very versatile and a lot can be done with them. You can manipulate in all kinds of ways. Use brush strokes to your advantage. Pile up thick impasto to give texture. Once on the canvas, you can mix it, push it around, scrape it away, wipe it away, whatever you want with it. You definitely want to get full use out of the oils, and apply the correct amount of paint. Spread out too thin and dry and you’re not getting full use of the paint. You want your paint to be the consistency of soft butter, and as you paint you’ll want to load up your brush.Dragging the paint too thin and dry will not produce the desired results.

Let’s say I wanted to turn a red spot into orange. I can mix the color right on the canvas by adding a dab of yellow. Normally you should add the darker, dominant color into the lighter color , but by placing the yellow next to the red, I can slowly pull bits of the red into the yellow until I have the color I want.

And once I have these two colors, I can blend them together. I take a dry brush and with small circular motions go from the yellow side to the red side, bit by bit working the two together as I go.

If I decide the orange is way too bright, and I wanted a much duller, grayer color, I add some of orange’s complement blue. With a dab of cerulean blue on a clean brush I work the paint into the orange until I have a much more neutral color than the bright orange we had before. This can be done to any spot of paint already painted with the particular color’s complement, or the grayer color can be mixed on the palette.

And if I wanted to lighten this new color, all I do is is add white straight to it and mix it around a little until I get what I want.

Fat Over Lean

It’s important to remember one simple rule when painting over top other paint. This rule is called “Fat Over Lean” and involves the amount of oil in your paint layers and how they dry. The paint straight from your tube is made up of two things: a.) the pigment, or ground up color, and b.) the vehicle- the oil, usually linseed oil. “Fat Over Lean” states that you should paint the thinner, or leaner layer underneath with paint that doesn’t have as much oil in it, and the thicker or fat paint, with more oil in it last.

This may sound confusing when you’re not used to painting, but when as you go along it makes more sense. When you thin the paint with thinners or turpentine, the paint has less oil than paint straight from the tube. If you tried to paint a very thin paint over thick, it won’t even stick. So when there are several layers, the darker thinner layer is applied first, with the thicker paint coming next, and the very thickest as highlights.

The reason being oil paints dry at different rates. The more oil in the paint, the longer the drying time. If you have thicker paint under thin paint, the top layers dry first and cracks while the underlying thick paint is drying. Fat over lean sees to it that the first layers dry first and the last layers dry last, keeping the paint firm and stable in the long run.

Wet In Wet

Adding wet paint into paint that isn’t dry yet is called “Wet in wet,” or “Wet on Wet” painting. The painter Bob Ross was a proponent of this technique and taught it religiously. You can purchase his videos along with painting kits with everything you need at your art supply store or on the internet. As I’ve said before you can’t get more creative following tutorials such as his where you basically have to copy what he’s doing, but they certainly have value in teaching you techniques. Especially if you’re planning on doing some landscapes, or even if you’re just starting out, his videos will be a great help to you.

Bob Ross’s technique involved wetting the entire canvas with a thin “Liquid White” underpainting, so every bit of paint from your brush mixes right in. This can help psychologically when there is something to paint or add into. A plain dry canvas can be very intimidating.

One of the great things about oil paints as opposed to acrylics is the drying time. It takes days before the paint even begins to dry, so painting wet in wet is very easy to do. Parts of the painting can be constantly changed and added to, or subtracted from. Acrylics, on the hand take minutes before they dry and are hard to alter once you’ve painted.

Ways To Paint

Now you know the basics and how to work the oils around to your advantage. You know to paint thin layers first no matter what the subject, and add paint on top with less turpentine or more oil depending on how you look at it. You can use the Wet in Wet painting technique, using a thin under painting of white, or you can purchase Bob Ross Liquid White or Liquid Clear from your supply store. Here are some specific techniques you can use to achieve your masterpiece:

1. Scumbling- This goes hand in hand with painting fat over lean and basically calls for a very thin and dark first layer, and dragging a brush loaded with thick paint over it, to get a choppy scumbled look.

2. Impasto- Painting with impasto is using very thick gobs of paint being built up. This is good for quick or expressive paintings. The Impressionists generally used impasto.

3. Impressionist- By giving the viewer impressions of the light off of objects, the Impressionists allowed your eyes to blend small patches of color.

4. Pointillism- The Pointillists were Impressionists who believed tiny spots of colors placed side by side can be blended in the viewer’s eye.

5. Painting with the knife- Painting knives can be sued for more than just mixing paint- you can paint entire paintings with them. Here you apply large patches of color if you don’t want the brush strokes to show.

6. Or use the knife for detailing.

7. Glazing- Glazing is applying layer after layer of thin paint to produce your desired colors. It’s difficult to show here because if requires the layers to dry before adding another layer. But here I show the thin layer of yellow added to the thin red to create the appearance of orange:

Now these are a few of the basics of oil painting, and like I said before you can’t learn by just watching. So try it out for yourself and see what you can come up with. Coming up I will do a step by step presentation of painting. Until then…

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