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A Beginner’s Guide to Creating Your First Painting

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 If you’re an art lover or a big fan of painting, you’re in luck because we’re about to unravel the crucial steps you need when creating your first painting


When I was a beginner, I found it hard to go about creating a painting, but today through time and diligence I’m able to create masterpieces. I’m sharing the relevant tips that helped me during the course of my art journey. 


But first, what is painting?


Painting is the practice of paint application, or other medium to a surface. The medium is mostly applied with the aid of a brush, or other tools such as knives and sponges. In the world of art, painting is used to refer to the result of this process. To achieve an aesthetic or desired result the following rules would be of great importance to you.


1. Have passion and love for paintings


A lot of individuals just go out and get art supplies and start out painting something just because others are doing it, without having love for the process. Before getting supplies it is necessary to ask ourselves the following: 


  •     Why painting?

  •     Do I love painting?

  •     What do I want out of painting? 

  •     How far do I want to go with painting?


2. Choose preferred medium 


The second step is to decide on the art medium you want to start with, and in time you can venture into other mediums. 


There are three main options: 




Acrylics are suitable for beginners because they are easy to use and very versatile. The downside of using acrylics is its quick drying time. 


Acrylics can be thinned or applied in several layers to create impasto effect.


Oil paints 


Unlike acrylics, oil paints do have a much slower drying time as they contain linseed oil. This allows for changes during painting. 


Oil paints possess richer and denser colors with a wide range from light to dark.


Watercolor paints 


Water is of great importance as it brings the paint to life. Water can also be used to adjust the color, making it lighter if you add more water, and darker with less water.


Watercolor paints are not generally recommended for beginners as it is a hard medium to master, owing to its unpredictable nature, and mistakes are also hard to correct.

quotation marks

Stay true to the process and let your passion drive your creativity.

A Beginner's Guide to Creating Your First Painting

3. Purchase the necessary art supplies 


It’s time to stock up on art supplies. But make sure you read all of this section first before you start buying every type of brush or every color of paint – you do not actually need that much stuff!


The supplies you get will vary depending on the medium you decide to go with. In a broad sense, all you need is:


  • An easel to hold your artwork
  • Canvas (for acrylic or oil painters) or paper (for watercolor painters)
  • A palette for color mixing
  • Brushes (suitable for your chosen medium)
  • Palette knives
  • Paints
  • Solvent (for oil painting)
  • Paper towels (for wiping your brush between strokes)


You will be able to find all of these items at your local art store. If you are a beginner, it may be worth starting with a beginner package that includes most of the basic supplies you would need. You can then upgrade later on.


My main suggestion is to keep it simple and purchase quality where it matters, like your brushes, canvas, and paint (a premium quality easel will not make you a better painter).

4. Learn the basics of painting


It is necessary to have a little background knowledge of painting before you begin. The five basic elements of painting are color, line, shape, form, and texture. 


5. Decide on what to paint 


Now you are aware of how painting works, it’s time you decide what you want on your canvas. This shouldn’t be a problem at all, you just have to decide on something simple that appeals to you. You can also try recreating that art piece you have always loved considering  it doesn’t seem complicated. As a beginner, it is advisable to start up with something easy.


6. Start painting

Painting is sequential and should be done as follows:


  • A drawing of what you intend on painting 
  • Blocking in (painting areas that are in shadows)
  • Adding colors in layers 
  • Adding details 
  • Finishing the painting 


Start with a sketch (drawing) of what you intend to paint. The sketch should be almost accurate as it would also affect the final result of the painting. 


Next is blocking in the areas that are in shadows, this would help you view the depth of the canvas and also identify light areas. When that is done start layering colors on the canvas and add your finishing details.


7. Keep creating, having fun, and improving 

Big congrats on creating your first painting, next you have to continue repeating the process to perfect your skills and improve your work. You can start by going through your just finished painting, and try to point out your mistakes or aspects of the painting you could have captured better. This can be achieved by carefully examining your painting with respect to the reference.


It is essential to have fun and always remember we always get better with time. Avoid disappointment from criticism from friends, family or fellow artists, just stay true to the process and let your passion drive your creativity. It is needful to note that every artist is unique and exceptional.


Book an art session with me on Amphy and develop your painting skills today.

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