Today I decided to do some acrylic paintings in the hopes of putting together a tutorial, but the tutorial will have to come a bit later as I got carried away with the prototypes and didn’t take enough photos of the steps!

But now that I have done a few practice pieces (see below), I can work on doing a tutorial next time I hunker down for a paint-filled evening.

[metaslider id=347]

I will, though, take a moment to discuss a little about the supplies I use.

Acrylic Paint: I use student grade paints for my paintings. I find they are good enough for me to make art that I can enjoy without breaking the bank.

For the purposes of my tutorials, I am going to use basic primary colors.

You will need the following colors:

  1. Primary Red
  2. Primary Blue
  3. Primary Yellow
  4. Black – only need a smidge
  5. White – lots of white

It is very important to note that not all shades are created equal! You want to work with PRIMARY colors – not an iteration of the color.

For example, I have a great set of 24 colors, but they do not all mix well to make pretty shades since the set contains the shades themselves.

If you do not have the same shades as I do, you may not be able to recreate the same hues that I have.

I use the Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint Tubes, 5-Piece Set:



Brushes: Again, I am going for student grade since brushes can be quite pricey. There are some nice sets out there that will serve our purposes fine enough.You’ll want to have a variety of brushes, but will probably only need four for a basic painting. The four sizes will depend on the size of your canvas/board, but typically you want a big brush, a medium brush, a small brush and then finally a fine detail brush.

Here’s a 12-Piece Brush Set that would fit the bill:

Canvas/Board/Surface: For this project I am going to use canvas panels since it is what I have on hand and I don’t really need an easel with it (since I left my easel at my mom’s house =/)  Personally, I think I prefer stretched canvas, but these boards are way easier to store and keep handy!

The board I am using is acrylic primed for use with all mediums.  Be sure whatever board/canvas/surface you have will be able to stand up to acrylic and that the paint will adhere or else all your artistic work will be for naught.

Palette: Though I like to use a round plastic paint palette tray, a heavy waxed paper plate or a plastic container lid (like from takeout) works just fine.

Old Toothbrush: This is a great extra tool to have on hand to help spatter white on the canvas to get fine stars.  A brush also works, but I find a toothbrush is even better.

Water: This is very important since it is used to prime the canvas, wash out the brushes and thin paint.  I suggest having two receptacles for this: a larger one for rinsing brushes and a smaller one to thin the paint.Be sure to use something you can dedicate to your art or something disposable since you won’t want to use it to store food after you use it for paint.  I find empty pasta sauce jars work well.  Today I am using a bottle from a sports drink so I can toss it at the end.

Plastic: This is to cover your work space. I usually just use a plastic trash bag on my craft table, but if you are painting with friends or little ones, you may want to use a larger plastic table-cloth from the dollar store.

Paper towels or a cloth: This is to wipe your brush on when it is too wet with water or paint. I personally go through tons of paper towels, so this time I think I will also keep a rag nearby. Besides, the paint tends to make the rag look cosmically cool.

Easel: (optional) I like using a tabletop easel (Large – NO Arms)when working with a larger canvas, but for a small canvas board like what I am using today, I can paint flat in a pinch.

Apron: (optional) Unless you are prepared to sacrifice your duds to the great Paint God, I would don an apron because if you’re doing it right, paint will get everywhere =P

Drink of choice: Since you’ll be sitting working on your project for a bit, make sure you have your drink of choice nearby and handy so you don’t have to stop midway to get some hydration 😉

Tunes or some Netflix: I find some fitting background music always helps inspire me. While I am painting a pretty sky, I will listen to something ethereal, like Dead Beat Project’s R’Evolution, or watch some Science Fiction on Netflix like some iteration of Star Trek.

Now that you have your supplies, you are ready to get started.

Though I don’t have a step by step tutorial (yet!), I will share a few tips on how I did my skies.

  1. Prime your canvas with water. You don’t want it to be sopping wet, but getting it damp will help the colors blend nicely.Water will bead on a primed board more than on a canvas, but I still put some water down nonetheless and just brush away the beads so that it was just a really thin layer of moisture.
  2. Dampen your brushes before using them.  This goes along with the damp canvas and board…. it’s easier for the paint to flow with a little water.
  3. Think about colors before you start.  For night skies, deep violets, dark blues are always good bets, but don’t shy away from pinks, greens and yellows for a more galaxy effect.
  4. Unlike watercolors, it is a good rule of thumb to work from dark to light with acrylics. Layer on the darker hues first, then after they have dried a little add the lighter hues. This is just a guideline since there are other times when it’s necessary to add a layer with dark details over a light background.
  5. Rinse your brushes often, but don’t let them sit in the water since that can bend your bristles.  Also change your water very often. This is especially important if you’ve worked with dark colors and then switch over to light.  You don’t want dark blue water tainting your bright yellow or it’ll turn green.
  6. Experiment, experiment, experiment.  Don’t be hard on yourself if it doesn’t turn out exactly like you wanted. Painting should be fun and a way to express yourself! Find a picture you like online and use that to inspire you or paint what is in your heart and mind’s eye.

Until next time, happy painting!