Paint your own dramatic sky - setting up, what you will need.

Hi everyone, how are you all? Do you fancy a go at painting?  I've been teaching classes again this year and found that there's a real lack of information about painting techniques. I did my degree in fine art painting 22 years ago and was lucky enough to have a student studio for 3 years and teaching that was unique. I was taught how to mix my own pigments and stretch canvases, and allowed to make my own mistakes...we weren't taught how to paint, we were taught that there are no mistakes in paintings, just accidents that can be fixed. I've painted every day since and am very lucky I can make a good living from it. The reason for the tutorial is that I believe painting is good for you, a few moments where you can forget any troubles or stresses and just lose yourself, so I'm going to try and teach you how to paint this image in a few steps while talking about paint and techniques.  




5 videos will be released with this too but for now lets just get you started!!


First, you'll need a canvas

There are many, many makes of canvas on the market - all different qualities.  You can immediately test the quality of a canvas by flicking it - if it's tight like a drum its good but if it's looser and has no bounce it hasn't been stretched well.  You can buy cotton or linen canvases, both are great, cotton is my preference. I used a 60cm x 60cm canvas. You can buy them from many shops or buy online from websites such as, or you can buy expensive ones from Jacksons or Harris Moore but these can be quite pricey.

I always prime my canvases red before I start.  Many of the old masters primed canvases in one colour after it had been sealed by glue or cow gum but nowadays canvases are primed with gesso and painted white. The red paint will give you a rich colour to instantly work against. any colour can be used but red has always been my preference. I use a household paint from B&Q or Homebase.....don't use oils it will take a lifetime to dry!





I believe brushes are very personal, I have one I've used for many, many years.  They can vary hugely in price but my advice is try and find one you like the feel of.  I use stiff haired brushes, and always flat headed brushes - they're very versatile and can be used for several techniques.  If you are new to painting buy one big and one small brush, you shouldn't need anything else.  I have around 50 brushes but only use 5 or 6, and they are almost worn out! I don't really use the pointier ones but you can if it feels comfortable for you.



Paint you will need

You can paint this in oil or acrylic, they often have the same names but vary in colour.  Oils are rich and easier to use but they take time to dry between stages.  If you are patient have a go with oils, you will not need many to get started.  If you fancy a quicker process try acrylic and you will still get good results!!  Good brands of acrylic are System3 or Galeria, but there are lots of brands on the market that you can buy both online or in art shops. Oil paints are amazing - I use every type, my favourites are Daler Rowney, Pebeo, Winsor & Newton and many more. 


The colours I have in used in this tutorial are.... (all oils) 


Royal blue or sky blue

Permanent violet or Dioxine purple (any purple will do as long as it is dark) 

Cadmium orange

Prussian blue

Rose (you can use flesh, its almost the same colour) 





you'll also need turps or white spirit to clean your brushes, an old rag to dry your brush and a clear solvent based varnish if using oils (this is optional, it helps the paint dry).


I hope there's enough information here to get you started and prepared, I'll post the tutorial this week so hopefully you will have a lovely red canvas ready. This blog will be here permanently so you can have a go anytime.


Colourhugs, Julie xxxxxxxxx


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