Too Intimidated to Start Painting? Don’t Be!

Beginner Paintings Are About Three Things: Surface, Brush, and Palette

The first time I tried to paint it was a disaster. I was in a class and I didn’t know what I was doing. I loaded my brush with too much paint, I didn’t understand how to mix colors, and I got overwhelmed super quickly. That does not have to be your story! Making beginner paintings is all about getting started the right way, and that means knowing your surface, your brushes, and how to set up a palette. That’s where the fun begins. So let’s discuss—so you feel at ease with your materials and can get to what matters—setting your creative vision free!

Choosing a Surface for Beginner Paintings

There are so many surfaces you can paint on:

-Paper

-Cardboard (my personal favorite and it is easy to find!)

-Board (primed)

-Raw canvas or canvas that you stretch over a frame. You will need to prime this in order to paint on it, but the benefit is that you can make it whatever size you want.

Beginner Paintings Tip: Hold your brush where it feels comfortable--always--but bear in mind that the more you choke up to the bristles the tighter your marks. The farther back you grip, the more gestural, fluid your marks will be.

Hold your brush where it feels comfortable–always–but bear in mind that the more you choke up to the bristles the tighter your marks. The farther back you grip, the more gestural, fluid your marks will be.

*But our recommendation is to make your beginner paintings on a pre-primed canvas that is already on stretchers. That means you don’t have to spend money on primer, and don’t have to waste any time priming—you can jump right in to painting without delay.

What Brush for Your First Beginner Paintings?

There are so many types of brushes, but when you are starting out, go with just one:

A filbert!

Filbert brushes are rectangular-shaped with softened edges—an almond-shape tip. You can make so many strokes with a filbert:

-Use the flat edge for broad strokes

-Use the side of the brush for thinner, linear strokes

-Use the tip of the brush for the thinnest, finest lines

You will also find that filbert brushes are perfect for daubing Impressionist-style marks on your canvas, with soft edges that blend beautifully and are ideal for painting foliage or leaves.

Setting Up Your Palette

Every artist develops a personal preference for their palette over time, but the best thing to do is set your palette up the same way all the time so that you will start to reach for a color automatically, because it is always in the same place.

The number of colors you use for your beginner paintings is up to you. You can use just black and white, just black and white and one color, or up to 30 colors or more. That is up to you. We recommend reaching for a starter kit of colors (which usually include six or ten tubes of paint) and go from there.

Now you are ready to pick a subject and make your first beginner paintings. If that sounds good to you, download your free eBook on How to Paint that will give you all the step-by-step guides to your painting materials, painting texture, and fixing your mistakes!

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