Dear my artist friends,
I wondered how you start to paint a painting. This is always a hard question as I know the blank canvas can be scary after years of practicing.

First I tell you how I usually start.
Used to when I stopped for a while and didn’t paint, I always had the feeling that I can’t paint, and draw. Then I look around and there is hardly any room on the wall to put another picture. I go into the pantry, barely accessible to go in as it is full of three boxes with my framed aquarell pictures.

Always pleased if receive a request to exhibit my paintings, because then it will be a bit breeze at home. 🙂
So after all those paintings, even after my more than 300 cataloged paintings, there is always that the initial feeling even for just a moments. Especially if I do something special outside my comfort zone.

However, I have developed a lot of techniques to make the start smooth.

If you have an idea of ​​what you want to paint (flowers, landscapes, people, etc.) then the most important thing is to have a super picture of the subject. Listen to the copyrights. You can’t use anyone’s image or creation to copy it. Of course, if you do it for yourself in order to practice it, it is ok, because you don’t set it up as yours, you don’t sell it just learning the technique you are perfecting yourself.

There are lots of pages on the web where you can use the photo for free, but make sure in advance.
(at SNOWDROPS lesson in my NATUREART SPRING course, there is a big list of them)

  • choose an image that shows the details well, not vague
  • the subject is not taken at an angle that is strange and in the end your image looks as if you were spoiled however you just well copied

(Kate is learning to paint and send me her paintings asking my opinion. She sent me a painting of Cala few years ago and the pistils of the flower looked strange because it was not in the middle, as if it was slipping, I asked her to send the reference photo and I was right. The picture was simply wrong, the image of the pistils looked weird, and part of the flower was missing, and it was vague. She simply chose a wrong picture as reference, but anyone who doesn’t see it, simply felt that something wrong on the ready painting. The painting was good when compared to the reference photo, but it feels like something was wrong. )

  • On the other hand you have your artistic freedom You don’t have to paint exactly the same of the reference photo, nobody will see or compare to it. Simply choose different background, different colour and you can add etc….


  • Find out the theme
  • Choose a photo I love
  • If necessary I combine more photos together (even edit them in a photoeditor program to see the size and the proportion)
  • If you don’t use an aquarelle block (when the sides of the block are glued together) it is important to prepare and stretch the paper, otherwise the paper will be very wavy, which will mess up the image itself
  • I sketch the figure to the paper lightly (sometimes with a color aquarell pencil if I don’t want the graphite to appear))
  • I prepare my paint, water, paintbrushes, everything I need (best if you have a place for your place where they can be out there, so don’t lose time with the pack out. The goal is to paint daily and the every day packing in and out not to take your artistic mood)
  • It is a good idea to start with a pale background and underlay, and layers by layer.
  • Variation is maybe due to wet or dry paper or how much water you add to the paints. Usually the background is wet, details can be applied to the dried image with a little water, and a thinner brush.
  • The goal is the practice – start to enjoy the process and leave the result – just loosely

The aquarelle, akryl, tempera, drawing, it is good because you can leave it in half and continue the next day.


  • the first three thoughts mentioned at aquarelle is valid here too
  • I rarely draw under when I paint with acrylic, I sketch the pattern on after several layers, then I look it from far that everything is in the right place. This is because I am making larger images of acrylic, and from close I may not be able to decide if I am in the right place.
  • It is also possible to sketch the pattern on one of the layers with a brush.

If I paint an intuitive painting, I have a couple of starting techniques:

  • grab the paints, just warm or just cold colors (so as not to be ‘muddy color’ see in my color theory lesson) and hand paint the white canvas, draw all kinds of patterns, be exciting, don’t have to portray anything
  • with a big brush you can write different important inspirational words thoughts one after the other as long as the large canvas is full, do not plan to just write continuously on each other
  • divide the canvas into squares of about 10 cm (draw with aquarell pencil, do not be regular) in each row randomly paint 2 to 2 squares in a very pale color, white or gesso loosely then begin to paint different figurative or non-figurative elements, then in one corner with a warm color in the other with cold color.
  • Turn on a music and let the music drive your hand or the brush inside
  • tie your eyes and paint your first layer with your eyes closed (this is a very good thing to try. You have to prepare the paints before and paint the canvas with your hand)
  • Use your non-dominant hand, even alternately!
  • try to paint the first layer using dark colors, which gives a good opportunity to contrast the light in the future
  • choose different objects, sponges, brushes, anything that leaves beautiful marks on the canvas
  • Lay the canvas on the ground or on the table, and drip or sprinkle the paint from above, use a spray bottle and squirt with water, lifting the canvas to drip the paint. The best thing to do with this is liquid paint. Because we know the rule: not to dilute acrylic paint more than about 20% because then the bond between the pigments decomposes. Dilute with binder. (Acryl binder medium blend with paint can also be used in a spray gun)

this was about 9 tip to start


What I make is a traditional style, where you have to think it over first and make plans before start. I draw a plan first than I think it over the colours. In this technic I use the colour mixing to find our the whole painting. With brush and paraffin first I paint over the lightest colour of the painting  – white –  and than I dip the material into the paint, than I paint with brush the next light layer and dip again to the darkest colour. and so on.  The hard to figure out what colour are working together to get your painting beautiful coloured as I don’t use brush for the paints. eg: you will not see on these painting red flower with green leaves, only if you cheat 🙂

OIL and ME

Currently I use wet-on-wet, alla prima technique, which very simply means I won’t stop until the picture is ready. I like it.
If you paint the wet with the wet technique, it is advisable to start if you have 2-3 hours to finish the work.

I make a gridded photo with the same proportion as the painting will be, than with thin paint I draw the main figures. Than I paint the first layer with transparent colours (more darker than the ready one) than comes the opaque layers.


How do you start your paintings?

Join – Natureart SPRING or SUMMER – or both

Let’s paint together