Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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I had it all–the paintbrushes, the paint, the canvas. Oh yes, I was about to become the artist I’d always dreamed of becoming. I touched the brush to the canvas and waited for my masterpiece to emerge.

Ten minutes later, and voila. It was finished.

But wait–it didn’t look right. Yes, something was definitely wrong. My finished painting looked more like a kindergarten student’s finger painting than the masterpiece I’d envisioned. And I wasn’t even the A+ student. Truthfully, I was more of a C- student.

So what went wrong? The answer may lie somewhere between a lack of talent but I believe it has more to do with a lack of knowledge about the basics of painting. So was there something I could have done differently? While I’m the first to admit I’m not an expert, a bit of research has garnered some interesting results.

While this article won’t necessarily turn you into a superb artist overnight, it will give you some of the painting basics you’ll need to know.

Types of Paint

One of the most important decisions beginning painters will make is about what paint to use. There are several different types, including acrylic, watercolors, oils, and pastels.


Acrylics dry fast, so they may not be the best option for beginners. The advantage is that once the paint is dry, you can paint another layer over it.


Watercolors create a transparent look. This is an example. Just mix the color with water and begin painting. Watercolors are also the cheapest, making it an ideal choice for beginners.


Oils dry slowly, which means you’ll have tons of time to blend colors. As a beginner myself, oils are my top choice for painting.


Pastels do not dry. Instead, mix the pastels on paper. Check out this great guide on painting with pastels for more information.

Mixing Colors

After choosing paint, the second most important thing beginning painters need to know is how to mix colors.

The most important color mixing tip I’ve received is to add a little bit at a time. It only takes a bit of dark green to turn white into a darker shade. For this reason, always add dark to light but, like I said, do it a little bit at a time until you get the color you want. For more information on mixing colors, check out this guide on color theory.

This introduction to choosing paint and mixing colors will give you an edge when adding painting to your list of hobbies–but it’s not enough! So stay tuned for the rest of the guide, which will cover different types of painting, plus much more.

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