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How to paint a colorful sunrise and seascape

In Acrylic for beginners

I got so inspired by the beautiful colours Nathan Head uses in his photographs, I decided to make a painting tutorial out of one of his works for you guys. We will be using his Magic Moon as a painting reference.

I have added the link to his Instagram page here. Feel free to go check it out, because I’m sure you’ll love it!

For this tutorial you will need:

  • Paint: Teal, blues, purples, white and yellow and pink.
  • A Palette
  • Paint brushes: I always prefer flat brushes for applying the paint. And then a medium soft brush for blending.
  • A cloth: You need this to clean your blending brush in between while you are blending.
  • Water
  • Canvas – Any size you’d like. I used a 30×30 CM

I started off by painting my entire canvas a pastel pink. The reason why I did this was so that the general feel of the painting would be warm. In order to achieve this, you can use any warm color you prefer, just as long as it’s not too dark.

Another reason why this is helpful, especially for beginner painters, is that it takes away that fear of the blank canvas, and the fear of making a mistake.

If you’d also like to prime your canvas, make sure that you set it aside to dry before you start with the next step.

Start off by drawing your horizon line with yellow. When drawing your horizon line, make sure that you don’t put it right in the center of the canvas, because this makes the painting very static. You want to put it slightly off center. If you were to put the horizon line a little higher in this painting, there would be more sea visible and the focus would, therefore, be on the sea. And the reverse is also true with the sky. I decided to focus a bit more on the sky.

Start by adding your first two colours in the sky. Add quite a bit of paint for each colour, so that the paint doesn’t dry too fast. I decided to use two separate brushes to apply the paint for this step in order to have more time to blend the colours before the paint dries.

There are also plenty of mediums available that you can mix with acrylic paint to let them dry a little slower. You can make use of this if you’d like.

You can then use a third brush to blend the two colours together. I find that the fluffier the brush, the better. If you’d like to see the exact steps on making a smooth gradient, have a look at my you tube video: How to paint a Gradient.

I usually recommend that you use a dry brush for this, because as soon as you wet your brush and try to blend, it can become patchy very easily.

You can then repeat the process by adding the third and fourth colour. If you find that some of your paint is drying already, just add some more paint and continue blending.

Next we can get started with the sea. If at this point you are not completely happy with your sky and there are still places which you feel are a bit too blotchy, don’t worry about it too much. Instead of trying to fix it now, rather let it dry and add a second layer in the areas you want to change later.

Add the spots where the moon is reflecting on the sea.

Next you can add the base of the water. In order to do this, have a look at two or three medium tones you see in the water and add them. For this I used teal, blue and purple. You can also add some greens in there if you’d like.

I don’t know about you, but once this step is done, I’m usually pretty relieved because I feel like I took a big step forward in my painting. This step is very helpful, since you now have all the medium tones down, you can easily distinguish the darker and lightest tones. You’ll be able to tell when your dark tones are a bit too dark and when your light tones are a bit too light by using your medium tone as a reference.

Next you can get started with the darkest tones. For this step I used ultramarine blue and dark purple. Since this sea is painted in an impressionistic way, you don’t have to worry too much about blending the sea. I decided to paint this in a different technique since I felt that it contrasts nicely with the smoothly blended sky.

It also introduces you to two different painting styles at once.

Next you can go back and brighten up the medium tones. You can use the same medium tones you used earlier.

You can then go back with some light tones. These will be all the colours you used mixed with a lot of white. You can add this in the lightest areas you see. I added a very light yellow in the middle of the yellow spots in the water.

Also remember that in order to create the illusion of depth in your painting, you want to make sure that the farthest part of the sea is lighter and less bright than the front. This is called aerial perspective and it really helps to give that feeling of where you can actually walk into the painting.

While you add the light spots, you can also add your moon once you are sure that your sky is dry. Start off by using a light yellow to draw a circle.

You can then add the details on the moon with a darker colour yellow. If you deel like your sky needs a bit more colour, you can add it now.

In case you find that your first layer is coming off easily, which often happens with entry level quality paint, just leave it to dry for a full day and continue the next day. This will ensure that the paint thats already on the canvas has enough time to dry properly and bond to the canvas.

Thanks for following this tutorial! I hope you enjoyed it and I would love to see your work! Please feel free to tag me on instagram with the handle @jetheadedgypsy.

If you liked this tutorial and you would like to be the first to receive my next tutorial, sign up to my newsletter! Subscribing will also give you the opportunity to have free personalized one-on-one art mentoring.

I am looking forward to seeing your work!

Talk to you soon,

Jet Headed Gypsy

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How to paint an eye in oil paint

For beginners

We are so intrigued with painting eyes because they can tell us so much about a person. That is why it is so important to make sure that they are depicted in a striking way. If you want the portrait that you’re painting to convey a certain emotion, then perhaps a good idea would be to have a look at the difference between angry eyes, sad eyes, happy eyes, etc. before beginning your painting. Have a look at the different shapes, wrinkle lines, pupil sizes, etc.

This will add character to your painting and it will help to tell a story through your painting.

But, before we can paint eyes with emotion and character, we need to get the basics down of painting an eye first.

I find that in order to learn to paint something properly, you need to use a reference. I added the reference image below in case you want to use the same reference image I used.

For this painting tutorial you will need:

  • Oil paint: different shades of browns, blues, greens, naples yellow, white and black.
  • Paintbrushes – small and medium sizes – Personally, I prefer flat brushes and a small round brush for the details.
  • Turpentine
  • Canvas
  • Cloth to wipe your brushes with

Start off by blocking out all your dark, medium and light tones. We do this because it creates a map for us to follow on our second layer and we can also correct some mistakes we made when we were drawing the eye.

Burnt Sienna is a good colour to use for this first layer, because its a translucent colour which means that it lets through a lot of light through the painting layer, which illuminates the painting from the inside. If you don’t have burnt sienna, you can use any other brown.

Leave this to dry overnight.

*If you’re in a hurry, you can skip this step, however, I would not recommend it.

Paint the skin tones around the eye. This step is important because we don’t want it to look as if the eye is floating or hovering in front of the face and this can happen if we don’t do the shading correctly. Don’t forget to add the eye lid as well.

Our skin have so many different colours in them. If you look closely at your reference image, you can see that there are some areas that are yellow, others more blue and green and so on. In order to make these colours a bit more subtle, mix them with a bit of flesh tint.

If you do not have already mixed flesh tint, you can use orange, white and pink for this. Depending on the shade of the skin tone you’d like, you can then gradually add some burnt sienna and burnt umber to the mixture. It’s a good idea to use both of these paints to darken the skin tone, seeing that burnt umber by itself is a cold brown, comparing to burnt sienna which is a lot warmer.

Next we can get started with the whites of the eyes. A lot of people think that the whites of the eyes are just plain white, however, there are so many other subtle colours in there. It is important for us to include these colours, because it helps to describe the shape of the eye more.

There will almost always be a blueish shade on the sides and it will gradually go lighter in the middle area of the eye.

In this area you want to make sure that you add a shadow. I used sky blue and a bit of burnt umber for this.

Another important part is the inner tear duct. You want to make sure that you dont make this too pink, so mix a bit of flesh tint with pink and burnt umber for this area. for the darker shades on the inner tear duct, you can mix a bit of pink and burnt umber, without adding the flesh tint.

Also remember to include the inner lid here on the bottom lid of the eye. You can make this slightly lighter than the face.

Here comes the fun part! Painting the Iris. Start off by outlining the iris with the darkest colour you are planning on using for the eye. By studying your reference, also have a look at any other dark spots you see there and fill them in too. I decided to use ultramarine blue for this. In order to make the ultramarine blue even darker in some areas, I mixed some burnt umber with it.

You can then add your medium tones. I decided to use cobalt teal for this step. Here you can also check to see if there are any light spots in the eye. For these you can add a bit of white with the colour you are using for this step.

Do not paint the white spots where the light is reflecting on the eye yet.

Once you’ve added the dark, medium and light tones in the previous steps, you can now fill in the light spots with some white. It is very important to add these, because they bring life to the eye.

Next you can add an outline at the top of the eye. This will serve as a shadow for the eyelashes.

You can also add the pupil with black. Even though it seems that way, your pupil isn’t just black everywhere either. On the left hand side here (see the picture below), you’ll see that it’s a bit grey. I did this by just blending some of the white in that light spot into the black of the eye.

To make the pupil appear more realistic, soften the outline on of the pupil by running over the edge with a soft dry brush. Blend around the pupil in this direction:

The eyebrows play an important part when it comes to the eye, because it frames the eye. To paint the eyebrows, use the smallest brush you have and paint it hair-by-hair. Since the entire painting is wet, I found it helpful to turn my canvas upside down to do this step.

Have a look at your reference to see in what direction the hair is going.

Now for the part we all fear: the eyelashes! Make sure that your lines for the eyelashes start off thick and taper out like the lines above. To do this, you’ll have to add more pressure to your brush when you start from the eye and lift your brush upward as you drag the line up.

Make sure that your hand is steady when you do this, since it is very difficult to do when your hand is just in the air. I usually balance my entire hand on my pinky when I paint thin or long lines:

To make sure your eyelashes look natural, have some of them go in different directions. As you can see in the picture above, some of my eyelashes go in front of the eye!

When adding the bottom lashes, apply the same technique, but use a lighter grey for them instead of pitch black. The bottom lashes will also be significantly less than the upper lashes.

Thanks for following this tutorial, if you have any questions, feel free join the Gypsy Tribe by signing up to my newsletter! I’ll then send you an email address by which you can contact me in order to ask me any questions regarding your paintings.

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How to fix a torn canvas

It happened in slow motion! I was so close to finishing my painting, just wanted to fix a couple of things that was bothering me and then I stumbled and dropped my painting on the edge of the table in my studio.

I felt like laughing and then crying at the same time. Which is what I did… After having a subtle nervous breakdown, haha!

On the bright side, this gave me the opportunity to show you guys how to fix a torn canvas if this were ever to happen to you.

How to fix a torn canvas

What you’ll need to fix your torn canvas:

  1. Paint brush
  2. Water
  3. Gesso
  4. Another piece of canvas
  5. Two heavy objects, anything will do
  6. Cling wrap
  7. Palette Knife
  8. Sand Paper
  9. The painting you’re working on and the piece that you need to put back (if you have one)
  1. Add quite a bit of gesso on the separate piece of canvas.

2. If you have a piece of your painting that came off, stick this on top of the separate piece of canvas. If not, you can skip this step and go to step 7.

3. With cling wrap you can now cover your piece of canvas. This is just to make sure that the gesso doesn’t mess everywhere when you’re doing the next step.

4. Put a heavy object on top of the canvas that is now covered with cling wrap. This is just to make sure that the piece of painting stays flat and doesn’t curl up.

5. We want to ensure that the piece of painting is really stuck on the separate piece of canvas, so now leave this to dry. Use your two heavy objects to make sure that the canvas doesn’t curl up.

6. Have a look at the front of the canvas at what angle you should put your painted piece.

7. It is now time to stick the canvas to the painting. If you only have a tear in your canvas with no separate piece of painting, this is where you would start.

Add gesso to the one side of the canvas and stick it to the painting.

8. Once its down and you’re sure its in the right place, continue adding more gesso. Make sure you cover the edges very well.

9. You can now go back with a palette knife to level the grooves in the front of the painting. Just to make sure it’s dry before you do the next step, let it dry over night.

10. Once its completely dry, you can now sand it down to make sure the service is smooth. If there are any more grooves, repeat the process by adding more gesso again.

Once you’re happy with it, you can fix up your painting with some paint.

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How to paint baby Yoda

Since you’re here I assume that you have seen the mandalorian and are just as in love with baby Yoda as I am.  He’s so cute i just want to smoosh his face and give him some soup in his tiny cup! So today im going to show you how to paint this cute little thing and if you follow this tutorial, remember to tag me on instagram with your painting, because I want to see your paintings!  If you need a bit of extra help with this painting, you can also check out the painting timelapse which I have made on this painting. I also talk about the same steps there.  

To start off with, I made a quick sketch in pencil.  

I then mixed about three different shades of green to block out the dark, light and medium tones on his face.  For this I used sap green, white and burnt umber, but this turned out to be a little too green, so I added just a bit of coeruleam blue to the green paint, which made it a bit more accurate.  When I start out with a painting, my main goal is to just block out all the basic tones, because this makes it way easier for me later on when I go into more detail.

So from here I moved on to the ears and the eyes.  You’ll see here that the eyes don’t really have much life in them at this point.  This is because I have not painted all the reflections in his eyes yet. Because his eyes  are so big, so it is super important to really zoom in on your reference and include all the different shapes that the light is creating.  I find that in order to do this as accurately as possible, don’t see it as an eye, rather try to just focus on the shapes and the colour of the shapes when you’re painting, because very often we think we know what something looks like, but we actually don’t. So that’s why it’s important to just trust your reference! For the ears, i just started off with some yellow, burnt umber and sap green.   The ear on the right hand side is a bit darker, since the light is coming from the opposite side of the painting.

I then continued with his clothes and the background, using the same combination of colours.  Again I just focused on adding light, medium and dark tones. It’s totally up to you on how you want to start this process.  I personally prefer adding the darker tones first and from there on working with the lighter colours, but a lot of artists also like starting with the lighter tones and then gradually add the shadows.  So it is best to find what works for you. I also don’t always follow this, sometimes I also work with the dark and medium tones at the same time. It all just depends on what I feel like doing that day.  

You’ll notice that I am not really making his hands super detailed.  This is because the focus is on his face. And in blurring whatever is around his face, you make the focal point a bit more prominent.

Once I have covered the first layer, I went back to the face to add some details and to readjust the face a little bit.  The mouth was especially bothering me at this point. But ok, this was just the beginning phase and usually you get to a point where you hate the way your painting looks.  And that’s totally okay! I find that it’s a bit of a dance, you go back and forth, but as long as you enjoy the process and don’t give up on your artwork, and just sit and do the work, it will end up really good!  

So again I added some more green shades.  In some areas I added shades that were more blue than in other areas. 

With they eyes I started by painting all the lighter areas white, and then I painted a thin layer of lighter colours over them.  For this I used some yellow ocre, burnt umber, black for the pupils and green, because the eye reflects a little bit of the green surrounding it. I then went back with some stark white and added it in the lightest areas.  

And then of course you also want to make sure that you add those lighter shading around the eyes to make them stand out a bit more. From here on out I focused on getting the colour more accurate and on adding some more details, like the little wrinkles on the top of his head. 

For baby Yoda, the eyelids are super important, because that is one of the things that make him look so baby like.  It is important to make the eyelids arch quite high.  

Next i’m working on the light and dark tones of his robe.  For the top part, I’m using a stipple effect, instead of making brush strokes, I dot the paint on to create some texture on the fabric.  For this is use different shades of burnt umber mixed with white.

Once I’m done with the coat, I brightened the ears up a bit, especially the one on the left, where there is more light.  I also darkened the right ear for some more contract.

And then for the background, I decided to just leave it blurred.  I found that it’s better to make it rather dark, so that the figure stands out more. Also remember to add his little hairs on his head once you have completed the background.  It’s easier to do it this way, so you don’t have to paint in between the hair to cover the background. 

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6 Tips for exhibiting at your first Art Fair

I want to share some tips with you on setting up your first stall at an art fair and also show you some actual footage of Marat and I sneaking into DIFC art nights without a permit.  Check out the video below!

So here are 6 tips for exhibiting at your first art fair:

  1.  If you haven’t ever exhibited your art before and you feel like you’re not ready yet, just go for it!  What is the worst that can happen? You make a fool of yourself in front of people you will most probably never again see in your life?  Don’t take yourself so seriously and just have fun with it because imperfect action is way better than perfect procrastination. But this one is more for my introverts out there.
  2.   Make sure you have business cards or a qr code that can direct people to your social media or your website.  If you just google qr code generator you can easily create one for free. It’s a good idea to have this printed out, so when you’re busy, someone can just scan the qr code and access your info in order to get in touch with you later!  What I’ve also noticed is that people don’t always have data, so it’s a good idea to just have your social media handles written somewhere, because a lot of people will take pictures of this!
  3. Make sure you have the proper lighting if they don’t provide you with any.  You don’t exactly want to spend all your time creating these beautiful artworks and then have the lighting not do them justice
  4.  Make sure you are there a little early so that you can take your time to setup and so that you’re not unnecessarily stressed out. 
  5. If you’re going to be there the entire day, make sure you pack yourself some water and snacks, because these places’ food are usually overpriced and unhealthy
  6. It’s very helpful to have a friend with you in order to look after your stall when you have to go to the restroom or something.  This is very important because you don’t want to miss out on a sale because you had to go wee. 

Do you have any additional tips? Feel free to leave a comment so that everyone reading this can have more info on the topic!

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We stole a cat from his loving home!

Not into reading? Don’t sweat it, you can just watch the video!

It is so good to be back on social media!  I have missed you all so much, I have missed my channel so much and I am so excited to share with you what I have been up to for the past month!  

We usually go on a late night walk after one of our coffee dates and on this one fine evening, we saw the most beautiful street cat.  Not only was he finely groomed, but he also smelt like baby powder and he was super friendly.

We then got scared that he would get run over by a car, so we picked him up and took him to the security guard who wanted nothing to do with this cat.  Nay, he said. I have never seen this cat before, take him out of my sight! So we ended up taking him home and locking him in our bedroom, since khaleesi is a violently jealous cat and will do anything to keep the only child status.  

We figured that this is a young cat in heat, because the cat would not stop mauwing.  At this point we have baptized him about 6 times with names ranging from metal band guitarists to anime characters to cutesy ironic little names which is too embarrassing to mention in public.  We took him to the vet the next day, where we were told that he was in fact not a cat in heat, but that he was a little boy. So the baptizing continued and eventually the name buddy stuck.  

We then also told them that we picked buddy up from the street and they scanned him so that we could see if there were any contact information of his owners on his chip.  There was none, but they said that they would email the other vets in our area just to make sure. They then also ran some other tests, one of which was him getting a thermometer up the but.  

At this point we still strongly believed that we were good people and that we were in fact saving this cat.

In the meantime, we have decided that we will gift this dear little boy to marat’s mom, who has never had a pet before.  Long story short, we told her he’s a good little boy and 5 seconds later he decided it was a good time to sharpen his nails on her brand new couch.  Nice one buddy, you were so close to having a forever home, we thought. So we went back home with this nauhty little thing and back to the bedroom it was.

We ended up getting so attached to him, even though this stupid little kitten didnt want to play.  It only wanted cuddles, which we were also more than willing to give him.  

Three days later we received a whatsapp from his owner asking for us to please bring her cat back to her.  We were of course a little heartbroken, and at this point we decided to take our chances and ask if there would be any chance that they would want to give that cat away, because in Dubai its very common for people to just leave their pets on the street and not really care about them.  

But this nice lady told us that he has been in their family for NINE YEARS!  We of course took him back the same day. I knocked on the door and that cat LEAPED out of my arms into his house.  In the last couple of days I have known him, he did not move that fast once.

We actually had such a good time meeting his family.  They are amazing people and we all had a laugh about the whole situation.  Apparently they usually let him go on a little evening walk, but seeing that this was the second time that he disappeared, he will be kept indoors from now on.  Sorry Buddy, or should I say Fuzzy… We totally ruined your evening adventures.  

So just to sum up.  We abducted a senior citizen from his front porch.  We locked him up in a bedroom for days on end and from there it gets progressively worse.  Not only was he fed kitten food the entire time, but he was also taken to the vet where he was intimately touched and probed.  He was then driven around across town, where he briefly had the sweet sense of freedom, but was then placed back in the room which was guarded by khaleesi who was constantly hissing.  He was made to play and jump around like a young little kitten, while he was probably just complaining about his aching back and just wanting to take his afternoon nap.  

Since then, every time we see a cat in our neighbourhood, we just start laughing because of the time we stole a cat from his loving home! 

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I’ve decided to go on a social media detox and I feel that all artists should do this from time to time. Social media is an amazing tool to market out art, but we can very easily get lost in the social media world and forget about what is actually important, which is creating your art without any distractions! I’ve also seen so many people saying that they start to get insecure when they see how talented other people are and when we are in this state of mind, we completely forget about out own journey!

I would like to invite you to join me in #nomedianovember by using the # in your last post before going offline for a bit and also tagging me @jetheadedgypsy on instagram. You don’t have to do it for an entire month, it is completely up to you for how long you would like to do this. Minimum 1 day though 😉

Oh, and let’s keep whatsapp. I mean, we aren’t cavemen.


More details on the giveaway:
😃The giveaway ends on 1 December 2019.
😃I will get in touch with the winner on instagram on 1 Dec!
😃I will send the winner the present which they have requested in the comment section of this video
😃The choices are: an acrylic painting set, an oil painting set or a set of brushes.

Gone painting picture for posting on instagram

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ARTIST VLOG #2 Becoming a PRO ARTIST | Create your own brand

Welcome ARTIST VLOG #2 Becoming a PRO ARTIST | Create your own brand! So the reason why I started creating art vlogs was because I want to document my artist journey and also just add some of the highlights of my week. I just recently quit my job and i’m now a full time artist. So I want to share with you what I learn along the way and hopefully help some of my fellow creatives!

The main thing I was focusing on this week was branding! As an artist it’s important to have your brand because people start associating you with a certain style of painting or a certain colour palette or font and this is good because when they start recognizing you they’ll be like: “hey, I know that girl! Let me check out what’s new on her instagram, maybe she has some cool new art!” It’s important to make sure that your followers remember you, because guess who they’ll consider buying from when they are thinking of a gift for their friends or family? The person who they are constantly reminded of!

So that’s why i decided to start building my brand. Building your brand is not as complicated as it sounds. All it means is that you need to have a basic colour palette, two or three colours you like and a logo and to make sure that all your social media and websites are congruent with these colours and with your logo.

But, before I did anything, I did some research for a couple of months to find out what my followers actually like more. The way I did this is i posted different kinds of styles of images on instagram and i checked where i got followers and with what kind of pictures people started unfollowing me.

Based on this, I decided my brand colours, as well as my logo. So once I was ready to start building my brand properly, the first thing I did was jump on you tube to find some diy lightroom presets which I can recreate on my phone so that I can have my own unique filter to use on instagram and everywhere else I will post.

You also want to be careful with these because you don’t want to adjust your picture so much that your paintings look nothing like in real life! What I did was, I chose a subtle filter which i then adjusted so I can actually keep posting my art without adding a filter and then still having a filter on all the other pictures I post and still have it all match! You can just search for lightroom preset filter in diy if you’d like to try this out.

I then also use Unum, an app which allows you to plan your content ahead to make sure that your feed looks good as a whole on instagram!

Next, I designed my logo. You can find people online to do this for you for pretty cheap, but I just used Canva for this!

I also created a brand new youtube intro as you might have noticed! The way I did this was to take a whole bunch of pictures and then put them all together in imovie so it looks like they’re moving.

I still have a bit of fine tuning to do here and there, but that basically took most of the week, but it was so worth it because now I don’t have to do it again, it’s done and everything is ready to go!

Now I can focus a bit more on painting in the following week!