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Painting an Ice Cream with Oil Paint and Palette Knives for Beginners

For beginners

Materials:

  • Brushes – Below are the brushes I used. I used the large flat brushes to blend the different blues on the background together.
  • Oil Paint – If you are looking to buy an oil paint set, I would recommend getting a Daler Rowney set. This brand is my favourite brand to use.
  • Palette Knife
  • Turpentine – You don’t have to use expensive virgin turpentine. I usually just buy a 5 litre can at the hardware store. The reason why artists use virgin turpentine is because it makes the colours appear brighter, but the difference is so subtle that it isn’t really worth it. Once you are done with painting, put a lid on your turpentine (for safety reasons). You can then use it a second time since the pigments all sink to the bottom of the jar.
  • Acrylic Paint – Daler Rowney System 3 paints are highly recommended.
  • Tissue paper – I prefer using tissue paper over a towel. I find a towel gets dirty too quickly when working with a palette knife. Oil paint is also difficult to wash out (and you can’t put it in the washing machine – I did this once and my clothes smelt of turpentine for weeks after that).
  • Canvas – I used a 35×35 cm canvas
  • Pencil and eraser for planning
  • Paint Palettes – You will need two, one for acrylic paint and one for oil paint. You don’t need to buy pricey palettes if you don’t have one. Instead, you can use an old tray or plate. One trick I like to use in order to make the cleaning process a bit easier is to cover the entire tray in cling wrap. Once you’re done with your painting, you only need to cut the cling wrap off and your tray is ready to use next time you paint.

Draw your ice cream

Start off by making a rough sketch of your ice cream. Here I used a simple HB pencil, but I would suggest that you rather start your planning with coloured pencils, since this is easier to cover with paint than an HB pencil. For this painting, though, It does not really matter, since we will be applying thick paint later on.

Block out the Three Main Tones

Even though we are creating an oil painting, I find that it is better to start any oil painting with a layer of acrylic paint first. I do this, because acrylic paint dries much faster than oil paint, so you can start painting your second layer within minutes.

Remember, oil paint can go on top of acrylic paint, but we can never add acrylic paint on top of oil paint, because the paint will then start to peel of the canvas.

As you can see here, there is very little detail painted and the painting looks a bit dull. This is ok, since this step is just to map out all the dark, medium and light tones for yourself to make it easier later.

To do this, look for the darkest tone first. Once you’ve covered the darkest tone, go on to the lightest and paint them white. It will then be easier to fill in the blank spaces on your ice cream with a medium tone.

You can use a brush to do this, since you have more control over the brush than the palette knives.

Paint your background with Acrylic Paint

Choose how you would like for your background to look. Since we are using acrylic, you can experiment a little and easily change it or adjust it within minutes after it dries. I decided to go for a very smooth and plain background. I did this because the contrast between the rough palette knife paint on the ice cream and the smooth background will make the ice cream stand out more.

Start painting the background in Oil

Once your first layer of paint is completely dry, it is time to start painting in oil! You’ll find that this second layer of paint will really make the colour a lot more vibrant.

I started off by giving the background a second layer with oil paint. So you’ll see here that I did not mind going a bit over the edges of the ice cream, since it will be easy to cover later. My main focus here was just to get the gradient background looking as smooth as possible.

You will find that the oil paint will be a lot easier to work with when it comes to blending, since you can really take your time with this medium.

Whip out your palette knife!

You can now start by painting the ice cream with your palette knife and oil paint. Oil paint is the best medium for this, since the consistency of the paint is nice and thick so it is easier to work with than acrylic in this case. But you can add other mediums to acrylic to achieve this if you do not want to work with oil paint.

Remember that it is important to enjoy the process and to not have a very specific image in your head for the end product. Palette knife paintings also tend to look a lot better when you don’t try to control it too much, since your playfulness will translate through the paint. In other words, if you try to control it too much and get stressed out about what it looks like, it will show in the painting.

How to start

You can start off with your knife the same way you started the painting; by blotting out the dark, medium and light tones.

The Palette Knife angle

The key thing you need to remember about palette knife painting is that the angle of your knife makes a big difference in the outcome of the mark on your painting.

Have a look at how I am applying the paint here. I am only adding paint on the tip of the knife since i want to make a smaller stroke for a highlight. I am also holding the knife at an angle, leaning slightly to the right and forward (with the back of the knife upward and the tip on the canvas)

how hard you should you press on the canvas with your palette knife

If you really want to add a lot of thick paint (this is also called impasto painting) to your canvas, it is important not to press on your canvas too hard, since this will make the paint spread out too much.

You can see it as that you are sculpting with the paint, since you don’t want it to be the same thickness everywhere. Perhaps you could try to add thicker paint to the lightest areas of your painting. This way, there will be a slight shadow casted by the paint on your darker areas, since it doesn’t stick out as much.

Use your paint brushes for the smaller areas

Just because you are creating a painting with a palette knife, doesn’t mean you can’t use a brush every now and then, especially in those smaller areas, like the shadow at the top of the ice cream cone.

You can then continue to work over this in some areas with a palette knife.

Don’t be afraid to scratch into your painting with your knife for texture

Use a towel or tissues to wipe all the paint off your palette knife before doing this. As you can see here, I scratched some lines and wrote on the cone with the palette knife.

Tie all your strokes together

Before doing this, clean your knife with some tissue. You can then make larger swoops over some areas you painted, going in the direction of the lines your ice cream is creating. This will slightly mix the paint in some areas and give you some more medium tones.

You then need to continue on top of this with some more bold palette knife strokes which you won’t blend in.

Have a look here at the medium tones created on the area circled here.

Rounding off

Finish off your painting by adding the very lightest areas of your ice cream.

Aaaand you’re done!

I really hope enjoyed painting with palette knifes!

Usually we don’t get much time to do creative things like this when we are in a full time job plus responsibilities at home.

I came across this opportunity a couple of months ago where you can learn how to start your own online business through the Six Figure Mentor program. 

Imagine being able to do creative things like painting an ice cream in the middle of the week, instead of sitting at work and wishing for the weekend to come!

SFM also makes it possible for you to travel more! Since you have your own online business, you only need a laptop and a wifi connection to keep it running.

They provide you with step by step guidance on how to build a business based on something that you love and they have an amazing community that is super supportive as well.  I am one of their students and since I have been with them, my life has changed so drastically!

If you’re interested, you can sign up for free online workshops by clicking on the link below.

Send me Free Workshops

Jet Headed Gypsy – Painting an Ice Cream with Oil Paint and Palette Knives for Beginners – Top of Page

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Simple Beach and Sunset Acrylic Painting for Beginners

This is an easy and fun exercise which can be completed within roughly three hours!

The reference used in Simple Beach and Sunset Acrylic Painting for Beginners can be found here.

Materials used:

  • Canvas 25x30cm
  • Various brushes of your choice – I prefer using flat brushes instead of round ones. I recommend using a different brush for each colour and then some large flat brushes for blending.
  • Acrylic paint, System 3 paints are quite nice to use and they’re affordable
  • A jar with water for cleaning the brushes – I usually don’t wash my brushes while painting, since the residual water on the brush thins the paint and makes blending a bit more tricky. Other people prefer using water though, so see what works for you.
  • Some tissue paper for drying the brushes.

Draw your horizon line and start painting the sky

Start off by deciding where your horizon line will be. It’s a good idea to never put the horizon line in the dead centre of the canvas, because this makes your painting look very static. You want the viewer’s eye to travel throughout your painting. I used yellow paint to do this, since yellow is easy to paint over.

Once you have this down, you can add some yellow horizontal brush strokes for the sun.

Make sure that not all your brush strokes are exactly the same length. Before this dries, immediately work in some pink. I used pink and white for this, alternating between white and pink every time I dip my brush into paint. With your pink paint, go over the tips of your yellow lines in order to blend the two colours a little bit.

Also paint the sides as you go along. If you choose to hang the painting without framing it, it will give it more of a finished look.

Add the purple

If you don’t have purple and you need to mix it, use pink and blue instead of red and blue to mix a vibrant purple.

The reason why pink works better is because the red pigment is quite pricy. So paint companies add other pigments into the red paint, such as orange, to make it more affordable for us. If we mix this affordable red paint with blue, it gives us a more darker purple.

Apply your purple paint as indicated in the picture here on the right hand side of the painting. You can then use pink and white paint to blend it into the pink sky. The way you do this is to paint and blend the pink paint on the very edges of the purple shape.

If you go all over the purple, your painting will end up looking muddy.

Paint the Sea

Paint lines with various colours as indicated here. Use a large flat brush to gently go over the lines you have painted to create a blended look. If you use horizontal strokes, your sea will look more calm. The more you make zig zag movements with your blending brush, the rougher the sea will look.

Colours I used was dark blue, light blue, white and purple.

For the area where the sun is reflecting on the water, I added white, orange, yellow and pink.

Add the sand

Use white and brown paint to create the sand. You can blend this out a bit more to create a smoother texture.

For the top area, the sand that is further away from you, use more white to make it appear lighter. This creates a sense of depth in your painting.

Useful tip: Objects that are further away are generally lighter. This is called aerial perspective.

Add the sea froth

Use a brush like the one here. Add a little bit of of paint to the brush and dab it all over the line where the sea and sand meet.

Add a thin shadow under the wave

Start by drawing a line right under the froth. You need to do this throughout the painting, but do small sections at a time so that the paint does not dry when you dry to blend it.

Blend the line for a softer look

Use a clean, dry brush for blending. Have a look here where the brush is positioned on the painting. You will only blend the very edge of the line to create a gradient. If you go over the entire line, it will just create a mess and not fade away from the sea froth. (I hope this makes sense).

Make the front of the sea look more shallow

In order to make the sea in the front look more shallow, make use of light blue paint. Your brush strokes are also important here. Where you previously painted everything in a horizontal direction, you are now going to paint the front area in a diagonal direction, slightly over the foam . So you will start from the bottom, where the foam is, and make your brush strokes upward leaning to the left.

Look at the direction in which the arrow goes here.

Add Greenery – Optional

Use different greens, blues and some white to create short brush strokes for the greenery.

When you get to the top of the plant, make sure you make your brush strokes with an upward swoop. This will make the end of the brush stroke look thinner and it will end up looking more like twigs.

Afterwards you can also add some flowers. You can achieve this by just adding some quick dots and short brush strokes.

Paint the clouds

Start off by adding a generous amount of paint in a line as indicated in the picture.

Remember to keep the lines rather short in order to avoid the paint drying on you before you get to blend it.

Blend the clouds

Now is the time to make those clouds look like candy floss! You can achieve this by blending in circles on the outer edges of the line. Take a look where my brush is positioned in the picture here.

Once you are done, you can repeat this step by adding another line of paint on top of the cloud and lightly blend this too.

The second layer will make the cloud appear more white.

Try not to overthink this part too much. Clouds are organic, so any shape will look fine. The most important part is that the edges of the cloud isn’t too harsh. You can fix this by just blending it more outward.

Aand you’re done!

I really hope enjoyed painting your sunset!

Usually we don’t get much time to do creative things like this when we are in a full time job plus responsibilities at home.

I came across this opportunity a couple of months ago where you can learn how to start your own online business through the six figure mentor program. 

Imagine being able to do creative things like painting this sunset in the middle of the week, instead of sitting at work and wishing for the weekend to come!

SFM also makes it possible for you to travel more! Since you have your own online business, you only need a laptop and a wifi connection to keep it running.

They provide you with step by step guidance on how to build a business based on something that you love and they have an amazing community that is super supportive as well.  I am one of their students and since I have been with them, my life has changed so drastically!

If you’re interested, you can sign up for free online workshops by clicking on the link below.

Send me Free Workshops

Jet Headed Gypsy – Simple Beach and Sunset Acrylic Painting for Beginners – Top of Page