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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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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 πŸ˜‰

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


More details on the giveaway:
πŸ˜ƒThe giveaway ends on 1 December 2019.
πŸ˜ƒI will get in touch with the winner on instagram on 1 Dec!
πŸ˜ƒI will send the winner the present which they have requested in the comment section of this video
πŸ˜ƒThe 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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Easy abstract landscape painting demo| For beginners | 2019

In this easy abstract landscape painting demo, I am showing you three different techniques which you can incorporate into your abstract paintings! This is an easy canvas painting that any beginner can use as painting inspiration to create their own abstract paintings!

As I explained in the video, I am planning on creating tutorials in this way for you guys from now on, seeing that I will be making a lot more of my own art! I would love to hear your feedback on this!

So lemme know what you think! This abstract painting to me resembles an arial landscape and it is one of the many more painting demos to come! I hope you like it πŸ˜ƒ


  • canvas acrylic
  • paint paint
  • brushes
  • old rag
  • spray paint
  • dish soap
  • surgical spirits
  • isopropyl alcohol

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Abstract Landscape Acrylic Painting Tutorial

For beginners| Easy

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How to paint water drops in oil paint

for beginners

Reference image used in this video

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