6 Secrets to Great Paintings

by Allison Prior 9 months ago in advice

Amazing paintings if you do this...

6 Secrets to Great Paintings

It's a struggle to get a great painting, you work at it for hours even days and still can't seem to get that beautiful finished professional look, but if you do these 6 things you will be amazed at the end results and you will be proud of your work finally.

Here are 6 secrets to help you get great paintings, it's all in the planning, looking forward, making decisions, learning, researching, reference photo's and all things listed here.. .


Yes, first decide what you want to paint, it could be from a picture you took yourself, or a picture you saw on a Christmas Card, or just from memory, maybe a cabin where you spent many summers with family.

If you paint from a picture you may want to change things around or crop it to the part you like best, or add a few more details by using other photo's for ideas... or references such as farm animals, flowers in a field, colors in the sky, there's so much to choose from it's almost hard to believe you feel like you can run out of ideas to paint... Draw your Composition on paper until your happy with the layout.. .


Decide what color scheme you want to use, if it's a landscape or seascape, will it be a winter scene, summer scene, fall or spring scene? If it's a portrait or still life you still need to plan the colors you will use in the painting... Learn the color wheel, it will make a big difference in knowing what colors work in harmony together..


No matter what you paint your shapes have to be perfect, yes perfect, if you can't draw a stick man don't worry, just make sure you have a good reference photo, if you are painting your childhood cabin from memory draw it as best as you can, or look up photos that are similar to your memory of your cabin, you may be surprised and find something pretty close, then you can trace the reference photo and make adjustments... if you are painting flowers or fruit or any subject that you can't draw print it out and trace it, or use a projector, I will do another blog on different ways to transfer your photo to your canvas for painting, I have a video on YouTube that shows a few samples... you can get free to use reference photos at Pixabay.


If you're painting a street or cityscape you will need to use perspective to put everything in its correct place, you will have to practice and learn this technique.


Your brushes are very important in achieving a great painting, if you use the wrong brush you will get very frustrated with the results, it's imperative that you use the correct brush for each subject.

For example you're painting a fir tree and your using a big 2" flat bristle brush, it won't work, but if you use a fan brush, or a small filbert brush or even a palette knife you will get excellent results, with some subjects you can use almost any brush and get good results like clouds, water, rocks, but with small details, and fine lines, only certain brushes will give you the perfect result... Always try different brushes, and experiment with as many brushes as you can until you get the brush that works perfect for the subject you are painting.. .


There's nothing worse than just getting started painting when you realized you forgot the paper towels, or couldn't find a pencil. Make sure you have everything ready so when you do start you don't have to stop and look for missing items... it's such a waste of time and can take the fun out of it.. .


Planning your focal point is very important as it draws the viewer's eye into the painting and holds them there. How many times have you seen a beautiful painting and your eye went straight to the focal point first? It could have been a color that stood out, warm colors like reds and yellows attract the eye, the brightest light leading to a cabin, a sailboat off in the distance light up like a firefly, that's where you eye goes, to the brightest, or most colorful area in the painting... People, animals, cars, houses are good examples of focal points... also make the surrounding area a little blurred, or more faint so the focal point really stands out... for example a brightly colored flower with the background blurred.. .

A few points to remember, make no two shapes the same, if you have two tree's make one shorter, overlap subjects, use good contrast for example, lights against darks, small details matter, use shadows and highlights.. .

Now you should be able to do amazing paintings with ease...

Allison Prior

Allison Prior
Allison Prior
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Allison Prior

I am an artist, art instructor, portrait artist, and youtube creator.

See all posts by Allison Prior