Sailboat Under the Stars Tutorial

These Instructions go with my kit. If you haven’t ordered one yet you can get it here: Sailboat Paint KIT
Step by Step painting guide for
Sailboat Under the Stars
Acrylic Painting by gretzky
If you like this painting, but don’t feel like painting one yourself, I have an 11" x 14" framed original painting for sale here: Original framed Painting  
This kit includes ;
one 9” x 12” canvas with some hand drawn guidelines on it
5 paint colors
Protective Gloss
3 brushes
a cardboard cut out of the sailboat shape to use as a stencil for easy placement
a Styrofoam plate to be used as a palette
a rag
a plastic cup for water
step by step instructions
a 4" x 5” color photo of the finished painting to reference
a sturdy box to hold all of the supplies and to use to prop the painting while you work
saw tooth hanger on back of canvas for easy hanging
The only thing you need is water.

Here are some Tips & Tricks to keep in mind:
Acrylic paint is very forgiving, you can paint over it or wipe it away if it’s still wet.
It dries quickly, but if you want it to dry super fast, you can use a hairdryer.
You may water your paint down to get a watercolor consistency or your may use it thick and build it up for an oil painting like feel.
The gloss (Step 10) may be applied before painting the sailboat, so that if you make a mistake you can easily wipe the new layer away, leaving the gloss coated layers in tact.
Sleep on it. Hang your painting in progress in your bedroom and look at it before falling asleep and it will be the first thing you see when you wake up. This process helps me when I know I need to add or change something, but I’m not sure what a painting needs.
How to care for your painting: Acrylic paint is durable, you can clean your painting with a damp rag or sponge.

Okay are we ready to paint?
To begin fill your plastic cup about 2/3 with water. Moisten your rag so it is damp, but not dripping. Dip your large paintbrush in the water and dab on the rag.
Note: we will be using just the large paintbrush until step 4.

Step 1) Laying out the sky
Using the black paint, draw your horizon line where indicated on the canvas. 
Begin filling in the area above the horizon line with black….  
and add a little blue, wet your brush to help blend the colors. This is just a first coat, it does not have to be even, it’s actually preferable to have a varied look, because we want our sky to have lots of depth and this is achieved by many layers of light and dark.
Step 2) Laying down the water
Dip the brush in the water cup to get off most of the black and then dab on the rag, no need to get the brush completely clean. In this painting we don’t mind letting the colors run, it adds to the effect, we want to create depth through adding layers of light and dark.
Using the blue paint, begin to fill in the area below the horizon line, with wavy strokes. Follow some of my pencil marks to get a feel for it or use your own technique if you like. Be sure to leave an area of white open where the base of the sailboat is so that you will know where to place it.
Continue fill in the area with varied strokes of blue and now begin to add in some white. You can also blend some blue and white on your palette or you can just mix colors directly on the canvas. Let this area dry a bit and go back to the night sky.
Step 3) Creating depth to the sky
Add a small amount of white paint directly to your sky. Then clean the excess paint off of your brush and with the brush add water to the area that you just made white.
Go over this area in a back and forth sweeping motion to thin the white creating a milky opaque look. Now clean and dry the brush well with the rag.
And with just a little bit of black paint stipple or dab the area lightly and then some more with the white paint.
Now take your rag and blot the area. Keep doing this until you achieve a well blended sort of translucent nebula or cloud appearance. Stand back and look at your painting from a distance to get some perspective.
Step 4) add your first layer of stars
Your painting may be dry or damp but not dripping wet at this stage. If it’s very wet give it a chance to dry before adding the stars.
Moisten the smallest brush, put a little white paint on the palette and mix with water until you have a thin consistency that does not drip.
Lightly place dots of white randomly throughout the sky apply with different amounts of pressure so that some are smaller than others. We will do more stars later, now we will shift back to the water while we let this layer of stars dry.
Step 5) Contrast in the water
Continue using the smallest brush. Add a thin line of white right above or below your darkest lines in the water and add a thin line of blue mixed with black along some of the lighter blue lines.
Use the medium brush for blending and to get different strokes. Use my finished photo as a guide to notice how I randomly used this technique to achieve contrast in the water.
Mix your yellow and blue to make green, experiment with the colors in the water, add white or black to the mix, start using the aqua, have fun, feel free, loosen up. Is your music inspiring you? This part is more of a feeling than a skill, just enjoy the moment.
Continue to layer and blend on the the water until you are pleased with the way it looks. Feel free to experiment, be loose, let your own style come through.
Step 6) Finish the Sky
At this time, put more white dots in the sky and repeat any or all of the techniques in step 3; for example, add a thin coat of watered down black, white, blue black or grey to dull out the last coat of white dots, let dry, add another coat of dots, stipple with brush or dab with your rag and let dry again. Repeat these techniques until you are pleased with the way the sky looks. Add a final layer of bright white stars.
Step 7) The Sailboat
Here you may use the medium brush and then the small brush for the details. If you left a white spot you can start to paint your sailboat there, or if you did not, you may place the sailboat anywhere on the canvas.
Using the cut out I’ve provided you can trace the outline, but at this point only paint the base. Use the white paint and thin with a little water, apply the paint lightly, you may add more layers to build up the thickness, this way you can control the paint better. If you put too much you can wipe it away and start again or cover it up with blue and let it dry before trying again.
When painting the cabin, lay down some white and let it dry and then add the yellow, this makes the yellow brighter and since the yellow is depicting a light on inside the cabin, it should be bright in contrast to the dark of night. You don’t have to let the yellow dry before adding the lines for the window panes. Be sure to add a black line where the boat meets the water.
On top of the cabin is the folded up sail, mix some blue and white together on your palette to make a nice pale blue and paint a triangular shape over the cabin and coming down to the right side just inside the boat.
Your mast (the center pole) is thick and the three outer lines are very thin, use very little paint on your thin brush when making the lines and use the stencil if you need help making the lines straight.

The reflection can be barely there and just a series of squiggly lines or a little more detailed if you are so inclined, just be sure to mirror the colors from above and make the lines less defined or more faded (using less paint) as you get further away from the boat.
Step 8) Your Signature
Once you are happy with the way it all looks, Sign your painting :)
Step 9) Paint the edges black 
Use 2 coats if necessary. Let entire painting dry. If you are planning on framing your painting, there is no need to paint the edges, this step is to give the sides a finished look. 
Step 10) Protective gloss coating
This gloss gives your painting depth with a shiny wet look and adds a protective clear layer to your surface. Rinse your rag, brushes and cup out until the water runs clear. Fill the cup only about 1/3 with water and take out your Gloss, it’s the one with the “G” on it :)
With the large brush moistened but not dripping wet, dip into the gloss and apply liberally to your dried painting. The gloss goes on white, but dries clear. It thins with water to help spread it around. It dries very quickly. Be sure to gloss the sides too.
If you need to go back with paint, you can gloss over it again, so this step is not final if you want to change something later.
Well, That’s it! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I hope you had fun painting with me! How did you do? I’d love to see a pic of you holding up your painting. Or do you have a question or comment?  
Please email me and I will do my best to get back to you with in 24 hours.  Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. An Entire Art Class in a box. This is a wonderful way of finding out "if you really want to paint or not". It is incredible! A lot less expensive than an "Art Class" with a human teacher. A lot faster or slower. Whatever way you want it. I think it is genius. Try it!