How to Paint a Picture

by Caroline Hurley

Okay, let me explain myself. I’ve been gone for about 2 weeks now at least right? I moved into a new apartment in the middle of crunch time in school. It has been a hectic two weeks but after this week I will be able to relax and get back on the blogging game. My apartment move didn’t go over smoothly to say the least and to make a long story short, I ended up having to switch apartment numbers after already having cable and internet installed in the first apartment. No cable or internet for this gal for a week. Oh it was torture. But I’m up and running now and hoping to be able to bring you some awesome content!

So…I’ve been trying my best to decorate this place in an inexpensive but cute manner. I love bold paintings and decided to dig down deep and retrieve those old painting skills I had hidden somewhere. I decided to go with a fish painting that was semi-inspired by the rainbow fish books. I put flecks of gold in the painting and love how it looks in natural light.

I think a lot of people underestimate their creative ability. If you’ve never taken an art or painting class it may be difficult to know where to start in a painting. Well I would like to show you my personal approach on how to paint a picture and maybe it will help you get started on the right foot.

Here are the steps I take when making a painting.

-Start with the background.  I outlined my fish shape in pencil and the painted the kelp background around it. Do the same. If you’re going to paint a person on the beach I would start with the horizon or which ever background first. You don’t always have to outline your shapes.  You can just paint an entire background scene (especially with a smaller painting). In this case I did the outline to save time and paint since the shape is so large.  How to Paint a Picture

-Not all images will have outlines and shapes as my fish does. The concept to get here is that a painting occurs in layers. Don’t try to just paint all of one section at a time. That makes no sense and your colors will probably be completely different in one area than another. It is also a lot harder to see the “big picture”  in your head this way.

How to Paint a Picture

-You can mess up and just paint over it. In the above picture I thought the fish lips started to look like a mustache so I simply painted a couple layers of the lighter color over the dark line.

How to Paint a Picture

-Try to finish complicated or intricate parts all in one time period. You will maintain the technique and color throughout the painting.


-Lastly, know when you are done. I was having a hard time debating if the lips and fins looked a little empty. I ended up deciding to fill in with a bit more pigmented color than the fish background. Fix any mistakes that are bothering you and call it complete!

How to Paint a Picture

Here is the finished piece in the new apartment. Forgive my lack of decorating at the moment. It’s a work in progress.

How to Paint a Picture How to Paint a Picture


Hopefully that gives you an idea of the steps involved in painting a picture!


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