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JLynn has been in the Art, Craft & Jewelry industry for over 30 years ~ promoting creativity through Education and Media. As a published designer, JLynn is known for her detailed, colorful Jewelry, unique Altered ART Wood Tiles, and Artwork. Online since 2004, a former eBay Power Seller, and currently on Artfire and Etsy. Family, Art, Nature and Kaleidoscopes are her biggest inspirations

Saturday, October 22, 2011

DIY Visual PAINTING Tutorial

Here it is...Part 1 of DIY - Yes you Can Paint Visual Tutorial! 

This project is one that Plaid sponsored over 15 years ago...I did MANY live demonstrations for groups and TV and had a blast doing it too!  It is such a great way to dabble in painting because it's so successful with this straight forward approach to painting.  So - we will be basing our tutorial on this simple stripe and leaf design - with your choice of colors...as well as, showing you how to incorporate what you've learned onto different surfaces (slate, wood, glass) and yes - even your walls!

Looks complicated but I will share with you just how easy it is...and you'll walk away with knowing some basic Decorative Painting techniques, including a few Plaid folkArt ONE Stroke methods.  The point with this tutorial is to get you practicing and playing in a very economical, friendly way!  It's practicing on paper first...practice, practice, practice until you get the feel of creating the paint stroke.

Now if you don't have a lot of extra cash on hand -take advantage of those 40-50% off coupons from the Craft Giants like Jo-Ann's, Michael's, Hobby Lobby, and AcMoores.  Likewise - it's the perfect time to think about all the different things you might be able to do around your home to spruce things up...or create a fun coffee mug yourself...and certainly to create some "gifts from the heart" for your holiday gift giving.

So - keeping it short for Part 1...the SHOPPING LIST (or gathering depending on what you may already have at home).  The first thing...Brushes!

Plaid folkArt ONE Stroke Value Pack #1059

If you can swing it - go for the Plaid Value Pack...these brushes are amazing and a superior quality for the cost.  Yes - there are cheaper brushes on the market but I can tell you from experience, they will leave you feeling frustrated with pieces of bristles in your wet paint.  When properly cared for - these brushes will last a LONG time...and if you can't swing purchasing the entire set - get the large Scruffy, #8 and #12 Flat, and #2 liner.

Shopping List:
  • ONE Stroke Value Pack #1059 (or individual brushes...Large Scruffy, #8 Flat, #12 Flat, and #2 Liner)
  • Artist Pad of paper for Acrylic Painting
  • Variety of Acyrlic Paints - for everyday crafts...I prefer Plaid Premium and if you're doing more fine art painting...then Liquitex Artist blend (in the Fine Art section)
  • Your choice of Paper Mache product (in our sample we are using a large heart - but there are so many more choices).
  • Varnish to seal & protect (Matte, Satin or Gloss)
  • Sea Sponge
  • Painters Tape
  • Wax Paper
Go gathering or shopping for your supply list :)

Example of Paper Mache product - choose any size or any style (round, square, or trinket boxes)


Prepare your kitchen/work/craft table with newspaper...wear old clothes...tear off a piece of wax paper (this is your cheap painter's palette surface).
Prepare your paper mache surface.
Dampen your sea sponge and squeeze out excess water.  Squirt a large amount of paint onto your wax paper.  Dab your sponge in and work the paint into it by blotting up and down on your newspaper and then do the same up and down motion on your paper mache surface.  This will give it a mottled look - keep going until you have covered the complete surface.  We used a Cream base for our Heart project.

Allow your surface to dry completely...then do a second coat of sponging.  Get ready for STEP THREE - where we will show you how to create simple two-shaded leaves, elegant scrolls and swirls, and of course no-fail striping!

Perfect stripes, Blended two tone leaves, Swirls, dots and stippling
 Easy dots with the end of your paintbrush (for real!)

Painting does not have to be perfect...consider it an expression of your moods - your heart - your feelings.  Once you know a few basic techniques, it is so easy to build upon your skills too ~ and it's also a lot of fun when you include family members or have a craft day with a special friend.

When I was pulling all the supplies for picture taking - I found this - one that my daughter started when she was probably 5 years old (she'll be 18 soon) lol.  So at the end of our Tutorial - check out to see what I do with her "base" painting of this heart with some special outlining and addition of glazes for blending...

Part THREE - Practice, Practice, Practice...
So - you've painted your base coat on your piece and now you're ready for the fun part!  But let's first revisit the Scruffy brush and pouncing - I'll be demontrating with different colors than the finished sample so it's a little more visible for you online - you of course are allowed complete freedom in your paint color choices...

Your Scruffy Brush is easy to use...simply load the brush by pouncing into the paint and onto your surface.  Keeping you brush semi-dry will keep the marks distinct - wet will give you a more blended appearance
 It's a good idea to pounce up and down on a white sheet of paper so you get a feel for the amount of paint needed to create your desired look.
  Pouncing can be done with a very dry brush for that scruffy dotted pattern,
or a wet brush that will give you a more watercolor like appearance/finish.

Next - are the stripes.
  To create these we are going to use any width of blue painter's tape.  To ensure a clean edge, make sure that you press down firmly
so that no paint seaps in under the edges.
Using our Scruffy brush again...and the color of your choice, load the brush
and in and up and down fast tap-tap-tap motion simly fill in the area between
your painter's tape.  Depending on the desired look...more defined separation - use a dry brush...for a more blended watercolor effect use a wet brush.
Next is removing the painters tape.  In our sample we wanted to show you what it would like if you did not press down firmly on the tape.  Note the
"bleeding" at the edge or the little bumps.  In this case since we will be painting an outline stripe on either side - it's not a worry - but if you weren't, you can see how important pressing down on your tape would be.
(see left side versus the cleaner edge right side).  In this particular sample - I decided to fill in the area with Gold paint and a wet, flat Brush.

So now we are ready for the decorative painting part using our flat and round brushes.  To start, we need to practice on paper and I've included these guideline practice sheets for you to practice a variety of strokes.  For this particular pattern we will be using a modified comma with an "S" stroke. 

Now...let's break out the Flat Brush size #12 to start (then once your feel comfortable practicing with that one - switch to the #8).  Squirt two different colors of paint onto your palette (either paper or your waxpaper).  thoroughly wet your paint brush with water or mix in a blender to extend your drying time (both will give you a smooth flow and allow the brush to work for you, versus you working the brush).  Dip each corner into the two different paints - so it looks like this (on both sides)...
Next you are going to blend the colors together by brushing them together up and down on a scrap paper twice.  Then you are going to RELOAD your brush like above one more time and blend only once before taking it to your painting surface (in your case you are taking it to your practice sheet)...

Now it's time to actually paint some "leaf" strokes...
Step 1...you will be doing these steps in one smooth flowing motions and remember it takes practice...each one will be individually different - and there's no such thing as "perfect".  So breathe...and place your brush on the paper with a bit of pressure so that is flattens and spread out as shown
Next you will begin to flow with the brush upwards for a tiny bit...then you are going to slightly twist/pivot your brush slightly to the right...
and then slowly release your pressure while pulling up to create the leaf tip

So remember...practice loading the paint & blending
then for the Leaf stroke it's...
Press-ssss, Twist, Lift - all in one smooth motion.
When you first start out - it is common for your leaf to look like the one on the left...but you will improve as you practice.  So keep practicing (I did MANY pages with hundreds of leaves when I was first starting out).
Now review...take a look at all the individual "leaves" on our sample - these were created with a dark sage and light sage green - but you can also use any color with a blending or white or cream too.  Not all are perfect but when randomely placed together (or if you'd rather draw a pattern on your surface - do it with a light pencil (or transfer paper).

And now all that's left - is to use your Flat Brush chisel end (just turn your paintbrush sideways so it's the skinny side in view - like how we did the outline on the stripe) or your can create the branches with a Round Paint Brush (I've included some guidelines and practice strokes for you if you want to continue on.  Then all that's left is the Liner for the Swirls - and this is EASY...

Round brushes are pretty universal - you load them, blend them and just follow the guidelines to get used to creating different strokes with them.  Like the Flat Brush either use a Blender to extend your paint drying time...or simply make sure your paint brush is wet by dipping it in water.

The Liner brush is one of my favorite ones to use because it's fun to swirl and curl - the key is that blender/extender or LOTS of water to dilute the paint and give it a more tranluscent look!

Keep in mind with the Liner Brush you want to keep it lightweight and airy and only use the very tip of the brush - if you press down, you'll get a "splat" and uneven swirl...so again very light, with lots of water/blender mixed in with the paint so it flows smooth and effortless.

Did I miss anything? Oh yes...the perfect "berry" dot...creating that is so simple...reverse your paint brush in your hand so the bristles are up - dip the wooden end of your brush into the paint and "dot" your surface - making sure to do this in a very strict vertical up/down motion.

Well - now it's time to put it all together and actually finish up your project. The Scruffy pouncing for texture...
The Painter's tape stripes & outline of stripes...
The Branches (painting with either your Flat or Round brush)
LEAVES...you've practiced and practiced now enjoy the look!
And finally the Swirls and dot details with your Liner Brush

And the only thing I'll be adding this week is how you can apply these skills to other painting surfaces and projects - such as: 
Fabric, Glass, Wood, Walls and more!
 Happy Painting - if you have any questions - feel free to post them here!


  1. Love it! Great pictures for those of us who are visual learners. I feel inspired, and YES, anyone can do it. You just have to practice.


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