Create a Beautiful Galaxy in 5 Steps

A Beautiful Galaxy in Acrylic

I have always been fascinated by the stars.  Someone once told me that looking at the stars for ten minutes every night is good for your soul.  I have to agree. So, just for fun I took some Astrophysics Classes on Coursera for free. Why not? I learned so much and now when I look at the stars, I really see them.

So now I’m obsessed with painting the Universe.  There are billions and billions of objects to paint out there,  everything you do is right! You can literally paint anything and it’s right.

This is one of those times you can do it straight out of your head but if you are like me a little inspiration never hurts.  There are several sites with free stock photos you can use for reference photos. The one I am using here is from  Make sure if you use someone’s artwork they get the credit for it and get their permission before posting copyrighted work. I love the one titled “Blue and Red Galaxy” by Suzy Hazelwood. You can see it here on ( I like how the blues pinks and purples blend and I think it will make a nice reference photo.

Time to take on the Universe

Step One: First, gather your supplies. Then take a canvas, any size, and paint it completely black, sides and all.  I do tend to lean towards Liquitex Basics. I like the Basic brand. It’s good and thick, nicely opaque and has very vibrant colors with good coverage. As you can see, I use whatever Brand is on sale!

This Layer is made up of Titanium White, Violet, Quinacridone Magenta and Primary Blue.  (Or in English, White, Purple, Red, and Blue.) I will use the White, Blue, Red, and Yellow for the Stars.

Step Two: So, using your photo or your imagination as your guide, grab your sponge and dip it in your water.  I swear I have dozens of paintbrushes, though you wouldn’t know it from my last two posts.   We used palette knives in my post, Acrylic Ocean Painting, and now we’re using sponges. If you think about it, it just goes to show anything can make Art.(And anything can be Art. I found that out at the Centre Pompidou in Paris when my daughter pointed out that a urinal signed by the artist Marcel Duchamp is actually considered Art.)  You don’t need fancy equipment. (but that does make for lovely birthday and Christmas lists)

Keep on Swirling!

Don’t be afraid to swirl your sponge around and blend colors together because you can just keep adding layers upon layers until you get the effect you like. The Universe is vast and everything you paint is probably out there.  There’s no wrong way to do it. Just keep going back and forth between the White, Violet, and Blue. If you get an effect you like and don’t want to mess it up, let it dry for about 10 minutes before going over it again. That way when you paint on top of it, it doesn’t accidentally get ruined.  Using the corner of the sponge, keep adding colors letting them blend together.  

One of the disadvantages of being outdoors when it is warm out is that your paint will dry fairly quickly.  There are additives you can add but I prefer to just use small amounts of paint on my palette at a time. In this situation layers are your friend and the quicker it dries the more you can add.  Just keep adding the white, purple, blue and pink clouds until you get the effect you want. You’ll get a feel for it as you go.  The drier the sponge, the sharper the details.  The wetter, the more blendy.

Get Ready to be Speckled!

I just found this video on YouTube.  Cinnamon Cooney, TheArtSherpa has the perfect video showing all the techniques and effects of Splatter Painting Stars.  I wish I had watched her first. I always end up with more paint on my face than canvas with the toothbrush method. And look, tap two brushes, not my poor wrist. Mind Blown!

How to Splatter Stars Better in Acrylic Paint Tips and Tricks by Cinnamon Cooney, TheArtSherpa

Step Three: Time for some splatter painting to make your star field. How to explain splatter painting? It took me a while to get the hang of it, and now it’s the most fun part of the process. In its simplest form, you dip your brush into thin paint then strike down onto the index finger of your opposite hand (or wrist when that starts to hurt) towards the painting. You can play with the consistency to see what different effects you get.  Just keep dipping and tapping all over your canvas until you’re happy or run out of canvas. Word to the wise, you will be covered in tiny dots when you are through. Enjoy.

Step Four: Sponge on some black here and there when you are happy with your star field. It helps break up the clouds and makes it look like you are peeking at the Universe beyond.  I find adding black down the outside edges and down the middle gives it a nice Milky Way sort of look if that’s what you’re going for. Check your reference photo if you like and see where you want the darker bits.

Step Five: Time for one last round of star splatters.  You can also paint the sides completely black and then spatter some stars on it (because it’s fun). It gives you that peering off the edge of the Universe kind of feeling. Then, if you like, make some star shines using the bottom of the brush or a toothpick. Just make a larger white dot and run a cross through it.  

That’s it, you’re done! Now sign it and hang it up. Time to go outside and look at the stars!

Great job!

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