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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Create a Beautiful Acrylic Ocean in 5 Easy Steps

Finished Acrylic Ocean Painting

Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you just want to add a pop of color to a space and not spend a fortune doing it. This is one of those times. This fun little Acrylic Ocean Painting can be done in any color you like using as many or as few colors as your little heart desires.

Step One: Gather Your Supplies

Okay, first you’re going to gather your supplies. Everything you see here can be purchased at your favorite hobby and craft store, Big Box store or Dollar store. The beauty of Acrylic painting is that it requires very little expense to get started.

Acrylic Painting Supplies

You will need White (I’m using Master’s Touch Titanium White) and at least 3 Colors from Dark to Light. I’m using a Liquitex Basics Permanent Blue, Liquitex Basics Cobalt Blue Hue and Artist’s Loft Turquoise. You can pick whatever brand you like. As you can see I use all the Acrylic Brands I can find on sale. I have never once paid full price for paint. I’m patient and wait for the sales (and the lovely 40% off coupon)

Instead of brushes, we’ll be using knives. You can use a Palette knife or Butter knife or a combination if you wish.

The canvas is just a common cotton canvas. This one is a 9×13, but they come in a variety of sizes. Just pick the one that’s right for you.

I do try to keep the mess to a minimum, so I put newspaper underneath. Yes, I still read the newspaper. It is acrylic, so it does wash off nicely. Just don’t let it dry on your clothes or it’ll never come out.

Don’t forget, what I’m showing you is just a template. You can choose any color combination you like, oranges and reds for a sunset look, purples and blues for twilight, pinks and greens just because. I’m using turquoise at the bottom for water, the medium blue at the top for sky. I think this gives it more of a sunny, beachy day sort of look. You are only limited by your imagination.

Add your other colors however you like, whatever you feel is pleasing.

Step Two: Apply Lines of Acrylic Paint

So now its time to squeeze out your colors. Your darkest color is the horizon line. Place it one-third down from the top for more focus on the water, two-thirds down for more focus on the sky. The rule of thirds says that it looks nicer this way. (I think its more of a suggestion than a rule) You can be a rebel and go straight across the center if you like, I won’t tell.

Less paint
More paint

Now I used a lot of paint on this one. You don’t have to use as much. I wanted to give it a nice, chunky textured feel. But if you wanted to try a smoother one (I’ll try that one next to show you the difference) just add less paint. Remember, it’s your space and you can create it however you wish.

Step Three: Smoosh the Colors

Acrylic Painting with Palette Knife

Okay, now you take the knife of your choice and you are going to smoosh the colors (yes, I believe that is a technical term) Right to left, left to right, add some swirls and waves. Make sure you make one swipe across your darker color all the way across to create a nice horizon line. This is your chance to let out your inner Van Gogh and Gogh crazy. You do you.

The sides can be painted if you like. Therefore, you can leave them partially painted for a looser, more painterly look or you can even paint the sides a solid color like black or one of the blues as well. You can decide as you go.

Palette Knife Effects

As you can see, the butter knife makes some nice wavy textures with the ridges. However, if you don’t want that effect, just lay the knife flat and you will get a smooth look. You get some great effects by combining both.

Also, try not to over mix the colors if you can help it. (I never know when to say enough is enough) You want to keep the integrity of the colors. Keep it painterly, as it is called. The key to Abstract Acrylic Art is not to over do.

Step Four (Optional): Add More Color

Adding More White

I thought I’d add a little more white at the top for poofy clouds (another technical term) and at the bottom so you can get that wave crashing into the beach effect.

Step Five: Let it Dry

Because the paint is so thick, it’s going to take it a while to dry. I would give it a full 24 hours before adding any little details like seagulls or a ship on the horizon, whatever you’re in the mood for. Or you can just leave it the way it is, you’re the boss.

Comparison of More Acrylic paint on left to Less on right

I painted a second one with the exact same tools and exact same colors just less paint, to show you the difference.

As you can see Acrylic Painting is a quick, fun way to change up your decor for very little time and money. The best part is, if you get tired of this color, paint the whole thing white and do it again using a different set of colors.

Now’s the time to hang it up and start on your next one! Thank you for painting along with me. See you soon!

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