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How to Paint 'Moonrise'

Before you start the below instructions make sure you have a clean dry canvas ready, and you have chosen your colours and have them mixed up and ready on your pallet. 

Colours Required:



Warm Blue

Tools Required:


Wide flat brush

Fine brush

Pot of water


1) Using a flat brush with white paint, mark out the location of your moon (slightly above the center of the canvas).

2) Using the same brush take your blue and start to create circle movements as you apply it working from the edge of your moon marking out towards the edges of your canvas. As you go mix white into your blue and apply this colour to create a gradient starting at its lightest point (the moon) and ending at its darkest point (the edges of your canvas). Create a slightly lighter side to the right.

3) Mix up a blend of white & blue (it will appear as a lavender purple when mixed) load up your large flat brush and in broad round sweeps 2-3 times around your moon (moving further out in each lap) your brush will leave a trail of thicker paint where its edge was located, this is intentional and will create the texture you see in the piece.

3) Take a moment to let your background form a skin dry enough to paint over (in class we use this time to take a sip and have a chat!) If you want to quicken the process you can wave your canvas up and down or leave it to dry in the sun.

4) Take a fine clean brush and add white paint. There are two ways you can add the stars to the background, one is to load the paintbrush up and flick it at the canvas, the other is to add them one at a time. In both scenarios, you will need to remember to add more stars around the circumference of the painting than the light source (the moon).

5) Taking your fine brush, create fine circular lines that run around the moon at varying intervals, this gives the illusion of movement and creates the star trail look.

6) Now you can commence blotting in the ground, take your sponge loaded with black paint and start to blot in the area at the very bottom of the canvas creating a reasonably even black block, try to imagine the space you will need to leave between your moon and the ground line to allow enough space for your swing and the character you will put onto it. 

7) Take a fine brush and adding black paint (but flattening the brush as you take the paint) draw in the blades of grass, flowers and backdrop. Add some heavier lines and some lighter lines, include some thicker and thiner. Bent and curved blades and remember to colour little segments along the ground line created by the leaves in black to help it to look full and thick.

8) By now your background should be nice and dry and easy to work over. Take a fine or thin flat brush and start to draw your trees. Be sure to remember perspective in this piece, you are standing behind the scene and your tree and branches will frame it. Imagine you are on your back, looking at the sky in the distance. Remember any time you add branches be sure to have them thinner at the tip than at the join. Consider also that nature is not even and neither will your trees be if they are to look convincing.  As you add branches and forks be sure to alternate sides (don't stick a branch off each side at the same spot, as you add them to ensure that they are thicker at the base and thinner at the tips) remember to fork branches are different places and overlap other trees with branches as you go.

9) Add your bench by creating a long thick back line and join this with perpendicular very fine black lines joining it to the tree (be sure to add a circle and tails to show where the rope is tied through the bench seat. Go on to choose your character and add them in, cats can be produced by creating an egg shape (with a flat bottom) adding a circle and then triangles for ears on top. Use a line with a rounded end as a tail. Similarly, you can create any character by breaking down the shapes and stacking them. 

9) Time to add more stars. By now the first stars would have had time to dry so you will be able to see if they have faded and top up the colour of those that need it. Remembering again that nature is not even, start to add your stars using a fine brush (or the end of your paintbrush) ensure that you add some that are bright white, some that are more transparent, large ones and small ones. Be sure to add more around the circumference of your work and fewer towards the light source (the moon) as in nature the light of the moon makes it harder to see the starts when it's present. Be sure to add a few feature stars that have either a halo of their own or 4 lines coming out from their centre and don't forget to add them in between the trees at the ground line between the blades of grass.

8) Allow your piece to dry and revisit your stars, trees and ground if you want to make the work appear darker or stand out more and don't forget to paint the sides and top/bottom of your work for a more professional look.

Congratulations you have painted Moonrise!

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1 Comment

hasnat ali
hasnat ali
Feb 15, 2023

I was impatiently searching for this software, Finally i got it. You may check it out.

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