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Painting can be such a fun activity, even if you are new to it. You don’t have to create wonderful works of art to have a good time. It’s amazing how well one can paint without any training and just watching videos online.
How I Started Painting
It was March 2020 and things were shutting down due to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. So many things were moving to online instead of in person, which for an introvert like me kind of worked in my favor. I’ve always wanted to go to one of those wine and painting parties but I don’t drink anymore and always felt too shy to go to one.
Suddenly I was seeing posts about this place out in Colorado that was moving their painting classes online for just $10 per session. I thought Wow!! Even if my painting doesn’t end up awesome, it’s not like it cost that much to take the class and I have a lot of the supplies anyway so why not?!
I quickly learned one of the awesome things about these painting classes being online is that I can pause them when I get behind or need to take a bathroom break, and re-watch them as needed. Many of them are recorded and can be watched the next day or so if it gets too late or I hit a creative wall.
Length of Painting Classes
There are plenty of painting classes or tutorials online for free on YouTube or other websites.
I ended up going with the paid option I mentioned above and most of their classes are between 1-1/2 hours and 2-1/2 hours but the first class I took was 3-1/2 hours long because it was painting and trivia. My first painting was from my favorite TV Show, The Office, and it included The Office Trivia, in addition to step-by-step instructions for painting. It started at 7:30 pm my time and by 10 pm I decided it was time to clean up my supplies and go to bed. It was great though because upon request they sent me the Zoom link and I was able to finish the painting the next day.
After that first painting, I was hooked. I signed up for more virtual classes painting everything from beach scenes and landscapes to llamas and polar bears. It was nice to finally have something to do that was creative, gave me a sense of accomplishment, and most of all, was without children. My husband and I decided that I’d have painting nights in which he’d be in charge of the kids if they woke after being put to bed and I’d be “off duty” for the night. One of our best decisions ever.
Types of Painting Classes
Like anything, there are paid and free painting classes. I’ve found plenty of tutorials on YouTube and even a guy on Facebook named Jesse who does amazing full-length painting tutorials. You can either watch him live or look in the video history and watch a plethora of different painting classes he’s recorded in the past.
The paid painting classes I found back in 2020 have changed somewhat even as of 2022 as they have transitioned back to more in-person events.
Canvas and Cocktails that I started out with now has only in-person events in Colorado or online pre-recorded classes for $20 each. They’re great classes, I would recommend them.
Most classes will tell you what supplies you need upfront and generally, it’s pretty similar each time. They will tell you if you want to paint on canvas with acrylics that’s great but you also can use colored pencils and paper, whatever you have around the house. It’s your choice. After all, they want you to be creative.
What to Paint On
I like to switch between painting on Acrylic Paint Pads, Canvas Panels, and Stretched Canvas, depending on my mood and hopeful end result. If I’m hanging it on the wall, of course the Stretched Canvas, but if I’m just going to lean it against the wall then I like the Canvas Panels because they are easier to store. I like doing that for my seasonal paintings that I store part of the year.
Ok…I would like to do that. I honestly have painted almost everything on stretched canvas and really wish I would have painted the seasonal things on canvas panels so they were easier to store.
I love the acrylic paint pads for when I’m on the go like painting on vacation or just want to paint something random I don’t plan on displaying. Of course, if you end up painting a masterpiece, you could still hang it on the wall in a frame.
What to Paint With
I used to think a brush was a brush and I didn’t need to get fancy. That was before I discovered the different types of paint brushes and how Filbert brushes are amazing and the paint just glides across the canvas with them.
Of course detail brushes are also great, as well as nice packs that I can take on the go.
I have a few sets by now but a larger brush, medium brush, and small detail brush can get you started. The basic brush set below is a great starting point as they’re decent quality and have both broad and detailed brushes at a low price.
These on-the-go sets are great, even if you don’t plan on traveling with your paint set. I love having the ability to pack things up nicely, knowing they won’t be damaged or get pet hair on them between painting sessions.
The case of brushes helps keep your brushes organized and safe from damage and the tubes of acrylic paint are a great starting off point. I go between the little acrylic tubes of paint and the larger bottles, depending on how much area I need to cover.
The all-in-one set below that includes 15-brushes, 24 colors of paint tubes, a canvas, and easel is awesome! The easel is so nice to just prop up wherever you are whether it’s your home office, the front porch, or the kitchen table. You don’t have to worry about having a huge easel if you’re just painting a 8×10 or so canvas and you can even keep your paints below in the drawer. It’s versatile if you are on the go as it has a nice handle and place for brushes as well.
When it comes to acrylic paint, I’ve found quality counts. There are some acrylic paints I’ve tried out that were so watery I couldn’t do much with them. There are others that are so thick it was hard to work with them. At least those I could add water to, but still not an ideal situation.
I love the acrylic paint tubes above as part of the sets or the one below. I love these when working with more delicate areas of a painting or painting on a smaller canvas since they’re smaller.
For a larger canvas I tend to go with the 2oz or 8oz bottles, especially for my background colors. The brand below, Americana Deco Art is my ultimate favorite, not too runny and not to thick. I have 2oz bottles for most colors though white is a great one to have in an 8oz bottle as it gets mixed with other colors often when painting backgrounds or tinting colors a bit.
If you’re looking just to get started and don’t need all the colors from Amazon, I’d highly suggest going to Joann.com, Michaels.com, or your local craft store, as they’ll likely be less expensive there than the one-offs on Amazon.
You really shouldn’t need to pay more than $2 for a 2oz bottle of acrylic paint. I actually got some last week on sale for $0.50 a bottle because they were on sale and my boys just HAD to have gold paint. Lol
Palettes to Mix Paint
Palettes aren’t just for professional artists, they work wonderfully for holding and mixing paint.
I started out using a paper plate but now use a plastic palette with dividers or if I don’t want to deal with cleaning inside the dividers I use a flat paint palette. Both are great options and sturdy.
One of the great things about acrylic paint is that it is water based so it cleans off with soap and water. That said, I’d still recommend wearing clothes you don’t care as much about and/or an apron. I used to just change into my ‘paint clothes’ when I’d paint but soon found it to be more enjoyable and easier to have a painting apron. I’ve used this not only for my own acrylic painting but also when I’m helping the kids with paint projects. I honestly just feel more legit wearing the apron. It has a lot of big pockets and is comfortable to wear.
Having an easel is another great thing to have. The smaller one I mentioned earlier is great for smaller projects or if you’re on-the-go but having a larger collapsible easel is great for larger projects such as painting on an 11×14 or 16×20 canvas.
You’ll also want a water cup to rinse your brushes between colors or before switching to another brush. I use a mason jar for this and it works really well. I have one that I’ve dubbed my painting water cup which stays by my painting supplies.
– Painting with Jesse – You can see him paint live or click on the videos tab of his profile and watch previous classes
– YouTube – just search for what you want to paint and you’ll likely find a video
Below are some of the paintings I’ve painted so far
As a mom of identical twins and a son two years older, I have gained invaluable experience in the realm, and chaos, of parenting. With a Master's Degree and Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology, I spent years as a school psychologist, helping children navigate through their educational and emotional challenges. Now as a stay at home mom and professional blogger, I combine my areas of expertise to help you in your parenting journey.