Landscapes, Painting

How to Paint a Night Sky

June 4, 2014

How to Use Vivid Color To Paint a Night Landscape

By Alina Bradford 

The night is full of color! Here is how to paint a nighttime landscape.

Nighttime landscapes can be difficult to envision. Remember painting a night sky as a child? With a flat black sky and white dots as stars? Well, think black no longer! The night has many colors to it, especially if dawn or dusk was recent, or if there is a full moon.

Let’s get right to the demo.

Step One: Lay in the Sky

Step one to painting a night sky.

Step one to painting a night sky.

As you can see from the demo, the sky was laid down in big sweeping movements from one side of the page to the other. This mimics changes in atmosphere.

To start, always use a big brush. I like a 2″ flat brush.

I used medium hues of purple and blue for my colors. The darker the colors the later at night it is.

I continued to add cloud like elements by dry brushing lighter hues of my colors and adding slight highlights in pink.

Step Two: Add Another Element

In step two I added another interest to the scene, grass. You could go wild on this part and add as many facets as you like, but

How to paint grass at in a night setting.

How to paint grass at in a night setting.

for the sake of simplicity I added only one in the demo.

I added the grass by using a smaller brush in short, quick strokes, then went in and softened the edges with a bit of dry brushing.

Dry brushing is using a brush that has almost all the paint wiped off until is almost dry. It is best to use a fluffy round brush for this.

Step Three: Details!

Here I added kind-of a ghostly light to the grass. The look somewhat mimics dew in the moonlight. I did this with a very thin brush (use a liner brush, if you have one) and laid little

Painting dew on grass.

Painting dew on grass.

strips of the lighter green paint with white.

Step Four: Light source? 

Okay, I know you’re dying to know! Why did I put the moon in last?

I wanted it to be fresh. I felt that if I had put it on during the first step it wouldn’t be as focused as it is here.

Notice how I didn’t just make it a white sphere. Yes, that is what I started with, but I also shaded with a slight glaze of dove grey.

I also made the area around the moon hazy. This is easy to do, even though it looks tricky. Simply dry brush around the moonwith a bit of your original colors and a bit of light grey.

How to paint a moon.

Finished night sky.

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