How to make a Galaxy Painting
- white paint
- 2+ other coloured paints (I recommend blues, purples, pinks)
- A sponge
- A paintbrush
- A canvas/piece of card or paper
- A toothbrush/stiff paint brush (for flicking/spraying the white paint)
If you look at an image of a galaxy you’ll notice different colours and tones, blending into each other. Where there is light you’ll see some pinks, purples and light blues. Where it is darker you’ll see some dark blues and black. The colours change smoothly into other colours and this is what we want to create in our painting too. I find the best way to get this gradual colour change is by dabbing the colour on with a sponge. Normal washing up sponges are fine to use, but as they are usually rectangular you may find it easier to cut off the corners so it’s more of a circular shape, in case you accidentally get any straight lines of colour from the edges of the sponge. I usually use the same sponge for the whole painting and just try to keep the lighter and darker colours on separate parts of the sponge, although it doesn’t matter too much – I find the mixture of colours on the sponge can sometimes help to create the colour blend as it the colour often mixes on the sponge before you have even applied it to your chosen surface.
I normally start with the lightest colour that I want to use and dab this on to where I want the lighter areas to be. Then I dab my darkest colour where I want the darker colours to be, then I do the medium colours. To make the colour blend just dab over the top of an existing colour. Try to work fairly quickly, and with plenty of paint so that it will stay wet and blend easily. The colour of the paint on your sponge will come out the strongest in the first few places that you dab, and then will become fainter and fainter as it runs out. In the area you want the colour to be the strongest, dab there first, then as the paint becomes fainter start to dab around that area, including over other parts of existing colours, which will create the appearance of the colour fading into another colour.
Don’t worry if it doesn’t look exactly as you want it to straight away- work into it and keep dabbing on different colours and tones in different areas and blending them together until you’re happy with how it looks. As you will notice in my photos, the first few images don’t look at all like the last images! As I’m working I might decide a brighter colour will look nice in a different area, so I will add it in, or a darker colour will work better somewhere else and will add that in etc.
I like to have a good contrast of colours and to get this I will layer on the lighter and darker colours until they really stand out.
If you want a strong colour change somewhere, for example adding a lighter colour over a darker colour, then you can use your paint brush to paint on a section of colour, then use the sponge to dab over as you have been doing so that you can’t see any brush strokes.
Once you are happy with this background then you can add the stars.
For the stars, I used a slightly off-white. I usually add a small amount of one of my background colours to my white paint to get my star colour.
This is the part where the toothbrush/stiff paint brush or other creative object you have found will come in handy. This is also the part that is probably the messiest.
Dip your toothbrush into your off-white paint and hold it quite close to your painting. Firmly pull your thumb or finger across the bristles so that it sprays the paint onto your painting. Keep repeating this process of dipping into the paint and then spraying it onto your painting until you are happy with the amount of stars that you have.
If you want a few larger stars then you can use a small paint brush to do some larger dots. You can even use more of a pure white paint for this as objects that are closer to the surface of a painting are usually larger and brighter than those further away, so these still will appear more in the foreground of your painting.
I have made a few galaxy paintings and each one looks different to the last – some have more colours, some have larger stars, some are mostly one colour etc.. Experimenting is the best way to find out your preference and to see what works best for you.