There is so much mystery and beauty surrounding the world of outer space. For artist and blogger, Domingo Lozano, that’s what makes it so much fun to paint. Here he takes us through the steps he uses to paint deep space using Arteza watercolors. Watch as he uses these versatile paints to blend, layer, and splatter to get the realistic look of a galaxy far, far away.
Choose a large and well-lit workspace, preferably one with natural light. In case you have to use artificial light, put a white bulb in your lamp.
You will need: watercolor paper (around 140lb/300 gsm); a large container of clean water; a spray bottle with water; masking tape; paintbrushes; an old toothbrush; a palette, blotting paper; and watercolor paints.
The first step is always to properly fix the paper to the table. You should place the adhesive tape onto the watercolor paper making a margin that’s about ¼” wide. The paper should be in a horizontal orientation for a panoramic view of a galaxy.
Next, apply a base of water on the paper using the spray bottle. With a thick-tip brush, begin to apply and draw the first shapes that will define the galaxy, using the following colors: crimson (red) and cerulean (blue). Although in this step the goal is to predominantly have the base tones of reds and blues, I mix some of these two colors to get violet intermediate tones.
I suggest you wait for the paper to dry on its own to achieve a softer and more attractive appearance. This takes about 15 minutes. The second option is to use a hairdryer. It’s a timesaver, but, applying the air directly to the paint makes the paper absorb the water faster, causing the colors to lose their shine and saturation.
When the paper is completely dry, it is ready for another layer of color. Use the same procedure and colors (crimson or red, and cerulean or blue). The goal of this step is to intensify the color of the galaxy and darken its overall appearance. The result should be a base of deeper and contrasting tones that resemble the darkness of a real galaxy while maintaining and creating with the paintbrush the atmosphere’s volumes and nebulae.
To create light areas in the galaxy, use the blotting paper to absorb the water and also the pigment. This way the painting gains realism and multiple volumes.
Let the painting dry. Next, apply violet and noir (pure black) for maximum contrast. The colors should be applied separately, first using the violet to achieve more volumes and then pure black for more depth.
As in step 2, use the blotting paper to make light areas to represent the nebulae.
In this last and in my opinion most entertaining step, I use the old toothbrush to complete the galaxy by recreating the stars and light patterns. I apply titanium white (pure white) directly on the slightly dampened toothbrush. Next, I brush one of my fingers over the bristles of the toothbrush to make the paint splatter, creating luminous patterns that simulate the stars.
TIP: Apply this technique consistently over the paper. At first, the amount of paint is greater in the toothbrush; this will cause the stars to be larger. As the toothbrush loses its paint, it has less water. I use this to my advantage by splattering this little bit of paint over the zones where the stars need to be smaller and condensed. This way the galaxy will appear to be more realistic and have a larger volume.
Once everything has dried, remove the adhesive tape from the table and the galaxy is finished and ready to enjoy.
Check out the video below for inspiration!