New firefly painting, step by step

Hi!  I’ve been pretty busy with baby #3, but now that he’s coming out of the newborn phase I’m finding time to paint a little bit.  Here’s a painting I’ve just completed:


Fireflies, 16″ x 20″ acrylic on canvas, copyright © 2015 Kathryn Beals

Here’s a photo of me painting with my little guy from my Instagram:


You can watch a very quick demo of the process below, or click through to read the steps in more detail.


I started with a wash of color for the background, not spending too much time on it since I knew most of it would be covered up by the trees. I used Phthalo Blue and Phthalo Green mostly, with a bit of Green Gold:


After it dried, I started putting in the trees with my angle shader brush, resisting the urge to make them all straight and perfect.


With all the trees in, I added a white space for the tent, letting it dry before adding any other color:


Then some detail to the foreground, and some leaves and branches with my round brush.  I tried to paint quickly to keep from overworking it, and also before the baby woke up!


Up to this point I mostly went with black for the leaves and foreground detail, but I added some green and some shadows:


Last, the color of the tent and some flowers in the grass around it:


Then the fireflies!  Most of them are single white dots.  The larger (closer) ones are a larger circle of transparent Zinc White with a smaller dot of opaque Titanium White in the middle.


My easel light is very bright but tends to wash out the look of the painting in the progress shots.  Here are some detail shots of the finished painting in a more natural light:

This painting is in my Etsy store as a photo print or canvas print.  The original will be added soon to my website.

2 thoughts on “New firefly painting, step by step

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