Introduction: Swan Love Galaxy Painting

Galaxies are just so fun to paint because they are never-ending, huge expanses of space filled with contrasting colours and all sorts of dreamlike things, literally out of this world.

You can be so creative when painting the stars, and I wanted to show all of you how to create your own unique galaxy art. I also decided to add a little swan love to this piece for all you romantics!


This painting will only take about an hour, and is for any skill level! Whether a beginner or a professional artist, this is for you.
If you are a beginner, this is perfect for a first paint because it gives you a chance to see how the paints interact with one another and move across the page. Remember every artist was first an amateur, so don’t be shy, and get stuck in! Don’t worry about the cost of this project, because most of the supplies are simple and cheap, many of which you’ll probably already have lying around.

  • HB pencil
  • Craft knife
  • Watercolour paper, or any heavy paper should do
  • Watercolour paints. In this painting I used white, black, blues, reds, yellow, orange, burnt umber, but you can use whichever colours you want.
  • Paintbrushes of 3 to 4 varying sizes
  • Glue stick
  • Suitable work surface – a large sheet of cardboard should do

Step 1: The Workspace

Having a workspace that works for you is a must for any project. You should choose somewhere quiet and peaceful, away from distractions. You might like to work at a study desk, on a coffee table or even outside if the weather is nice.

Keep your phone away and give yourself the chance to relax and enjoy the day. Step 3: Setting up the paper

Step 2: Setting Up the Paper

To begin with, we are going to use two sheets of watercolour paper.

Next, you’ll want to divide your sheets in half, width wise, with a pencil. Do this very faintly so that you can only just make out the markings.

Step 3: Watercolour Wash

Finally, the exciting part: painting the galaxies.

On the first sheet of watercolour paper, brush some water lightly onto the left half of the paper with a large flat brush. Using a medium-sized round brush (I used size 6) to add a stroke of red paint to the page. You should see the pigment spread across the water.

Then add a few more strokes in shades of oranges, yellows and pinks. Mix colours and have fun experimenting. Explore different techniques and ideas you may have and let your creativity flow!

Paint on the darker colours like blacks and burnt umber next, using water as your secret weapon to blend everything together.

Eventually, you should fill out that half of the page. Leave the paper to dry whilst we paint the second sheet of paper.

For the other sheet, it is the same process as the first but with a colour scheme of mainly blues and purples. Also, paint on the right-hand side of this paper instead. If you feel confident, you can use your own combination of colours to make the galaxy.

Step 4: The Stars

After the two paintings have dried, you can add some stars to take the galaxy onto a whole new level.

Either splatter or tap white paint onto both using a small flat brush. I used a size 6 flat shader but any brush should do the trick.

Add as many stars as you like, and using a flat or angular brush you might even want to paint tiny crosses like shining stars.

Add your finishing touches and now your galaxies are done!

Step 5: Making the Stencil

Whilst the two galaxy paintings are drying, we are going to make a stencil of a swan.

You can use any stencil that you find online or use my one. Download and print them to fit just under half the length of the watercolour paper.

Now we will cut the swan out. Use a large base such as cardboard or a cutting mat. A chopping board should also work fine but add a few sheets of standard sacrificial paper just in case.

Carefully, use the craft knife to cut around the shape. If you are a child, ask an adult to do this for you because it is very dangerous.

Align the print-out onto a new sheet of watercolour paper and trace round. The watercolour paper is stiffer so will make a better stencil. Cut out the new stencil.

Step 6: Cutting the Swans

For this step, we are going to cut into the galaxies you just painted… Scary, right? Actually, no, and by cutting swans out of the galaxies we are going to make the paintings ‘out of this world’.

Start by flipping over one of the galaxy paintings. Divide the paper in two with a pencil width wise. Lay the swan stencil with roughly the same distance above and below it. Make sure the swan is facing inwards and is touching the centre line of the paper.

Draw around the stencil and onto the paper, then using the craft knife cut out the swan.

Repeat this for the second galaxy painting.

You should now have two galaxy paintings and two galaxy swans, like in the photo.

Step 7: Completing Swan Love

In the final stages of this project, you’ll need to place the swan cut-outs on the opposite galaxy painting i.e. put the swan originally from the first galaxy painting onto the second painting and vice versa.

Glue the swans down in place.

Step 8: Adding a Backing

Step 9: The Final Step

Sigh with relief and happiness that you are finished painting and that you have just created your best two artworks yet!

Tips and tricks:
Here are a few ideas you might want to try whilst painting with watercolours:

· Light to dark – Unlike with acrylic and oil paints, when painting with watercolours you should build up from your lighter colours and finish with the dark blues and blacks.

· Using paper towels– These are really useful for watercolours. You can dab off any mistakes or use them to create areas of white on your painting.

· Blooming technique – Letting colours bleed can have impressive effects. You can do this by adding a fair amount of water to the pigment. Then immediately add a dab of another colour and watch the two blend together.

· Using salt – By sprinkling salt onto the paints whilst wet, you can create a very interesting texture. Once the paint is dry just sweep the salt off.

· Wet in wet – One of the simplest techniques is to apply wet watercolour paints onto another wet paint. This technique comes in very handy for this project.

· Scumbling– Move the brush randomly and irregularly in an area to create an interesting texture.

· Stippling– By applying lots of tiny dots in a small area, colours can overlap in a unique way. The size of the dots can also change the end product.

I really love this project because of the amount of flexibility and choice the artist has and the opportunity for their own ideas. I hope you all try this beautiful swan love painting and I’d love to see what you all make.

Wow! That was a long Instructable, but definitely worth it!

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