In this instructable, I'll take you through the steps in painting an ocean sunset on a wine bottle. I searched the internet for photos and picked a few I really liked, pulling inspiration from all of them.
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Step 1: Preparing the Bottle for Painting
I soak bottles in hot, soapy dishwater overnight to remove the labels. Sometimes I have to use an S.O.S. pad to completely remove the adhesive residue. For the bottles that have heavy, duty foil wrapped around the top of the bottle, I use an exacto knife or box cutter to cut it off. (Always remember to cut away from your body!)
I use Krylon white primer to prep the bottle for the acrylic paints. (If you use paints made for glass, you will not need the primer.) Follow the directions on the can when spraying the primer, and apply two coats. Keep in mind that it does not have to be perfectly coated. If there are spots that are lighter than others, or if there is a run (unless it's really heavy), it's okay. Don't stress over it.
Once the primer is dry, which won't take long at all, you're ready to gather your supplies and begin painting. I use acrylics purchased from a big box or craft stores. I chose yellow, orange, pink, deep blue, purple, white and black for this project. Also grab a piece of aluminum foil to mix colors on. (Not pictured is spray Polyurethane for sealing the paint when you are finished) For this particular project, you'll also want a very fine tipped paint brush. Obviously, you'll need a paper towel and small container of water for cleaning your brushes. With the pencil, I drew on the horizon, setting sun and reflection.
Step 2: Painting the Sunset
Since sunsets have multiple colors blended together, I drop paint close together and blend in the center. For the color closest to the horizon, I started with orange and yellow. While that was drying, I added pink above. You definitely do not want solid lines of color, so I began blending the pink into the orange/yellow paint and applied that to the area where the two colors met. For blending, do not have a fully loaded brush. Dip your brush slightly into the paint, then wipe excess off onto an empty space on the foil. Make light, horizontal strokes so all the colors show.
Next is the purple on top of that. Once a coat of purple was applied, I mixed some purple and pink together in order to blend those colors. You'll notice the purple area shows obvious brush strokes. That's okay, it will get fixed. Some colors take more coats to cover, which is what I did with the purple.
Then, I added the deep blue and a touch of black into the blue to the very top. Also paint down into the top of the bottle approximately an inch.
Step 3: Painting the Ocean
The horizon line at sunset is dark, so I applied black on the horizon line. I also added random black lines/smudges around the bottom of the bottle. (The black will contrast against white later to show movement in the water) Next, paint the deep blue, trying not to cover the black completely. With this project, I mixed the deep blue with some purple, as well as the blue with black. At this point, I referred back to the photos I chose as inspiration to get a better feel for the water, and applied the blue/purple mix in random places to show the sky's reflection, then added the blue/black to simulate the shadow-covered front sides of the short waves/ripples.
I painted yellow in the sun and down the reflection, but it should not cover the entire area. This is just to give depth of color. Next, I added white over the yellow and covered the entire sun and reflection. You want to do this while the yellow is still wet, but if it dries too quickly, mix a touch of yellow with some white and apply.
Adding white smudges in the ocean on top of the dark smudges will add to the waves/ripples, giving the look of reflection as the ripples crest.
In the final photo, you'll notice the reflection now has a few darker strokes. I accomplished that by dipping into the purple/blue then wiping it off on the paper towel, but not completely. You just want enough to literally make a smear of color. I did this to show the motion of the water within the reflection.
Step 4: Finishing Touches
The horizon where the sun is setting needs a hint of horizon line too. I used a very fine brush to add the black horizon line, which does not need to be solid all the way across.
At this point, I went back over each layer of the sunset with the blended colors to make it more solid and cover the previous brush strokes. Because, as I mentioned earlier, sunsets don't have solid separations of color, I added swipes of pink over the orange/yellow and over the purple. I did the same with orange. Then, as I did with the dark spots in the reflection in the water, I dipped into the purple and wiped it off and swiped some purple onto the pink and orange/yellow layers.
I chose to add birds flying in the distance. Using the fine brush and black paint, I painted very wide, upside-down Vs and wide m's to make the birds.
Step 5: Final Step... Sealing the Paint
Using spray Polyurethane outside or in a very well ventilated area, spray vertical strokes from 6-8 inches away all around the bottle. Let it dry then apply a second coat, and repeat.
For cleaning, a damp rag and spot cleaning is recommended even though it is sealed. If definitely cannot go in the dishwasher. But, it can be used as a vase, just be careful how you pour the water into the bottle.
The steps in this tutorial can be applied to almost any scene you want to paint. Give it a try!
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