Flakes and Flurry Penguins on Canvas

Flakes and Flurry Penguins on Canvas

Posted by DecoArt on Nov 22nd 2016

These adorable penguins would make a lovely nursery wall hanging or delight you as a holiday project!


    • water container
    • palette or plastic plate
    • paper towels
    • tracing paper
    • sandpaper
    • soft cloth
    • 1" flat brush
    • 3/4" flat brush
    • small spray bottle of water
    • #6 filbert brush
    • #3/0 liner brush
    • 3/8" angular shader
    • canvas
    • grey and white graphite paper
    • palette knife
    • #8 filbert brush
    • Scotch tape
    • 3/4" soft mop brush



    Before you begin painting, read through the entire instructions from the beginning so you can anticipate the steps that follow.

    The colors in your project may differ slightly from the artist's. It is more important for you to try to match the colors of your painting to each other and create harmony in the painting, so that the colors work together on the surface you choose.

    The most important concept is to achieve depth and dimension by controlling the values and intensities of the colors on your palette.

    1. Squeeze the paints out onto a wet paper towel or wet palette container with a moistened paper towel to keep the paint moist as you paint. Occasionally mist paints with water to keep them moist.
    2. Sand the canvas well and wipe clean with a soft cloth. Apply two coats of White Gesso for a smooth painting surface. Let dry.
    3. Trace and transfer the design to the prepared canvas. (The first colors of the background may appear quite dark in contrast to the final image. There is a reason for this: the "shadow" underpainting sets the tone for the subsequent layers to come.)
    4. The following background colors are applied in a semi-transparent or transparent manner, so the dark base color shows through. This is what creates the illusion of greater distance and depth.
    5. Mix two equal puddles of Phthalo Blue and Phthalo Green-Blue, then add a touch of Carbon Black. Mix and set aside.
    6. Painting the Background, Stage 1: The three penguins will remain white as you paint the background around them.
    7. Apply a light layer of Extender & Blending Medium to the surface. Use a large flat brush to paint the background around the penguins using the mix from STEP 5. Apply the color using a flip-flop technique, so the white of the canvas shows through. Repeat as needed to create a variegated effect of light and dark areas.
    8. Instruction #7
    9. Use the angle brush to separate the snow bank between the two penguins with a float of Raw Umber and a touch of the blue-green mix from STEP 5. Repeat as needed, using the mop brush to soften the float. (The background will be re-visited at a later stage; save the blue-green mix for later step.)
    10. Painting the Penguins, Stage 1: Base the white areas first with Titanium White to clean up any edges, then let dry well.
    11. Mix a small puddle of the following colors: 1) Titanium White and a touch of Raw Umber to make a light beige color; use to shade the white on the penguins; 2) a 1:1 mix of Phthalo Blue and Carbon Black for the dark areas on the penguins' heads, wings, and backs. Save these mixes for next three steps.
    12. Instruction #10
    13. The two penguins in the front: Base the white areas of the penguin’s chest, markings on the heads, and the inside of the wings with the #1 mix from STEP 10. (Add Titanium White if needed to lighten.)
    14. Two penguins in the front: Base the dark areas with the #2 mix from STEP 10. (Apply two coats for solid coverage.)
    15. The penguin in the back: This penguin is not as dark or contrasting as the first two penguins. Use the #2 mix from STEP 10 with a touch of #1 mix from STEP 10 added to lighten the color.
    16. Base the beaks and feet with a mix of Hansa Yellow Medium with touches of Naphthol Red Light and Raw Umber. Shade the top and bottom of the beak with Raw Umber. Use the liner brush to paint a fine line between the upper and lower beak.
    17. To paint the eye, mix a dull dark grey with a mix of Carbon Black and a touch of Titanium White. Using the liner brush with thinned paint, paint the outline and the pupil. (The eye is muted and not too obvious).
    18. The penguins' claws are Carbon Black and a touch of Titanium White; use the tip of the liner brush to apply this.
    19. Painting the Background, Stages 2-13: Apply a little Extender & Blending Medium to the background snow. Work wet-in-wet.
    20. With a large flat brush, mix a little Phthalo Blue and Carbon Black 1:1 with a touch of Titanium White and a tiny touch of Carbon Black to dull the color. (This color must be dull yet semi-transparent so the background will show through. Test this color on the edge of the canvas surface first.)
    21. Glaze the mix from Step 18 over the dark background and third penguin. (This helps to unify the background and push the third penguin into the distance. Pay close attention to where the dark background area meets the lighter snow.) Gradually blend these two areas together with soft floats of either the dark or the light colors. (A 1:1 mix of Phthalo Blue and Carbon Black is the dark blend; add a touch of Titanium White for the lighter blend.)
    22. Instruction #19
    23. Working wet-in-wet, use a #8 filbert or your favorite flat brush. Brush-mix a little of the mix from STEP 5 and add a touch of Titanium White to lighten. (This creates a turquoise or aqua color. If the color is too bright, add a little Raw Umber or a tiny touch of Carbon Black to knock it down.)
    24. With the brush-mix, work some loose texture onto the snow in the front. (This makes the snow look fluffy and soft.) Keep building this texture in soft, semi-transparent layers, getting lighter with each application.
    25. Painting the Penguins, Stages 2-17: Develop the roundness or form of the penguin’s bodies with some additional highlights. Using a wet-in-wet technique and Extender & Blending Medium, blend a little lighter value color onto the front of their bellies. Brush-mix Titanium White and a touch of Hansa Yellow Medium. (This color looks like vanilla ice cream. Use a little Extender & Blending Medium, if needed.)
    26. Instruction #22
    27. Apply a warm accent color of your choice to the inside wing, belly, and head markings. (Refer to Image 4; see black arrows for color placement.) Glaze the mix from STEP 10, #2, inside the wings and the markings on head and areas of the body.
    28. Before placing the accents, dampen the area with Extender & Blending Medium, apply the paint to the area, and gently blend it out using the #8 filbert brush. Use the mop brush to soften the edges of the accent colors. Build up these accents slowly.
    29. Penguins, Final Stage (19): Apply reflected light (refer to image #4, red arrows) by mixing Mix Titanium White with a touch of the blue-green mix from STEP 5. Test the color before you begin, as this should not appear chalky, just like a soft highlight on the top of the head and the body.
    30. Continue to add reflected light. (The snow will reflect light back onto the penguins.) Place some reflected light on the wing of the penguin in the back; on the under-side of the bellies of both penguins; under the chin of the penguin on the right; and on the under-side of both beaks. Softly dry-brush a little extra light on the penguin at the back.
    31. Instruction #26
    32. Finishing Details: Using the liner brush and mix from STEP 10, add fine feather details to the edge where the dark meets the light at the neck, chest area, and down toward the wings on the left penguin. These are very tiny little dark lines that indicate small feathers overlapping onto the white areas of the body. (Refer to Image #5. If you look closely you can see them where the edges of the black and white meet. Paint these the same as the dark body color.)
    33. Paint in the final highlights with a dry-brush technique. Build up the lightest areas with Titanium White and an eyelash amount of Hansa Yellow Medium to warm. (Refer to the photo below for placement.)
    34. Instruction #28
    35. Painting Background, Final Stage (21): (Refer to image #6; I suggest you practice this step before you begin.) With a clean brush, apply a coat of Multi-Surface Sealer or Glazing Medium to protect the painting to this stage; let dry well.
    36. Instruction #29
    37. Put out Titanium White on the wax palette and have some dry clean paper towels nearby. Using an old scrubby or worn brush (or your favorite brush for dry-brushing), load the brush with Titanium White; wipe off all excess paint to leave just a little in the brush. Create the flowing strokes by reducing the pressure at the end of the stroke as you lift off to create a tapering effect. (See red arrow in image #6.) If you are unhappy with the stroke, use a clean, damp brush to remove and try again.
    38. Painting the Snowflakes - Use the tip of the liner brush. Use Titanium White that has been thinned with a little water and Glazing Medium.
    39. Instruction #31
    40. Finishing Details - Sign your name. Let the painting dry 24 to 48 hours. Apply one coat of Multi-Surface Sealer as a final barrier coat. Dry very well with a warm hair dryer. Make sure all the layers of paint and sealer are completely dry before you add the final Satin Varnish.
    41. Instruction #32


    Flakes And Flurry Pattern