How to Paint a Sunrise on a Canvas

Written by yuurei serai
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How to Paint a Sunrise on a Canvas
A sunrise's rich hues paint a romantic scene. (Sunrise image by Tuba from

The rising sun gives many people a sense of renewal, a promise that the new day will bring new adventures and new hope. Looking at a sunrise also brings a sense of peace. With some acrylic paint and a canvas, you can create your own amazing sunrise to look at every day.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Canvas
  • Liquid clear or floating medium
  • Paint brushes
  • 1-inch foam brush
  • Acrylic paints
  • Cup
  • Paper towel

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  1. 1

    Cover the entire canvas with liquid clear using a 1-inch foam brush. The liquid clear will keep your canvas wet throughout the painting process, which will help make your paint float and blend.

  2. 2

    Load a paintbrush--any size you are comfortable with--with the light blue acrylic paint. Along the top of the canvas, paint a section about 2 or 3 inches wide. As you move down on the canvas, use less paint and allow the liquid clear to thin out the blue area a bit, as you want the blue to get darker as you move down on the canvas.

  3. 3

    Clean your brush by swirling it in a cup of water. Dry the brush using the paper towel in order to make sure you removed the excess paint.

  4. 4

    Dip half of your paint brush's bristles in tickle-me-pink paint and the other into your orange paint. This method is known as double-loading. With the pink half facing up toward your blue, begin blending the lightest area of blue with the pink and orange. The pink and orange section should extend down another inch or 2 which starts to shape the look of a rising sun. The pink and orange sections should start blending together a bit, so do not panic if this happens because you want this effect.

    Clean your brush once you paint the pink and orange areas.

  5. 5

    Double-load your brush with orange and yellow paint. With the orange portion facing up toward the area you just painted, cover the remaining portion of the canvas with the orange and yellow. When you have 1 inch of canvas left, however, only use yellow paint to complete the look.

  6. 6

    Use a liner brush filled with yellow paint to create the sun in the bottom centre of the image. For a sunrise, make sure the sun is small to make it appear further away. The sun should also be a half-crescent shape to make it look like it is rising.

  7. 7

    Use a large 1- to 2-inch-wide brush to dry-brush the canvas. Dry-brushing involves not loading your brush with any paint or water. While dry-brushing, move the brush from left to right in a large sweeping X motion to seamlessly blend your colours together.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are a beginner, using reference pictures will help you see how colours change on the horizon.
  • Do not overload your paintbrush with paint. If you have too much paint, you will make your canvas have paint glops on it, ruining the seamless look.

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