How to Paint Realistic Stars

Updated July 20, 2017

While Van Gogh makes painting a night sky easy, the task is not always so simple for all artists, and capturing the stars can be especially difficult. However, if you depict the stars in their natural setting, it can be easier to visualise them and translate the way that you seen them onto canvas. By simplifying the landscape as much as possible, you can paint stars that create the illusion of real ones.

Mix one part black and two parts ultramarine blue on your plastic palette. Dip your large brush into this colour. Cover the entire canvas with this colour, making your strokes as even as possible. Clean your brush.

Mix two parts white and one part cadmium yellow on your palette. Dip your small brush in this colour. Apply scattered dabs of this colour in various sizes across the canvas, leaving plenty of space dark. Clean your brush.

Dip your small brush in white paint. Apply small, dotlike dabs across the canvas, varying the placement so that they appear random. Wipe excess paint off your brush.

Take the small brush with some white paint left on it. In a circular motion, create a thin, mistlike halo around the largest of the stars, letting the white paint blend with the dark blue background. Clean brush.


As is always helpful when you are painting from life, study the stars in the sky where you live before attempting to paint them.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 large paintbrush
  • 1 small paintbrush
  • Set of paints
  • Plastic palette
  • 1 small, primed, stretched canvas or canvas board
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Simone Wood began writing professionally in 2006. Her work has appeared on various websites. She has a Master of Arts in English from the Johns Hopkins University and is pursuing her Ph.D. in literature at the University of North Texas.