Cityscape Painting – Fireworks
Learn how to paint your own cityscape painting with fireworks next to reflecting water.
This cityscape painting makes a both a great Fourth of July Painting and New Years Painting!
Customize your city! I did a version with the Space Needle and you can see it here.
If your doing this as a New Years Painting, you can paint the year in the water as shown below.
I don’t know about you but I have a certain fondness to cityscape art.
The lights, the reflections and the glow in the night sky are just soooo pretty!
Not to mention, the concept of painting this type of painting is very easy and has a GREAT success rate even for the absolute beginner.
In this tutorial, you will be guided step by step with photos and a video.
Enjoy, happy painting and don’t forget to share!
- 16″ x 20″ canvas (this design can work on any size)
- Acrylic Paint
- Paint colors:
- Cadmium Red Medium
- Cadmium Yellow Medium
- Primary Blue
- Quinacridone Magenta
- Deep Violet
- Mars Black
- Titanium White
- 1″ flat or 3/4″ flat
- 1/4″ flat or #4 Bright
- #0 Round
- Ruler (T-Square)
Cityscape Painting Video Directions:
Step by step pictures for Cityscape Painting:
1. Draw The Horizon Line
Draw the horizon line about 5.75″ from the bottom.
Using a T-Square ruler is helpful to make sure your line is nice and horizontal.
If your canvas is a different size, adjust the horizon line accordingly. Mine was approximately 1/3 of the way up from the bottom and not directly in the middle.
2. Paint The Sky
Paint mars black about 1″ down and curved.
The whole sky will be slightly curved but try not to curve it too much!
I used a 1″ flat brush for this. Any size flat brush will work for this effect.
Do not rinse off brush.
Paint about 3-4″ of violet next. Try to blend the violet with the black.
Yes, I had issues mixing my black with the violet too! Just keep working the paint and getting that Violet to mesh well with the black.
You can paint the violet over the black if you need to but try not to let that black “take over”.
I painted 3-4″ of Violet here! Again, keep working it in with the black to get it to blend.
This time, rinse your brush!
Paint the magenta almost all the way down to the horizon line. Try to get your magenta to blend with the Violet by painting over the Violet a bit!
The magenta has been painted all the way down! Also note, my sky is still going in an “arc”.
Do not rinse brush. Add white the rest of the way down. Blend white with magenta. It will turn into a nice pink hue.
3. Draw Your Skyline With Chalk
Use chalk to draw buildings. If you want a more “sharper look”, use a ruler and a pencil. Also here is where you can customize the city you want to paint!
4. Paint Your Skyline Silhouette Black
Paint buildings in with mars black.
I used a small flat brush and a tiny brush for small corners.
You don’t have to “cut in” like I did. You can just paint each building one at a time.
Tip: water down the black a bit for it to flow easier!
5. Paint The Building Details
Use a tiny brush for radio towers and other fine building details.
6. Paint The Water
Paint the water next! Start with the same brush you used for the sky. Paint Quin Magenta about 1″.
Next paint violet and blend with the magenta.
I did rinse my brush between color changes. Also notice the water is curving the opposite way of the sky.
Next add primary blue. I
did not realize the blue would take over that violet! If you want more violet with your water, try not to blend it so much. I went down almost all the way with the blue.
Leave a spot open on the bottom for black.
Don’t rinse brush.
Paint the rest black and blend the black up into the blue.
I also added some more violet to the water where it got lost in the blue.
7. Paint The Windows
Paint the windows using a tiny brush and white/yellow. Not all the windows have lights on.
8. Splatter Paint Stars
Flick stars in the sky with any brush and watered down white.
9. Paint The Fireworks
Use a small flat brush for the fireworks.
“Double load” the brush with blue and white. Double loading means to dip one edge of the brush in one color and the other in the next!
This is where the video will come in handy! Paint each firework with white plus the color. I used the tip of a flt brush to get the effect.
Double load with yellow and white for a yellow firework. Basically keep painting as many fireworks as you want!
Try out different styles of fireworks too.
Optional: I felt that some of the fireworks should have these tiny white dots.
Use a tiny brush and pure white for this. Also, you’ll see in the video that I brightened the center of the fireworks by adding a bit more white.
10. Paint The Reflection
For the reflection of the buildings I used a 1/4″ flat brush and some watered down black.
The strokes are just small condensed zig-zag lines forming a vertical shape. LIGHTLY hold that brush and move your hand fast to do this!
The reflection of the light is a tiny brush double loaded with yellow and white.
The line is a vertical, very fluid squiggle line. Again, hold the brush lightly and move the hand fast.
11. Optional: Paint The “2018” (or 2019, 2020…)
Draw out the 2018 with chalk. I used a ruler to help my numbers line up straight.
Use a tiny brush and white to paint horizontal strokes in the water. I tried to make it look like the 2018 is reflected in the water.
12. Paint Some Firework Reflections
Finally I painted some firework refection in the water. To do this I used a tiny brush double loaded in the color and white. Make a very fluid zig zag line.
Sign your masterpiece and show it off! There’s a collection of paintings over on Pinterest right now!
Just click on the pin, scroll down and see the “I Tried It” section.
Share Your Art!