It was still February only yesterday yet today, we’re already getting ready to start the new year! 🙈 Well, okay, it’s not exactly THAT dramatic… Whatsoever, what goes hand in hand with new year’s celebrations pretty much all around the world? Exactly, fireworks. Personally, I haven’t seen any in years, which gives me even more reason to paint some. Of course, it doesn’t come anywhere close to the real deal, but hey. Gotta take what you get.

There are many different techniques to do this. So many, in fact, that today I’ll limit myself to the 2 easiest and quickest methods. There is no sketching, everything is free hand and very loosely painted, which makes it perfect to relax while experimenting and playing around with colour. So, get out those watercolours and let’s get to it.

Method 1

1. With this first method, feel free to splash the paint all over the page. Make it mix, mingle, blossom and bloom. Only thing to be careful with: the water supply. If you see little pools of colourful liquid forming or your paper warping a little too violently, slow down a little.

Another way to approach this, is to paint circles of two different colours one within the other.

2. Once it’s completely dry, apply masking fluid to wherever you want to preserve the paint you applied before. This will go on to be the exploding fireworks, the rest will be painted over with a dark colour.

Should you not have any masking fluid, you can always use a white crayon or even a white candle (like the skinny ones you stick on top of birthday cakes). However, keep in mind that this makes it a little more difficult to see where you’ve already applied your medium of masking, since it’s transparent. You’ll also notice that the effect is quite different, since the wax repels water (and thus the paint) more or less strongly depending on how thickly it’s applied, while masking fluid completely blocks it out.

The positive side of the wax is, of course, that you won’t have to wait for it to dry. And masking fluid can take quite some time with that…

3. Now, let’s get to the sky. Therefore, we’ll paint over our entire piece with either black or a very dark-blue colour, whichever you prefer. Don’t be shy, the paint should be mostly, if not completely, be hidden underneath this second layer.

In these pictures, you can already see how very different wax and masking fluid react to paint being applied on top.

4. If you like, and if you’re any tiny little bit like me, of course you absolutely DO want to, you can add a little sparkle by using iridescent or/and metallic paint. Like these cute little sparkles that glimmer prettily in the night sky.

Method 2

1. With the second method, we start with painting our page completely with a dark colour. Whether it’s black or dark-blue, or even a shade of grey, is entirely up to you. Again, you can add a little glitter. I faintly painted in four little circles with a copper-(glitter)-colour.

I also added, with a dark reddish colour (to match the copper), something I intended to become a sort of a shadow behind the fireworks. Unfortunately, in the end, you’re no longer able to see it.

2. Next, you’ll need some opaque paint, like Gouache for example, with which you’ll paint the fireworks onto the dark background. It’s kind of the opposite of method 1, during which we masked and blended out, while now, what we paint and see is going to be our end result. No surprises. It also gives you more control over what your final piece will look like.

And that’s about it! Here are the results.

Alternatively, you can draw a scene. Maybe a skyline or a crowd, maybe only a few onlookers, or something entirely more romantic, like a couple. These fireworks are great to add a special touch to a drawing but will look just as stunning on their own.

One thing I really enjoy about the paints I used (MozArt Komorebi watercolours) is that, depending on the angle you look at the painting from, they look either matte or shiny. (An effect you can marvel at in the video below.)

All the best wishes from me, see you next year, and ‘loost et knuppen’!🎇
(Which literally means ‘let it bang’ in Luxembourgish and refers to both the loud noise of exploding fireworks, as well as it means ‘to party hard’. Yes, I live for the dad-joke level puns.😄)
Stéphanie K.

Stéphanie K.

Hi, my name is Stéphanie. I'm Luxembourgish, in my late twenties, and a passionate artist. I paint and draw since what feels like forever. Though I do occasionally crack open a tube of acrylic paint, my favourite traditional mediums are a watercolour and alcohol markers. I also do lots of digital pieces. My motifs include all possible things, such as food, plants, characters, and animals, whereas my art style depends much on the subject and reaches from cartoony to semi-realism.

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