How to Paint an Egg

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Pick up a copy of this month's Food Network Magazine and you'll see 50 Easter eggs designed and decorated by artists from each of the 50 states.

Through some stroke of luck, yours truly was asked to create little old Rhode Island's egg!

I chose the iconic Castle Hill Lighthouse in Newport, which has been a beacon for seafaring types since 1890. It's got the distinction of being on the National Register of Historic Places, and is a peaceful spot to catch the sun setting over the water. 

For those who want to try their hand at painting their own lighthouse egg, here's a step by step painting tutorial.

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STEP 1: Prep the Egg

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Grab yourself a 6 pack of white eggs and boil a few of them up just in case one or two crack while cooking. If you're a vegan or want something more permanent, you can buy wooden eggs at the craft store, in which case you'll want to put a layer of gesso or primer on before you start painting. 

In order to keep the egg from rolling around while you work on it, place it on a folded hand towel for stability.

STEP 2: Make a Preliminary Sketch

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Ideally, you have your own image of a lighthouse for reference, but if not you can do a Google image search for it. (Generally, you should never recreate a photographer's work directly, but since you're painting your egg for "personal use" and not for sales, you don't need to worry much about that.)

Using pencil, ink, and colored pencils I drew the lighthouse on paper first to become familiar with it. It helped me to choose what not to include. Since the egg is such a small surface you don't want to get too detail-oriented. Try to stick to larger, descriptive shapes.

STEP 3: Paint the Sunset

With one of your medium-sized brushes wet the outside of the egg. When it dries to just damp use your watercolors to lay down the colors for your sunset background. Using the blue paint create the horizon line of where the water meets the sky. Let the colors overlap and run together a little bit.

STEP 4: Sketch the Lighthouse onto the Egg

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Now you'll want to lightly sketch the image right onto the egg. You do this after the watercolor background is on so you can edit and erase as you go. You'll find it a little challenging to draw on a curved surface, so be sure to keep checking your lines by looking straight down onto the egg as you work. 

STEP 5: Paint the Underlayer

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I used black acrylic paint to outline my drawing first, then filled in the basics with solid color in order to create a foundational layer. 

STEP 6: Add Your Details

Once the underlayer is dry, focus on creating shape and form by adding in highlights and shadows on the rocks and stones of the lighthouse. Use a light, medium, and dark grey-black to create dimension on the lighthouse roof. Using a thin brush add in the rungs of the balcony railing. Mix up a variety of greens in order to add in some grasses to the foreground. Lastly, add in a little texture to the ocean and - voilĂ ! - your "Instagram ready" lighthouse egg is born! 

If you use this tutorial, post a pic and tag me on Facebook or Instagram!