Paint with Kai #01: Palm tree acrylic painting process + 3 tips I learned

So we are trying out a new thing on Youtube! Join me in the first episode of the Paint with Kai series, where we chat while we paint (or at least try to). It honestly was a bit difficult to articulate my thought process because my hands would shake.

It seems so silly to forget this simple principle, but I struggled with my brush strokes in the beginning.

Anyway, we are starting this series with the palm tree acrylic painting (the 2nd of a triptych) that I have been meaning to finish.

  1. Banana Leaves — Finished

  2. Palm Leaves — Finished

  3. Monstera Deliciosa — Up Next

In this video, I show you an update of the paint palette we set up last week. You’ll be just as surprised at how it turned out as I am! And yes, I hadn’t touched it while it was in the fridge for an entire week. And I also take you through my thought process (what I’m discovering and adjusting) while I paint this particular style.

Here are the 3 things I learned:


1. Steady brushstrokes take practice

It seems so silly to forget this simple principle, but I struggled with my brush strokes in the beginning. Maybe it was the nerves or the fact I haven’t picked this painting up since May or both… And that’s okay! The process went smoothly after having painted over some strokes to get the feel for the gesture.

Honestly, the unintentional thick strokes lent themselves to the graphic approach I was trying to achieve.


2. Value-specific brushes

I learned this from Mark Carder on Youtube. Essentially, what "value-specific brush” means is to have a designated brush for each of your values (blackest blacks, dark tones, midtones, lighter tones, highlights).

Most times, I have about two to four brushes in my hand when I’m painting. This way, your values remain as intense as they are intended to be. Your blacks don’t get milky; Your highlights don’t get muddy.


3. Painting is unhurried

My mentality as I worked through the painting in the beginning was misguided. I wanted to rush and make sure I finished in time to put up a Youtube video. I know… I realized my mistake about halfway through. So I let go of that expectation and stopped freaking out about losing daylight for the video. Instead, I consciously immersed myself in the process of painting.

This is Me-Time. I choose to take my time. Painting is my hobby; it is my kind of therapy. And if this is true for you as well and this is what brings you happiness. It shouldn’t be something we want to rush through.


These are the three things I learned in addition to the little nuggets of information I talk about in the video. How are you liking the start of this series? Please leave your feedback as well as any questions you might have in the comments and we can chat about it in the next episode!

Stay awesome and trust the process,
— Kai