I showed my 16 month old son this painting and he started doing the “Itsy Bitsy Spider”. That cracked me up! He’s at the age where he recognizes a lot of animals and either makes gestures or mimics their noises. I am having a blast painting southwest animals and loves that he finds them so entertaining. If you haven’t guessed what I painted yet, it’s a fuzzy wuzzy Tarantula.

Tarantula Acrylic Painting by Julie Rustad - Step 8

Similar to the scorpion’s ancient history, “Tarantulas are primitive spiders that evolved almost 350 million years ago and have changed little since. They are also venomous like all spiders, but they are very docile and bite only under extreme provocation.” Here’s more of the article about tarantulas in Tucson.

I’ve seen a tarantula twice out of the 8 years I’ve lived in Tucson. Once in Sabino Canyon during a hike. The second sighting was when it crossed our bike path after a monsoon. They are fascinating to watch..from a distance 😉

This is the 20th southwest animal I’ve painted since October — only 6 more to go!

Here’s how I painted the “itsy bitsy spider” from start to finish using acrylics.

STEP 1: I started with a pink hue and covered the entire canvas.

Tarantula Acrylic Painting by Julie Rustad - Step1
Step 1

STEP 2: I sketched out his body and legs, using a lighter color. 

Tarantula Acrylic Painting by Julie Rustad - Step 2
Step 2

STEP 3: Using a mix of brown and red, I filled in the tarantula’s overall shape.

Tarantula Acrylic Painting by Julie Rustad - Step 3
Step 3

STEP 4: I added more texture and other colors to provide more visual interest in the background.

Tarantula Acrylic Painting by Julie Rustad - Step 4
Step 4

STEP 5: I created an even darker brown color to add shadows on his body.

Tarantula Acrylic Painting by Julie Rustad - Step 5
Step 5

STEP 6: Let’s get FUZZY! I used a smaller brush and a golden yellow to add hair.

Tarantula Acrylic Painting by Julie Rustad - Step 6
Step 6

STEP 7: Here’s what he looks like after lots more hair was added. I used a variety of colors to create this look.

Tarantula Acrylic Painting by Julie Rustad - Step 7
Step 7

STEP 8: I thought I would be done around at Step 7, but it just didn’t feel right. Sometimes it helps to take a break and come back to it. With fresh eyes I realized he looked like he was floating. To solve this levitating issue — I added a blurry shadow underneath him. Then I felt like he was grounded and the painting was DONE!

Tarantula Acrylic Painting by Julie Rustad - Step 8
Step 8

My favorite part of this process was painting the hair on the tarantula. It was a lot of fun working on his fuzz-factor!

Do you want your own “itsy bitsy spider”?
Matted prints of this Tarantula are available for $25. Purchase from my Julie Originals website or email me at julie@julieoriginals.com.

The next southwest animal is…
Now that the Tarantula is complete, I have begun painting a Uinta chipmunk! They are SOOOOO CUTE! Subscribe to my blog to be the first to see how it turns out! 🙂

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