Acrylic Landscape Painting For Beginners

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Are you interested in learning how to paint acrylic landscapes? If so, this is the perfect blog post for beginners! In today’s guide, we will be walking you through the basics of acrylic landscape painting. We will cover everything from choosing your colors and composition to mixing paints and adding details. By following these simple steps, you will be able to create beautiful acrylic landscapes that are true works of art!

In this article we will cover the following topics;

  • Suggested materials
  • Finding a good subject
  • Design & composition basics
  • Step-by-step landscape painting guide
  • How to learn more
  • Conclusion

Suggested materials

  • Heavy-body acrylic paint: Cadmium red light, alizarin crimson, Cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow lemon, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, bone black and titanium white
  • Brushes – Princeton Catalyst; Round #10, #6, Flats #10 & #12
  • Support: Bristol mixed media paper, 12″ x 12″

The art of painting awesome landscapes

It’s all in the preparation! In other words, the work you do before paint hits the paper is what’s most important. If you do this right, as they say, the landscape will paint itself. My biggest challenge with beginners is getting them to slow down. The finished art will happen but you have to take your time in the planning stage. Especially in the beginning stages of learning to paint with acrylics. So, here are some guidelines that may help you organize your goals and better prepare for the task.

Acrylic landscape painting for beginners
– Acrylic landscape painting for beginners

Finding a good subject

Finding the right subject for your painting is an important first step. You want to choose a scene that is both visually appealing and has personal meaning to you. It’s also good to consider the balance of light and shadow, is there a focal point and what materials you will need.

Some of us like rural scenery, others may enjoy the coastal life. I can say from 20 years of experience that having a connection to the subject helps. But if you are a beginner, you may just need to get your feet wet before diving into other aspects of being an artist.

So, even though you may, or may not, love this scene, it’s going to serve as a means to break down the many aspects of painting a landscape. I hope that is okay with you.

Landscape design and composition tips
– Landscape design and composition tips

Design & composition basics

Once you have found the subject, it’s time to start thinking about composition. This is a very complex subject but here are a few good pointers.

  • The composition is all about how you arrange the elements within the frame
  • First, try to create a sense of balance within the painting
  • This can be done by placing the horizon line near the top, or bottom of the frame, but avoid it being in the middle.
  • Second, use leading lines to guide the viewer’s eye through the painting
  • Third, make sure that your foreground, middle ground, and background are all well-defined
  • And fourth, don’t forget to add a focal point!

By following these simple composition tips, you will be on your way to creating beautiful acrylic landscapes.

If you really want to dive in to landscape painting, check out these three courses, they’re amazing!

Now that we have covered the basics of choosing a subject and composing your painting, it’s time to get started! In the next section, we will walk you through the process of acrylic landscape painting step-by-step.

Step-by-step guide

Below is your complete guide to painting landscapes. It’s a good companion for the video and will probably answer any questions you may have. Here are really helpful articles in case you are curious about the exact paint, brushes and colors use.

Tone canvas orange
– Tone canvas orange

Step one

Tone the paper orange. Since the painting will have a dominant dark value, it’s wise to use a tone that will help pop the darks.

Without the orange the feel would be a little heavy once the painting is complete. I don’t always use a tone prior to the blocking-in stage, but thought it would work perfectly for this scenario.

Add the main contours
– Add the main contours

Step two

Add the drawing using a small flat brush. You may opt for a pencil, but paint works just as well since this design isn’t smothered in details.

I suggest laying in the horizon line first. That’s the longest line in the composition and everything else relates to it.

Continue with the second-longest line which is the path or the distant hills. Continue working big-to-small until you have enough information to get started.

Step three

Paint the sky hues
– Paint the sky hues

Step three

Block-in the larger cloud mass with a cool gray. This may look dark at first but will fade away once the darkest gray clouds are added later on.

Use a warm white for the clouds along the horizon. This will be one of the few light values once it’s finished. Keep the color crisp and clean. Meaning, don’t fuss with it too much.

Paint the ground plane
– Paint the ground plane

Step four

Paint the ground plane starting with the lime-green in the distance. That’s another one of the few lighter values. Everything else is darker and more saturated.

As you paint be sure to leave specks of the orange underpainting. This will add harmony when the study is done. If you use short, choppy brushstrokes, that should do the job just fine.

Paint the grey clouds
– Paint the grey clouds

Step five

Block in the large cloud mass using a dark, warm grey. This will contrast perfectly with the cooler clouds. Mix up plenty of paint! It’s common to come up short which can present problems.

Keep a few orange specks visible for reasons mentioned earlier.

Paint distant trees
– Paint distant trees

Step six

Use bone black with a touch of yellow ochre, paint the hills and small trees. This is the darkest value in the design. It also separates the ground and sky planes.

Add a few lighter trees on the left-hand side. This will help balance the mass of trees on the left.

Paint the path
– Paint the path

Step seven

Redefine the path and some smaller details in the foreground. Think dots, and not long brushstrokes.

I kept the path thinner so that it didn’t trump the lovely burst of light in the background.

Add more detail if needed
– Add more detail if needed

Step eight

Add some mid-tones in the foreground to suggest dirt patches and rocks. Avoid overstating them though. The goal really id to break up any areas that are too flat, and boring.

And that’s it! You have just painted an awesome acrylic landscape for beginners.

How to learn more

If you want to learn more about acrylic landscape painting, there are plenty of resources available. You can find helpful online courses below. These are in-depth classes that dive deep into the art of painting landscapes.

Conclusion

We hope that you have enjoyed this introduction to acrylic landscape painting. By following these simple steps, you will be able to create stunning landscapes that are truly works of art. So get out there and start painting! We can’t wait to see what you create! acrylic landscape painting for beginners.

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