Acrylic Fall Landscape Painting - Using A Reference Photo | Alifya P. Tarwala | Skillshare

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Acrylic Fall Landscape Painting - Using A Reference Photo

teacher avatar Alifya P. Tarwala, Artist | Acrylics, Watercolors | Painter

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

13 Lessons (44m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials / Prep Canvas

    • 3. Outlining / Sketch

    • 4. Blocking In - Monochromatic Colors

    • 5. Blocking In - Part 2

    • 6. Painting Process 1 - Trees

    • 7. Painting Process 2 - Lighter Trees

    • 8. Painting Process 3 - Fall Colors

    • 9. Painting Process 4 - More Fall Colors

    • 10. Negative Painting

    • 11. Final Touches - Part 1

    • 12. Final Touches - Part 2

    • 13. Class Project

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About This Class


In this class, I will be teaching you how to paint a loose acrylic fall landscape using a reference photo. This class is great for all levels.

A former art teacher and now an independent full-time artist, I am so excited to be teaching on Skillshare and I truly hope you find this corner of your space comforting, inspiring, and encouraging! Can't wait to connect with you all!



  • Prepping your canvas and materials – I will show you how to prep your canvas before painting and all the brushes and paints you will need for this project.
  • Outlining and blocking off shapes – I will teach you how to draw your shape by outlining and how to block off your darks and lights.
  • Painting process and details – I will teach you how you can layer and build your colors with small strokes to add definition and dimension.
  • Final Touches – This step will teach you how you can be more expressive by only adding a few strokes and marks.  



1) Paints:

  • Arteza Acrylic paints (premium 60 set) - – deep yellow, Indian yellow, yellow green, olive green, burnt sienna, phthalo blue, black, white

 2) Brushes: 10 flat brush8 flat brush , thin brush (details), 6 filbert brush, long small round brush (outlining)

3) Acrylic Canvas 5X7” -

5) Glass Palette -

6) Glass scraper -

7) Bowl for water

8) Paper towel / rag

9) Gesso -


*Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, I will make a commission, if you click through and make a purchase. I only recommend products that I genuinely use on a regular basis!



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Meet Your Teacher

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Alifya P. Tarwala

Artist | Acrylics, Watercolors | Painter


Hello, I'm Alifya Plumber Tarwala, a Fine Artist from sunny California and founder of 'Alifya Lifestyle' where I create and sell my Originals, Art Prints & various Merchandise (phone cases, mugs and much more!) I also have an Etsy Shop to fit YOUR home! A former art teacher and now an independent full-time artist. My classes here will be focused over Loose Landscapes and Florals in Acrylics and Watercolors. I am so excited to be teaching on Skillshare and I truly hope you find this corner of your space comforting, inspiring, and encouraging! Can't wait to connect with you all!

To keep up with snippets of my artist life, follow along on Instagram or join my private Facebook Group, where you can connect with a community of other art lover's! I als... See full profile

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1. Introduction : Hello, everyone. My name is Olivia and I'm an artist here in San Jose, California. Welcome to my painting class where I'm going to be showing you how to paint a cozy acrylic fall landscape using a reference photo. So this autumn scene pic that I'm going to be using for today's inspiration was taken two years ago on my trip to the UK. So if you like painting cozy scenes as per seasons, I'm sure you're going to enjoy today's class. We will be going over all the materials that you will need, how to prep your canvas. I will also show you how to roughly outline your landscape, how to block in the first stage by using monochromatic colors and multiple painting processes and layering with a bit of negative spacing. Then we'll finish off with some final details in the end. This class is perfect for all levels so beginner and beyond are welcome to try this. I will be adding in a class project at the very end so I cannot wait to see what you guys come up with. Hope this puts you in a cozy fall mood. So light yourself a candle, get some hot tea, and let's begin. 2. Materials / Prep Canvas : This is all the materials that I use for today's painting. I am using an arteza 5 by 7 canvas. But by all means you can use whatever you want, you can even paint it on paper. Then you'll need some sort of rag or a paper towel, you need a bowl. These are all the brushes that I have. There are two flat brushes, there's one long thin brush. Then I also have a full board brush and a round brush. Then these are all the paints that I will be using, again, I will list everything in the description down below. But like I said, you can use whatever paints you have and the colors. But if you would still like to use these paints, I'm going to link them in the description, if you're interested in checking them out. Then I'm also using a glass palette and a scraper, it's just easy to scrape paint off. I prefer this over anything else. Just check all the links in the description if you are interested. To prep our canvas, we are going to jostle the entire canvas before painting. Think of this as a primer, it sort of preps the canvas beforehand. Now, most canvasses do come jostled anyway, but I like to give my canvas an extra layer of jostle regardless. Then once you are finished with this, let your painting completely dry before you can move on to the next step. 3. Outlining / Sketch : Now let's first start with sketching out and mapping our landscape. I am using a thin layer of burnt sienna, and a tiny round brush for this. We aren't really focused on getting too many details here, but just a rough sketch for a placement purposes. A good tip is to make sure to not hold your brush like you would a pen. That tends to give you more rigid and tighter lines with more details. Holding it from a little far back will automatically help you give you a loose approach. So carefully looking at the reference photo, I am starting with sketching our road. I can see here the tip of where the roads meet is little less than halfway. Make sure to get those curvy lines a bit to get the right perspective. We do want to make the road look like it's curving into our vanishing point, which is that little tip at the end of the road. All right, so here I am my lightly mapping out where my trees are going to go. I'm also adding in my mountain and just a few trees in the front of that. Mapping and sketching this out before painting will give you a better understanding of where your painting will be heading and just makes things easier to visualize. 4. Blocking In - Monochromatic Colors : Okay, so this next step is what I call the forest layer of blocking in. We will be blocking in more colors in the next few steps too but this very first blocking in stage is by just using one color and making a thin monochromatic layer of darks and lights. I am using tiago blue and a bit of buoyancy and add to a block in my darks. I would also use some white with tiago blue to blacken my lights. So following my reference pic, I am looking at my dark regions and adding a thin coat to where I see any darks. So the tip of the mountain and then the trees in front of it. The tree towards the left is pretty dark, so I will block in my dark layers there, and then I will follow up with the road after. To simplify this process, think of this photo as a black and white image where you will only have your direct mid tones and your lights. I did convert the photo into black and white for you to see what I mean. I didn't use this black and white version as a reference, but thought of it after I painted it. But anyway, I thought this can help you guys visualize what the forest blocking in stage is based of off. Again, they're not really focused on too many details, anything but this layer can help give your painting more depth and also helps to simplify it. 5. Blocking In - Part 2 : In this stage we are going to be blocking in our shapes, but using the base colors for all the shapes we see in this photo. Starting with the mountain, I see some green at it's tip, so I am using olive green and white. Using my flat brush here, I'm making bold and strong strokes. Keep moving your brush around to get a variety of brushstrokes. Using it's side, it's tip, the belly of the brush, all of that will help to give you different brushstrokes. Then moving on to the brown section of the mountain that we see, so I'm using burnt sienna and white. You can see some light green and dark greens for the trees on the mountains. For my lights I'm using olive green, white, and teal blue, and then I will also add some black [inaudible] for the dark parts of the trees. Am also using what are called strokes for this, so using my brush standing up can help with that. Before we start on the big left tree, I wanted to get my sky in. I'm using white and a tiny smudge of olive green. Moving on to my fill broad-brush, it'll just be easier to get in the brushstrokes that I need for my trees. Starting with the left tree, I'm going to be plugging in that shape by using olive green, pale blue, and black. Again, make sure to use different sides to the brush to get more variation to your brushstrokes and shapes to the leaves. I'm also blocking in the brickwall that we see and then the pavement to the road, keeping certain sections darker as I see in my reference pic, and then some sections light. I'm also getting a few branches and then some shadow parts to some of the trees. 6. Painting Process 1 - Trees: Now I'm going to be building up on the left tree. I'm using olive green directly from the tube this time and just adding it in sections that I see the mid tones in the photo. Moving on to the right side. I'm also adding that all olive green in just a few sections. I wanted to get some of those light greens that we see on the trees on the mountain. I'm just using a little bit of white with the olive green and just popping that color in places. Using that same color and adding it to the left tree to get in some of those lights to build in some dimension. 7. Painting Process 2 - Lighter Trees: Now slowly moving into those beautiful fall colors that we see, I'm now using deep yellow and yellow-green to add those in those little green sections that we see in the pic. I'm still using the very same brush and again, twisting it in different directions. Also remember to hold your brush at the back of the handle to make your painting loose and give it a more painterly feel. While we wait for that to dry before we build up on more leaves, let's move on to painting the road. I like painting all my sections in simultaneously, which helps to add in reflections of similar colors everywhere, if that makes sense. For example, you can see in the reference photo that the road has some color and reflection from the trees and sky. It's always a good tip to not linger too long on one section only, but move around in your painting to give it a more natural color palette. For the pavement here, I'm using white, gouache in black and some olive green to create this mixture. If you look at the reference peak, you can see that the road has some darks and lights to it. The left side and the right side, the corners of it next to those white lines are a bit darker, so I'm just adding in some of that black to make those darks. Here, I'm just giving in a few details to the brick wall just to give it some impression of a sidewalk brick. You can also see that the road has a lot more light tones to it at its tip so close to the vanishing point and also at the base. I'm just adding in some of the light tone layer, so second light gray to give that illusion of a light sort of the wet road. I am bringing in a tiny smudge of [inaudible] to this gray color palette to bring in some reflection from the trees. 8. Painting Process 3 - Fall Colors: I am now establishing some of those browns that we see in the photo, so I'm using one sienna and some white to get that. I'm also adding that same color to the sidewalk, because you can see some dried leaves that are so beautifully laid on the ground. This time of year is the best, I just love when all the leaves fall and it just looks so beautiful. Now diving in deep wards through all these beautiful fall colors, so now we're moving directly with the Indian yellow, which is like this orange yellow, and I am looking at the reference pic, and I'm going to be adding those in places where I see the orange yellow. Reflecting that color back into the sidewalk, but this time also adding in some brown sienna to give it a dried leaf look. Adding a little yellow to my fall leaves, so I am going in with a deep yellow, and just adding those again in places where I see it in the picture. Painting this cozy autumn landscape really took me back to my trip to UK two years ago from where this picture was taken. Hubby and I went to London and Scotland, and this beautiful scene is in Scotland from a little trip that we were taking at that time. We went exactly this month in October two years ago, which was really stunning and breathtaking. But yeah, painting this was truly fun and nostalgic for various reasons. Also just a reminder that this pic is simply there for us to use as reference and inspiration, that does not mean that you need to copy it exact. Feel free to add in your own colors, change it up a bit and add your own flair to it, to make this loose and expressive in your style and liking. 9. Painting Process 4 - More Fall Colors: Using some pale blue and black, I am defining some of those branches. Using that same color, I'm going back in to some of the darks that we see in the left tree. Now I'm adding in some white and some olive green to add in some lights to the overall painting. All right, so now I'm using yellow green, and some white to get some of those light greens that we see in the picture. Using some of that olive green again, I am just adding in some of the shadows to those trees. Getting in some yellows, I am using deep yellow with white. All we are doing so far is adding in layers and colors little by little to build into this painting. I'm simply going back and forth with some lights and darks. To keep your painting interesting, make sure to add in different brushstrokes. You can do that by twisting your brush constantly, using its tip at times to get smaller strokes, and sometimes using the side of the brush to get much thinner strokes or the belly of the brush to get larger and bulge strokes. 10. Negative Painting : Now I'm working on a bit of negative painting and what that means is I'm basically using some of that sky and peaking that through the leaves. I didn't want my leaves towards the top left to be too much in focus, it is somewhat blowing in the pic anyway, so adding in some negative painting in that section is perfect. I'm using the same colors that we used for the sky, which is this white and a little bit of that olive green, and somewhat doting my way through the leaves. I'm also adding a little negative painting to the left tree. Again, bringing in that same sky color and I'm just putting it in little places in tiny little dots. This really does add more interest to the painting and also it somewhat brightens up the overall look of the painting. 11. Final Touches - Part 1 : Coming back to the road, I am defining some of those white lines that we see in the reference pic. Also, I realized that the line that I already had in the middle is slightly off. It needs to be more towards the right. So I'm redrawing that white line and I'll just repaint the section that I have drawn in the center. Here I am defining that brick wall a bit by adding in some more darks. I'm bringing out some of those dark greens on the mountains. I will also follow up with a little bit of those light greens, these mystery lights that we see as well. 12. Final Touches - Part 2 : As we approach the end, I'm just adding these little fine details that we see in the pic. I'm using a long thin brush for this and adding the little light lamppost and just a few little twigs. These little fine details can make a huge difference to the painting in really good ways. You don't have to go too far, but just tiny little marks can give an impression of objects. I'm taking a bit of that Indian yellow and adding a few leaves to the ground. I'm also pulling in a little bit of white mixed with that Indian yellow, but more of the white and just adding some more definition to those leaves. Just pulling in some last minute darks and just adding those in tiny places. I do like to always paint my sides when I paint on canvas. Sometimes I will carry forward the painting scene on the side, but this time, I just wanted it to be a plain gray on all four sides. That is exactly what I'm doing here. Looking at my reference picture, I do see a lot of those oranges, which I absolutely love and I realized that my painting doesn't really have much of those oranges, so I wanted to pull some of those fall colors a bit more. I'm going indirectly with Indian yellow and just adding those in places I see in the picture. There we have it guys, a beautiful loose fall landscape. I really hope this put you in all the autumn vibes, no matter where you are watching this from. If you stuck all the way through, great job on finishing your class and head on over to the next section where we will talk a bit more about the class project. I can't wait to see what you all come up with. 13. Class Project : Thank you all so much for watching and I really hope you guys took something useful from today's class. So before this class project, I want you to ping this acrylic fall landscape. Just take it step-by-step, layer by layer. I am going to leave today's reference photo in the description down below in the class project section. So make sure to check that out if you want to use that. And again, feel free to ask me any questions or if you struggle with any section, just ask me anything and I'll be happy to help out. Once again, thank you so much for watching and I will catch you next time. Bye.