Acrylic Painting: How To Paint An Abstract Landscape | LaurieAnne Gonzalez | Skillshare

Acrylic Painting: How To Paint An Abstract Landscape

LaurieAnne Gonzalez, Painter | Dog Lover | Bob Ross Wannabe

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10 Lessons (44m)
    • 1. Introduction

      0:52
    • 2. Preparing the Paper

      4:25
    • 3. Painting Process - Part 1

      6:48
    • 4. Painting Process - Part 2

      6:21
    • 5. Painting Process - Part 3

      6:46
    • 6. Painting Process - Part 4

      5:23
    • 7. Painting Process - Part 5

      4:54
    • 8. Painting Process - Part 6

      5:04
    • 9. Final Painting and Tips

      1:32
    • 10. Bonus: Black Gesso and Gouache

      1:38
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About This Class

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In this class, I will show you my process for painting an Abstract Landscape using acrylic paint. This class is for all skill levels, although, having a basic knowledge of how to mix paint colors would be helpful.

This class is great for those with a little bit of painting experience but if you are a beginner or new to my classes, I recommend taking my classes in the order below:

1. Acrylic Painting: Learn The Basics For Beginners

2. Acrylic Painting: How To Paint An Abstract Landscape (this class)

3. Acrylic Painting: How to Paint Using a Limited Color Palette

4. Acrylic Painting: Explore A New Composition Using A Reference Photo 

5. Acrylic Painting: How To Create A Mixed Media Painting

In this class, you will learn about:

  • My favorite paints and brushes to use
  • How I start all of my paintings
  • My painting process from start to finish

At the end of this class, you will have an abstract painting that is ready to frame and hang on your wall!

Below is a photo of the colors I used for this painting (white not pictured), but you can use whatever colors you would like!

IMPORTANT: The paintings you create from my class examples are for learning/educational purposes only. Those paintings or ones heavily inspired by my class example (or my other work) cannot be sold or reproduced in any way. All of my work is copyrighted and that is a violation of the copyright. Please stick to painting from my class examples only (not from other work on my website) or work from your own inspiration photos.

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I have linked all of my supplies below*:

Blick Matte Acrylic Paints

White Gesso

Black Gesso

Golden OPEN Acrylic Paints

Prismacolor Colored Pencils

Watercolor Paper Pad

Large Filbert Paint Brush

Paint Brush Set

Gesso Brush Set

IKEA Brush Set

Artist Tape

Glass Palette

IKEA Utility Cart

Holbein Acryla Gouache

Winsor & Newton Designer Gouache

*Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, I will make a commission, if you click thru and make a purchase.

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Hey everyone, my name is Marianne and I am an artist in Phoenix, Arizona. Today I'm going to show you how to paint abstract landscapes using acrylic paint. I'm going to walk you through my process from start to finish. I'm going to show you my favorite materials. I'm going to show you the way I paint everything. Today I'm going to be working from a photo that I took from Belgium a few months ago. It's just a very simple landscape, but you can use whatever landscape photo you want to use. I do recommend picking one that is just a little bit on the simple side just for the ease of this lesson, but it's totally up to you. By the end of this class, you're going to have an abstract landscape that is ready to be framed and hung on your wall. Head to the next video and let's get started. 2. Preparing the Paper: Hi everyone. I'm going to show you how to prepare your paper for my painting classes. For these classes, I've been using this Canson watercolor paper. This is a great paper. I will link it in the description, but it is super cheap. It's like $10 for 30 pieces and this is an 11 by 15 inch piece of paper. Great paper, you should definitely get this just for general practice of watercolor. I am going to just gesso my paper first and you definitely always want to work on the rough side of this. There's more of a smooth side and then a rough sides so first to prepare, we're going to use Gesso. I love my Gesso from Golden. It's just a really good quality Gesso and I like it, so I recommend this. All you need is just a regular old paint brush. You can get this at a hardware store, just something cheap that is wider so that you can cover more surface area. We're going to get started. Whenever I gesso I do not water it down at all, I just go straight into the paint and just start painting. Just make sure you cover all your surface, the whole surface area. Well, for me it's okay the paint on the table, but if that's not okay for you, then you should definitely put something underneath here. The reason why you want to go all the way to the edge, because once this is dry, we are going to tape it down. If you don't get it all the way to the edge when you pull your tape down, it will likely pull off some of the watercolor paper and it'll leave you with a really rough texture on the edge and it can even pull off some of the paint on the painting, so just make sure you get all the way to the edge. Once your paper is fully dry, we are going to tape it down. This is just an artist tape. That's why I like white. I mean you can get whatever you want, but this is particularly for art projects, but you could use masking tape, whatever you have is fine or if you want to buy this, I will link it in the description. I'm just going to tape it down. The way that I like to tape, I'm just getting it straight with my table right now. But I like to do it half on the tape and half on paper or half on the paper and half on the table. You can see through it. It's a little transparent so you can see through it. That's just a general rule thumb and then you'll know how to do the others. There you have it, you are ready to paint. I just want to reiterate how important it is to gesso your paper, let it fully dry before you tape it down. Because this is gesso, when we remove our tape, it's going to have a very nice clean edge. Otherwise it could rip the paper off if you don't gesso it all the way to the edge. It will rip the top layer of the watercolor paper off. That is how you prepare your paper for my classes. Let me know if you have any questions and I will see you in class. 3. Painting Process - Part 1: Okay, today I am going to work on painting a landscape. I'm going to try to keep it really loose and simple just not overwork it. It'll be more semi abstract but more so just you get the idea of the photo instead of you see the whole photo. This is a photo that I took in Belgium and it was on a recent trip that my husband and I took earlier this year. I just like the simplicity of it. I feel it's perfect for this piece so I'm just going to get started. First, how I like to start my paintings is I sketch it out. I usually will grab a pencil that is completely opposite from any color in here. Doesn't really matter. I don't really know why I do that. I just like to have something like green. That would just really blend in. But the purple is different. Don't really have a method to this but that's just what I've always done. Also, I'll let you know this is a piece of watercolor paper that I primed with gesso. Gesso is a semi-opaque acrylic primer and basically what that means is it's a white paint that has a little bit of grit to it. The semi-opaque part means that you could paint over. Say if the head design under here or a painting or drawing and I painted over it, you could still see the painting through the gesso. It's great, you can use this in a lot of different ways. I love using this just as a tool with creating paintings because I like to bring a little bit of it. I edit it out but also have it's still there. Gesso is a wonderful tool for that. I'll just go ahead and tell you about base. Okay, so I'm using today, I have these paints, they're matte acrylic paints from Blick. I just bought a bunch of them one day and I just decided this is what I'm going to use today. Okay, I'm going to get started and sketch this out. When I sketch, I try to just sketch the shape so here is this here, just keep that in mind. I'm trying to sketch the large shapes. Nothing too detailed, just trying to get the vibe, general direction of what is going on in this photo. It's just the general idea. You just want to get the idea down. Okay, now that I've got that sketched out, I'm just going to start, put my picture right there and just go from here. What paintbrushes do I want to start with? I'll pull out my go to paintbrushes. This one keeps falling. Okay, for my go to brushes, I really like this brush. You can see it has a tapered edge. I believe this is called a Filbert, I think. I wanted to say a Phillips head, but that's a screwdriver. Pretty sure this is called a Filbert. There's too much paint on here for me to read. But what it is, is it's got an oval rounded edge, but it's long. I like it. It makes for nice look, can see when I get it wet. There you go. That's a much better picture of what it is, but see how it can get real thin on the edge. You can do some real nice thin lines with this brush as well as thick lines. I like it a lot. I also really love just a good old flat brush like this. See these are two different sizes, but I prefer them to be shorter because personally, I like there to be a little bit of resistance when I'm painting. Sometimes this guy is a little too long. He's to bendy. You can see the difference. I really need to get a short one of these because I think I would love it, but there's benefits to every brush. But these are my go-to's. I also love, which I'm not going to, I don't know I may use these in here here. I love these. These are also Filbert, because it has that rounded edge. They're just really nice. I like the nylon brushes, because they are stiffer than the horse hair. Which some of these I'm not even sure what if these are real, like horse hair or what I can't tell. I'm pretty sure this is one of my mom's brushes from back in the day. I got this one when I was in Italy and no telling when I got that one. But anyways, here's some brush options. These are my go-to's for every day painting as well as a cheap paint brush like this. That you would even just paint your walls with to gesso and to cover large surfaces. These are my go-to's. 4. Painting Process - Part 2: Let's see here. Most importantly, I can't believe I forgot to tell you all this. This is one of my all-time favorite paint brushes that I've ever had, and you can hear it, it's really not that great of a brush, but I got it at IKEA of all places. One of my favorite brushes is from IKEA. I have another one in here somewhere. Here it is. This one's in better shape. It's just basically a bigger version of this, but it's just short handle. I like using it for large surfaces, which I'll probably actually use this first to map out my painting, which I'm going to talk you through all of this as I do it. All right. Let's start. I have my water over here. You can't see it, but I have a little cart over here with my water and my paper towel.This is how I work easily. I have my cart. I always do white, always. I will have a blob of white somewhere. Just because you can just change the, how do you even . These are hard to squeeze out. You can make things lighter, you can change the color of a paint so easy with just some white. I'm just going to squirt out some colors here. Let's get started. Okay. The bottom of this photo, which I don't know if you can see it. I'll try to move it in. Let me see if you can tell. Well, you can partially see it. See this looks like they were getting ready for planting seeds, so, it's a brownish tan ground. If you can see, I'm mixing some colors to get something similar. Okay. First I want you to notice that I have taped off my paper, which I love to do because this is going to have an awesome crisp white edge around it and it's going to be perfect. Remember, keep in mind that my point in this whole painting is going to be loose, and to be more just like gestural, and just get the idea of what I'm doing, not necessarily the details, and so, it's going to be more of like an abstract piece. Sometimes, you can see what I'm doing right now, I like to mix my colors straight onto the canvas or the paper. It gives it a cool vibe, or you can fully mix it on the on the palette if you want. It's up to you. This is all up to you and what you prefer to do. Again, I'm using my little IKEA brush, so, you don't have to have anything fancy. You can use your kids paint brushes from their Crayola paint kit or whatever that they have. Okay. One thing that I like to do too, is try not to see the whole piece of paper as what it is. I don't know if that makes sense. So here in this bottom right-hand corner, it's lighter. It's just lighter here and there's some light here, look at it in terms of shadows, and tones, and highlights, and all that, and you can get more interest. If this was just a solid color, it wouldn't be as interesting, but putting in all these light colors, it's just going to make it so much more interesting. So just look for the changes in color, and highlights, and shadows, and you can really get some cool and interesting parts out of it. Put that right there so that I can get it out of the way. I'm brushing off my paint over here on my paper towel first. I like to wipe it off here. You can see I'm doing this, I'm trying to wipe it off. Oops, it got a little dirty, but that's okay. Actually, I like when stuff like this happens because then you have that underneath what you actually want and makes it just so much more interesting. I'll go back through and work on this more. But at this point, I'm blocking. I call it color-blocking, which I think is the technical term, but I'm pretty sure that's actually what you do call it, color-blocking. I just like to block out my colors to get an idea. 5. Painting Process - Part 3: Now I'm going to start working on the greens. I'm mixing my green, I'm getting a lighter green over here. Then start work this one out. This doesn't have to be perfect again, I am just trying to get the gist of this piece I'm trying just to get the idea of what's going on. This is like, even though for this piece in general, I'm trying to be more abstract. This is exactly how I start all my paintings. I color black it out. It's very vague. It's very like just not really like anything. Then I go and I put in the details afterwards. It's also helpful here to try not to look at the actual objects that you're looking at. Just try to get the color values and the shadows and the highlights and all of that. If you look at it that way, you will see the painting so differently if you were like, here's a tree, I got to paint a tree. It will change so much by looking at it like that. See we already have an idea of what's happening. Looks like a landscape. I love stuff like this is really good practice, just doing quick paintings. I'm going to go ahead and even work on this sky a little bit. Just because I don't like waiting too long to do this sky because I feel like, if I do the sky, it'll mess up. So I'm going to go right away and just work it. Skies are fun because you can just really create a really interesting piece. Look what this sky you're going to come across where you're messing up what you just painted. That's again why I don't like to wait too long to do this sky because I don't want to get too attached to it to where I'm no, that was the most perfect mark and I painted over it because of the stupid sky. Why? you know, you don't want to get into a situation where you're just angry about how your piece turned out. Just take your time. But don't wait too long because I've regretted it and I'm sure other people have too, and explore with this sky. Try different colors in the sky because our skies are always so different and this has, I did put a little bit dark in there, a darker grayish color, which I like. Then you can just go back with some, I've got it black in there. I didn't really mean to put black on my brush, but hey, maybe it'll turn out. I do try to follow the darkness of the photo just to give me an idea because a lot of times you can make up something. But then it doesn't look real because it's like, it's just better. I like painting from a photograph for skies because I can not make up a sky. Our skies are incredible aren't they? That's one of my favorite things, so my greatest inspiration comes from nature. maybe all of it. I'm going go ahead and say all of it because it is just so powerful, so unbelievably powerful. You just can't make it up from memory. Some people probably can because there are some incredibly talented people who have photographic memories out there, but I'm not one of them and I have to look at it because there's just nothing more beautiful than what is already been created for us in nature. I really do feel like honored to be able to even remotely capture this stuff myself and paint. That sky is pretty intense. It's actually more intense than I was planning on, but I think I just kept talking and painting. That's all right. We'll see where it goes. 6. Painting Process - Part 4: One thing too that is nice about these bigger brushes, which I'll demonstrate there right now just so you can see. I actually love using this brush in particular for sky. Because let's say you get a bigger, you can get rid of the busy-ness by a bigger brush. It allows you to have larger stroke so it doesn't look quite so busy. Small strokes is going to be a lot more movement. Larger strokes is going to be less movement. There we go, I like that, I'm going to keep it like that for now. We're going to go back, we rinse this. Put this over here. Let me make sure I rinse my other brush well enough before I leave it to dry. This paint I'm using right now, I know said it earlier, but I just want to reiterate, this is going to dry and you'll be able to see it dries matte. It's looks really flat, which is one of the many finishes you can get an paints. Back to the deets. So let's get back to the deets now that we have gotten our sky up there. Now that I have everything blocked out, I'm now going to go in and be a little bit more intentional with the details. It's not going to be crazy detail because I'm not doing a detailed painting, but I'm going to just be more aware of what I'm doing and not just slap it on there. Pay attention to the color differences, see I added some white in here to give, you can see in this photo like there's light, light, light and then dark. I am trying to work with that, I'm going to do some light, light, and then it had some dark in the front. That just gives you a sense of perspective and depth of field. I was like, "What is that word? I cannot think of it." It gives you a nice sense of the depth of field too. There's other brushes that are better for this, but this is what I like to use, and to be honest, I probably need to go buy some new brushes just to have a greater variety, but you just don't need them. That's if you're a professional artist and you want to be fancy and spend money probably when you don't need to like myself on something that gets the job done just as well, but this [inaudible] is nice because it has that real thin edge, you can get a nice straight, smooth line. I'm going to go back and I'm going to work on this space because I'm not crazy about it, and I want to work on it. Say one problem with this is that it dries really fast [inaudible]. Keep in mind as well. I know I keep saying, "Keep in mind," but just got to keep it in mind that I live in Phoenix and it's really dry here and I had no idea the difference in environment really affected the paint. I used to paint in acrylic back home in Alabama where it's really humid and it would be totally fine, it would not dry up, it would last, acrylic dries fast, but it would last a normal amount of time. Then I start trying to paint acrylic in Phoenix and it'll be dry in minutes. It was just so bizarre to me and I never could figure out why until it dawned on me. I live in a much drier climate, so it's just dryer and it dries up fast. 7. Painting Process - Part 5: You may need to explore different paints. One thing that I don't have is, I have one. I don't have it right here that I can pull it out and show you. They're actually packed up right next to me in my cart, but Golden, who is a brand, this brand Golden. They make a paint called Open, that's like one of their brands of acrylic. It's called Open, and it is awesome because it's a slow drying acrylic. It gives you like the idea. It's like the way I describe it is it's the closest to oil paint you can get without it being oil paint. It's nice because I love painting in oil, but since I paint in my kitchen studio, I don't really want to be painting with oil in here because it's semi toxic, and even though I do typically in the past recently, I've painted with water soluble, how do you say that soluble there we go, solvable I'm just going to pretend like I'm saying that right, oils and they are healthier and safer for you. But still, I just don't really like painting it with oil in the house, it stinks and just feels icky, so Goldens Open Acrylic is such a good alternative I really, really do like it and recommend it for people who want a little bit slower dry time. Slash. Want to paint with oils but don't really want to. All right I'm just going to put some lines, give the idea of some lines in here I see my papers wrinkling up right now. Hopefully it isn't too bad. I may have to flatten this out with books. Once it's all dry, and something that I like to do when I am painting with a tape down piece of paper is I like to make sure that I did like get all to the edges because it's I don't like when there's like a little space on the tape because it just looks incomplete to me, but I'm going to go through and start making sure that I have gotten all my different values in that I want. Color values. I need a little bit more dark green over here which normally I would just mix my colors, but I specifically wanted to paint with these because I have them and I like the colors, they're cool, they're neat. 8. Painting Process - Part 6: I will just sit here and just look back and forth between my piece and just make sure, that I'm just covered all the ground because I like to just double-check everything I like, and then I want it to be done. See, I just made a mistake, but I turned it into a happy accident. Thanks to Bob Ross for teaching us that. I love that, that's one of my favorite things about him is that quote, there are no mistakes there, only happy accidents and that is so true. I switch to one of my flat brushes because every brush is different, every brush is going to give you a different stroke. It may not be terribly different from what you had before, but it's still different, and I switch in through on to get different vibes and different strokes for different vibes. I can add a little bit of this yellow. One thing about these bottles is they're very hard. They do not squirt out easy, you have to really squeeze them. Right now, I'm going through and making sure because there's a lot of light green in this landscape, I want to make sure that I get it all in there. You can see I'm trying to be released and I like this, let's see. It's always good to step back from a piece and just be done. One thing that I really like to do is I like to take photos throughout the whole process which ended not do here. But I really do like doing that to just see my progression, and you can go back and you can just see how far you've gone, start from literally your sketch in just take a photo throughout the whole process and it is fascinating to see how far it's come. What do I want to do here? I don't want to add anymore. I'm going to compare it with my photo. Sky looks pretty strong to me, there are houses in here, but I opted to leave them out, just because you only want them in there. I'm going to put a little bit dark in this bushes, the trees whenever they are, and just go in through and I think I'm going to call that a day. So that right there is a way to paint a quick, loose abstract landscape in this happens to be of Belgium. I will show you all the final product with all the tape off and everything. Once it's dry. Thanks for watching. 9. Final Painting and Tips: Now we have the tape removed and you have this great crisp white edge going along the edge, and it just looks so good. I love taking the tape off. It's one of my favorite parts of this whole process. I do want to give you a tip. Before you start your painting, be sure and just draw your entire paper first, let it dry, and then tape it to the table. I usually do that but I didn't do it on this piece and when I took the tape off, it left this really rough edge texture to the white. You can see it right there. It's fine, but I prefer it not to be there. To avoid it, you just draw the entire thing first, let it dry, tape it down, and then paint, and you should be good to go. I hope you all really enjoy this class. I loved teaching it and I think if you just apply the concepts that I taught you about color blocking and then just do gestural strokes to get the idea of the piece or of the photo, you can apply this to any painting. Anything really, landscapes, floral, whatever. But I hope you enjoyed the class and if you did, please give me a thumbs up and do something. Show me what you paint and upload it to the project tab under the video. Thank you. 10. Bonus: Black Gesso and Gouache: Just for fun, there is actually a thing such as Black Gesso. I just painted my very first. Let me show you. My very first thing with black just so the other day and I haven't painted it yet, but it's the same texture. It's like a matt gritty texture but it's black, which would be pretty cool. Probably even with these matte paints that I've been using a lot lately because they're pretty opaque and even gouache would be really cool on here. Acrylic gouache or regular just gouache. Winsor and Newton makes a designer's gouache as great and it's like watercolor, but it's opaque and it reactivates with water. So like if you are familiar with the watercolor paint, once it dries, you can add water to it and reactivate and keeping painting with the exact same like old palette that you are using. But then there's this brand is called Acryla and it's made by Holbein and it is an acrylic gouache that does not reactivate with water. It Is more like acrylic paint, but it dries Matt. So similar to this matt acrylic paint. But this is super popular. People love this gouache, so that might be worth looking into. It dries matt and it would be really cool on this black paper. I'll probably be doing some test paints with this are really soon.