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

    • 2. Preparing the Paper

    • 3. Painting Process - Part 1

    • 4. Painting Process - Part 2

    • 5. Painting Process - Part 3

    • 6. Painting Process - Part 4

    • 7. Painting Process - Part 5

    • 8. Painting Process - Part 6

    • 9. Final Painting and Tips

    • 10. Bonus: Black Gesso and Gouache

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About This Class


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.


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.


1. Introduction: Hey, everyone. My name is Laurie Ann and I'm an artist in Phoenix, Arizona. Today I'm going to show you how to paint abstract landscapes using acrylic paint. I'm gonna walk you through my process from start to finish. I'm going to show you my favorite materials. I'm gonna show you the way I paint everything today. I'm gonna be working from a photo that I took from Belgium a few months ago. It's just a very simple landscape, and but you can use whatever landscape voter 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 gonna 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: Hey, everyone. I'm going to show you how to prepare your paper for my painting classes for these classes. I've been using this cancer on watercolor paper. This is a great paper at will Link it in the description, but it is super cheap. It's like 10 bucks 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 water color. Right. Okay. So I I'm going to just So my paper first and you definitely always want to work on the rough side of this. There's, like, more of a smooth side and then a rough sides of first to prepare. We're gonna use Jess. Oh, I love my Jessa from Golden. It's just a really good quality, Jess. Oh, and I like it. So I recommend this. All you need is just a regular old paintbrush. And get this at a hardware store. Just something cheap, that is, you know, wider so that you can cover more surface area. We're gonna get started. So whenever I just so I do not like water it down at all, I just go straight into the paint. Just start painting. Just make sure you cover all your surface, the whole surface area and, well, for me, it's OK. The paint on the table. But if that's not OK for you, then you should definitely get put something underneath here in the reason why you want to go all the way to the edge. Because once this is dry, um, we're gonna tape it down. And 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 that watercolor paper and you'll leave you with a really rough texture on the edge. And and it can even pull off some of the paint on the painting. So just make sure groups just make sure you get all the way to the edge. Okay, Once your paper is fully dry, we are going to tape it down. This is just an artist tape that's white. I like white, and we 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, that will link it in the description. So I'm just gonna tape it down in the way that I like to tape. I'm trying. I'm just getting it straight with my table right now, but I like to do it, like half half on the tape and half on paper, or happen half on the paper and half on the table. So you can kind of you kind of see there. It's a little transparent, so you can sort of see through it. That's just, like, kind of a general rule some, and then you will know how toe do the others. Okay, And there you have it. You are ready to paint. And I just want Teoh reiterate how important it is to Jess. Oh, your paper. Lenin Awfully dry before you tape it down. Because this is Jessica. When we remove our tape, it's gonna have a very nice clean edge. Otherwise, it could rip the paper off if you don't. Just so it all took all the way to the edge. Um, it will rip like the top layer of the watercolor paper off. That is how you prepare your paper for my classes and 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, and I'm gonna try to keep it really loose and simple. Just not over. Work it like it will be more semi abstract, but more so. Just like you get the idea of the photo instead of you see, like, the whole photo. This is a photo that I took in Belgium, and it was on a recent trip, Um, that my husband I took earlier this year, and I was just like, the simplicity of it. I feel like it's perfect for this piece, so I'm just gonna get started first. How I like to start my paintings is a sketch it out. I usually will grab like a pencil. That is completely opposite from any color in here. Um, it doesn't really matter. I don't really know why I do that. I just like to have something like green that would just be, like, really up like London. But the purple kind of 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 Jess. Oh, just So is a semi opaque acrylic primer. And basically what that means is it's a white paint that kind of has a little bit of grit to it. And the semi opaque part means that like you could paint over like, say, if they've had a design under here or painting or drawing and I painted over it, you could still kind of see it. See the painting through the Jess. Oh, so it's great. You can use this in a lot of different ways. I love using this just as a tool with, um, creating paintings because I like to bring a little bit of it. I kind of edited out, but also have It's still there. Just It was a wonderful tool for that. All right, And I'll just go ahead and tell you about base. Okay, So I'm using today. I have these paints there. Matt acrylic paints from Blick, and I just bought a bunch of them one time one day, and I just decided this is what I'm going to use today. Okay. When get started and sketched this out when I sketch, I try to, like, just sketch the shape. So here is this here, So just cannot keep that in mind. I'm trying to keep I'm trying to sketch the large shapes, Nothing to detail. Just trying to get the vibe general direction of what is going on in this photo. So it's kind of the general idea. You just want to kind of get the idea down. Okay, Now that I've got that sketched out kind of start, I put my picture right there. Kind of Just go from here. Alright? What? Paintbrushes don't want to start with. I love This is one of my good. I'll pull out my go to paint fresh. This one keeps falling. Okay, for my go to brushes, I really like this brush. You can kind of say it has, like, a tapered edge. Believe this is called a of Filbert. I think I wanted to say Phillips head, but that's a screwdriver. Pretty sure this is called Filbert. It is too much paint on here for me to read, but what it is is it's kind of it's got like, an oval rounded edge, but it's long. I like it. It's just it makes for nice. Like, look, can see when I get what get There you go. That's a much better picture of what it is. But see how it can get. Really, like thin on the edge. You can do some real nice, like, kind of thin lines with this brush as well as, like, thick lines. I like it a lot. I also really love just a good old flat brush like this. And I prefer See, these are two different sizes, but I prefer them to be shorter because personally, I like there to be a little bit of like resistance when I'm, uh, painting place. Sometimes this guy is a little too long. He's too bendy. You can kind of see the difference. Um, I really need to get, like, a short one of these kids. I think I would love it, but there's there's benefits to every brush, but these are my go twos. I also love which I'm not gonna I make you season here. I love these. These are also Filbert because it has that rounded edge, and they're just really nice. And I like, um, the nylon brushes because they can are stiffer than the horsehair. Um, which some of these I'm not even sure what if these air riel like horse hair or what? I can't tell a pretty sure this is like one of my mom's fresh is 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 some brush options. These are my go twos for every day painting, as well as a cheap, just kind of paint brush like this that you would even just paint your walls with. Two just so and to cover like large surfaces. So these are my go twos. 4. Painting Process - Part 2: unless here. Oh, and most importantly, I can't believe I forgot to tell you all this. This is one of my all time favorite paintbrushes that I've ever had, and you can hear it. It's like, really not that great of a brush. But I got it at Kia, of all places. One of my favorite brushes is for my Kia and have another one in here somewhere here in this, this one thinks one's in better shape, but it's just a short It's just basically like a bigger version of this, But it just short handle. And I like using it for large surfaces, which I'll probably actually use this first to get to map out my painting, which I'm gonna talk you through all of this as I do it. All right, All right. So let's start, and I have my water over here. You can't see it, but have a little cart over here with my water and my paper towel. This is how I, um, work easily. I have my cart. All right. How a start hours do white. Always. I will have a blob of white somewhere just because you can just change the like the Do you even know how you worded? These are kind of hard to squeeze out. You can make things lighter. You change the color of a paint so easy with just some light. So much has scored out some colors here. Right. Let's get started. Okay. So the bottom of this photo, which I don't know if you can see it, I'll try toe. Move it in. Let me see if you can tell. Well, you can partially see it. Um, see, this is kind of like a looks like they were getting ready for planting seeds, so it's kind of a brownish tan ground. If you can see, I'm mixing some colors to kind of get something similar. Okay. First, I want you to notice that I have have taped off my paper, which I love to do, because then this is gonna have an awesome, crisp, white edge around it, and it's gonna be perfect. All right. Remember, keep in mind that I'm also like my point, and this whole painting is kind of be loose. And to be more just, like gestural and just kind of get the idea of what I'm doing that necessarily the details , and so is gonna be more of, like an abstract peace. And sometimes, like he answered, I'm doing right now, I like to mix my colors on straight onto the campus or the paper. It gives it kind of a cool, um, vibe or even fully mix it on the on the the palate. If you want. It's up to you. This is all up to you. And like what? You prefer to dio again, I'm using my little like a brush so you don't have to have anything fancy in use. Like your kids paintbrushes from there, you know, Crayola paint kit or whatever that they have. Um, okay. One thing that I like to do to is I try not to see the whole piece of paper as like what it iss I don't if that makes sense, like so here in this bottom right here, quarter, It's lighter, just lighter here and there. Some light here, like here. Like look at it in terms of like, um, shadows and tones and, um, highlights and all that, and you can kind of get more interest. Like if this was just a solid, like color, this it wouldn't be as interesting. But putting in all these these light colors, it's just gonna make it so much more interesting. So just look for the look for the changes in color and highlights and shadows, and you can really get some cool and interesting parts out of it. That right there So I can get now the way I am brushing else my paint over here on my paper towel first, like toe. Wipe it off like here. You see him doing this, trying to wipe it off, get a little dirty, but that's okay, actually, like, win stuff like this kind of happens, because then you have that, um, underneath what you actually want and it makes it just so much more interesting and I'll go back through and work on this more. But I'm just at this point I'm walking. I call it color walking, which I think is the technical term. Um, I'm pretty sure that's actually what you do. Call it color blocking. I just like to block out my colors to kind of get an idea 5. Painting Process - Part 3: right. So now I'm going to start working on the greens and mixing my green and getting a lighter green over here from the start. Kind of walk this out and 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. And 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, a color, block it out, very vague. It's very like just not really like anything. And then I go and I and I put in the details afterwards, - and and it's also helpful here, too. Try not to look at the, um, the actual objects that you're looking at is trying to get, like the color values and the shadows and the highlights and all of that, like it's still if you look at it that way, you will see the painting so differently. If you were like, Okay, here's a tree. I gotta paint a tree like it will just It will change so much by looking at it like that. See, we already have an idea of what's happening. And are you count? Looks like a landscape, right? And I love stuff like this. Like this is this is just, like, really good practice. Just kind of doing quick, quick paintings. - All right, so I'm gonna go ahead and even work on this guy a little bit just cause I like I don't like waiting too long to do this guy, because then I feel like, Oh, no, if I do this guy, it'll mess up. So gonna get a lot of white and just kind of work it in and skies air fun because you can just really create, like, a really interesting piece. See, look, with this guy you're going to cram across where you're kind of missing up, but you just painted. So that's again, like, why I don't like toe wait too long to do this guy because I don't want to get too attached to it toe where I'm like 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 like angry about her 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 to and explore with this guy like try try different colors in this guy because our skies are always so different. And this has I did put a little bit of, like, dark in there like, um uh, a darker kind of grayish color. It's kind of like and then you can just go back with some I got black and there didn't really need toe put black on my brush. But, hey, maybe it'll turn out and I do try to follow like the the darkness of the photo just to kind of give me an idea cause a lot of times you can make up something, but then it doesn't look really, because it's like, Oh, no, it's just better. Just I like painting from a photograph for skies because I cannot make up a sky our skies like are incredible, aren't they? That's one of my favorite things. Like my So my greatest inspiration comes from nature. I mean, like, maybe all of it. I mean, I'm gonna go ahead and say all of it because it is just so powerful, so unbelievable, unbelievably powerful. And I you just can't make it up from memory. I mean, some people probably can cause there's some incredibly talented people who have photographic memories out there. But I'm not one of them, and I have to look at it cause there's just nothing, nothing more beautiful than what has already been created for us in nature. So I feel I really do feel like honored to be ableto yeah, remotely capture this stuff myself and pain, right? So that's guy is pretty intense, is actually more intense, and I was planning on. But I think I just kind of kept talking and painting and that's all right. Well, we'll see. We will see where it goes. 6. Painting Process - Part 4: one thing to that is nice about these bigger brushes, which I'll demonstrate that right now. Just so you see, actually love using this brush in particular four sky. Because let's see you get a bigger like you. Can Khanna get rid of the busy nous by a bigger brush? It allows you to have larger stroke, so it doesn't look quite so is it? Small strokes is gonna be a lot more movement. Larger strokes is going to be less movement. There we go. I like that. I'm gonna keep it like that for now. All right, so we're gonna go back. I mean, rinse this. That's every year. Me and you make sure rents my other brush well enough before I leave it to dry. And this pain I'm using right now. I know I said it earlier, but I just want to reiterate this is gonna dry. Um, and you'll be able to see it. It dries matte. So it's not going, so it looks like, really, really kind of flat, which is, you know, one as many finishes you can get and paints. Okay. Woops kind of put that in my pain. All right. Back to the DEETs. Let's get back to the DEETs. Now that we have gotten our sky up there, What kind of? Now that I have everything blocked out, I'm now gonna go in and be a little bit more intentional with the details. And by that I mean just Mm, explain this. I mean, it's not gonna be like, you know, crazy detail, because I'm not doing a detailed painting, but I'm going to just be more kind of aware of what I'm doing and not just slap it on there . Pay attention to, like, the color differences. Like CIA added some white in here toe give you can kind of see in this photo like there's light, light, light and the dark. So I am trying Teoh kind of work with that. I'm gonna do some light light, and then it had some dark in the front. That just kind of gives you, like, a sense of, uh oh, gosh. Perspective and depth of field. I was like, What is that word? I cannot think of it. It gives you, like a nice sense of, like, the depth of field too. This Filbert, It can give you a really nice and 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 tohave a greater variety. But you just don't need, um my That's if you're like a professional artist and you wanna be fancy and spend money. Probably when you don't need to like myself on something that gets the job done, Justus. Well, but this filter is nice because it can give you because it has that real thin edge. You can get a nice street. Smooth line. Okay, I'm going to go back, and I'm gonna work on this space because I'm not crazy about it. And I want to work on that. What say one problem with this? Is that it already It It kind of dries really fast, this pain and keep in mind as well. And I know I keep saying keep in mind, but he's got keep it in mind that I live in Phoenix and it's really dry here, and I had no idea the difference in like environment really affected the paint. Like I used to paint in a curl IQ back home in Alabama, where it's really humid, and it would be totally fine, like it would not dry up. It would last. You know what really drives fast, but it would last like a normal amount of time. And then I start trying to paint acrylic in Phoenix and would be dry in minutes. And it was just so bizarre to me. And I never, like, configure out Why until it dawned on me. Oh, I live in a much drier climate, so it's just dryer and it dries up fast. 7. Painting Process - Part 5: so you may need to explore different paints. And one thing that I don't have it. You 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, um, Golden, Who is this brand? The sprain 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. So it's it's kind of gives you like the idea. This, like the It's like the way I describe it is it's the closest toe oil paint you can get without it being oil paint. So it's kind of 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 and here because it's semi toxic. And even though I do typically well in the past recently have Point painted with Water Saw Saloon. How do you say that salable area saw level. I'm just gonna 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 kind of stinks and just no feels kind of icky. So Golden's 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 one of paint with oils but don't really want to. Oh, right, there's gonna kind of put some lines. Give the idea of some lines in here. See my papers wrinkling up right now. So hopefully it isn't to ban. It may have to flatten us out with books once it's all dry. And something that I like to do when I am painting with the tape down piece of paper is like to make sure that I did, like, get all to the edges cause it's like, kind of and I don't like one. There's, like a little space on the tape because it just kind of looks and complete to me. But all right, what's here? I'm gonna kind of go through and start making sure that I have gotten all my different values in that I want color values. Okay, 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 ease, because I have, um and I like the colors. They're cool. They're neat. Come back a little bit. 8. Painting Process - Part 6: then I will just sit here and kind of just look back and forth between my photo in my piece and just make sure that I'm just covered all the ground because I like toe just double check that. It's everything I like and that I want to be done and 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. It's one of my favorite things about him. Is that quote there? No mistakes there, only happy accidents. And that is so true, so, so true, Right? So I switched to one of my flat brushes because every brush is different. Every brush is going to give you a different like stroke, really. And you know, it may not be terribly different from what you have before, but it's still different, and I like, kind of, you know, switching through home to get different. Different vibes and different strokes, different strokes for different books can you will be more of a Sheila. Something about these bottles is they're very hard. They do not squirt out easy, easy have toe really squeeze them so right now I'm going through, and I'm 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. I am, Ah, trying to be real loose. And I like this. Let's see, it's always good to step back from a piece and just, like, be done. And one thing that I really like to do is I like to take photos throughout the whole process, which I did not do here. But I really do like doing that to kind of just like Seema Progression. And you can go back and you can just see how far you've gone. Like, Okay, start from literally your sketch and just kind of take a photo throughout the whole process . And it is fascinating to see how far it's come. Okay, What do I want to do here? Don't want to add any more. Okay. I'm gonna compare it with my photo. The sky looks pretty strong to me. There are houses in here, but I opted toe. Leave them out just because I just don't really want him in there. They're gonna put a little bit dark in these bushes trays, whatever they are. Um, just going through and kind of right. I think I'm going to call that a day so that right there is a way to paint a quick, loose, abstract landscape, and this happens to be of Belgium, and I will show you all the final product, like with all the tape off and everything. Um, once it strikes already. Thanks for watching. 9. Final Painting and Tips: Okay, so 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 is one of my favorite parts of this whole process. I do want to give you a tip. Um, before you start your painting, be sure. And Jess? Oh, your entire paper. First let it dry and then tape it to the table. I did not do. 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 my, um, to the white. You can kind of see it right there, and it's fine. But, you know, I prefer it not to be there. So to avoid it, you just just so the entire thing. First let it dry, tape it down, and then paint, and you should be good to go. I hope you'll really enjoy this class. I loved teaching it, and I think if you just apply the concepts that are taught you about color blocking and then kind of just do gestural strokes to get the idea of the peace or of the photo. You'll You gonna find this to any painting? Anything. Really? Landscapes, florals, whatever. Um but I hope you enjoy the class. And if you did, please give me a thumbs up and and do something. Show me what you paint and upload it to the project tab in the under the video. Thank you. 10. Bonus: Black Gesso and Gouache: just for fun. There is actually a thing such as Black, just so. I just painted my very first show. You e just just the very first thing with black. Just another day and I haven't painted it yet, but it's this kind of the same texture. It's like a mat gritty texture. But it's black, which would be pretty cool, probably even with these Matt paints that I've been using a lot lately, cause they're pretty opaque and even, um, wash would be really cool on here. Acrylic wash or regular? Just wash Windsor Newton makes a designer's Squash is great, and it's kind of like water color, but it's opaque and it reactivates with water. So, like if you are familiar with watercolor, paint you. Once it dries, you can add water to it and reactivated and keep paying painting with the exact same like old palette that you were using. But then there's this brand is called a Crillon, and it's, um, made by whole line, and it is a new acrylic wash that does not reactivate with water. It's more like acrylic paint, but it dries matte so similar to this Matt acrylic paint. But this is super popular. People love this squash, so that may be worth looking into and it dries matte, and it would be really cool on this black paper. I'll probably be doing some tests paints with this really soon.