Acrylic Painting: How to Paint a Landscape Step by Step with Acrylic Paint on Canvas | Elle Byers | Skillshare

Acrylic Painting: How to Paint a Landscape Step by Step with Acrylic Paint on Canvas

Elle Byers, Artist and Teacher

Acrylic Painting: How to Paint a Landscape Step by Step with Acrylic Paint on Canvas

Elle Byers, Artist and Teacher

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5 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Block in Colors

    • 3. Start to add layers

    • 4. Layering & Details

    • 5. Final Details

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About This Class

Acrylic Painting for Beginners - How to Paint an Abstract Landscape on Canvas Step by Step!

Welcome to my acrylic painting class!  In this class, I am going to teach you how to paint an abstract landscape with acrylic paint on canvas. Each step is broken down into shorter lessons so you can learn the techniques I use to create paintings just like this one.  I show you the paint colors and supplies that I use, how I block in my composition, and how I layer my acrylic paint to create a sense of depth in my paintings.

I hope that this class inspires you to create your own landscape painting! 

I have my reference photo and a supply list below. If you create a painting, I would love to see it! Click on "Projects & Resources" below the video and then "Create Project"  to upload a photo of your seascape painting. 

6 x 8 inch canvas
Flat paint brushes, size 12 and size 1 inch
Water to clean your brushes
Palette paper or a paper plate
Acrylic paint 

Paint Colors (I use Golden Fluid Acrylics)
Turquoise Phthalo 
Hansa Yellow Medium
Titanium White 
Carbon Black 
Raw Umber

Golden paints are professional grade paints and therefore they are expensive. If you are a beginner, I encourage you to look at some of the student grade paint options such as Liquitex Basics or Blick.

I used this reference photo for the composition but decided to make my ocean much more stormy! 
The reference photo is from

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Meet Your Teacher

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Elle Byers

Artist and Teacher


Hello, I'm Elle Byers. I'm an artist and a teacher.  My favorite medium is acrylic paint and my favorite subject is flowers!  Check out all of my Skillshare classes at the bottom of this page. 

If you want to see what I'm up to on a daily basis, you can follow me on Instagram.  My available paintings can be purchased on my website, 

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1. Introduction : Hi everyone, welcome to my abstract landscape painting class. Today, I'm going to teach you how I painted this small abstract landscape. I used a six by eight inch canvas. I'm using pallet paper for my palette. I have water and paper towels for clean up. I'm using two different size brushes today. You're both flat brushes and this one is a size 12. This one is a one-inch brush. I have five paint colors that I'm going to use. Turquoise, philo, carbon black, RA hamburger, titanium white, and handset yellow, medium. I will list all of my supplies and paint colors below the video in the About section. And I will also upload a photo of my painting as well as my reference photo so that you can use them for reference as well. If you create a painting today and you would like to share it, you can post that on the projects tab, which is also located below the video. Alright, let's get started. 2. Block in Colors: I am going to start my painting by mixing some my darkest values. I'm using turquoise place. I'm going to use a lower raw number. And carbon black. I love the turquoise, but it's a little more saturated. Then I want to use this landscape today. So I'm gonna mix in some raw, unburned. It'll kinda just darken in and desaturated a bit. Most of my painting is going to be this guy. It's going to be more of a sky scape, cloudy sky. When I look at my reference photo, I can see that there is a line of trees in the background. I'm not gonna paint little trees are circles. I m just going to represent them by just creating a darker value across the horizon. I want my painting today to be a little more abstract. So I'm gonna try not to get too caught up in the individual shapes of things. I just want to make sure I get the values right. And I'll add details as I go along. But this is basically going to be my horizon line with my trees. And when I look at the field, I see some diagonal type lines in the field that are dark. So I'm going to add those n, not going to make them to street to perfect looking. And I am going to carry my painting over to the sides, on the top and the bottom. I think this makes the painting look more finished if you're not going to frame it. Alright, so that is basically what mine landscape is going to look like. And then I'll come back in what some lighter values and a minute. I want to, I'm going to mix some carbon black in with my turquoise and ROM burnout. I want my clouds to be really dark. Or the stormy clouds is a couple of stormy clouds. I can always go back in and lighten them up, but I want my sky to be dramatic. So I'm going to have dark and light high contrast sky. My canvas is only six by eight inches, so I'm not using the reference photo too closely. I'm just trying to get a basic composition. Figure out where my darkest areas they're going to be and then just work around that. It's a good idea. If you're trying to paint abstract too. Just glance at the reference photo every once in a while. But don't try to copy it exactly. Going to add in some way to enlighten us up. So we'll call our, I think that's a nice midtone. And I'm going to put that around my dark areas. So I'm going to build from dark to medium to light. And what I'm taking from the reference photo right now is the direction of the clouds. So it looks like I have some clouds moving up in this direction, but also that direction. And by following that pattern roughly, I'm going to create a sky that looks like it has a lot of movement happening. Don't be afraid to leave your paint little bit unmixed so that when you put your brush on your canvas, you're getting some marks that are already kind of swirled, I guess, for lack of a better word, you get variation and the color just from one brush stroke and will save you from having to go in and put a lot of detail later on. Trying to put the paint on pretty thin so that it will dry quickly. And I can move on to my second layer faster. Really, we're just blocking things and right now you can go over this as many times as you want to get the right details. I'm just trying to keep it very loose today. And so I'm painting quickly. And I'm going to put some of my yellow, a little more turquoise on my palette to mix a green, which is going to wipe my brush a little on my craft paper here. Putting some green next to my turquoise. And I'm going to mix it in with a little of this here. And when it light, but I wanted to lean a little more yellow. If your color is too saturated for what you're looking for, you can add in a little of your raw number or carbon black. Or with green, you can even add in a little bit of red and it will saturate a color. I'll give you more of a brown, green or an avocado type Green. Okay, so I'm just gonna finish covering my canvas and then I'm going to let this layer dry. It start to add details. To paint the bottom of my Canvas solid green. The top and the sides will be carried over from the painting. But even if you hang this on a wall, you won't really see at the bottom. Okay, I'm going to let this dry and then we will start to layer. 3. Start to add layers: Ok. That is dry enough now that I can start to layer a little bit more, I'm going to do my dark values again. Want my color to be slightly different than what I put down the first time so that I have subtle variations. So that looks to much the same to me. I am going to yeah, a little bit of why. That looks slightly different. That's what I'm going for array now. So this is going to be, this whole area right here will be the most dramatic part of the sky. And I'm gonna go around the very dark areas with more midtone now. Same colors, just adding in a little bit of white. And then I'll get some nice shadows that way. So if I look at my reference photo above the darkest areas are more of my midtone values. And it's the darkest areas that provide the shadow and the depth. And if you just paint quickly, don't overthink it. Look more for the medium, light and dark. And Consider the shapes as far is where something is large, there's a large dark area and it kinda goes across the sky, but don't get too caught up in making something exact. Putting, trying to put a lot of subtle differences in with the different values. So it's not just flat black, there's a little bit of blue and gray in there as well. Now I'm going to let my sky dry and work on the land. Because I want to start to add some weight into the sky. And if I do that right now, it's going to be very gray lookings. It's just going to blend with the turquoise and the black that are already, they're going to add some yellow. What my treeline look a little more green so it doesn't look like it's part of the sky. And would like to darken it a little though I'm going to add a little of my brown and black. And you can see that's giving me more of a forest green color. And I'm adding a little white so that I can get just a little differentiation in the tree line. Not making tree shapes. But you can have your brushstrokes go up and down or a little swirled and it'll break it up from the rest of the landscape. I'm adding a little more yellow. And I'm just putting in some long loose brush strokes. I'm trying to keep the angle that's shown in the reference photo, but I'm not copying it exactly. Okay, I'm going to let this layer dry. And then my next layer will be a lot more details. 4. Layering & Details: I'm going to add some big details in my sky. And I'm going to use a big brush for my cloud. So I'm using a clean brush one inch. And I'm going to make some highlighted areas. And we're gonna hold my brush loose. I'm glancing at the reference photo for the location of my highlights, my puffy clouds. But I'm not trying to copy them exactly. I'm just for the composition, trying to get the angles and rough position of the clouds so that so that it has a good overall composition. I like the big brush for this because I have less control over it. And hopefully I'll have some good surprises. The great thing about acrylic paint is a dry so quickly that even if you via due to many clouds or you don't like the clouds that you made. You can paint over them. Parody thing that I did too many. So I'm going to blend, blend some gray in with them. Let's see what I have here. That's still bad, but that's kinda blue. A little bit of black. It's gonna mix whatever I have on my palette here. And just add some grey to the bottom of my clouds. So I'm just gonna wipe my brush and go back over them now again with white. And it won't come out as pure way this time because I already had a little gray on my brush in the greys wet so it all blends together right on the canvas. And commas later than I wanted to break it to saturated. And that blend some black and turkey waste together. Try to D saturate out a little. I'm going to let the sky dry for a little bit and I'm going to work on the land again. And then I'll assess and see if there are any final touches that I want to make. Let's say this is still wet here. What I add layers onto the land this time I'm going to try to vary my brush strokes a little so that I get more visual interest. So I'm going to have some lines. And I just kinda pull down and some going across. But just by having a few different types of marks, you'll get something a little more visually pleasing. No rush so that I can make a nicer yellow, a green. Had too much black. New back to the small brush. I'm going to put a little of the black in there to D saturated a tiny bit, not too much. Just want a couple of highlighted areas that have some white and LAM. That was a little too much and dark and my tree line a little on the right side. Little Probably Yellow. Okay. I am going to let this dry and then see if I need to add any finishing touches. 5. Final Details: Hey, I let that dry. Mostly, dry enough. And I'm happy with my overall composition. There's nothing that I want, nothing major I want to change. I'm going to just add a few pops of white into my clouds. And then I'll be finished. If you create your own landscape painting, I would love to see it. You can post it in the Projects tab which was underneath the video. Just click on projects and then create project. And you can upload your photo. Touching up the sides. I'm listing the pink colors and supplies that are used for today's class. Under the video as well, you'll see the word a boat. You can click on a boat and they'll be a list of supplies. I'll post a photo of my painting as well as the reference photo that I used. And if you want to be notified every time I post a new video, just click follow next to my name, which is either rate under or rate above the video. I can't remember. But there's a little Follow button and you'll get an email anytime I post a new class. You can also tag me on Instagram and I'll share your work over on Instagram. My Instagram is at l buyers. I compost that below as well. Okay. I'm calling this one finished. Thanks for watching.