Easy Holiday Greeting Card - Acrylic Painting For Beginners | Alifya P. Tarwala | Skillshare

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Easy Holiday Greeting Card - Acrylic Painting For Beginners

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

10 Lessons (42m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Brushwork

    • 4. Dimension & Form

    • 5. Painting Process 1 - Background

    • 6. Painting Process 2 - Tree Base

    • 7. Painting Process 3 - Building Layers

    • 8. Painting Process 4 - Layers & Dimension

    • 9. Painting Process 5 - Darks & Snow

    • 10. Final Details & Class Project

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About This Class


In this class, I will be teaching you how to paint a Loose Acrylic Christmas Tree Night Painting that can be used as a holiday Card! Will walk you through this painting step by step, this class is great for beginners. 

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!

*** Follow this class up with another Winter LANDSCAPE - https://skl.sh/3310ldj


  • 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.
  • Brush marks – I will demonstrate basic brush techniques that will be used in today’s class project.
  • Dimension / Form – I will teach you the basics of achieving form in any shape based on color and value.
  • Painting process and details – I will teach you how you can layer and build your colors to add definition to you painting. 


 MATERIALS I USED (but use whatever you have available.)

1) Paints:

  • Arteza Acrylic paints (premium 60 set) - https://bit.ly/3dhihCo – prussian blue, phthalo green, lemon yellow, rose, raw sienna, indian yellow, white & black

2) Brushes:  3/4 flat brush , 8 flat brush, 4 flat brush, 6 filbert brush, 0 filbert brush, 1 round brush, 2 round Princeton art rough brush, 6 rough brush

3) Strathmore Acrylic Paper (5x7") 

5) Glass Palette - https://amzn.to/32w9BWI

6) Glass scraper - https://amzn.to/3mjIWo9

7) Bowl for water

8) Paper towel / rag

9) Gesso - https://amzn.to/3j48nXY

10) Artist Tape - https://amzn.to/2XAtPuI


*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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W e b s i t e (Shop Art & Merch) - https://alifyalifestyle.co/

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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: Hey, everyone. My name is Alifya and I am an artist here in San Jose, California. Welcome to my painting class where I will be showing you how to paint this loose acrylic Christmas tree night scene landscape. Super fun and easy, great for beginners and beyond and I hope this puts you in a cozy, festive mood. We are going to go through materials, exercises on basic brush techniques, and how to understand dimension and form and then we'll walk you through painting this winter scene. This lesson can make great Christmas cards this season or gift a painting to your loved ones. There's nothing more special than making something handmade, so I hope you give this a try. Make yourself a hot chocolate, and let's get started. 2. Materials: For this class, you will need a paper napkin, a bowl full of water, and a tape to tape down your edges. I also use gesso to prime my canvas beforehand, and then these are all the paints that I've used. Again, everything is listed in the description below, so you can get the names of that along with white and black. For my brushes, I've used three different kinds of flat brushes: a large, medium, and then a small. Then, I've used two small brushes. One round brush and then one tiny filbert brush. Then a rough brush. This is optional, but this is a rough brush that I use for splatter paint at the end. Then, this is the Acrylic Strathmore paper that I always use and love. I cut by into a five by seven inch and then a glass palette and then the scraper to scrape off the paint. 3. Brushwork: [MUSIC] Now, let's dive right into some brushwork. I'm going to show you the different marks you can make with my most commonly used brushes, and I'll show you how I apply and use them. Let's first begin with the flat brush. This one is super basic and clean. I use this one for the sky, and you can get simple flat washes with this one, but extremely thin lines if you use the tip of it as well. Similarly, this smaller flat brush works just the same and I use this for a simple flat washes for my landscape, especially when I block off colors in the first step. Like mentioned, these next two brushes are my most used and amongst my favorite to paint landscapes. They are very versatile and are great for that loose style landscape paintings which we love. You can get really great clean flat strokes with this. I love painting this when I am painting huge mountains or to block in shapes, I love using this brush to block in the initial stages. This brush is also great for layering paint on top of one another as well. If you change the direction of the brush and hold it vertically, you can get arch like shapes that can be used for bushes, trees, and loose objects. Because of the brushes arch like shape, it is great for bushes and hence will be great for landscapes. Using the side of the brush or its tip can also be very useful to paint faraway trees or houses, etc. Overall, it's really great for detailing. The smaller size [inaudible] brush is great for smaller bushes and objects far away. I use this long, thin brush in every single painting, which I mostly bring up at the end for detailing. Whether I'm painting florals or landscapes, I always bring this out at the end. This brush can really add some visual interests, with little tiny marks. Today's painting, I use this brush for the grass. I gave it some highlights and little tiny marks far away. This can really also signify and give impressions of little objects far away, so maybe even houses or animals. I even actually sign my art with this brush. If you are wondering how I sign them, it's always with this brush at the very end. [MUSIC] 4. Dimension & Form: In this lesson, I'm going to go over dimension and form. A form is a three-dimensional figure as opposed to a shape being flat. How would you add a form to an object? Well, in painting, you can do that by adding color. In this example here, we have dark tones, mid-tones, light tones, and highlights. This is exactly what you need to turn a flat object and give it some dimension and form. I'm going to show you how. I'll be using red, black, and white to demonstrate this. First, I'm going to block in the shape with just plain red so that we can have a base to start from. This right here is an example of a flat 2D object, which we will now turn into a three-dimensional shape. Now, I'm going to start adding in my mid-tones. I'm going to add some black and white to the red to create that. To get my dark tones, I'm going to add some more black and fill in that edge. Now we're going to take these two colors and blend them in between. You can already see how this is forming a shape. Now let's add in some light tones by mixing in some white. Notice how I'm painting in the direction of the ball. I'm not just painting this up and down. Since this is a round shape, you want to paint in that curve. I'm just going to go back and forth in between my dark tones, mid-tones, and light tones until I'm satisfied and I feel that this looks good. I am just giving it a rough background so that it doesn't feel like this is just floating around. Then, for the highlight, I'm going to take a lot more white and a tiny dab of red. A quick recap. Dark tones are achieved by mixing your original color with some black. Then the more white you mix in, you will get a gradient. You can see how you can move from a dark tone to a mid-tone to light tones and then your highlights. 5. Painting Process 1 - Background: Like always, let's begin with the background. I am using a Prussian blue, black, and white. Using a flat brush, start from the very top directly with the blue and then add some light to see it as you move downwards. Change the direction of your brush constantly by using both the sides to get a rough background. I did not want this to be very clean, but slightly messy, giving the impression of some background of trees. We do not want the background to be in focus, so do not give it too many details, just impressions of objects. In this case, there are some trees and some falling snow, which I will show you how to do in a minute. Adding a bit of black to my brush, I'm making sure to use all sides to my brush to give a different brush strokes and just variety of sizes. Using the corner of my brush, the side of the brush will give you different textures. Also keeping in mind to add vertical strokes to give impressions of far away trees that are blurred out in the background. Using the tip of your brush and pulling it down can help you make tree trunks. Again, doesn't have to be perfect. Adding short, quick strokes of some white to give impressions of snow in the background. The bottom half of this will be snow, so adding a lot more white and a little blue and lay that out to cover the ground here. I'm going to shake this up a little bit and I'm taking in some blue again and making it a bit messy to add some brush strokes here as well to keep it loose. Going back in with some more white and blue and adding some more snow to the background trees. Keep this tone muted because we do not want this to stand out too much, but just peek through the Christmas tree in the front. Remember, short and quick strokes using the corner of your brush. 6. Painting Process 2 - Tree Base: That is it for the background for now. Let's add the Christmas tree in the front. The part that is most exciting. Switch to a smaller flat brush for this and let's begin. Taking black directly, let's get the base of the tree first by adding the trunk. Straight line across, keep it slightly wider at the bottom. Then here, I'm just dabbing in little brush marks to create the foliage of the tree. Hold the brush from the backend to keep your marks loose. Keep turning your brush in different directions to get different sizes and thickness So that I do not mess up on the shape, I sometimes like to get the top half and then I start from the base and then fill in the gaps in between. It just helps me visualize the shape better so that I know how much I need to extend my branches to get the full triangular shape. Now, that we have the base layer done, it is time to build up on the colors layer by layer, and that's all it takes to make this Christmas tree. Let's start with pale green, using that color, mix it with some white and black to give it a more muted color. Using the corner of the brush, I am adding in small specks of this color to the tree, mainly at the top of each foliage since snow would naturally gather the most on the top of the branches and leaves. Be careful not to cover up the base black layer completely. Every single color that we add from now on should be an addition, but not replace all the existing colors completely. Be mindful of that. Now, once you move down the tree with this color we will add the next one, simple, right? 7. Painting Process 3 - Building Layers: Switch to a smaller brush now for more control, and here I'm simply adding some more white to the green mixture we already have, but also adding the slightest Prussian blue to mix the colors of the sky to this highlight. Using the same exact method, add this color to the tree to build up on the layers. But be careful of not covering up the previous layers completely. Don't be afraid of adding some bolder strokes at the bottom where snow usually lies pretty heavy. Keep your brush stroke smaller at the top, and then make them thicker at the bottom of the tree. Switch up the direction to make them more interesting, and always remember to hold your brush from the back to keep it less. Add a brush marker to the foreground snow to make it all blend together, so from now on, any color that you add to your tree make sure to add a few couple of strokes to the foreground base as well to keep the reflection from the tree falling onto the ground. Now, let's add slightly brighter colors to make this tree more festive and fun. I'm taking in some yellow and a lot of white to make this very light pastel yellow, and adding a few marks and specs to that to my tree. Again, same exact method as before. Use the corner of your brush and work your way from top and slowly move downwards. Do not overdo it, make sure to leave room for more colors and also remember to not cover up all your previous layers. Do not forget to also add that same color at the foreground snow as well. 8. Painting Process 4 - Layers & Dimension: At this point, feel free to add in whatever colors you want to make your Christmas tree fun. I wanted some pinkish hue to this, so I am taking in pink and white. I believe the artisan pallet calls this rose. I'm adding this to my tree as well. Getting a bit of that pink to the background, just some few random marks to make this painting blend and flow well together. Next color is raw sienna to add in some more warmth. This time I'm also switching to a much smaller filbert brush so that I can just change up some of my brushstrokes and thickness. I hope you're getting the hang of this and realizing that this whole process is very repetitive. Once you get the first two layers down, it all becomes real easy. Let's go back to white this time to highlight the snow a bit more. I've taken the slightest amount of yellow and added it to the white, but it's mostly just white. Add this color to a few places randomly down the tree to make it pop. Remember to keep your textures and brush marks slightly thicker at the bottom of the tree and smaller at the top to give it the right perspective and fullness. [Just a recap, short, small, and quick brush marks to keep this painting loose and contemporary. This also adds nice juicy textures. Also making sure to always hold your brush from the back handles so that you can allow your brush marks to be more free and not uptight or too controlled. 9. Painting Process 5 - Darks & Snow: Let's now pull in back some of those darker layers we started off with. I'm taking in some Prussian blue and black and bringing out some of those shadows that will allow us to break up some of these shapes, and it will just look visually pleasing overall. Just a bit of this and just a few places here and there. Now, I'm using a small rounded brush to add some falling snow. Taking some whites, simply add tiny dots to the sky and a few in the foreground as well. To add smaller splatter light paint, I like using a rough brash. Dip it in your water first and then in your white paint, but you should have more of a water consistency to get this effect. Afterwards, you simply flick off the bristles to get the splatter paint. Some people even like using an old toothbrush, but you do whatever is easier for you. 10. Final Details & Class Project: The last and final color that I'm going to be adding is this Indian yellow, which is basically an orange. I wanted that orange light glow to this tree so I thought of adding this to it. Adding some final shadows to the background and we are done. This completes our loose and simple acrylic Christmas tree painting for today. Hope this put you in a festive mood and you learned some fun techniques from today's acrylic painting class. This can make a great Christmas card or a gift to your loved ones this season. If you do try this, do not forget to post your projects in the Projects and Resources tab below. I cannot wait to see what you guys come up with. Happy holidays and I will catch you very soon. Happy painting. To shop my arts, do visit my website where I sell my original landscapes and florals, as well as prints in all sizes and much more. To keep up with latest news, do follow me on Instagram where you can stay up to date with my new launches.