Acrylic Painting: How to Paint a Christmas Tree on Canvas Step by Step for Beginners | Elle Byers | Skillshare

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Acrylic Painting: How to Paint a Christmas Tree on Canvas Step by Step for Beginners

teacher avatar Elle Byers, Artist and Teacher

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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

    • 1.

      Intro Christmas Tree


    • 2.

      Paint the Background


    • 3.

      Block in the tree


    • 4.

      Add color


    • 5.

      Paint the branches


    • 6.

      Add lights and snow


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About This Class

Welcome to my class, "How to Paint a Christmas Tree with Acrylic Paint on Canvas for Beginners!"

In this class I teach you how I painted this Christmas Tree on a 6x8 inch canvas step by step.  

Here are the supplies and paint colors I used for this painting:

6 x 8 inch canvas 
palette paper 
paint brushes (I used flat brushes sizes)
water to clean your brushes 
paper towels 
acrylic paint

Paint Colors:
Cerulean Blue
Titanium White 
Cadmium Red Medium
Cadmium Yellow Medium 
Phthalo Blue
Phthalo Green
Turquoise Phthalo
Neutral Gray 8
Neutral Gray 5

If you create a painting inspired by this class, I would love to see it! Click on the "Projects & Resources" tab to upload a photo of your work! 

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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Level: Beginner

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1. Intro Christmas Tree: Hi everyone. My name is Elle. And today I'm going to teach you how I painted this little Christmas tree. I used a six by eight inch canvas. I have a variety of flat brushes. The largest I used is one inch and the smallest I used was a size four. And I did use a couple in between. I have some pallet paper for my palette and some clean water to clean off my brushes. I also have my acrylic paint here. I will list all of the paint colors and supplies that I'm using for today's painting demo. Below the video in the About section. If you paint your own little Christmas tree, I would love to see it. Just click on the projects tab below the video and upload a photo of your work. 2. Paint the Background: I am going to start off painting my sky. And actually my whole background. I'm using some spirulina in blue, some neutral gray, and titanium white. I'm going to have a blue sky with some clouds. And then I'll start to paint the shadows in the snow down on the bottom. Going to wet my brush because I'm using the heavy body acrylics which are pretty thick, so I want it then them out with a little bit of water. I'm just going to use as much water as I need to get a good flow across my canvas. Paint isn't spreading. Try adding a little water or just whetting your paint brush a little. Mixing in a little more grey. And then I'm going to mix in a little bit of white SI, come a little closer down toward my horizon line. And I am not over blending because I like the streaks in the sky like this to sort of mimic some abstract clouds and shapes on the sky. Going to add a little gray as I get closer to the bottom, the gray will be more of a shadow for my snow. I might add some blue to the shadows later. Painting all four sides so that I don't need to frame my painting. It will be a finished look. I'm going to leave that streak. I like that. And I'll add a little streaks for clouds. And now that my canvas is completely covered, I'm going to let this layer dry completely. And then I'm going to start to create my Christmas tree. 3. Block in the tree: This is completely dry. Now, I'm going to take my cadmium red and my fellow Green, and I'm going to mix a black. I don't have any black paint right now, so I'm going to mix my own. I'm going to wet my brush so I can send this out a little. And that is sort of black leans a little green, but that's fine for my tree. You could use a carbon black or another black paint that you have if you want. And it was adding a little water to thin it out. I am going to have my tree. I'm going to just have one big tree in the middle. And I'm going to have it come all the way down. And what I'm gonna do first is add a lot of these shadows within the tree. So I am going to make just some dark marks. If you want to kind of make a thin tree to start. And then we're going to have some branches going out off the side. So I'm going to leave some space here, but this just gives me a good a good visual to go with. This is more, mine came out more green than black, but if I add a little bit more red, I can get it to lean a little more black. And so I'm just roughly putting in the shadows. I am also going to add some more shadow down in the snow with a little bit of a darker neutral gray and maybe even some blue. And this is a shadow that's cast by the tree. And I'm even going to add just a little bit of blue into my, my tree up here. And again, I'm going to let this completely dry so that I can start to add some color and some more tree branches. 4. Add color: Now that my whole painting is blocked in, I'm going to start to add some color. And I'm gonna do this in a few layers. So I'm going to add some pops of color onto the tree right now. And, and I'm going to add some layers of snow down here. And then when that dries, I'll go back on top with a few more branches and then if I need to do a little bit more color so my red paint is still dry. I'm sorry, still wet. So good idea to spritz your palate. If you're waiting a long time between layers. Just to keep your paint. What? I am going to do some like red, orange, pink, yellow lights on my tree. And I think I'll take of size ten brush. And I'm going to just mix some different shades of yellows and pinks and oranges. And I have some blue here. So I might as well make a little purple. And I'm going to just start to add random spots of color to my tree. I'm going to get a clean brush so I can get some cleaner oranges and reds here. And a wet this brush. I'm going on the outside of the tree as well because I'm going to paint some branches coming off in a little bit. And so that color will be behind the branches using heavy body paint. So it's covering up the Black pretty well. If you're not using heavy body paint, you might need to do a couple of layers. You want me to be pretty colorful. I think I'm also going to add a little bit of green, lighter green. Amigo. Maybe I have enough. Let's see, I'm going to graph this. When all these colors will poke through in the end. And I'll cover some of them backup with some branches. All right, that's good for my color there. I am going to let the tree dry and I'm going to add some snow to the ground and a wet my brush. I'm not gonna thin the paint too much because I want the snow to have some texture. I'm going to pick up a little of this blue I think, and just add it. And I'll just leave that and see if I like it at the end. If not, I'll touch it up a little. I don't wanna get too carried away with the snow because it's not really the focal point. Okay. I'm gonna give this just a couple of minutes to dry. And then I'm gonna go back in with some more of my black that I mixed and then just spritz it again so it doesn't dry up on mean. And then we'll work on our branches. 5. Paint the branches: Hey, that is dry and I cleaned my brushes. I am going to start to paint some branches. I'm going to use my dark green black color that I mixed earlier. I kept sprint, sing it with water so it stayed wet enough. I might also add some green and blue. I'm not sure yet. I'm gonna see how it goes. I don't have too much paint on my brush. And I'm going to start to make some branches in like a tree. So some of them will be go over the lights. Some of them are going to have a lot of them going off the side. May even grab a smaller brush and make some that are a little thinner. So I have lots of variety. Some of the areas in the tree you can just leave. I'm like kind of in a blob like that because when you look at a tree, it is dark inside and between the branches. So really if you have a few within the tree and lots go hanging off the edges, you'll get you'll get the effect of Christmas tree. Let me guess that White was still wet. I'm gonna cover up a little bit of the lights. And then I'm going to go back when this is dry and put some on top to just give it that like final glow. I'm just going to leave the stump like that. I think I might put a little snow on it. I think I'm going to add a little turquoise case. Just for some variety. You could mix up a lighter green or just something to give it. Something dark but a little different than the black. I'm going to grab a much thinner brush. This is a size four flat brush. And I'm going to add lots of thin branches coming off the tree. And they're going, they're not all uniform like that and I'm trying to make them go in some different directions. I like my tree so far, but I'm going to add a little weight. Some very light yellow, light pink, Just to make those lights glow a little more. All right. It's time to let this dry. And then I will add finishing touches. I do want this these dark colors to dry completely before I start to add my highlights because I don't want to get any green or black paint mixed in with my white. 6. Add lights and snow: Okay, that is completely dry now, and I'm going to just add more pops of color on top. Very light. Somebody use a lot of white and I'm gonna mix some pinks and light yellow and late orange. And I might even add some snow. So I've categorized cad yellow, some titanium white. Okay. So I have let's see, I cleaned my brushes. I'm gonna go with my size for to start. I mix some light pink. Do some light orange. Now it's really just a personal preference. How much light D1 on your tree? In a mix? Some orange to little more pink. And it's okay. And I wanted to look too much like a patterns or I'm trying to be a little random, different sizes. And the last thing that I am going to do is add a little bit of snow to some of the branches. So I'm going to take my size six brush and the brushes dry. I'm gonna put this on pretty thick. I'm going to just take a few areas and add some snow. And that's it. We have our Christmas tree. I hope you enjoyed my painting demo today. If you would like to be notified every time I post a new class, you can click the follow button right over by my name and you'll get an email every time I have a new painting class, go live. You can also find me on Instagram at L buyers art. I think I'm calling this one finished. Thanks for watching.