When making acrylic landscape paintings, or landscape paintings in general, a number of factors come into play. The composition, color choice, temperature and shapes all produce varying effects on your final piece. It is therefore necessary to understand these kind of variables and how they interact in order to create a beautiful painting. So have created a step by step acrylic painting tutorial that will allow you to create pieces worthy of hanging on your living room wall. For this, we will be using acrylic on canvas, as it produces the best results.
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When starting off creating an acrylic painting, you need to gather the right things to make your painting sessions more efficient. First of all, you will of course need acrylic paint. You can buy many different colors, such as ultramarine blue and yellow ochre. When buying them, make sure that they are of quality so that your final piece isn’t affected. You can buy a great set of acrylics here.
You will also need an acrylic brush as well. There are many different types, such as a flat brush, or a synthetic brush. You can find some good ones online, especially for beginners. Make sure you get a brush set rather than individual brushes, as there is greater variety. Also, you can vary your utensils by using items such as palette knives, which can create stunning textures that amplify your work.
Lastly, you will need a canvas with acrylic paint to paint on. You could use a primer if you wish, but for simplicity we will leave that out for now. The canvas will allow you to easily create layers of paint without ruining it. We will also link a great canvas you can use below, but it is ultimately up to you to decide what you want to use.
Creating the base
Once you’ve collected all your utensils, you will need to select a scene. Don’t worry about this too much at the beginning, as you will need to create lots of painting when practicing, so it shouldn’t be too time-consuming. However, if you want to settle for a refined piece, make sure the composition is good. This means looking at how the objects interact with each other in the scene, and where it leads the viewers eye. Look at where the bright colors are placed, and where the dark shadows are.
For example, if you want something to be more visible in the foreground, add lighter colors to make it stand out. You can then add darker variations of that color in the background to unify the piece. Let’s say there’s a house. You can use bright colours for that, and darker colours for the trees and scenery. This is a sure-fire way to make anything stand out.
A lot of times, beginners take the finer details too seriously. They try to paint every blade of grass, every leaf in the tree, and every brick in the wall. This, in reality, just wastes your time, as it can look unnatural and bizarre. Since when have you walked across the park and noticed every blade of grass there is? Likely never. So it’s the same principle here as well.
Instead, what you can do is give the illusion of detail. Use a palette knife to create sharp edges for trees or houses. Use a soft brush to gently dab at the canvas to create the image of shrubbery or grass. Not only will this look more natural, but it will also take less of your time. When detail is actually placed, it should be placed in a way that the viewer will notice, and is essential to composition. For example, you can add the windows and doors of a house in detail if that is the focus of the painting.
Beginner painters may tend to focus less on color than they actually should. This is because they want to replicate exactly what they see, which is good, but not very creative. If you really want to capture attention, you have to make sure that you use an array of colours in a subtle way, which is what experienced painters do. Use lighter shades of the same color for a softer effect, and use different variations of colors.
A lot of the time, people just add black to the color to make it a darker shade, or white to make it a lighter shade. While this does work, it is not good for the overall aesthetic. It makes your piece look monotonous and dull. So try this next time instead.
If you want a lighter green, let’s say, instead of adding white, add a touch of yellow. It makes the green look a lot more interesting, and it gives different levels of temperature and warmth. To make a cooler green, add a touch of light blue instead. It will make your painting so much nicer to look at, as it adds depth.
You essentially separate the colors that make up that color, and add more of one than the other to change temperature and hue. Blue and red makes purple, so add more blue to the purple to make it cooler, and add more red to make it warmer. Simple.
One of the main benefits of acrylics is its easy ability to layer. It is very important that you take advantage of this and use it in your paintings. If you want a softer look for a specific part, for example the sky, then by all means do it in one layer. But if you want to create distinct separations between subjects, then wait a bit for your painting to dry before proceeding on to the next layer. When you create these separations, your piece looks a lot more refined with a couple of layers.