Following painting tutorials online can be intimidating, especially when the artist is so talented that it's almost impossible to recreate their art. Most of us realize that each painting is meant to look unique, but it's helpful when the end result is easy enough for beginners to complete.
This fall painting tutorial is inspired by a paint night. Friends and family of all painting skill levels can get together and implement some simple techniques and have fun in the process. Gather up some friends and supplies, and try out this fun falling leaf painting during your next get together.
Equipment / Tools
- Assorted paintbrushes
- Acrylic paint
Sketch Out Trees and Background
The first step is to lightly sketch on one main tree on the left side of the canvas and two smaller trees on the right side of the canvas. When you sketch, use light, short strokes to roughly estimate the size and shape of your trees. It doesn't need to be perfect. Next, sketch in where you want the background to be and the overall shape of your leaves.
Paint Background Colors
Once you're ready for painting, mix up your first color on your palette. Put a small amount of light blue and white. Take a flat angled brush and coat the ends of your brush in white. Next, add a small amount of light blue to the brush and mix this together on the center of your palette. To paint your background, you want there to be strokes of white and blue, so you don't need to mix the two paint colors together completely. Use straight, horizontal strokes to paint in the sky background.
Once the sky is complete, mix together the red you want to use for the main tree. Apply a light wash of this color on the remaining upper canvas. You can create a wash by mixing one part acrylic paint with one or two parts water. Once the light wash is in place, use the main red color to deepen the upper part of the leaves.
Mix the remaining of your red paint with brown acrylic paint, and use that to paint in the background on the bottom of the canvas. These brush strokes should be horizontal and follow the shape of the background, so they will be slightly curved.
Finally, mix together a light wash of green and yellow to paint the leaves of your smaller trees.
Dab on Leaf Details
Use a dabbing technique to start creating some leaves. To do this technique, take a small angled brush and coat the end in a mixture of red and orange. Press the brush firmly down on the canvas and lift up while completing a short stroke. The shape should look like an oval with pointed ends, similar to a leaf. Don't worry so much about the shape.
The dabbing motion is meant to add texture and depth to the canvas. If you aren't seeing much texture on the canvas as you do this motion, add more paint to the end of your brush. Beginner acrylic paintings can tend to look flat and unimpressive. This technique adds some interest to the canvas, so don't be afraid to experiment with it!
Paint in Black Trees
Using a small detail brush, take your time to paint in the silhouette of the trees. Each branch should start thicker then taper off in a random direction. If you are having trouble visualizing branches, test out some branch shapes on a scrap sheet of paper.
One helpful tip for this painting is to make the tree trunks of the trees on the right very thin. By painting thin trunks, you're creating the illusion that those trees are far off in the distance.
Add More Leaf Detailing
Now that the main sections of the painting are complete, it's time to add more details. This painting is meant to look abstract, so don't be too precise with where you place your leaf detailing. We added several straight rows of brown paint to the ground using the dabbing technique. We also added more color variations in the tree leaves.
Hang Up Your Finished Fall Painting
The great thing about acrylic paint is that it's very forgiving. If there is a section of the painting that you don't like, rub off any texture, wait for the paint to dry completely, then paint over it. Experiment with different colors and have fun while you paint. If you're completely stuck, take a break and step away from the painting. When you return, take a photo of the painting with your phone and examine what parts you wish to change, and then start from there. Good luck!