24 May 2024β€’Mont Marte
Acrylic Advanced Oil Painting

How to paint a forest

1.  Canvas prep



-    Divide the canvas into 8 equal grids and place 8 grids on your reference sheet for guidance (this is especially helpful for beginners!)

-    Tint the canvas using acrylics by mixing Crimson with a touch of Phthalo Blue

-    Apply using a large gesso brush

-    This layer adds underlying warmth to the colours on top and prevents white from peeking through

-    Let the canvas dry completely

2.  Painting trees



-    Paint the trees using Lamp Black acrylic, thinned with a little water for better flow

-    Refer to your reference sheet and vary the angles and thicknesses of the trees for a natural look

-    Use the edge of your Filbert brush to create finer branches

-    Allow to dry completely

3.  Adding the forest floor



-    Moving on to the oils!

-    Squeeze out Medium Yellow, Orange Yellow, Vermillion, Lemon Yellow, Light Green, Sap Green, and Titanium White oil paints on your palette

-    Use a white charcoal pencil to mark the line where the forest floor will be

-    Paint the forest floor with Sap Green mixed with Lemon Yellow, varying the greens and adding different tones for interest

-     Be careful when painting between the trees

4.  How to paint leaves



-    This is an Autumn scene so the leaves will painted in yellows, oranges, and some greens

-    Using a Filbert brush in short, dabbing motions, apply leaves over the trees

-    Don’t clean your brush between colours to allow natural blending and a range of subtle colours

-    Paint smaller leaves in the background between the trees using a smaller Filbert brush

5.  How to paint the sun



-    The sun is low in the sky, peeking through the trees

-    Paint a circle with Titanium White between the trees

-    Surround the white circle with light yellow, then orange, to suggest the sun's glow

-    Scumble yellow onto nearby branches and stumps to enhance the glow

-    To scumble, load your brush with colour, wipe off the excess, and lightly drag it over the dry underlayer

6.  How to paint the sky



-    Now it’s time to paint the negative spaces between branches and around leaves

-    Squeeze out Lemon Yellow, Orange Yellow, Vermillion, Violet, Phthalo Blue, and Titanium White on your palette

-    Blend each colour into white, keeping the colour pure at the top so you have a colour gradient on your palette

-    Radiate colours from the sun, transitioning from Lemon Yellow + White, to Orange Yellow + White, to Vermillion + White, to Violet + White, and finally to Phthalo Blue

-    This slow transition creates a realistic sky effect

7.  Final Touches



-    Create a very light mix with Titanium White, a little Raw Umber, and a touch of Violet

-    Scumble this mix onto the trees for a subtle coat

-    Add shadows with black to enhance depth and realism


Voila! This project is a great combination of structured techniques and creative freedom. Enjoy the process and explore more landscapes with your newfound skills.

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