Acrylic landscape painting techniques – Lessons for beginners Part 1

Acrylic landscape painting techniques – Lessons for beginners Part 1

Morning class, I’m Will Kemp from Will Kemp
Art School and this is part one in a free series showing you how to get started in acrylic
landscape painting. We’re going to start with this image, you can download it straight
from my website and I’m going to show you how to make this. How to get this painting
from the photograph so you can do it yourself at home. On the website I’ve got a list
of all the colours you need, the brushes that I use, but this is video is just how to get
started get your drawing laid out so can create a lovely landscape like this to have on your
wall at home. So step one in starting this landscape painting
is to block out your canvas, to put a coloured ground onto it so that you can work your paintings
on top. I’ve already done that here and you can watch a how to do it video on my how
to apply a coloured ground for acrylic painting video. Okay, the second step is to draw out
the basic shapes that we’ve got here. we’re just after the line drawing. I’m using a
3B pencil here which can be easily erased, it won’t smudge too much yet it’s dark
enough to make a mark. see how it fairly easily makes a mark on the canvas without feeling
that you have to really press into it you know and dent the canvas.
so a quick tip to make sure you get a nice horizontal is just to use a piece of scrap
paper and you line up this edge to the edge of your canvas so it’s like a set square
really. so there, line that up. step two is to assess the tones in the picture
to see where to start and where are the lightest and dark areas. so the first thing to do is
to squint your eyes at this picture. re they squinted? Half close them just so everything
slightly blurs a bit. what you’ll find this does is it makes the dark look darker, the
lights looks lighter and all these what are called halftones kinda of disappear and what
you really get to is the basic structure of the picture and that’s what we are interested
in. So for this the darkest area is this are here of the land so that’s what I’m going
to paint in to start with with the burnt umber. All the information on the brushes that i
use and how to chose a brush for acrylic painting is on my other video or a list of other materials
is on my website. So if you notice how when I’m painting I’m resting onto the canvas
which helps you give leverage and support so you can, with the finer lines, erm it’s
a lot easier to get a straighter line than if your hovering your hand in the air trying
to balance it. So once I’ve got that in I’m now going to swap to this brush to block
in that area. The paint that I’ve got on here, because acrylics dry so quickly, you
want to make sure you get that off otherwise it will go solid on your brush and you won’t
be able to use it. So I’ll dip it into some water and then, you know, rub it into er the
kitchen roll. You get through loads of kitchen role with acrylic and then just squeeze it
at the end and you see how if I put that on there, no, nothing comes out you know it’s
completely clear. that’s just with plain water. It’s always better to have more water
and change it regularly than use the same pot, it get mucky and then what will happen
that all that dirt in your water pot will come in o your colours when your mixing and
you won’t get a nice clean colour. Even though we’re using brown it’s still goos
to keep it clean it’s good professional working habits. okay, so now with the filbert brush. okay
as simple as that. I often paint around the edge for my paintings so I’ll paint around
here. You’ll notice how i haven’t been too heavy handed, you can still see some of
this underground glowing through and that’s really nice and I’ve left little bits where
I’ve not been completely solid because I want a bit of texture, a bit of movement in
this area. So that’s a;; I do for this particular painting with the burnt umber now I’ll put
in some of the highest highlights in the brightest are which is going to be, when we look at
the picture. It’s going to be this area here where the sun is shining through. For
this I’m just going to use titanium white. Do now with the titanium white I’m just
going to block in the very brightest areas. You see how I’m keeping it quite loose and
quite watery. You’ll notice if your not using an artist quality titanium white it
won’t be as thick as this it will be a lot more translucent. You might have to use a
couple of layers. erm when your first starting with acrylics i always recommend buying the
best quality paints you can afford. If you cant afford to go artist quality for
everything, definitely try and invest in an artist quality white because it’ll have so
much more opacity it’ll be able to, see how its covered over the colour
underneath really easily, this will be really beneficial in your future paintings. There’s a slight bit of lightness down here
but not as strong as the others so I’ll just dilute it with a bit of water and just
scrub it in with my finger. So now we’ve got the lights and the darks,
now we can back to the colours that we were mixing before to start blocking in some of
the areas of colour.


  • willkempartschool says:

    Thanks Caramenne, Hope you enjoy them, Will

  • pinksoccer1011 says:

    i love painting that is the only thing i am good at

  • willkempartschool says:

    Thanks californialover7900, glad you enjoyed the video,

  • adikaray says:

    Wow! Your videos are amazing! Thanks for taking out the time to do this for us 🙂

  • willkempartschool says:

    Hi Elaisaful,
    Glad you like the videos.
    The yellow background is called a 'Coloured Ground' and helps you judge tones and you can paint more expressively – leaving the yellow coloured ground to show through the colours I paint on top.

  • willkempartschool says:

    Thanks Shaddy! yes, this will work very well.


  • Ben McMillan • Composer says:

    Thanks so much for this video series, Will. So easily laid out. Have been working some acrylics on terra cotta garden pots, and this really helps lay out a clear method. Cheers!

  • willkempartschool says:

    Hi Euphman, Great to hear the videos have been helpful in painting your pots!

  • Branch Freeman says:

    Thanks for the videos. You are easily the most likable person I've seen in a youtube tutorial. Keep it up!

  • willkempartschool says:

    Very kind of you to say so MrBranchFreeman!
    Glad you like the videos,


  • loveswine2 says:

    You're so kind and generous for posting free video lessons for us newbies! And, I love that you explain painting in simplistic terms. Thank you!

  • willkempartschool says:

    It's my pleasure, so glad the videos help.



  • willkempartschool says:

    You're welcome bobex1234, so pleased it's helped with your coursework,


  • Mark Martinez says:

    Oh my gosh this is amazing!! Do you possibly take resquest for videos?

  • willkempartschool says:

    Thanks Mark, glad you enjoyed it.

  • Mark Martinez says:

    Lol actually this is his daughter 🙂
    I really should get my own account….

  • theeachuisge says:

    did you use any medium or something like that while painting the whole canvas at first? I am asking this because it is really impossible for me to paint the canvas that easily :/

  • willkempartschool says:

    Hi theeachuisge, no medium just water, to answer your other question the canvas was a pre-primed canvas so already had gesso on it.

  • ProjectMoff says:

    wheres part 2 bro?

  • willkempartschool says:

    Hey ProjectMoff, just check my channel all of the lessons are there.

  • Miguel Carvajal says:

    I had no idea you were part of the family! Now I have an incentive to join them. Great video, by the way…

  • Naresh Bhatnagar says:

    Thanks a lot , it was a great help !!!!

  • willkempartschool says:

    Good one Naresh! Glad it helped.


  • geraldine says:

    Very helpful video, colour mixing great

  • Iris Song says:

    I am just starting learning how to paint. Your lessons are really great! Thanks for sharing them. One question: Why did you cover the whole canvas with yellow orange(if I am correct) not blue first?

  • willkempartschool says:

    Hi Iris,

    Glad you like the videos.

    The yellow background is called a 'Coloured Ground' and helps you judge tones and you can paint more expressively – leaving the yellow coloured ground to show through the colours I paint on top.

    In this example it adds a nice warm under glow to the painting.


  • Iris Song says:

    Thanks Will. You are the best teacher. It's amazing that I have learned a lot from your website and I am really impressed by the way how good you are at explaining things. 🙂

  • willkempartschool says:

    Good one apstractgirl!

    Let me know how you get on, say thanks to your art teacher from me,


  • Janil Lurica says:

    hey. is it okay if ill use a poster color? instead of acrylic? or what? im confused. i need your help. pls reply. thankssss 🙂

  • willkempartschool says:

    You could give it a go with poster paints, but the results wouldn't be as good and you wouldn't get the same amount of coverage.

    But have a go,


  • Silent K says:

    hey will,
    these are great videos, and very informative.I noticed quite a ew comments asking you "why you covered your canvas in a yellow/orange background" while you did address thes comments, i think more people are wondering why the choice for your "colored ground" was orange, instead of say a grey or black or blue.

    also could we get some music credits?


  • willkempartschool says:

    Hey Keith,

    The Yellow ochre adds a nice warm under glow to the painting, rather than a black, blue or grey that would deaden down the colours that go on top.

    For beaches, sunsets or anything ( usually landscapes) that need a warmth shining through go for a warm ground.

    If you go to the cherry tutorial you'll see I use a cooler ground and explain why in more detail at the beginning of the video,



  • Christian von Sydow says:

    Hi Will,
    I was just wondering, would it be possible for you to give me a direct link to the picture you used as I can't seem to find it on your blog.
    Many thanks

  • willkempartschool says:

    Hi Christian, just click the direct link below the video in the description.

  • Alex Garcia says:

    hi I am a complete beginner in painting . i tried watching your video on how to aply an acrylic coloured ground but its blocked in my country (U.S.A.) is there any way i can access  it ??

  • Arunima Mahajan says:

    Hi Will, Can we do the same with water colours?

  • andrewlloyd78 says:

    Hi Will, I'm pretty much a beginner in painting, but I like to do research before starting on something. I can tell all these lessons are going to be very helpful when I get started this weekend on an acrylic landscape.
    So a big thanks to you for the guides (and doing it for free!)
    Also, nice choice of acoustic music in the acrylic landscape tutorials!

  • Cheryl Gray says:

    Hi Will.  First a huge thank you for these videos and your website! I have started into acrylics with absolutely no experience and have found you the most helpful of any sites I've been to on this subject. I'm about to start your landscape for beginners. I have applied the background but I'm wondering how long I should leave it dry before painting over it. Is there a rule of thumb on how long to let it dry or does it depend on what you are doing?  
    Thanks again and Cheers to you too!   Cheryl

  • TheNanabanana127 says:

    Will Kemp my husband just bought me some supplies and found your video for me. I've never tried to paint before, this is so exciting! Thanks for creating these videos!

  • Luba Roshchyna says:

    hi Will, many thanks for such a great video and all your free tutorials. Very generous and kind of you!
    If I buy a canvas or canvas board that have a note saying it can be used directly/have high quality acrylic coating/primed with acrylic gesso/etc. is it necessary to apply gesso before the colored ground?

  • Gumamela Chin says:

    Thank you, teacher…I learned so much…

  • Debbie Cook says:


  • Leon says:

    Great work. Keep it up. Thx for now.

  • Angelena Boden says:

    Hi Will Just found your part one video but it seems there's no access to the others! i will have to make it up as I go along 🙁

  • Smenry says:

    Thank you so much, will. I learn things from you, things I wouldn't learn from anyone else Thank You, and best regards!

  • anna8 says:

    hi will Im an absolute beginner in acrylic painting. I just want to ask if there is an alternative to yellow ochre as an under color. what other other shades of yellow could be used? thank you. i have been watching a lot of your videos and they are very very informative

  • steve ebbage says:

    I can't see where on your website to download this image?

  • madam 555 says:

    thank you so much.your masterclasses are very helpful

  • Preeti Phalange says:

    What type of canvas are u using

  • 21st Century Butterfly says:

    Hello Will, I was wondering if you have a tutorial on how you choose the color for the 'colored ground'? Or can you explain how you chose?
    Thank you!! Heather

  • Parvaiz Naseem says:

    Watched all 4 Videos. Absolutely wonderful! Great help in Acrylic Painting!!

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