Acrylic Misty Landscape Painting

by Wendi OBrien

Painting with Acrylics

In today’s video I will be walking you through the process of how I completed a landscape painting using acrylics. 


First off this canvas was huge.  It measured 48” wide x 24 inches tall.  I love working big, but wow this is the biggest piece I have worked on and completed that wasn’t on a wall.  That in itself was an accomplishment.


I chose this concept, as I liked the overall feel of the piece and the colors are perfect for my dining room. Just starting into it makes you drift into another world.

In the Beginning

I began by first coating the canvas with a yellow acrylic paint.  I then used other yellows, ochres, rusts, greens and whites to create the misty appearance.  Since acrylic dries quickly, I like to pick up a bit of matte medium to help spread the paint a bit more evenly by increasing the viscosity just a bit.  It helps to blend the colors a bit each to create smooth gradients as well.

Mixing Colors on the Canvas

As you watch me work, you will also find that I like to mix my colors on the canvas vs my pallet.  I tend to do this is most mediums most of the time, but there are instances where I will blend on the pallet first when I need a very specific color for basing or blending.

Use the Correct Size Brush

Since I was working so large it was also important that I use a larger brush to spread my paint for the background and blending in the initial stages.  This helps to get those smooth blends and helps to ensure that your paint will stay wet long enough to be able to work the areas.

Keeping Your Paint Wet

Other ways to keep you paint moist longer is by using mediums that extend the open time of your paint, meaning it doesn’t dry as fast.  You can also mist with a bit of water, but be sure it is a thin mist and not big puddles as that will affect the appearance of your final piece and leave water spots or puddling in some cases.

If you find that your pallet is drying out you can also mist it with a bit of water or use a wet pallet.  Both are great options.  I tend to lean toward to the we pallet over the spray, but it is personal preference to how you work.

Wet Pallet

Another great thing about a wet pallet is that you can cover it and save your paint for the next day for larger projects.  In fact, I have used the same we pallet for well over a week, so with proper care it will work well.  It will start to smell after a bit, so be sure to listen to your nose and change it out since that is an indication of mold starting to grow in your pallet.

Should I Wrap the Painting Around the Edges?

I decided early on that I was going to wrap my painting around the edges.  If you decide to do that, it is a good idea to create your gradients and subjects around as you are working instead of waiting to the end for a more seamless painting.

After I completed the background I switched to a smaller brush and roughly sketched in where I wanted my distant trees.  I then used a bit of white to create a mist that appears to go through the trees.

Painting the Foreground

Once that was completed I started working on the foreground putting the trees in varying the sizes of my trunks.

Though they may look black it is actually black and dark brown mixture so I could have more of two tone appearance and room for some shadows.

Establishing Perspective

I used size and girth to help establish the perspective in this piece.  The further away the trees the smaller the trunks and more of the canopy you can see.  The closer the tree the thicker the trunks and less of the canopy that is visible.

Changing Tools to Create Texture

I then used a sea sponge for the texture of the bushes and tree leaves. This method is a great way to get a lot of texture quickly and worked well with the feel and appearance I was trying to achieve.

I work the different areas making adjustments throughout from the misty appearance to the ground texture and various trees until I achieve the final look I am happy with. 

What are some of your favorite tips, techniques or shortcuts you use with acrylic paints?  Would love to hear about them in the comments below. 

Until next time…keep on arting!

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