Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Simple Christmas Acrylic Painting

Bringing Home the Perfect Tree
an acrylic painting
16" x 20"


A Simple Christmas Acrylic Painting


Sometimes a simple painting can be the perfect decorative item for your home during the winter months.  The acrylic painting above, Bringing Home the Perfect Tree, is an example of just that. 


What says winter and Christmas more than snow, a sled and an evergreen tree?  This simple version is painted as a “sketch” with even a few pencil marks showing for the scale of the sled.    The painting shows movement and allows one’s imagination to come to life in the painting….it encourages one to use imagination to tell the story of the painting  through the sled and tree moving off of the painting on the right. 


Supplies Needed:
Canvas panel:  I used a 16” x 20” white primed stretched canvas

Brushes:  flat and round  (sizes of your choice)


  • White
  • Black
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Medium Orange
  • Cadmium Red Lt.
  • Crimson
  • Cadmium Yellow
  • Raw Umber
  • Sap Green 
    Note:  Learning to mix colors is an important part of achieving harmonious colors in your paintings.  Practice mixing the paint rather than using a premixed color. 

  • Brown can be mixed from the colors above (red, yellow and blue or orange and blue).
  • Green can be mixed from the colors above (yellow and blue).
Painting Instructions:
Lightly sketch the sled on the canvas with detail given to the sled runners.  Refer to painting above.

Using a flat brush, lay in the snow areas of your painting.  Snow is not only “white.”  Notice the shadows in the snow (especially under the sled) and add a little black to make gray or a little bit of blue paint.  See where the snow was compacted under the sled runners?  Painting those areas with a white mixed with blue or black will show those shadows.  The snow under the sled is also in shadow from the tree.    Paint a light wash of white over the pencil marks around the sled, allowing these markings to show through the paint. 
The sled is painted in various shades of brown mixed from Raw Umber as well as a brown mix from orange and blue.  White and/or yellow can be added to lighten the shades of brown.  Blue can be added to deepen the shade or brown.  Black can be used sparingly to add shadow on the runners.  Work with the colors and refer to the painting above for shadows and light. 
Evergreen Tree:
Trunk:  Block in the truck with Raw Sienna and come back over the top and add in darker and lighter areas of brown to indicate the bark on the trunk.  This does not need to be detailed.
Prepare several shades of green paint before starting to paint the branches.  The branches will be shades of light, medium and dark green to show light and shadow.  Using either a large round brush or a flat brush, paint the branches in a sweeping motion painting from bottom to top.  Add layer on layer of varying greens to make the tree realistic.  Again, this is not detailed – step back from your painting to view your painting and see where you need to add paint.  Let some background white snow show through. 
Check the sled for any details you would like to add.  The snow can be deepened and movement can be created in the background snow using shadows to show “humps” in the now.  Rarely is snow on a completely flat surface.   The “pencil marks” can be enhanced by using a liner brush and painting these sketch marks. 
You can make this painting your own by add
Sign your painting!  Congratulations!

Happy Painting!

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