Acrylic Painting Lesson 3: Basic color mixing

The goal of the third lesson is to practice mixing and applying your own colors. The third painting in the book is a "Pasture Scene" which hardly looks like a pasture in my opinion.

Again, I have turned the lesson into something more and made it about color mixing and exploring different types of brushes.

You may wonder why I say I'm doing the 50 paintings with the book if I keep doing other things, but the book does get better. The first lessons are painfully simple to help people who are true beginners.

For my version of this lesson, I chose an old photo I'd taken of a field in Gettysburg in the spring.

Gettysburg springtime fieldMy photo of a Gettysburg field in springtime

I liked my sky too much to cover it all up, so the trees in the painting aren't as tall or are seen from a greater distance.

painting: spring forest and field3 of 50 - Gettysburg Springtime 3/21/2018

Status: Not for sale yet

Color Mixing

I began by making the main section division with some unbleached titanium.

The sky was overcast on the day I took the photo, but I thought a little blue would look better. I painted the sky with a mix of light blue permanent, mars black, titanium white, and matte acrylic medium.

It took me awhile to find right shade of green. I played around with unbleached titanium, cadmium yellow medium hue, ultramarine blue, light blue permanent, and a dot of cadmium red medium hue until I was satisfied. I added more blue and gray for some grass shadows in the foreground.

Experimenting with Paintbrushes

I filled in the green grass area solid and then used the drying round brush for some texture of brushstrokes in the tan area and the green. I used the flat comb brush for more variety of grasses in the foreground.

For the tree trunks, I mixed up a brown with hints of purple using yellow ochre, mars black, alizarin crimson, and light blue permanent.

I used a small flat brush to make happy little trees and their friends. (Yes, I grew up watching Bob Ross!)

I added more yellow to the same green I used for the grass and applied some spring leaves with a fan brush.

I mixed up the right color for the redbud blossoms using titanium white, cadmium red medium hue, light blue permanent, and gumbacher purple. I used a fan brush to add them to the painting.

Finally, I used point of the #5 and cadmium yellow medium hue to dot some dandelions and buttercups.


Thankfully, my biggest challenge today was getting out too many paint tubes and having them fall on the floor a couple of times. I need a bigger container to carry them.

Today my young observer (age 5) respected the boundaries of my painting space. I was happy to have her watch from the right spot. I told her the color names as I added them to my palette. She was most eager to watch me stir them together.

She wanted to do a snowman painting since it's snowing here today, but we spent our time outside building several snowmen and sledding.

I feel like today was a success and I accomplished what I intended.

More to Explore

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