Acrylic Painting for the Eager Beginner

painting a realistic lemon in acrylic

4.80 (5 reviews)
Arts & Crafts
2 hours
Nov 2021
last update
regular price

What you will learn

Accurately measure and realistically draw a lemon with stem and leaf, copying from the reference photo.

Mix colors for and execute a basic brunaille underpainting in acrylic.

Mix colors for and paint the background, lemon, stem and leaf using a variety of blending techniques.

Layer more transparent coats of paint onto initial painting in order to adjust colors and achieve various realistic textures.

Students will also learn how to judge a good color to sign their paintings, and how to add their signature when finished.


Hi there and welcome to Acrylic Painting for the Eager Beginner!

This course will be a step-by-step, absolute-start-to-absolute-finish journey in creating a realistic acrylic painting, using a photo reference. 

We will begin by walking through what materials and set-up are necessary, then we will briefly get into a good mindset for this class.

Following that, I will walk you through how to draw your image on your canvas, followed by mixing first colors for a rudimentary brunaille (done only in shades of brown) underpainting as your first layer of paint. We will paint this layer together before mixing colors to match our photo for the background.  We will paint the background together, step-by-step as always, doing a basic layer, then additional layers for colors adjustments and texturing.

Then we'll continue on with the shiny, bumpy surface of the lemon, following the same routine, but with different techniques to achieve the texture and colors unique to the lemon peel. Finally, we'll mix and paint colors for the small, sharp stem and the crisp, hard-edged leaf.  We'll then discuss how to choose a good color for painting the edges of the canvas and then we'll mix and paint the edges. Finally, we'll go through how to mix a good color for adding a signature to our paintings, and lastly, we'll sign.

In this class, I address many of the frustrations and confusions that have come up most often with my students over the years.  We will spend time de-mystifying the process so you can find out how painting, like any skill, can be learned and continuously improved if it is approached with an attitude of openness and understanding that time, patience, education, dedication and practice are needed.  If you have those in your wheelhouse, then you can learn to paint and feel gratified and proud of your process and your product.

Thank you sincerely for joining me in this class. I hope you find as much joy in your painting as I find in teaching it.


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Introduction & Set-Up

Drawing the Lemon & Stem Base
Drawing the Stem & Leaf

Brunaille Underpainting

Starting to Mix for Brunaille Underpainting
Finishing Mixing for Brunaille Underpainting
Starting Painting the Background
Finishing Painting the Background
Painting the Lemon
Painting the Stem
Painting the Leaf


Color Discussion & Mixing Background Dull Light Pink
Mixing Background Lighter Blue-Greys
Mixing Background Darker Blue-Greys
Painting the Background - Right Side
Painting the Background - Left Side
Painting the Background - Finishing Base Layer
Glazing the Background
Glazing the Background - Finishing Touches

The Lemon

Mixing the First Lemon Yellows
Mixing the Lemon Core Shadow
Painting Basic Lemon Colors
Glazing & Adjusting Lemon Colors
Texturing the Lemon Skin

The Leaf & Stem

Mixing Basic Stem Colors
Painting the Stem
Mixing Leaf Colors
Painting Inside of the Leaf
Painting Outside of the Leaf

Finishing Touches

Painting the Canvas Edges

Congratulations and Recap




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