Easy Acrylic Painting Ideas – Simple painting #1 Moon-lit Lake

easy acrylic painting ideas - moonlit lake

If you are looking to learn to paint or you just want something quick and easy to paint, you have come to the right place!  You can easily follow this quick written tutorial on how to slap this simple painting together. This is the first of a continuing series I call Easy Acrylic Painting Ideas. These will all be simple paintings that anyone can do. So, let’s get to it!  Watch the video down at the bottom of this post.

Tools and supplies

Paint:

  • Black
  • Primary Blue
  • Primary Red
  • Titanium White

Brushes:

Some simple brushes will get you through this, but I used a 2” decorator’s brush, a fan brush, an angular and a pointed round. If you don’t know these terms check out my previous post about brushes.

If you don’t have all these brushes it’s fine, just use a small pointed and a larger brush with a chiseled edge or close to it.

Background

I always start with the background. This is the sky and water in the painting. It is difficult to add things in the background after the fact. If you want, you can wet the canvas first to help the colors blend better, but I found a dry canvas gave me the effect I was looking for.

Sky

Using a 2” decorator’s brush (or what ever you have in a large brush), mix blue with a small amount of black and paint the very top of the canvas with crisscross strokes to blend things together.

Add some red to the blue and keep working down the canvas. You are looking for a deep purple color here. I regularly give some straight even strokes across the canvas to smooth things out.

Add a small amount of white into the blue/purple and draw a straight line across the canvas at about 2/3 or so down the canvas. Now use the same Blue/Purple/White and blend up into the darker sky above the line.

I then added a few quick strokes with red on the brush and blended everything in a 45 degree angle up and to the right.

Background Night sky

 

Water

The water should be done with a mix of blue and white to your flavor of color. Work from the sides into the middle using horizontal straight strokes. Keep the lines flat and horizontal. This will make sense later.

Fill the bottom of the canvas below your line like this. It is okay to leave a few light spots and have different shades of blue. Remember the water is reflecting the sky.

Water background

 

Stars and Moon

Grab a small brush, I used a pointed round. Load the brush with pure white paint. Get the brush wet now and work the water and paint together on your palette. You want a runny flowing paint here.Painting Stars

Using another brush, gently tap the paint covered brush against the handle of the other brush to spatter little white dots onto your sky. STARS! Easy Peazy.

Painting the moonUsing the same small brush mix a tiny amount of blue into some white and start with a small circle for your moon. Working in a circular motion grow the moon out to however big you want it. Leaving a mix of different shades in the moon will give it a more textured surface. Like when you see the shadows and craters on the moon.

Trees

I used a mix of my fan brush and my 2” brush to make the trees but use what you have. Start with a vertical line in black paint. Keep it nice and skinny. Then using the chiseled edge of your brush just tap or push the boughs of the tree into existence. You don’t need to be aggressive, start light and play with it until you get the right look.

Painting Trees

Add as many trees as you like. Try not to get too carried away.

Shadows

Mix blue and black to get a dark blue. I used a fan brush but a small pointed round or anything with a sharp edge will work. Gently start at the base of your trees and add some subtle horizontal lines in the general mirrored shape of the trees underneath them. Start very lightly and grow. Try not to slap too much paint on here as this is a subtle shadow we are trying to create.

Painting Tree shadows

Snow

Use your small brush and lay out the general shape of the top of your snow in pure white. Then do the same for where the snow meets the water/ice. Fill in the spaces between with white.

Painting Snow

Now using a slightly larger brush (if you have one) load up with white and paint from the base of each hill up and out following the shape of the top of the hill.

Painting a Snowy hill

 

Grab the small brush and give the snow a solid edge at the water’s edge by tracing the base and cleaning up any brush strokes.

 

Using the brush (or similar) that you used to make the trees, load up with white and tap some snow onto the trees in the same way you painted the trees earlier. Just don’t get too crazy. A small amount of snow on the trees will go a long way. Spread it out and start with very little then add more if you feel the need.

Painting snow on trees

Finishing

Using a sharp-edged brush or the pointed round, add a few tiny horizontal lines in white extending out from the snow. A couple here and there will do.

Then below the moon in relation to trees and shadows and using your knowledge of how a mirror works, add a few faint lines in a rough shape of a circle on the water to give the sheen and reflection of the moon.

 

 Moon ReflectionWater sheen

Finished!

easy acrylic painting ideas - moonlit lake

Obviously, you can use whatever colors and techniques you like. This is a quick tutorial for beginners to help give them a place to start and learn some easy techniques that work very well to create some stunning art.

I hope you enjoyed this first installment of Easy Acrylic Painting Ideas, and if you have questions or comments please leave them below in the comments section. Also, if you did this painting I would love to hear how it went and see the results.

Thanks for reading,

Jason

jason@theaspiringartist.com

26 Comments on “Easy Acrylic Painting Ideas – Simple painting #1 Moon-lit Lake”

  1. Thank you for this great tutorial. I wish I was artistic! My mom goes to a wine & paint group every week. I can’t believe how good her paintings are…I want to try it again some day and will bookmark your site. I need a new hobby! 🎨

    Tammy

    1. I will be posting regular tutorials like this one highlighting easy acrylic painting ideas to help people get into it. It really is not that hard and it is very relaxing and fun. I hope to see you back here again. Thanks for your comments.
      Jason

  2. Wow that’s truly amazing. You make it seem so simple!
    My grandmother is a painter, and that painting reminds me of her work.

    How long would it normally take you to complete a painting like this?

    1. 30 to 40 min. Maybe faster. I recorded this one on video and I will be posting it. The video is about 40 min long but I was talking and explaining as I went. I will be doing more of these tutorials as I get time to paint and all of them will aim to be easy enough to complete within 45 min to an hour tops. These easy acrylic painting ideas are meant to get people into painting by keeping it fast and simple while at the same time creating something you would hang on your wall.
      Thanks for the question,
      Jason

  3. Enjoyed the Post! I like how you showed the progression of the work. The more break down the better, easier to follow. Great job.
    I am working on an Art Site myself:
    The paintings on the site are my own: acrylic on canvas. Soon I will have others showcased as well. . . a building progress . . .
    Best to you, I will be checking back in . . .

  4. Hello Jason, I tried to paint many years ago. I did not have a site like this to teach me these cool technics that you make look so effortless. I think I will think about starting again and use your site to improve my limited skills. Thanks!

    1. Thanks Rodney,
      I will continue to post these types of tutorials showcasing easy acrylic painting ideas. The whole point is to help people get started in painting. All of the featured posts will have simple paintings that anyone can do. A lot of people think that this is hard and you need to be an artist to pull these paintings off. But they are so simple and the techniques I use are so easy even children can learn in no time. Thanks for your comments and I hope to see you back soon
      Cheers,
      Jason

  5. Very interesting. I never tried to paint anything before but you made it seem as though it is not as difficult as a task as I thought. I guess it just takes time and experience to learn the little small things like adding stars. Good information.

    1. OF course certain painting techniques are difficult, and some artists spend years perfecting their craft. I built this site to help others learn that anyone can paint. This was the first of a series of posts that I plan to continue highlighting some simple and easy paintings that anyone can do. Painting can be very relaxing and a whole lot of fun. I hope you come back and maybe try to pick up a brush and find your inner artist.
      Thanks for your comments
      Jason

  6. Awesome tutorial for someone looking to get into acrylic paintings.

    Super easy to follow with the way you broke it down step by step and incorporated pictures as well. Im sure the video will provide even more clarity on the techniques used making it that much better. It looks like you are quite good at what you do as have some very quality paintings on this site and this one is no exception.

    I have a few friends and family that are of the artistic side and I think they would quite like your site and content. I will be sure to tell them about it and direct them this way!

    Cheers

    1. Thanks Mark!
      Just what I was hoping to hear. I really want this stuff to be easy for people to follow. Feel free to send all kinds of people here, not just the artsy. I hope to get people of all walks into painting. It can be so rewarding.
      Jason

  7. For someone who isn’t artistic I actually feel I could create this painting with your easy to understand step-by-step instructions. You clearly have a talent.

  8. Wow, what a gorgeous painting and great directions. I recently attended one of those classes where you can drink a bottle of wine whil you paint…And while it took the nervousness away it certainly didn’t really help me paint any better. The teacher was unfortunately not super helpful either. Your directions here are excellent, I’m going to give this a shot as opposed to attending another ‘class’ like I did last time.

  9. Hi Jason,

    great tutorial! You explain everything beautifully and step by step so even a total novice like myself could do it 🙂

    I think everyone has a creative soul inside them, we just need to tap into it. My plan is to start off slow and follow you. Great post and will be back for more 🙂

    Kev

  10. Interesting tutorial!
    In school painting was of great interest for me. Once I started working I completely left it. But now you inspire me to go into it again. The tutorial was easy to understand. I still have some pencils. I will start exercising with pencil sketches before going into paintings but I would love to learn more and get into painting eventually. When I get there I would need help with what type of canvas to buy, what type of brushes, etc.

    1. Hi Dira,
      It is interesting that you bring up brushes and canvas, it just so happens that I have an article about each on this site. Check out the Brushes here and Canvas here. I am not sure if you read the About me page, but I was in a very similar boat. I got busy with work and life and forgot about the things that made me happy. But now I am back into art again.

  11. Oh wow…such an amazing step by step tutorial! It is so great that each effect and how to get there are explained so clearly.

    I did think of taking up painting as I think it is a good stress reliever, and at the end of the day you get to feel great about your art.

    1. Ya you sure do Alex. I always feel better after painting. Even if the painting didn’t turn out the way I wanted I was still relaxing to do it.
      Thanks for the comments
      Jason

  12. Your site looks fantastic! I love all the step by step instructions. It makes it very doable. I think I’ll have my daughter follow along and try to make this painting. We home school, so it will be perfect. Thank you for all of your time and effort in showing us how to paint this beautiful picture!

    1. Thanks Shelli,
      I hope the tutorials help to get you guys going. Please make sure you send me a photo of what ever you paint. I would love to share how easy it is with everyone else.

  13. Your post has really brought back my interest in art.
    I used to spend my whole day during my youth painting and drawing and this has brought back all those awesome memories.

    Will definitely bookmark your site.

    Looking forward to more interesting posts from you.

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