Easy canvas painting ideas – Simple painting #2 Forest waterfall

Forest waterfall

In this tutorial we will walk through this easy canvas painting idea. Remember, you don’t need to copy exactly what I have done. Use your imagination. These tutorials are meant to give you an understanding of techniques and spark ideas within yourself. So, let’s get into it.


Using mostly white and adding tiny amounts of blue at a time, Blue backgroundmix a very light sky blue. Start in the upper corners and work down and in using a wide brush. Add white as you get closer to the center. Bring the blue down about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way down the canvas.

Finish using vertical strokes to create vertical lines. You can add some blue or white to amplify the lines if you like. The idea is to create ghostly lines which will look like trees in the back ground.

Using black fill in the bottom of the canvas, this will eventually be the ground and water so make the top uneven and be sure to have at least one low spot. I just made mounds/hills on either side.

Water and bushesFinish the dark area with horizontal strokes across the bottom. You can add a touch of blue and white in here to create the sheen on the water.


Mix a bit of white with black to get a light grey and paint in random vertical lines of assorted sizes using a smaller brush. The trees further back will appear smaller. Be sure to add branches here and there as well. Now is the best time to throw in some leaves on a few of background trees if you like.

Trees and branches

Leaves are easily created by tapping a wide brush onto the canvas. Mix some white with green (or what ever color you want for your leaves) to get a pale color. Tap in a few background leaves to give a bit of depth. Don’t get too carried away.

Grab your smaller brush again and paint in a few trees in the foreground using black.Foreground trees Remember the trees will appear larger when closer to you. Add branches and limbs to any bushes you want in the foreground.

Now you should be looking to fill the trees with leaves. Same technique as before, use a wide brush and tap the leaves onto the branches. Think about shape and form, don’t just throw leaves up everywhere.

Start with a dark color like black, blue or dark green. Then go over again working to lighter colors. The dark in the back with light on front will create shadows and depth.

Two colors of contrast are good, if you add a third make it bright and only add the odd little sparkle here and there as highlights.

Leaves and bushes

Feel free to add the odd branch here and there while doing this because you will cover most of them with leaves. Do the same to create bushes at the base of the trees. And down to the water’s edge.

I like to throw in one or two bushes or leaves that are completely different in color than the surrounding foliage just to make things pop but it is up to you what you want to do. I added a few bushes in red with yellow highlights.


Okay now this is where you gotta get brave and take a chance. It is not hard, but it is going to be the focal point in the painting. We are going to add a waterfall. I used a fan brush, but any flat brush will do. If you don’t have a flat brush don’t worry this technique will still work just go slow and see how your brush behaves.

You can use white or mix in a tiny bit of blue. Again, color is up to you. The trick is to make one continuous stroke from top to bottom. Decide which direction the water is flowing and start at the top move slightly horizontal before dropping down to the pond.


Think about where the waterfall meets the surface of the pond and stop there. Work your way across the waterfall using the same stroke. You want lines and the illusion of water flowing so keep it gentle and light.

Now where the waterfall meets the pond, make some light horizontal lines to establish the surface of the water.Ripples and waves Work them away from the waterfall. You will see the ripples and waves from the falling water begin to emerge.

You can add some light horizontal strokes to the rest of the pond in white and blue to give the sheen on top of the water. Just be subtle too much will make it look odd.

Using the same brush that you used to make the waterfall, start at the base of the falling water and flick up and out to create splashes. Then using a small brush, load up with white. With your finger, flick the bristles to spatter some water droplets around the splash zone.


Forest waterfall


This painting looks like it took some time, but it can be done very quickly. All the techniques used are simple and easy enough for anyone to do. Give it a try! As always feel free to explore and test yourself. Let your imagination go where it wants. I hope you enjoyed this easy canvas painting idea.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. Did you try this painting? I would love to see your finished painting if you did try it. Do you like this painting? Did you watch the video? Let me know.

Thanks again,


32 Comments on “Easy canvas painting ideas – Simple painting #2 Forest waterfall”

  1. Holy crap your talented dude! I remember back in college I took an art class and was terrible at it lol. But man, I really wanna try this. How long on average do you think it takes to do this? I legit want to actually see if I can do it since it dosn’t seem too hard according to your steps.

    1. Jasmere,
      This painting should take around an hour or so if you are a beginner. I completed this in 40 min. If you give it a try I would love to see the finished product. Give it a try! you can do it.

  2. Oh my goodness Jason, your work is amazing! Love how your break it down with step by step pictures to match. Brilliant.

    Do you happen to do tutorials for children? My daughter is 9 and she loves to paint and wants to improve. She’d love something like this, aimed at her age range on YouTube.

    Thank you

    1. HAve a look at the top of this post, there is a video on youtube. Have her watch it. I honestly believe children can do this painting. I have now got all the bugs worked out and all of my tutorials will have videos from now on. REALLY, ANYONE CAN DO THIS!

  3. Wow you have some amazing talent. Thank you for sharing your art. I have started to go to a couple complete a painting in a day or evening classes and with the right instruction it is amazing what one can accomplish even if you are a beginner in this medium.
    I will be checking out more of your site to get inspired. Great work.

    1. Thanks Monika! I will be posting Tutorials regularly and now I have video sorted out they will all have a video to guide you along. Please come back and check things out! Thank you

    1. Linda,
      I think anyone can do this. I say it over and over. Painting is not hard once you learn a few things and it is a great stress reliever. I say give it a try, what is the worst that could happen?

  4. I have absolutely no artistic talent but maybe my kids will have some hope with your tips. Do you only use one type of paint or do you use various types of paint depending on the medium you paint on?

  5. That’s a great step-by-step guide on how to create a painting. I haven’t tried something like since art class but really does have me wanting to give it a shot again. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. What a nice tutorial! When I was a little girl my painting got awarded at a co-op kind of place. After that, nothing… sadly. I blamed my culture isn’t really supporting for an individual to express freely especially our opinions. Conformity was very important. There is a virtue to it yet I wanted to be encouraged more of individuality which can be drawn in a canvas. I went back to school when I was 34, for interior decorating, I had to draw again… It was so difficult as my way of things are fixed, not flexible enough to express naturally. I wish I knew your site back then!

  7. Hello Jason, thanks for the wonderful article. I have been drawing since I was 7 years old, but I just basic drawing lls. When I went to college, my major was Art. I had a wonderful art instructor that thought me all of the basics of drawing. I have so many art masterpieces in my house, you wouldn’t believe it!!! I have drawn fruit bowls, shower curtains, status, buildings, you name it. Art is something I love to the heart, and I continue to draw on my spare time. You are a very talented artist, and I wish you the best of luck in your work!!

  8. This is absolutely incredible! Thanks so much for the thorough breakdown of the steps. I can’t wait to try this for myself. You have made it seem very attainable even for a beginner! Much appreciated!

  9. Hi there Jason,

    I Love this article and the beautiful images and ideas for canvas painting. This is so very helpful, thank you. And a great video as well. Wow! I really love your website already and I will definitely be back for more. Have a great day!


  10. Your painting is amazing and it’s great how you are sharing your knowledge on this site to bring out the creative side of others. I really appreciate that you provided a written step by step guide as well as the video tutorial. Personally, I feel more confident at trying this out after watching the video but others may just need to read the step by step guide to be able to get going. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Lee,
      I started this site to get others to be more creative. I think that many people are afraid to take on things like this because they believe they are no good at it. The truth is that almost anyone can do this stuff. The tutorials I do on here are of simple paintings that are purposefully chosen so that anyone can do them. I hope you do try this and I would love to see the finished painting.

  11. Wow you make that look so easy. Painting always takes me so long, and I can never figure out what step to do next. Thank you for this guide, makes figuring out the layers much easier.

    I also love what you did with the waterfall. That technique of the single strokes running top to bottom is such a simple, yet effective method.

    Out of curiosity, how long does it take you to complete a painting like this? You make it seem like it takes no time at all!

    Thanks again, very helpful

    1. It looks like it takes very little time because it does take very little time.  This painting can be done between 30-60 min.  I try not to get too detailed with these tutorials because the point it to keep it simple and inspire others to believe they can do it.  Guess what? anyone can do this.


  12. I love this! You’ve made it look so simple, I’m gonna give this a try, and maybe even do it with my 5 year old. When I first looked at the painting I was intimidated by how to do the background, trees, waterfall, and putting them all together. But you’ve broken it down for me in such a way I haven’t been able to find elsewhere.

    I have a box of oil paints sitting in my house and I was scared to use it after my first attempt. Now I have something else to do with it. Thanks for helping me to appreciate art better. I hated art lessons as a child.

    1. I am so glad that this could inspire you to pull the paints out again.  There is nothing to be afraid of.  Even if you feel you made a mistake or ruined a painting there is good news!  You can start again.  Practice and learn.  I think it is fantastic you want to try this with your child.  I think this is so easy even kids can do it.  Please send me a photo if you do complete this painting.  


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *