Beginners Acrylic Still Life Course – 2/4

Colour mixing for acrylics

A step-by-step still life acrylic painting – Lessons 2a & 2b

In this acrylic cherry still life painting series I am posting a weekly video on my YouTube channel that you can follow along at home. It’s free to subscribe to the channel so you can keep updated with the painting progress…

The next 3 steps

acrylic painting lesson

Step 1. Blocking in the background

It seems counter-intuitive to repaint a white background on a white canvas that I have painted grey.

However, leaving your canvas white when you’re first beginning painting is mistake No.2, mistake No.1 is not starting!
The added white can add texture, movement and a ‘painterly’ quality to your still life’s – very simply and very easily.

Step 2. Establishing a red local colour

Cherry stilllife

The local colour of a subject is just the colour of an object in it’s simplest terms. If you could only choose one colour to paint the whole object that is usually your local colour, not too dark and not too light just like Goldilocks likes her porridge… just right

Step 3. Using glazes to achieve a transparent base

Mixing bright red paint

The Alizarin crimson has a translucent quality which makes it perfect for glazing techniques. A glaze is simply a thin layer of paint that alters and enhances the colours underneath. In this example, it helps to unify the shadow tone with the main colour of the cherry and give it a good base to work the next layer, the more vibrant highlights on top of.

Still Life acrylic painting-  Free video Course |Part 2a &2b

These videos below show the second steps in the acrylic still life painting.

You should follow me on my YouTube Art school Channel so you don’t miss the next video.

If you want to take your still life painting further, you should have a look at my Acrylic Painting Course

You might also like:

1.  Beginners Cherry Still life course – Part 1
2. Beginners Cherry Still Life Course – Part 3 & 4 (video)
3.  Acrylic landscape painting techniques – Part 1. Lessons for an absolute beginner
4. How to choose a basic colour palette for acrylic painting

This Post Has 28 Comments

  1. carlos

    Gracias por estos buenos videos que pena no sean en castellano .De todas formas gracias otra vec

  2. Brooks


    Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Though my final product wasn’t “awesome” the lessons and techniques of this video were invaluable in my development as a painter. I plan to paint this subject again in a few months, working only from the photo, to gauge my progress.


    1. Will Kemp

      Hey Brooks, you’re welome, great to hear you found the lessons helpful in your development as a painter.


  3. janice white

    Hello there Will, am loving all the videos, tips and tuition, as I’ve struggled for so long without basic knowledge of methods and painting systems.

    Please can you tell me when I can get part three of the absolute beginners acrylic painting of the single red cherry?

    thank you so much, jan white.

  4. Kaya

    Great film, I like You mix colours. It really helps;)

    1. Will Kemp

      Good one Kaya, pleased you enjoyed it.


  5. chloechristine

    hi will! what would you suggest for color mixing the green gold and pthalo blue (red) shades?

    1. Will Kemp

      Hi Chloe, you can’t really colour mix the Phthalo blue, you would have to buy the pigment. For the Green Gold, you would need a Phthalo Blue and a green yellow. It’s pigment characteristics are made from ‘Phthalocyanine’ & Arylide Yellow


  6. Vicki

    Love your site and tutorials. I loved art as a teenager, stopped drawing etc when through issues involving the school losing my art coursework at GCSE level I didn’t achieve the grade I needed to do A level and due to the lost work had no portfolio. Stupidly I thought this meant art wasn’t meant to be. This year (15 years later, after doing nothing at all) I started sketching and people love them! I was still so intimidated by painting though. This tutorial was amazing. I feel so much more confident about continuing painting now! My final piece wasn’t amazing but I can see potential now and I just want to say thank you for that!

    1. Will Kemp

      Hi Vicki, pleased you’ve been enjoying the tutorials and have found the lesson helpful in your confidence with painting, here’s to the next painting!

  7. Leena

    Hi Will,

    Till I saw your cherry video, I did not know how amazing acrylic painting is. Thanks for introducing us to this wonderful medium.


    1. Will Kemp

      You’re more than welcome Leena, really pleased you enjoyed the class.

  8. Maya

    I watched the cherry videos. It’s fantastic!
    Thank you!
    I work full time but love to do painting courses but work is in the way and I have no real talent but love to do anything with art and it was such a treat to come across your video to learn something I hope to start one day in my life!
    If you can help me in any way tips and advise, I would really appreciate it :)))

    1. Will Kemp

      You’re welcome Maya, pleased you enjoyed the tutorial. Even painting one canvas a week you can make some great gains in your painting skills. Hope you find the lessons helpful.

  9. Cláudia Albuquerque

    Great lesson! It’s been quite a long time since my last painting, but now I feel like trying this one! It will fit trully well in my living room! But I’ll try it with oils, I bet it will come out as well! Love it! thanks!

    1. Will Kemp

      Good one Claudia, hope you enjoy the lesson.

  10. Ching

    hello :)

    thanks God i found this site it would really help me a lot….it’s kinda tough for me this but I am eager to learn. i love drawing so much but i do not know how to paint and how to mix the color… so i found this site and thank you for sharing your knowledge with us… inshallah to Will.

    1. Will Kemp

      Really pleased you’ve been finding it helpful Ching.

  11. Elizabeth

    I’ve always enjoyed your videos because of the “real” quality of your techniques, but I have to admit I laughed out loud when your brush fell apart. It has happened to me so many times and I was glad to ssee it happened to someone else (on camera)!
    I’m a painter with many years of experience but I still enjoy following along with your tutorials. I don’t always know how to explain something to my students and listening to you helps me find the right words. I know how to do something but I don’t always know how to explain it.
    Your videos are terrific. Keep painting, and Keep on Keeping it REAL!
    -a fan in the US

    1. Will Kemp

      Ha ha, really glad you enjoyed it Elizabeth and so pleased you’ve been finding the teachings helpful to your students.

  12. Johanna

    Hello Will!
    Firstly, thanks a lot for your website, videos and everything! I’m so happy I found you in the net. You are such a good teacher and comprehensive and explain everything so clearly. And your videos demostrate also those things that are easier to show than express verbalylla (actually, when we paint we “talk” in visual language). Painting and learning can be quite problematic at times if you have no-one to turn to. Now I found this platform – great! I started doing this cherry awhile ago but in oils. I have also alternated between different paintings in different stages. I love my cherry but sruggle with those lighter hues reflecting from the ground in bottom area of the cherry. Even though I see what you do! I wonder if its my left hemisphere which disturbs me or/also the medium? I’m well aware of all the positive sides of acrylics but I just love my oils: the luminosity and layering and even the smell of French turpentine. I haven’t bought anyt of your courses yet but I’m definately going to do it in couple of weeks. (Obviously, I’n not a native English speaker so I hope not having done any grave misspellings.)

    1. Will Kemp

      Hi Johanna, really pleased you’ve been enjoying the lessons, and hope the cherry turns out well.

  13. Mayra Ryan

    Hi Will,

    I just did the fish video. Enjoyed it and I’m happy with the results.
    My sister has asked me to do the whole fish so I have drawn the entire fish.
    Looking forward to painting and entire fish.
    Thanks for the videos.

    1. Will Kemp

      Good one Mayra, so pleased you enjoyed the fish video, hope the whole fish goes well!

  14. Taramis

    Hello! If I’m using Winsor & Newton Galeria Titanium white, is that translucent enough without using the medium, or should I add it as well? And thank you for all your tutorials, they’re keeping me very entertained whilst shielding. :)

    1. Will Kemp

      Hi Taramis, the Galeria would work fine, the medium helps to increase the flow of the paint. Glad you’ve been enjoying the lessons.

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