Paint like Monet: Acrylic Landscape Painting Lesson – Part 3

monet acrylic tutorial

A step-by-step Impressionist Acrylic Painting – Part 3

In this Impressionistic landscape 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 blog to receive updates so you can keep up with the acrylic painting progress…

How to Paint like Monet – Free video Course |Part 3

This video below shows adding detail to the focal point, bringing more interest to the sky and working the landscape painting to more of a finish.


The next 7 steps

adding detail to an acrylic landscape

Step #1. Adding a fine line.

To start with, I introduce a fine line detail into the house in the centre of the piece. I’m not looking for much detail as we’re trying to keep the feel of the painting nice and loose. I paint a thin line just under the roof so it refines the shape.

The darker line is made with a mix of the Cobalt Violet hue, Ultramarine blue and white.

mixing green acrylics

Step #2. Creating contrast at the focal point.

I then swap to the number 10 round synthetic brush to add some darker green trees around the building. To make the Permanent green light darker, I mix in some Ultramarine blue and a touch of the Alizarin crimson.

The video below shows how green can be dulled by mixing in red.

foreground landscape

Step #3. Separating the foreground & middle-ground.

Using the Cadmium yellow medium, I paint in a crisper horizon line. This helps to separate the foreground and the mid-ground.

The yellow line does two things.

  1. The straight line is a contrast to the painterly brush marks in the rest of the painting.
  2. The yellow, because it is directly next to the purple, uses the optical effects of simultaneous contrast to add a new vibrancy to the colour.

Simultaneous contrast in art

Simultaneous contrast is the optical effect that occurs when two colours are placed directly next to each other.

The biggest effect on your colour scheme is when you have two highly saturated complementary colours side by side.

Watch the video below to see the optical effects of simultaneous contrast on yellow.

Look out for the purple at the 1.00-minute mark to see how vibrant it suddenly appears.

Throughout the video, the central yellow square doesn’t change.

When you are mixing colours you have to remember that colour is relative. It changes depending on the colours surrounding it, the light shining on it, the thickness of paint.

These all make a difference to the final result, there isn’t a ‘perfect green for grass’ because every landscape will appear differently, depending on the surrounding colours.

light and shadow

Step #4. Creating more contrast in the building.

I now check the tonal contrast of the piece and feel that the side of the house in the sunlight could be lightened a bit more. Using a warm cream, I repaint over the top. This change in contrast helps to give more realism to the building.

complementary colour scheme

Step #5. Using complementary colours.

Using red to add interest

Using the Cadmium Red Light, straight from the tube, I add little dots to indicate a tractor and then further dots just to move your eye along the picture.

Again, using the complementary scheme of red and green (notice how each time the red is on top of the green) I can add interest to the focal point in the painting.

Pro tip: Depending on the opacity of the pigment you are using (student grade paints are often less opaque than artist grade) you may need to paint over the yellow. As acrylics dry quickly you can easily build up the vibrancy of a colour. I then begin to bring this yellow colour around the whole of the painting as I did with the turquoise in Lesson 1 of this Impressionist series.

mixing purple acrylics

Step #6. Varying the purple.

I add a darker purple (made from a mix of Ultramarine Blue & Alizarin Crimson) to balance the darker green we put in earlier.

I also vary the tint of the mixture by adding white and use vertical brushstrokes to bring a different energy to the piece.

monet brush technique

painting skies acrylic

Step#7. Adding gestural brush strokes to the sky.

I now tidy up the shape of the mountain with the Titanium White to add more contrast to the painting.

Assessing the painting at this stage, the blue of the sky feels like it could handle more movement to balance all the brush marks in the foreground.

Vary the brushstroke as you work and look at your painting from a distance to judge how the colours are sitting together.

end of monet lesson 3

The impressionist painting at the end of Part 3.

Make sure to subscribe (it’s free) to keep updated, you’ll get email updates when the next video is posted.

Next week, for the final Part 4, we’ll adjust the foreground shapes to give the piece a bit more balance.

You Might Also Like:
How to paint like Monet – Part 1

How to Paint like Monet – Part 2
How to Paint like Monet – Part 4 

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. ardeshir bagheri

    Dear William,

    It’s fantastic, harmony of colors and contemporary beauties lay together to make such a masterpiece, so happy colors that bring some energy and happiness.

    You know how to use opposite colors and make nice mixtures.

    I wish one day we could have all those mixtures as an table, to be kept and used as an guideline for every body from basic to the top.

  2. Bill Hildebrand

    I am a new acrylic painter, love doing landscapes. I am excited about your teaching method and will be looking forward to working with your on line classes.

    1. Will Kemp

      Hi Bill, great to hear it!


  3. Rosalba Acosta

    Hace años tome clases de pintura al oleo. No he pintado mucho, pero desde que vi tus videos me emocioné y estoy intentando acrylic aunque no tengo la experiencia tus clases son extraordinarias y se que lo voy a lograr.

    Years ago to take oil painting classes. I have not painted much, but since I saw your videos I got excited and I’m trying acrylic although I have experience your classes are extraordinary and I will achieve that.
    Thank you!

    1. Will Kemp

      Thanks Rosalba, so pleased you’ve been enjoying the painting lessons and you’re feeling inspired with the tutorials! Cheers,


      Gracias Rosalba, tan contento de haber podido disfrutar de las clases de pintura y te sientes inspirado con los tutoriales! Saludos,

  4. Nancy Hall

    Dear Will, you are so kind to help a complete beginner such as myself. I want so much to paint but am woefully restricted in my ability to travel. You have given me hope, and I am learning so much from your very clear instruction. I have been working on the apple but got too much paint on it, and need to start over. I need to be patient and learn to correct mistakes differently. Thank you for your help.

    1. Will Kemp

      You’re welcome Nacny, really hope the tutorials have been helpful in your studies.

  5. Stephanie Daly

    Hi Will,

    This Monet style painting looks beautiful! Thank you very much for sharing it! I’m in the middle of painting it but encountering the problem of not able to get the blue and turquoise colors like yours, might be because I’m not using the cobalt blue the same brand as yours, will have to get the one you have.
    I also have a question about the “draw your eyes to …) you often talk about in your videos, in this Monet painting, there’s the white you put in on the horizon, then the house and the trees, then all the different pops of colors in the foreground, all seem to be drawing your eyes to everywhere, is this more for an impressionistic painting? The focus is more balanced on a whole? Because some other paintings you did there seem to be a more singular focus, like the snow scene which you painted pure white with thicker paint in the middle. (Sorry if it’s a very elementary question I’m a newbie in painting and I’m just confused because they both are landscapes.;-0)

    Hugely appreciated!


    1. Will Kemp

      Hi Stephanie, great to hear from you, yes, you can draw the eye in a number of different ways, either through compositional elements (the house and tree in the middle of the Monet style painting) or through the thickness and style of the paint application (adding impasto to the snowscene) or through adding different colours to different areas of a painting (the jug demo has warm colours on the jug and cool colours in the background) It’s often a case of subtly combining a few together.
      Hope this helps,


  6. Janice Bingham

    Dear Will Kemp,
    I found your tutorial very interesting, I have noticed that some artists paint on a black or dark brown ground, especially those painting forest scenes and wildlife. Would love your comments on this please.

    1. Will Kemp

      Hi Janice, yes, you can paint on any coloured ground and vary the tone and colour depending on the mood and feel of the scene you’re trying to capture.

  7. Sue

    Will – thankyou so much for your tuition and wonderful videos. You make painting so accessible to complete beginners like me and I love your teaching style – gives lots of confidence to an untalented but enthusiastic beginner like me!

    1. Will Kemp

      That’s brilliant to hear Sue, thanks for taking the time to comment and hope your Monet style painting goes well.

  8. Chris sharp

    Nice painting and great tutorial! I’m confident using 3 primaries white and maybe a brown or black. Any tips and using 2 red 2 blues 2 yellows ie a warm and cool of each. What are the dangers of using 2 sets of primaries? Currently my paintings are harmonious with decent values…. though I think more colour variation could add interest and excitement! My favourite painters typically don’t use such a limited pallet. Cheers Chris

    1. Will Kemp

      Pleased you enjoyed it Chris, when using a two primary palette the main thing to do is practice with the different reds/yellows so you’re familiar with their tinting strengths. That way, when you’re engrossed in your painting, you don’t push your mixes to far one way or another.

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