Let's Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!!!
CUTE & EASY! Colorful Cow Painting on Canvas with Acrylics [Awesome for Beginners!]
You NEED this colorful cow painting in your life, and you're about to feel like a kid again because we're playing with ALL the colors of the rainbow today!
Whether you want an EASY project to spark JOY in your day, or have been searching for acrylic canvas painting ideas for beginners - this cow painting on canvas with a flower in her mouth was made for you!
If you don't have a canvas - paint her in your art journal or on the back of a cereal box.
If you feel comfortable with the easy acrylic painting tutorial in today's video, I'd LOVE to introduce you to the magical world of mixed media art!
I make cheatsheets for everything so you can have MORE FUN with your art! Click the button below to request the FREE cheatsheet for my signature mixed media layering process, the Hamburger System, and I'll email it right over.
After you print your cheatsheet, here's my FREE Hamburger System Playlist on YouTube so you can see the process in action and create along with me.
If you've been following me on YouTube lately, you know I've been doing a series of projects inspired by the authors of my favorite art books. I've also been showing flip throughs of my favorite books because they are just filled with inspiration.
Before we continue, super quick announcement: All product links are Affiliate. I may earn a small commission if you choose to order through these links but by law there is never any additional cost to the consumer for doing so. I thank you for your support.
I can't say enough about the adorable book by Anna Bartlett that I'm featuring today. Seriously... her projects are the cutest, and her instructions are so simple to follow.
Anna goes out of her way to show you tons of photos and really keeps things simple so anyone can pick up her book and start painting with acrylics - from beginners to seasoned artists looking for easy acrylic painting ideas.
Stay with me till the end of today's video so you can catch a glimpse of Anna's book. It's jam packed with even more EASY canvas painting ideas I just know you're gonna love!
What really inspired me to choose this particular project is the variation of it that Anna showed at the begining of her lesson (above). I fell in love with the bright colors and immediately knew this was the project I wanted to showcase from her book!
I'm using a ginormous canvas today, and don't even know what size this is! That's just my thing. I LOVE to work big. You choose what's right for you. And if you don't have a canvas at home - use whatever you do have! You could do this on a canvas board, in an art journal (as long as the paper is super sturdy!), in an altered book, or on the back of a cereal box (learn how to make your own cereal box journal here).
It doesn't matter WHERE you paint... just paint!
Speaking of paint - the colors I'm working with today are one of my FAVORITE color palettes: Turquoise, Carmine and Yellow. It's delicious!
Anna suggests you do this project in a #12 flat paint brush. If you're not sure what this is, just choose a paint brush that has a squared off top to the bristles, like one of the two at the bottom of the above painting (why yes, I do happen to have a video about how to select the right brush).
Throughout her project instructions, Anna suggests we wash and dry our paint brushes with each layer of color we add. This is actually a really important step - especially the "dry your brush" part, because you can make mud really fast if you don't wash your brush between colors.
Plus, acrylics don't need water to work - they're awesomely formulated and ready to dive in with, straight outta the tube!
How gorgeous is this turquoise?! It's SO happy!!
I'm even in the mood to jazz up my carmine by dding some flourescent pink for pure FUN, and because it lights my soul on fire!
I'm using all Lukas Cryl acrylic paints because I've been using them forever. I discovered them when I moved to Raleigh in 2007 on my first trip to Jerry's Artarama. These acrylics are super affordable, and the quality is amazing. They're a step above student grade and a great value.
After I get all the initial colors added to the cow's face, the next step is to add in some white. Before we do this- we need to make sure ALL the other shades of paint are thoroughly dry. Dry layers are your "friend" with acrylics!
One of the things that immediately attracted me to Anna's book is the fact that she's an "outliner." Personally I LOVE outling and feel like it really ties a piece together.
I used to fight my love of outlining but I decided it's something that makes me happy, so I embraced it! If you look closely at the pictures for Anna's project- she used an indigo to outline instead of black. I decided to add some black to the purple I used in the background for my outline color.
Just a quick reminder - if at any point you feel like you've made a giant mistake- remember this is acrylic paint, you can just paint right over it with another layer, and problem solved!
I love that Anna calls the nostrils on this adorable cow, "apostrophes!" Itsn't that the cutest?! After all the outlines are added, it's time for highlights in white AND red! I know... red highlights?!
At first I doubted myself on doing the red highlights too, but decided to follow the directions exactly instead. Letting someone else gently guide you through a project is a GREAT way to get out of creative block. It helps you to not overthink your decisions so you can just enjoy the creative process.
Thanks for hanging out with me today! Make sure you stick with me till the end of the video so you can see a page by page flip through of Anna's book. You're gonna love it!!
You HAVE to do today's acrylic owl painting with me over on my Mixed Media channel!!
Not only is he the cutest, this is the perfect acrylic painting for beginners to try. The whimsical style alone means there's absolutely NO PRESSURE!! Plus there's just something extra fun about doing an acrylic painting on canvas!
NEW to mixed media art? That's technically what this tutorial is because we're also using acrylic paint pens! Wanna learn how to layer MORE mixed media art supplies without making a mess?
Click the button below to download my FREE Mixed Media Hamburger System layering cheatsheet.
Once you print that out and finish today's EASY acrylic painting, check out this playlist to learn ALL about the world of mixed media art for beginners on my YouTube Mixed media channel. It's seriously SO. MUCH. FUN.
Let's get back to today's project, shall we?
For my reference, I'm using an adorable royalty free stock image of an little owlette. So cute, right?!
I've pulled out one of my ARTEZA canvases and have selected paint colors from my "Whimsical Animals" Signature Paint Kit by LUKAS Cryl Studio - which you can get over at Jerry's Artarama!
Real quick - if you have any questions about the paint brushes I'm using, or if you missed last week's video, you might want to check that out first, because I shared everything you need to know about paint brushes for mixed media. Make sure you watch that if you need tips, or before you head out to the craft store!
Today's acrylic owl painting starts off with a super simple layer of blue for the sky. Try not to worry about being precious with your paint here. Use a generous amount because I want you to be able to spread it freely. Keep all of your brush strokes going in the same direction, and remember to paint the edges of your canvas before you move on to the next step.
Once my canvas is covered AND dry (this part is SUPER important!), I'm ready to add a cute tree to the right side of my canvas in brown. Before your tree trunk dries - blend a little yellow into your brown for some added dimension. Don't worry if you're not in love with the shade of your tree trunk when you add your yellow- just add a little more brown until you're happy with the shade you've got!
Next, I pulled out my chalk (YES - it's totally just regular, school chalk). I used this to "pencil in" my drawing of the owl because the chalk is totally erasable when used on top of acrylic like this!! If you draw a line you don't like - you can wipe it away with your finger!
If drawing perfect circles stresses you out - grab a stencil or mug to trace so you can draw in the eyes of your owlette. You can totally just freehand it like me- a little wonkiness will make your owl just that much MORE adorable!!
Since I wanted the scarf of my owl to have stripes, and I've already painted a dark blue all over my whole canvas, I decided to lay down a thin layer of gesso to "prime" the scarf and eye areas for new colors. You don't have to do this- but I find throwing a layer of gesso down will help me cover a darker background color if I want something white or light in the foreground.
If you caught my video last week - you'll remember I talked about the importance of having ONE flat acrylic paint paint brush reserved just for gesso. I used my gesso brush for this light application below.
QUICK TIP for ACRYLIC PAINTING: If you want to keep your colors sharp and crisp (especially for something like stripes!), take the time to make sure one color is fully dry before going in with the next shade of paint. If you're impatient like me, hit your first color with the hairdryer for a few minutes until you're good to go!
Once all of my stripes are done, I headed over to the eyes to lay down a nice coat of white. Since my gesso is there already, this goes down in no time and covers SUPER well! If you don't have gesso- you might just need to do two coats of white paint to fully cover the blue here.
For the owl's body and feathers, I decided to start with yellow. Feel free to gesso that area as well before you go in with whatever color you're using for your owl's body. I also worked in some brown (wet on wet) to texture his feathers.
While my feathers were drying, I pulled out these cute art supplies left over from when my kids were little. I call them "pouncers." Basically they are these little foam brushes with a handle, and if you cover the spongey end with paint, you can use them to stamp down a perfect circle. They work amazingly well for doing polka dots, suns, moons, and of course for the pupils on whimsical animal eyes!!
After the pupils, I'm ready for my paint markers! Typically I will use my posca pens when I'm adding outlines or doodling on top of my mixed media paintings, but something about this little guy was calling for my chunky Arteza paint markers!! They have a super juicy nib - and I had a green to exactly match the acrylic I used earlier in my scarf stripes.
I used my yellow ochre paint marker to doodle over the feathers, outline near the whites of my little owl's eyes, and on top of my tree trunk to add depth.
Because I LOVE the look of a black outline - I pulled out my sharpie and added those in everywhere! Outlines are kinda one of those things that you either love or hate. They're also something that you either have to be "all in" for, or leave out completely. If you use outlines for some of your painting, but not all of it - it can make your piece look disjointed or unfinished.
After the outlines were done, I went in with a dry brush to add some teeny strokes of light gray around the inner edges of the eyes so they didn't look quite so flat!
That's it!! He's done :) I hope you have as much fun with this project as I did!! I totally loved it.
A GREAT break from the outside world for a bit!!
There's an Arteza product giveaway mentioned in this video. Sadly that has already passed - so ignore that part of the video, and just enjoy the acrylic painting tutorial!
Thanks for hanging out with me today!
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Founder of Awesome Art School. Mixed Media Artist. Author of 18 Instructional Art Books!
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