How to Paint a Barn Scene With Acrylic

Joshua Dyson

Fashion your own barn from your imagination and transfer it to canvas. Painting a barn scene in acrylic paint allows you to do this. Creating such a scene requires a working knowledge of acrylic paint, lots of practice painting and some sort of reference.

While making a painting can be a lot of work, the finished piece is something you can be proud of. With time and practice, you may paint barn scenes with acrylic that are landscape masterpieces.

  1. Decide whether you would like to paint from life or a photo reference. Many artists choose to paint landscapes, such as a barn scene from life, in order to capture a three-dimensional quality in their work that takes some work to achieve from a photo. Set up your easel and place your canvas on it. Adjust the level of your canvas by lowering or raising the height of the easel. Standing while painting is the usual choice for most artists, but sitting may be a more sensible option, since a painting like this will take some time. Take a chair with you if you are painting on location.

  2. Using a charcoal pencil, sketch the outline of the barn scene before you. Charcoal is a better choice than lead in that it will not bleed through the paint over time. Once satisfied with your outline, add details like the roof, door, wood planks and other parts of the barn structure. Keep things simple, depending on the level of detail you wish to convey in your painting.

  3. Take out your palette and set it somewhere so that it will not turn over. Some artists have a palette that can be held while painting, but a plastic one that can be set down will do fine. Observe the barn and decide which colors you will need. Start with colors right out of the tube, but do not simply paint a red barn red or a blue sky blue. The result will be a cartoonish painting that is far from realistic. There are many different shades of acrylic paint available that more closely match the realistic colors found in a barn scene. Use these, but experiment with mixing them with white and black in order to create the closest color matches possible.

  4. Paint over the outline with a wash. Decide what the overall color of the painting will be and mix a color with water to create a thinned wash. Brush this onto the entire painting. This is referred to as “toning” the canvas. Washes of warm colors such as reds and yellow can be used to represent daylight, while cooler colors like blues and purples are used for night scenes.

  5. Apply several layers of wash to the canvas. Paint washes of tone onto each element in the painting, such as the barn and the grass. Allow it all to dry before applying opaque paint over it. Paint the details of the barn and the scene around it with opaque paint that includes a small amount of water to make it flow better. Paint quickly, as acrylic dries fast.