Fun Colour Study of a Houseplant – Laying in Simple and Bold Colours

This series will show you how to create fun studies of plants in acrylics using a simple bold palette.

This lesson will cover the second stage – laying in the major colours in the painting as flat shapes.

You can download the reference image here:


  • Your drawing from the first lesson
  • Acrylic paints: White, Bright Yellow, Bright Blue and Earth Red
  • Water cups and water
  • Palette
  • Paper towel
  • Medium sized flat acrylic brush
  • Begin by mixing up a dark, neutral tone.
  • The easiest way to do this is by adding your blue to the earth red, and keep mixing until it looks like a colour in between blue and red. This is as close to neutral as you will get.
  • It will also be the darkest colour you can mix with this limited palette and serve as your black.
  • Lay this dark tone into all the darkest parts of the image (referring to the reference)
  • You may need to add a little bit of water to help the paint flow, but try to avoid making it too washy.
  • Once you’ve laid in the darkest tonal masses, you can start adding patches of green for the leaves.
  • To mix a cool green, add some yellow and white to the dark base colour.
  • If this feels too warm, adjust the green with some extra blue.
  • Then you can add the brightest highlights on the leaves, this colour can be mixed by adding a lot of white to your green.
  • You want it to be a very pale, light green.
  • Finally, mix a warmer, redder tone for the plant pot (use more earth red and yellow rather than blue).
  • Then use pure white add the highlights on the pot as well.
  • That’s it for now! The next lesson will be focused on neatening up this rough block-in.