How to paint grass in acrylic

Once you know how to do it, its easy.
The secret lies in the range of colours you use.

You will need:

  • a photograph to copy from
  • a large flat paintbrush
  • a small rounded paintbrush
  • water
  • a palette or makeshift palette (foil quiche case!)
  • a range of green acrylic paints
    Do not use greens in the emerald spectrum.
    No Hooker Green, no Phthalo Green.It will make the grass look artificial, or like it has spent too much time hanging round a nuclear power plant!

    February 2012

    Although this is one of my better paintings, I really regret the grass
    but I hadn’t yet learnt my golden rule.
    The result is that it looks slightly artificial.
    You live and learn…

    Instead, choose Sap Green, Olive Green and others in that spectrum.

  • a range of brown acrylic paints
    I love Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, Burnt Umber and my secret weapon Flesh Tint!Flesh Tint is great as it adds white tones and brown tones which blend naturally with green.I also like to use gold paint  to make the grass glint.
  • Burgandy / Deep Violet acrylic paint
    Purple blends really well with browns and greens to create areas of shadow. Next time you look shadows you will notice that they are never ever black.
  • Mars Black acrylic paint
    You can use this to mix with other paints, but try not to use it neat.
  • White acrylic paint
  • Masking tape
  1. Draw out your design on your canvas. It may be helpful to put a line of masking tape along edges to stop the colour bleeding into the wrong areas.
  2. Do a colour wash in Sap Green over the entire grass area, using a large flat paintbrush. This makes sure all areas have a layer of paint. Please paint the sides of the canvas, there is nothing less professional than leaving unpainted sides… see my previous rant!
  3. Use a small paintbrush and mix up various shades of brown and green in your palette.Be adventurous, using purples and blacks too to create lots of natural shades.
  4. Using a small repetitive motion, create lots of small strokes in varying shades across the area.
  5. Make the grass darker at the bottom of the painting – potentially to near-black, and lighter at the top with whites, greens and gold shades.

Do not worry about making it too perfect. I assume you will paint something in the foreground, which will no doubt spoil your grass background slightly.

You can neaten this up later, using the same colours and the same technique of small repetitive strokes with a small paintbrush.

But… don’t rush either. Give it attention, care and patience like you would the foreground, and you will be onto a winner.

Click here for my guide on how to paint long grass in acrylic.

Click here to find out how I finished this painting of a Greyhound!

A Painting Legacy

Yesterday, I used my Grandmother’s easel.

the beginnings of a masterpiece.


My dad had found it tucked away in a corner of our garage (aka the assorted junk and crap room, I don’t think it had ever housed a car.) much to my delight.







I don’t think I ever saw my Grannie paint. I know her mother (mum’s very own Granny Smith) was a keen artist, so perhaps it was bought in good faith or as an experiment to see if the art genes had been carried down the family tree.

Granny Smith did some lovely paintings.

They are a different style to my own, although, like me, she focuses on painting things that bring happiness and make people feel good. Aesthetically pleasing and realistic.

Its commercial art. And it is not ashamed to be so.

People would want it on their wall. We have it on our wall.

Its not what I call “Forced Art”, like you are taught in school or college. It is quite happy existing context free.

Ceramic head – created age 15. 

Random punter: “Hey Imogen, what were you thinking when you made a screaming, paint-splattered ceramic head with severed hands?! It must have been a horrific time in your life!”
Me: “Not really… I was probably wondering what was for tea.”







Anyway, I like to think I am now carrying on Granny Smith’s legacy. Or my own Grannie’s legacy. One of the two.

It makes me sad that I never asked her whether she painted.
If she actually used that easel.

So from now on, whenever I use it, I will think of them. While I carry on making my commercial art. Art that doesn’t really tell a story, but the important thing is, it doesn’t try to either.

Whats more, its truly a delight to use. What luxury not to be hunched over painting and getting back ache. People should have thought of this centuries ago…

its coming on 🙂

An interview with… Mary Herbert, Animal Artist

So this week, I interviewed Mary Herbert,
a UK-based artist who does exactly what I hope to do,
create realistic animal portraits for a living.

One of Mary’s commissioned portraits

She had a few great tips for me and others as new artists starting out.

Mary Herbert
Mary is an artist, tutor and photographer who is based in Wales.
She trained as an artist at university and has been a portrait artist for over 20 years.
She specialises in using pastel to create her art – a medium I have yet to succeed with. 

Hi Mary, Thank you for answering some of my questions.
I guess what I really wanted to know was the practicals!

Sorry for the brevity of my replies, I’m afraid it’s a rather frantic time of year for me right now!

How many paintings do you do monthly to get by?

It varies hugely depending on what commissions I have, how complex they are, whether I have exhibitions and what size work I’m doing.

Mary specialises in horse portraits

How else do you generate an income?

Charge a professional fee, be professional, be consistent, work hard, have high standards.

My income comes from selling paintings and prints, tutoring art and occasional article writing.

How do you advertise your painting?

Most of my work comes via word of mouth.  To reach new audiences I enter exhibitions, work with publishers who promote my name, hold stands at events, use websites, youtube and facebook.

How did you make the transition from whatever you did before to being an artist?

I have always worked as an artist, I’ve combined it with various full and part time jobs over the years but have painted full time for the past five.

Any tips of the trade to new artists?

Avoid offering your work very cheap or free, as I’ve seen many new artists do.  Not only does it undermine the whole ‘industry’, a customer base of bargain hunters is never going to support you on a living wage.

The art market is extremely poor at the moment.  Use this time to develop your skills and your portfolio so you’re ready if/when it recovers.  Build a network of useful contacts, find a mentor.  Avoid offering your work very cheap or free, as I’ve seen many new artists do.  Not only does it undermine the whole ‘industry’, a customer base of bargain hunters is never going to support you on a living wage.

When setting your rates remember the (non-painting) marketing and running of your business will take up around a quarter of your time, up to half of it with a new venture.  Charge a professional fee, be professional, be consistent, work hard, have high standards.

The quality is really inspiring me to keep practising.

Thank you!

Find Mary’s website at: