Intro to Acrylic Painting

From: $93.00 / month for 3 months

Grades: 9th–12th

Live Class: Thu 11 am ET

Dates: Fall 2: Oct 17–Dec 9, 2022

Winter: Jan 9–Feb 24, 2023

Price: $249

Instructor: Mark Altrogge


Course Description

Intro to Acrylic Painting is new for 2022-23 school year. Reviews to come.

This is an introductory course for high school students interested in developing skill with acrylic painting. Students will be introduced to the basics about painting, like color mixing, brush stroke techniques, etc.

Course Structure

During the 60 minute class each week, I will teach and demonstrate different techniques for beginning acrylic painting, such as color mixing, and ask the students to then imitate me. In each class we will do 1 project most of the time, and then I will assign a homework project. As I teach I will also talk about different principles, such as the rule of thirds, and general to detail. For some of the projects we will seek to “copy” or imitate a famous painting, such as Van Gogh’s “Starry, Starry Night,” and we will talk about some famous styles of painting, like impressionism and pointillism.

Week 1: Color Mixing

    • Project 1: Mixing various colors on heavy paper. Adding white. Goal is to begin to get a feel for how to make various shades of colors by mixing them together. We will talk about warm colors and cool colors. We will talk about different kinds of strokes and creating textures with colors.
    • Project 2: Hard-edged colored shape design. Using painters tape, we will create designs on heavy paper, then mix different colors to fill in the shapes.
    • Homework: Do a ruler design or swirl design on paper or canvas board, then fill in with different colors

Week 2: Monochromatic Painting

    • Project 1: Red and white. Create various shades of red – dark red, light red, pink, dark and light. Paint an abstract design filling in with different shades of red. (Use heavy paper)
    • Project 2: Barn, trees and field using only Burnt Umber and white. Copy my painting, step by step. (Use canvas board).

Week 3: 3-Color Painting

    • Project 1: Paint trees using 3 colors – black, white, green. Paint “regular” trees, leaving “holes for the birds to fly through,” add lighter and darker areas of leaves.  Paint pine trees. Show students how to use a wide brush to create the pine boughs. Do on heavy paper.
    • Project 2: Red, Black, White Landscape
    • Subject – Red Barn, trees, field in foreground. We will mix colors of fields, trees, sky. Talk about painting trees in the distance. Painting larger areas then adding detail. Will paint on heavy paper.
    • Homework: Landscape painting on canvas board using blue, red, white and black.

Week 4: Landscape: Full Color

    • We will paint a landscape of a farm and fields. I will show the class my “progression” which begins with a sketch, then dark and light, then adding colors. We will mix colors of fields, trees, sky. Painting larger areas then adding detail. Will paint on canvas board.
    • Homework: Landscape painting on canvas board. 

Week 5: Copy Monet

    • Talk about water lilies up close then further back in scene. Talk about his impressionist style. Try to copy his colors and style.
    • Homework: Paint a house and field landscape in loose Monet style

Week 6: Looking Up (Red) Painting

    • Talk about perspective. Show railroad tracks, city scene with perspective. Talk about “worm’s-eye view” (looking up).
    • Show my looking up paintings. Show my looking up (red) “progression.”
    • Homework: Begin 2 “looking up” paintings – one red leaves, the other green.

Week 7: Copy Kandinsky

    • Copy Farbstudie Quadrate painting. Attempt to copy this abstract painting. We learn much by copying famous artists. Paint on heavy paper or canvas board.
    • Homework: Make up your own painting similar to Kandinsky on heavy paper or canvas board.

Supply List

Please note: These are brands that I suggest but students may use other similar brands. (A pdf of this list is available here: Intro to Painting Materials List)

    • Mix Media Heavy Paper (9×12) (by Canson)
    • Canvas Panels (11×14) (by Artists Loft)
    • Artists Loft or Liquitex Basics Acrylic paints (minimum 4 oz): Pthalo Green, Pthalo Blue, Burnt Umber, Yellow Ochre, Brilliant Red (or Cadmium Red), Cadmium Yellow Medium, Cadmium Orange, Titanium White, Dioxazine Purple, Red Oxide (or Burnt Sienna), and Mars Black (or any other black)
    • Folk Art Premium Variety Brush set (or any set of basic brushes)
    • plastic palette or styrofoam or paper plates (I generally use styrofoam plates)
    • a plastic cup or container to put water in to clean brushes
    • paper towels
    • palette knife (metal or plastic)
    • painters tape (1/2″)

Students may want to wear an apron or old clothes.

Who should enroll?

Students in 9th-12th grade.

Technology Requirements

  • High speed, broadband Internet
  • Sound card and working microphone (for live sessions)
  • Streaming video capabilities to watch recorded lectures
  • Smart phone, or other means to photograph, scan, and upload student artwork

Evaluation and Feedback

I will be available for parents or students to contact me outside of class via email.


Parents and students will be able to email me. I should be able to respond fairly quickly.

Required Texts


There are no required texts for this class.


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Instructor Bio

Mark Altrogge

Mark has always loved art and painting. His parents got him his first oil painting lesson when he was 12 years old in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

He received his undergraduate degree in Art Education and a Masters in Painting from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Currently 2 galleries, BE Gallery in Pittsburgh and The Artists Hand in Indiana, Pa. carry Mark’s paintings. He also has a studio on Etsy where many of his works are displayed and sold. As an art teacher he taught elementary and junior high art classes. He has taught classes for both adults and young people in The Artists Hand Gallery. Mark and his wife Kristi have 5 grown children and 8 grandchildren.

Artist Statement

I have a few themes I gravitate towards. I love trees, especially birches and aspens, though I can’t tell you the difference. There are lots of farms near where I live in western PA, so a lot of my paintings have rural themes. Another favorite theme is umbrellas, especially umbrellas in the city. The repetition and variation of the umbrella shapes creates a rhythm that goes along with the rhythm of the people and life of the city.

I love color, thick paint, and loose brushwork. Inspired by the likes of Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning, my painting style could be called impressionistic or post-impressionistic.  Although my paintings have recognizable themes, in many ways I look at them as abstracts – interplays of color, light and texture. The subject is a vehicle for paint, brushwork, bursts of color. I derive a lot of joy from these things and hope to convey that joy to others.

When I teach painting, I emphasize enjoying the process, learning little by little over time, and learning by imitating other painters. In my classes I hope to highlight techniques like color mixing, brushwork, composition, repetition and variation.

I’m so grateful that many years ago, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, my parents signed a 12-year old kid up for oil painting lessons.

Email: [email protected]

Mark’s Classes

Mark Altrogge Studios (on Etsy)


All classes taught by Mark Altrogge