How to Paint Lemons in Acrylics

This lesson on how to paint lemons will take you step by step and make it easy to create a lemon painting. The free video has even more details and acrylic techniques you will enjoy. Lets paint lemons one stroke at a time!

I asked what you would like next and many replied they wanted to learn how to paint lemons. So here you go, a step by step painting lesson all on lemons.

lemon painting with text overlay, how to paint lemons step by step lesson w/video

Transfer Lemon Design

Start by transferring your design. Try to make the lines as light as you can, yellow acrylic paint is not opaque.

Or if you can draw sketch on a couple lemon shapes.

Related: How to Transfer Patterns

For those that like a printable e-book of this lesson please visit here. How to Paint Lemons PDF download.

The step by step photo lesson here is only the lemons but in the video I include the leaves.

The full length real time video you can paint along with is at the end of this post.

lemon drawing to paint, how to paint lemons

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking a link I may make a small commission at no added cost to you.

Paint outline of first lemon

Double load your #12 flat brush with Daffodil Yellow and Moon Yellow.

Related: Basic Brush Strokes (with instructions on double loading)

Then stroke along the outside edge of the top lemon with the Moon Yellow on the outer edge and the Daffodil yellow on the inside.

first stroke of painting lemons in acrylics

Go around the entire lemon reloading your brush as necessary. Wipe the brush on a dry towel.

Paint in center of Lemon

After you clean your brush reload with only the Daffodil yellow and fill in the center.

filling in first painted lemon

Wipe the brush on a dry towel to remove excess paint or you can wash it out in your brush basin

I particularly like this brush basin because the ribbing in the bottom helps to get paint out of the brush more thoroughly and with less effort.

Add shadowing to lemons

Reload your brush with a double load of Yellow Ocher and Daffodil yellow.

Next stroke along the lower edge of the upper lemon.

adding shadowing while painting a lemon in acrylics

The darker yellow of the Yellow Ocher will create a shadow along that edge.

Pull a little bit of that color slightly down on the lower lemon. See how it is not just along the bottom of the upper lemon?

Paint second lemon

Wipe the brush out and reload with a double load of Moon Yellow and Daffodil Yellow.

Stroke around the rest of the lower lemon. Clean brush out.

Fill in the center with Daffodil Yellow.

Paint lemon highlights

I failed to show adding the highlight but you will catch that in the video. Pick up some Wicker White on your brush and tap it into your highlight areas. The paint should still be wet enough that it blends well.

Don’t over blend, you want some of the white to be apparent.

Notice how the lemons are not perfect and get a bit wonky in places. Embrace the imperfection! Lemons are not all exactly the same and can be a bit misshapen in some areas.

Adding the details, like leaves and stems makes it all come together.

Details for Lemon painting

Sideload the brush with some Citrus Green.

Stroke it along parts of the edge of the lemon and around the nub.

Light touch. If you feel you get too much go back and get some of the yellow and stroke over the green.

Fly specking

This is totally optional but can add a bit of interest to your painting.

Use the small scruffy brush (or an old toothbrush) and load with inky paint. (paint that is watered down to an ink consistency)

Pull the bristles across the handle of another paintbrush or other tool and let to specks fall onto your lemons.

Practice first on a blank paper if you want to get the feel for it.

If you don’t want specks on the background you can cover the area around the lemons to protect it. I don’t mind added specks.

Related: How to Paint Leaves

Also watch the video for the leaves.

Supply List:
Plaid Folk Art Multi Surface or Regular Craft Acrylics in these colors:
Citrus Green
Daffodil Yellow
Moon Yellow
Wicker White
Burnt Umber
Yellow Ocher
Floating Medium

Brushes: Donna Dewberry One Stroke Multi Pack

The outline drawing for you to use to create this lemon painting is in the Resource Library. If you are already a subscriber no need to fill out this form.

Enjoy lemon painting and please PIN and share!

lemons painted in acrylics with text overlay, How to Paint Lemons, pamela groppe art

Happy Painting!

Want a printable version of this post? Here is a link to purchase it in e-book format. Enjoy!

Please enjoy and share!

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  1. Hi Pamela! Your lemons look really real!!! I had a Meyer lemon tree in a pot in California (wish I still had it!) and every late December they would be ready for picking all through January into February. I had to cover it with a blanket if it was going to drop under 32 degrees; however, the lemons on it are truly an exact match to your painting.

    Thank you for sharing your video on how to paint them with all of us,
    Barb 🙂

  2. Love the lemon art! I just came back from Italy and bought tons of lemon stuff. It’s a great fruit I even have a Etsy store filled with lemon and Mediterranean items .lol

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