Watercolor is one of the most unique mediums for creating art. It's unpredictability and unique mark-making characteristics attract many artists, designers, and illustrators. The transparency of the color produces luminous - almost glowing, colors. Its properties are unmatched by any other painting medium.
For the beginner, watercolor can be a "tough beast" to tame. For the same reasons it is attractive to many, it can tough to use. Especially if you prefer to have full control over the mark and the behavior of the medium. With watercolor, you have to learn to "let go" to a certain degree, and let the watercolor do what it wants to do.
With most painting media, "mistakes" can be easily corrected by layering over the previous application. With watercolor, it's not quite so simple. While "mistakes" can be lifted with water and dabbed away with a paper towel, the mark cannot be completed eradicated.
The unforgiving nature of watercolor causes some to be apprehensive. This feeling can carry over to the mark and lead to "less successful" works. Confidence is important in creating a successful watercolor painting and confidence is built upon experiences of success.
I wanted to share with you a simple approach to watercolor to help build your confidence. This approach is simple, uses only a few colors, and can be accomplished by just about anyone. Only a few layers of applications are used. Watercolor painting is about anticipating how the paint will react, rather than reacting to how it behaves.
Recommended Materials for This Tutorial
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Step by Step Approach
First, a contour line drawing of the composition is created on 140 lb watercolor paper using an "HB" pencil. Liquid masking fluid is used to mask the shapes of the birch trees in the foreground. It is recommended to use an old brush for this application since the masking fluid can ruin the brush if the material is allowed to dry.
Once the masking fluid has had ample time to dry completely, a light wash of cool gray is applied to the background. This mixture is the result of combining Ultramarine, Alizarin Crimson, and Gamboge Hue. A heavier concentration of Ultramarine is present in the mix to give the color a blue appearance.
While the background is still wet, the color for the distant tree line is added. This color is produced by mixing Prussian Blue, Ultramarine, and Gamboge Hue. Since the surface is still heavily saturated, the color will bleed into the background, creating a shape and texture similar to that of distant trees.
While this area is still damp, a fingernail is used to scratch lines that will eventually translate as tree trunks.
A heavier concentration of dark green is applied to create a bit of depth to the distant trees. This color is also applied to the pine trees in the middle ground.
A light wash is applied using the same cool gray used for the background over the areas of snow in the foreground.
A light wash of Ultramarine is pulled out from the base of the birch and pine trees to create long cast shadows on the snow.
A dark mixture of Ultramarine and Burnt Umber is used to pull up tree trunks for the pines. This line is allowed to break in areas as it disappears behind groupings of the pines.
A heavier amount of Ultramarine is added to our green and painted in behind the birch trunks for an additional line of trees. This color is also added in areas of shadow on the pine trees.
The surface completely dry, the liquid mask can be removed by rubbing with a finger, revealing clean, white shapes for the birch trees.
Areas of core shadow are first lightly applied using our gray mixture.
Progressively, darker shapes and lines are added to build up the detail on the trunks of the birch trees.
Shadows are also added to the undersides of the branches.
The finished painting...
Your landscape should include:
- sky - use multi-color wash
- ground - use multi-color wash
- trees - use wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry techniques
- foreground - use wet-on-dry and dry-brush techniques to add details and textures.
- background trees (while the sky is still wet)
- lift color (if needed) in the trees
- foreground details (when the first wash is dry)
- next layer of the trees (when the previous layer is dry)
- more trees
- foreground details and textures
step 1 - sky: multi-color wash
With a color wash: draw a line (horizon) across the paper.
Use 3-5 color washes to paint the sky.
Have the washes blend.
If there are areas that get too much color/water - use a damp brush with paper towel to lift the wash.
The next step should be done while the background is still wet.
step 2 - background tree silhouettes: Wet-on-wet
Prepare a few dark (intense) color washes.
Green, brown, dark blue.
Start drawing tree silhouettes. Have the trees overlap.
Place trees at random order. Make them different sizes and colors.
Add more tree silhouettes with lighter washes.
step 3 - ground: multi-color wash
Add some colors to the foreground.
Use light colors and watered-down washes. Use more than one color.
White areas should stay unpainted.
step 4 (optional) - light areas: lift color
To lighten dark areas - use a damp clean brush and paper towel .
Lift the paint off the paper.
Rinse and dry the brush after each lift.
step 5 - foreground details: brush drawing and dry-brush
Sketch the creek over the painted ground wash.
Spread the initial stroke and add some texture in the foreground.
This texture technique is called "dry brush". We'll discuss it later.
Add another layer of the wash to emphasize the creek's shadow.
Fade it towards the center of the creek.
Extend the shadow line.
Fade the stroke on one side, leaving the contrast where the shadow goes.
Define the other side of the creek.
Fade one side.
step 6 - background tree silhouettes: Wet-on-dry
Once the background is dry, start adding more tree silhouettes.
The wash should be more concentrated.
Use one or multiple-color washes.
Paint trees of different sizes, space them or overlap, etc.
Let the right group of trees dry.
You can fade the bottom of the trees line to soften the contrast.
Continue adding trees to the left side of the landscape.
You can lift some color or soften the bottom part of the trees.
Let the trees dry.
step 7 - more trees: layering
Add the next layer of the trees
step 8 - foreground details and textures: Dry-brush
Dry brush technique is not really "dry".
You cannot paint watercolors without water. You just don't load the brush with a wash.
The technique is good for adding texture to the painting.
See the rough shapes on both sides of the creek? That's the dry-brush technique.
You can use a side of a brush or a "fan" brush for paint application.
Add more details to the background.\
Emphasize some shadows and areas of contrast.
Extend the details - add more dry grass and shadows into the mid-ground area.
Now use the same steps and techniques and paint a landscape of your choice.
You can use a photograph for reference if you want to.
Experiment with colors.
You need to use:
- Multi-color washes
- Wet-on-wet technique
- Wet-on-dry technique
- Dry brush for texture
- Detail brush-point painting
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So you have a photo that you really like and would like to try doing a painting of it. Where do you start? How do you start? I’ve broken down the steps here that I take on how to make an easy watercolor landscape painting manageable for beginners!
Need supplies? I put together a list of the essentials that you’ll need for this tutorial.
Choosing a Photo
I take hundreds, sometimes even thousands, photos when I travel to different places. So I generally have quite a big handful to choose from. For this piece I wanted a shot of the road, along with a part of the neat rock formations found in Capitol Reef National Park.
I liked the way the road pointed straight at the formation in this picture, and the orangey colors along with the darkening sky stood out nicely. But…as you can see the right side of the photo is pretty blurry and uninteresting.
Good thing we’re artists though!
You don’t have to use the entire photo as is. You can choose to paint just a part of it, or even take out, add, or rearrange elements in it if it doesn’t matter if it’s painted exactly as is. In this case, I decided to just crop off that side to make for a better composition.
Things to ask yourself when choosing a photo for a painting:
- What’s the subject of the photo I’m aiming for, or what parts of the photo are important?
- Is there something in the photo that’s distracting from the main subject, that I should leave out for the painting?
- Do I want to use the whole photo as is, or is it just being used as inspiration-meaning I can move the different elements around more artistically?
- Should I crop it? Think about composition–would it look better to have something dead center, or off center?
Ok, you’ve got your photo chosen and an overall idea of how you want to make this painting. So let’s start…with a rough sketch!
It’s called Rough Sketch for a reason, do not start with any detail! Just use big basic shapes to get the overall proportions and structure lined up right.
Have you ever started a drawing, and it’s looking good so far, you keep going along…then all of a sudden you realize you won’t be able to fit the whole picture on the page because you didn’t pay attention to getting the proportions right?
Start with basic, simple shapes. I can’t emphasize this enough(it’s bolded and italicized!). Simple shapes are easy to draw, anyone can do it, and you won’t cry that you have to erase half of your beautiful drawing because the rest won’t fit.
Detailing the Drawing
Ok, now you can start detailing a bit more! How much you detail is really up to you, but I like to get a solid sketch of this quality-basically all the important lines that I really want to be there.
Do not feel like you have to detail everything! In fact, leaving out some details can make the final painting more interesting, and easier on the eyes believe it or not. When everything is too bland, it’s uninteresting. The same is true for when everything is too detailed. Our eyes and minds need variety.
So detail the important parts of the painting. What you want people to focus on. What really needs to be there. You can leave the rest loose, and up to how the paint falls- which can be neat and what gives watercolor painting its charm!
Starting the Painting
In most cases when using watercolors, you’ll want to start painting from Light to Dark. You’ll also want to start painting in broad backgrounds of color, that other, darker, colors will sit on top of.
For this particular painting I used a starter set of Daniel Smith watercolors. The Extra Fine Essentials Set to be exact. They come in a set of 6 and have a nice carrying container too. Only 6 colors?! Yup…you can mix just about any color with a basic set of colors. I got these because I wanted to try professional quality paints, to see what all the fuss was about. They are definitely nice! More expensive, yes, but I know I’ll have them for a long time as a little bit goes a long way.
If any spots in your painting need to be white, you need to be mindful of them and try your best to paint around it so the paper will show through. The paper will be your white color. Gouache or other opaque paints should only be used in small locations if necessary. They never will give the same white glow that the paper itself will.
*Don’t forget you can always use a paper towel to soak up water and paint if it goes into a spot you don’t want. You can also try cleaning your brush off, and just dipping it in water, then rubbing it slightly on the spot you want paint removed. If you rub too much the paper will start to chip apart.
First, I started with painting the sky. Starting with the lighter blues, then adding darker ones in large areas with an oval wash brush. I used my finer tip round brush to go around the edges of the rocky cliff.
Just as we did in the rough sketch, this step is really about blocking in all the basic colors. We’re not focusing on details here. Just about getting the colors right
Second, I decided to paint the orange cliffs, because they were the second biggest shape that I could put the “same” color on. I say same loosely because, as I mix colors myself, inevitably each brush stroke that picks up more paint in the palette will have a slightly different color to it. I don’t mix a lot, and I may need to remix if I need more paint.
For the next step I loosely color in almost all the rest of the parts of the painting. Mixing different greens for the grass and bushes, the slightly different shades of gray for the road, and I start the tree too, putting in a dark brown for the trunk.
I more carefully colored in the light gray rocks on the red cliff face, because they’re smaller and what I think is an important unique detail. I try as best as I can to stay in the lines with them, but since they’re lighter colored than the red behind I can just paint more red over them in places I may have gone too far.
Adding Depth with Shadows & Details
So far the painting has been quite loose and very mono tone. We need to introduce some darker colors for the shadowy parts to make it pop a little. There’s not a great deal of contrast in the original photo, but I try to give it a little more anyway, and make the one side of the cliff darker.
I also darkened in the long, vertical cracks along the top part for detail, and gave it some of the horizontal striations found there as well. It doesn’t look perfect, but that’s ok. It’s just a suggestion and inspiration of what’s there!
For the final painting step, I try deepening the shadowy areas even more by going over them again with more paint. I also go over parts of the rock face with more reds to get the colors more saturated, along with the greens in the mid to foreground, and also the sky. I wanted them to pop out a bit more.
For the foreground I chose to leave it washed out. It’s not very interesting, so I wanted to leave it more artistic and painterly. Remember-not everything has to be fully detailed or even painted. Sometimes what you leave out can be just as important to the piece as a whole!
I thought my painting was finished at this step. I got done with it one night, and was pretty happy with it. The next day I looked over it and felt something was missing. After I scanned it into the computer I really felt something was missing-it seriously did look better in real life!
I thought about adding some lines on top of it, although I was afraid it might ruin the painting. I took the chance anyway however…and I was definitely happy I did!
The black fine tipped pen lines added the structure the piece needed to hold it together and really make it stand out and say, “it’s complete”. As you can see I didn’t draw lines over everything, just the important parts and places I felt needed it. You don’t have to draw every rock, every leave, every branch and blade of grass, etc… Just draw enough to be a suggestion of what’s there and what’s important.
All of these steps can take some time and experimentation to get right. I did a lot of watercolor paintings before this that I wasn’t too happy with, and I hope to keep improving even more in the future. So don’t get discouraged, keep trying and working at it: practice, practice, practice! No one gets good over night.
If you do any watercolor work with these steps, I’d love to see what you come up with! Use the tag #TravelArtExplorers on Instagram and other social media!
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Discover & fall in love with landscape watercolor painting!
Learn my favorite techniques, tips and approach to help you get started painting loose, modern, landscapes with watercolors. If you are new to watercolors, I suggest you start with Watercolors Made Simple before you continue your watercolor journey with this new landscape class.
In this class we will be covering topics like color mixing and color theory, studying values and painting value scales, and most importantly working on wet paper and we work wet-on-wet for most of our paintings together.
This class is designed for someone who has some experience with watercolors and who is looking for more instruction and opportunity to paint and practice painting! If you are new to watercolors and don’t know the difference between wet on dry and wet on wet, then not to worry! I suggest you enrol in Watercolors Made Simple before taking this class.
We will explore how to paint clouds, trees, and 4 different complete landscape paintings!
As we make notes about composition and landscape style suggestions, I will teach you how to paint; a green meadow that is abstract, loose and with simple florals in the foreground, a dreamy forest scene, a very abstract and minimal shore scene as well as an ethereal violet sun-set too. As always, I have filled this class with my personal casual approach to painting so that you fall in love with your practice and so that your desk is filled with lots of beautiful pieces of watercolors that you can frame, turn into greeting cards and frame.
Already a student? Log into class by clicking the button below.
Having trouble logging into class?! Send our Customer Service Team an email at [email protected] and they will happily help you!
What you can expect from watercolor landscapes made simple.
7 Modules, 6 hours and 23 minutes of video lessons that you can watch and re-watch for as long as you need while exploring all the tips and techniques included along the way.
How long do we have access to the course after purchasing?
The course is available for as long as you need it!
Can I view the course more than once?
Yes! The modules can be watched as many times as you like! I encourage you to take your time, watch, re-watch and paint along with me!
What supplies are required?
A list of recommended supplies is covered in the course! Basically a few sizes of round brushes, some basic colors like yellow, blue, red and a few more (I teach you how to mix colors), watercolor paper, palette and a few jars of water! Again, you’ll get more info in the lessons as we explore our tools and how to use them! Check out our supply recommendations page here.
Approximate cost of supplies necessary?
I always recommend that you work within your own budget. I’ll show you my recommended supply list that is a mix of student grade and professional supplies and why I chose them for the class. You can decide what to purchase once you’ve watched the supplies lesson. For example student grade paints are fine to get started with and you can always upgrade as you grow your watercolor skills and confidence!
Are there any supplies provided?
Supplies are not included but a supply list is provided in the class.
How many videos are included and what is the length?
This course has 7 modules and 6 hours and 23 minutes of content! Each section is broken down into a number of manageable video lessons so you can easily look back and review sections if needed.
Is this course for beginners?
No, I recommend that you have some watercolor painting experience, or that you take Watercolors Made Simple before taking this class.
Do I need to know how to draw to take this class?
No drawing experience necessary. I’ll show you how to paint everything that we are working on for each project. I teach you how to sketch in the Advanced Watercolors Made Simple class!
Having trouble logging in or forgot your password?!
No problem! Email our Customer Support Team at [email protected] and they will get back to you as soon as they can. To log into class visit www.learn.lifeidesign.com
Unlimited access to 7 Modules, hours of painting instruction and Watercolors Made Simple Facebook community where you can share your work, ask questions and be a part of a warm and welcoming community of students.
I know, watercolor painting looks hard, and it’s an intimidating medium. But watercolor painting is also beautiful and can be easy with the right techniques. I’ll guide you step-by-step, using over hours and hours of video lessons along with easy projects to complete with easy-to-follow instructions. You’ll be able to watch, and re-watch these video lessons as much as you need. In fact, I recommend watching the lesson first, then painting what you’ve just learned as you watch the lesson again with me. Go back to past lessons and projects as many times as you want knowing you have access to this class for as long as you need to go from a complete watercolor beginner to a savvy watercolorist!
If you are nervous to try your hand at watercolor painting, and have no idea to where to start but want to invest in yourself and add watercolor painting to your repertoire, this class is for you!
Not only will you learn how to paint with watercolor, but I’ll teach you how to start developing your own personal style through practical painting projects, color selection and interpretation of subjects.
When you finish this class, you’ll have pieces of artwork that you can frame, use in your design work, and even use for greeting cards and gifts!
Working together through this class, I will give you techniques to help you paint right away, that will help clear self-doubt and build your confidence, allowing you to express your creativity using a paint brush, watercolors and paper!
I break down each section into small chunks so that you can go through each video lesson at your own pace and so that you can practice before moving onto the next lesson. Take this class at your own pace! Re-visit lessons as you need as the best way to learn, is through repetition and practice.
I will give you a task to do with each section to complete so you’ll end up painting your own color wheels, color palettes, reference abstracts, botanicals, florals etc. for you to start your watercolor journey and to reference as you continue to explore this beautiful medium.
If you have any questions about this class, feel free to email me before enrolment closes again [email protected]
You’ll finish this class…
Feeling confident because you’ll have just learned everything you need to know about watercolor to produce pieces of artwork that you can frame, gift or use in your design work.
More clear on how to approach color and your design.
Excited to paint and explore your news skills as you paint and produce new artwork.
Inspired to continue to grow your new watercolor painting skill and apply everything you learned!
What past students are saying about Watercolors Made Simple.
“Wow, finally someone that starts from the beginning. Thank you so much! I'm 70 years old and not very artistic, I can follow you along perfectly so far. I was doing other lesson but no one ever showed how to get the paint to the correct consistency.” - Marie K
“Agree with Paula, I have been watching watercolor lessons for over a year and no one broke it down as easy as you did on how much water vs paint to get the different consistencies. They might say it....like cream...but without showing it, I didn't know if my cream was creamy enough!” - Lisa S
“Hi Nicki! I really enjoyed learning the flowers with you. It gave me confidence to compose a little arrangement, I know it will only take practice now but I need to keep practicing. I love how you simplified it with three flowers and adding leaves to it making it a finished piece but it wasn't too overwhelming. I love the little progress I make and enjoy the process of it all. Xx” Thank you, Lu“This is the best money I have ever spent. You are very clear and precise. Just want to say thank you!”
“Thank you so much! I am completely enjoying your sessions. I have already signed up for the more advanced one. Your teaching method is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!” - Carol M
“Thank you so much for this class. I found it helpful and inspiring. I introduced myself to the “art” world during the Covid summer of 2020 and have learned everything I know from Youtube tutorials. I REALLY enjoyed the color theory and basics of brush strokes etc portion of your class. I feel like I can approach painting with more confidence and knowledge. Looking forward to another class with you.”-Christine T
“You have the heart of an artist and a teacher. Thank you ! “
Thank you, this course is amazing,inspiring and so much fun.I surely have begun to be totally addicted to watercolours again! Dabbled many years ago, but have always preferred the watercolour look. Find myself back at the paints every chance I get!! Thank you again, for your gentle teaching guide.You have certainly assissted me to unleash the "passion"deep inside me.xx” - Annette S
A note from Nicki…
I’m excited to release this jam-packed Watercolors Made Simple class with you! I feel it’s one of the best classes that I have designed and created with the beginner in mind. I includes lots of my personal painting processes and techniques with my casual, illustrative style. Whether you are a new artist just starting your painting journey, or a creative business owner looking to expand your artistic skills, or perhaps you just love the idea of painting for a hobby and as a meditative practice, this class will arm you with everything you need to get started and have success with watercolor painting right away!
If you haven’t taken one of my classes before, you may be feeling a little apprehensive. I can assure you that my classes are always a relaxed pace with a mix of references and easy painting projects. My teaching style is casual and I explain my thought process around what I am teaching as well as the techniques you need to takeaway from each lesson.
I hope you fall in love with watercolor like I have!
See you in class!
Other Watercolor Classes
Landscape painting simple watercolor
You can create amazing works on your canvas with watercolors. To be honest, everything that you create with watercolors looks heart-meltingly good. But there is something unique and different about painting landscapes with watercolors. After all, the results you get look so realistic. If you are looking for Easy Watercolor Landscape Painting Ideas or Watercolor Painting Ideas that take a little time, then you are at the right place. Below you find some of the most amazing Landscape Painting Ideas that may be rendered the best Painting Ideas for Beginners.
Easy Watercolor Landscape Painting Ideas, Watercolor Painting Ideas to try out. These Landscape Painting Ideas are some of the most effective Painting Ideas for Beginners.
Emphasis on a single tree in the foreground
Talking about Easy Watercolor Landscape Painting Ideas or Watercolor Painting Ideas, we can’t overlook those paintings that highlight a single tree. With a beautiful background, such watercolor paintings do stand out.
Although there are many Easy Watercolor Landscape Painting Ideas or Watercolor Painting Ideas, lighthouses stand tall. Yes, that’s right! Lighthouses get popped up in an insanely beautiful way when painted with watercolors.
Waterfall Landscape Painting Ideas
Waterfall landscape paintings have a kind of dynamic charm to them. No matter how static your waterfall looks in your paintings, they carry the charm of movement. Besides, waterfall compositions help you employ different watercolor painting techniques.
Painting Ideas for Beginnersfeaturing a setting sun in the water
Everybody begins at something. If you are a beginner-level painter, then working with watercolors can be a little difficult. But when you take simple compositions like the setting sun, painting becomes a breeze. And guess what, this easy composition looks out and out amazing.
Watercolor Painting Ideas for Beginners
Landscape Painting Ideaswith beautiful mountains
Mountains are an amazing landscape subject, especially when you create them with watercolors. Whether you add a bluish tinge to them or make them appear green, they are going to make your watercolor painting flat-out beautiful.
The moon lit landscapePainting Ideas for Beginners
Night time landscapes look breathtakingly beautiful. Haven’t you ever taken a stroll under a moonlit sky? If yes, then it needs no telling how gorgeous a landscape looks under the moonlight. If you acknowledge this, then create a moonlit painting for some visual satisfaction.
Generally, the sky is painted in the shades of blue. But when you are required to paint an evening sky, you have to use orangish shades. This evening sky, also referred to as the saffron sky is a popular subject of interest for artists. Try such a painting to add to your artistic value.
And if you’re specifically interested in Landscape paintings only not considering the type of colors used, then you must go through the entire collection dedicated to that only.
Talking about Painting Ideas for Beginners, how can one create a magical landscape painting with watercolors?
Every sound of nature is beautiful, still, music composers create great music that sounds even better than the sounds that nature naturally produces. Similarly, every scenery of mother nature bears immense beauty. As a painter, your purpose is to exaggerate that beauty. Hence, in case you are not a realistic painter, you should always try to use your colors in such a way that landscapes look more beautiful and magical than original. So, adding a little flavor to your paintings with colors does no harm.
Is painting clouds in the sky extremely necessary in a landscape?
When you are painting within a smaller frame, clouds are not that important. In fact, painting clouds in a small canvas will make the sky look cluttered. But in case, you are painting a large panoramic view of the sky on a large canvas, then you can indeed paint clouds. They will make the sky look a little busy. Landscape Painting Ideas like this one can make your painting really stand out.
The above Easy Watercolor Landscape Painting Ideas or Watercolor Painting Ideas are great for any beginner-level painter. The compositions given above are popular among painting enthusiasts and professional painters. By trying your hands at them, you will feel confident in painting.
TUTORIAL: How To Paint A Watercolor Landscape With Only One Color
In this detailed step by step tutorial, I’m going to show you how to paint an atmospheric landscape with only one color in watercolor and still create a mesmerizing effect. This tutorial is a first introduction to a free watercolor masterclass video where I film in real time my process for this painting and I also explain the biggest mistakes to avoid. Meanwhile, here is the detailed step by step tutorial for this atmospheric monochromatic painting.
Painting with only one color can be a little bit counterintuitive at first as you cannot play with colors. However this kind of practice will force you to focus mainly on value and composition.
And improving your composition and your understanding of value will take your paintings to the next level. At the end of this tutorial, you will see examples of the same paintings with color mixing and you will then understand how powerful this exercise can be.
I’m going to walk you through a 3-step process:
- Watercolor supplies
- Painting execution
- Analysis after finishing the painting
For this painting, I will only use Winsor Blue (Green Shade) from Winsor & Newton but you can use Cobalt Blue or French Ultramarine blue as well. For the watercolor brushes for this painting, I will use 1 mop brush (Raphael 803 size 4) and 1 synthetic brush (Escoda Perla size 10).
As for the paper, I only use Arches rough cold press 300g 100% cotton. I stretch the paper with some tape. I don’t wet the paper before painting. I tilt the board on an easel by around 20° to get the water going downwards when I paint the graded wash. Finally, I get a sponge to dry the brushes and a water bottle spray to wet the washes that are drying too fast.
Here is the reference photo. As you can see, the mountains in the background create directional lines towards the boat.
Painting Execution – How To Paint A Watercolor Landscape
Start with a light blue wash (lots of water and very few pigments) with the mop brush. Go downwards until you reach the horizon line.
Don’t wait too much (the wash has to be still quite wet) and pick lots of blue pigments with little water. Make a single brush stroke to define the mountains in the background. Do not dabble as it will spoil the freshness of watercolor.
Fill the bottom of the mountains with the same amount of pigments and then fill the bottom of the mountains with lots of pigments to create the impression of trees in the distance.
Let the mountains paint themselves thanks to gravity. The pigments will gather until the horizon line and it will create a blur effect from afar.
Start the wash for the water with pure water on the mop brush. It will bring with it the pigments from the distant shore and it will consequently create the reflections of the mountains on the water. Start putting more blue pigments as you go downwards.
Reach the bottom of the painting with a graded wash. You always have to put more pigments than water, otherwise it will create a discrepancy in the water’s wash.
This part is optional: to create waves, take the synthetic brush with almost pure pigments and make quick horizontal brush marks on the wet wash to create the wave effect.
Now is time to dry the paper. You can use a hairdryer or you can let the watercolor dry naturally.
Keep the boat simple and start with the body of the boat.
Once the body is done, you can paint inside the boat with some brush marks to create an impression of stuff going on in the boat.
Then paint the fisherman on the boat. Be careful on the proportion compared to the boat.
To create a story, paint a fishing rod. This fisherman is waiting for something…
The reflection should be lighter than the boat. Keep it loose with small horizontal brush marks to create the illusion of water reflection.
Your one color atmospheric painting is finished. Congratulations!!
Analysis After finishing The Painting
You can compare to other paintings from the same reference photo. Here is a variant with warmer colors. The atmosphere is completely different.
And here is another one with a more detailed background.
As you can see, you can play with only one color to create very different moods in your watercolor paintings.
If you want to know exactly how to paint this landscape in watercolor, I created a FREE watercolor masterclass video where I film in real time all my process for this painting and I also explain the biggest mistakes to avoid. To have instant access to this FREE course, you just have to click here!
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40 Easy Watercolor Landscape Painting Ideas for Beginners
If you are venturing into the world of watercolor, this means you have experience in acrylic color painting. If not, you must first understand the details of painting with acrylic painting and then jump in here. While watercolors look fascinating, they are difficult to paint. This is because not everyone can work up with the dilution of watercolors. However, if you have decided to paint wither watercolors, it’s time that you start with some basics. What are the most basic things that you paint when you are at the initial stages of it? The landscapes! Yes! They give you an insight into how to work with the shades. Therefore, here are easy watercolor landscape painting ideas for beginners:
Simple Watercolor Landscape Painting Ideas
The Birds Fly Back To Their Home
They may wander all day long, but when the sunsets the birds too go back to their home. this picture can depict a huge message- To get back where you belong. Often we get lost on our way to explore a new world. But it’s necessary to return to your home to your people.
A Lovely House Amidst The Mountains
The clutter of the city made us so used to it that we have forgotten the serenity of the mountains. Every once in a while you must visit it. so the next time you visit such a place, remember to capture it with your artistic talent.
Into The Blues Of Night Sky
The blue sky of the day gives us inspiration, but there is a different charm in the blues of the night sky. For some, it reminds them of their long lost love, for some it makes them feel lively and for some its spooky. So have this inspiration to make your watercolor painting.
The Faraway Light House
One of the easiest and common watercolor paintings of all time is the lighthouse painting. So if you want to have a try something simple yet fun to make then this is the one for you.
Still As Lake Water
The stillness of the lake water makes your disturbed mind calm. This trick is also used in meditations to make you feel relaxed and at peace. So put it in your painting to make it look awesome.
The Play Of Shadows
The night has a many shades. So if you can imagine one form your long lost dream, it’s time to put it on canvas. Use the color black along with white and paint the entire watercolor painting.
The Range Of Mountains
Do you wish to experiment with your talent for shading? Well, you can try it with this painting. As you try to show the depth of the scene, you use the dilution to make it look realistic.
A Church In The Village
When you want to find peace and your heart is shouting of pain where do you go? In the arms of the lord almighty! So make this beautiful sight of a calm church by the lake in a village.
Have An Eye Towards The Horizon
One of the most beautiful landscape paintings that you can make is the sunset. So keep your eye on the horizon and try to copy the colors and transitions our cosmos has to offer.
The Beauty Of A Forest
Do you need real inspiration for your watercolor painting? Well, this is the one for you! Go in search of your inspiration in a forest and try to grab its serenity!
These easy watercolor landscape painting ideas for beginners are spot on! So give it a try and satisfy your hunger to paint. Use various brushes to makes different effects on the painting. Moreover, use different styles and techniques to make the painting look awesome. Enjoy painting!
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