To me, there has always been something alluring when looking at any watercolor landscape painting that features a storm. I love looking at how different painters manage to capture the moody but wild essence that comes with a storm. So I decided to paint one for myself and in this post I’ll go over the step by step tutorial so that you can try too!
Lets get into it…
The colors I used are listed below, however you may use whatever you prefer.
- Dark gray: Prussian blue (PB 35) + touch of burnt sienna (PR 101)+ Alizarin Crimson (PR 83)
- Field and Tree:
- Light green: Cobalt blue (PB 28) + Lemon yellow (PY3)
- Medium muted green: Prussian blue + Gamboge (PY 97, PY 110 )
- Dark green: Prussian blue + Gamboge + Burnt umber
- Purple: Rose madder (PV 19) + French ultramarine (PB 29)
Step by step tutorial
As always, we start with the basic sketch. The pencil sketch doesn’t have to be too detailed it should just outline the general shapes and elements that bring the final piece together.
Now its time to paint the watercolor landscape!
Constructing the sky
To begin, wet the paper with clean water.
Next, mix a large puddle of dark gray and with a large brush begin painting in wisps of gray across the sky. Make sure to leave a few white spaces in between strokes.
Continue by loading your brush with the same color, however this time with a slightly higher ratio of paint than water. While the paper is still somewhat wet add in some more wisps to make the clouds darker.
You can see how I painted the top of the sky much darker and fluffier than the bottom.
If you look at the picture above you’ll see how the clouds have a feathery effect. This was achieved by dropping in a mixture with more paint than water into wet paper. Thus causing the paint to spread and bleed into the wet paper and resulting in a feathery effect.
To learn about this technique in depth be sure to sign up for my free beginner watercolor principles E-book down below.
Now its time to let the paper dry! If you paint into damp paper you risk causing unwanted backruns. So take a short break and let the paint work it’s magic.
First layer of Field and Flowers
As the sky continues to dry, wet the bottom half of the paper with clean water. Start dropping in green paint and with your brush create soft dabs. In the distance of the field paint in a muted green, at this stage I’m painting with light washes, this way I can slowly build layers on top.
I have also made sure to leave a few white spaces in between brushstrokes. Notice how the brushstrokes in the distance of the field are closer together and are shaped in horizontal lines where as the strokes in the foreground are much rounded and have more spaces in between.
While the paint is still wet, begin dropping concentrated dots of purple with the tip of the brush. Be careful not to load the brush with too much water.
Continue adding in more concentrated strokes of paint. Make the areas beneath the tree and at the bottom of the grass darker and the middle areas lighter.
Let it dry…
Once the first layer of the grass is dry, you can start painting in the finer details. You can see how I painted thin horizontal lines in the distance of the field, and closer to the foreground I painted small patches of grass.
As you’re filling in the details, you can also start painting the second darker layer of flowers. With the tip of the brush, paint a few small dots on top of the purple flower spots.
It’s time to move on to the tree!
To paint the tree I used the dry brush technique. This technique is pretty simple, start by removing the extra water by dabbing it on a paper towel. Then load your brush with paint that has only a small amount of water. The key is to have your brush be damp while you paint.
To begin the tree, take some light yellow green paint and apply it on the paper with the side of the brush. Try to leave a few empty spaces through the foliage especially closer to the edges.
As you go on, slightly darken the mixture and keep adding in more paint.
Continue by adding in medium green. The bottom and middle of the foliage will be generally darker so drop in more paint in those areas.
As you paint try to leave a few light green areas peaking through.
Let it dry…
Once the previous layer is dry, load your brush with dark green paint. The paint mixture should have a higher amount of paint than water. With the point of the brush, drop in little dots here and there, meanwhile maintaining the lighter areas from the previous layer.
Next, paint the tree trunk with a light brown.
If you’re interested in learning more about painting watercolor trees, be sure to check out this post where I go into depth on this topic.
Final landscape details
To add the final details paint in a second layer of the trunk to make it darker. Next paint thin lines between the foliage to show the smaller branches.
Because there’s a lot of foliage on this tree and it’s positioned in the distance, only add a few thin lines to show the branches. You can see how I only added 2 or 3.
We have come to the end of yet another watercolor landscape tutorial! I hope you enjoyed following along and if you have any questions or topics you’d like for me to cover be sure to leave a comment down below!
If you’re not a fan of the stormy sky on this painting then you may want to check out my field of flowers on a sunny day step-by-step tutorial.