Day 2

We will be painting a simple scene with a wet into wet sky and seascape for today’s exercise! I highly recommend reading through the steps first before following along so you have an idea of what to do.

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Required materials:

Here I colors I used for the painting, however, you can use alternatives on your palette:

  • Light yellow gray mixture: Yellow ochre + touch of rose madder + touch of ultramarine blue
  • Dark gray mixture: Burnt sienna + Ultramarine+ touch of rose madder
  • Sky blue mixture:Cobalt blue + touch of cerulean blue
  • Prussian blue
  • Prussian blue + touch of Paynes gray

Instead of yellow ochre, you can use raw sienna. Instead of Prussian blue you can use pthalo blue or indigo(cool dark blue), just add a little at a time because they can easily overpower the mixture.

Here are the other materials used:

  • 100% cotton, cold pressed baohong paper
  • Size 12 round brush and size 2 round brush. You can use different brush size depending on how big your paper is.

Let’s get started…

Drawing the outline

Start by securing your paper to the board with masking tape then place the board at a slight angle. For this landscape, I’m using 100% cotton cold pressed paper (Baohong).

You can draw a very light pencil outline to show where the clouds will go and where the horizon line is. For this painting, I wanted to focus on the sky so I placed it just below the middle of the paper.

Here’s what it looked like on watercolor paper:

If you can’t see on watercolor paper, the image below shows how I roughly outlined the painting:

Painting the first wash

You will have to work quickly when painting the sky, so try have your colors mixed and prepared on the palette before beginning.

Start by wetting the sky area with clean water. You want the paper to be shiny not soaking wet (as discussed in the water to paint ratio chapter in the ebook).

Because the paper is tilted at an angle the moisture will run to the horizon line. This is alright, just make sure you soak up the extra water when you start painting the lower areas.

Next start dropping in the light yellow gray mixture in the areas with the lighter values of the clouds. Don’t cover the whole cloud or the whole sky just yet, just the lighter areas.

The mixture should be between milky and creamy, this is so that it bleeds just enough to create a soft edge without spreading over the whole cloud.

You’ll want to paint smaller clouds as you move towards the horizon, this will give the scene a sense of depth.

While the paper is still shiny wet, drop in the milky mixture of dark gray where the darker values are. The paint will get slightly diluted as it spreads through the wet paper and that’s okay. It’ll show the middle values.

Make the mixture from milky to creamy then drop in some more dark gray to darken some areas if needed. Here, the paint should slightly bleed.

This requires you to use your intuition, so gently dab to see if it’s bleeding enough. Be careful not to add too much as you don’t want the sky to become too dark.

If the paint speads too far, rinse your brush and dampen it by removing the excess water on a cloth or paper towel then lift the paint. I did this with the big cloud in the image above, you can see how the shape is smother in the next image below.

Painting the blue areas

Now it’s time to create a milky mixture of cobalt and cerulean blue. You don’t want the pigment to be too strong, a light blue should do for the scene.

Negatively paint the spaces around the clouds with the blue mixture. It’s okay if some of the blue bleeds into the clouds.

I made sure to add some blue between the clouds and the horizon line as you can see in the image. But first, I soaked up any extra water using a paper towel as mentioned earlier.

Painting the ocean water

Once you’re done it’s time to paint the water. Create a creamy mixture of Prussian blue and Paynes gray on your palette. Dab out the excess water from your brush then using the side of its bristles, graze the paper to create some dry brush marks.

Leave some white spaces between strokes.

Add a little more Paynes gray for a darker mixture and add some darker dry brush strokes into the water.

With your brush, soften some of the dry brush marks, not all of them though, you’ll want to leave some rough spaces.

It’s okay if some of the mixture bleeds into the sky! As long as the paper isn’t shiny or too wet, there will be less bleeding.

This is the end of the tutorial! I hope you learned something new and enjoyed yourself. Keep an eye out for tomorrow’s tutorial which will be a even more challenging.

If your painting didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped then that’s okay.

Remember, I have painted a wet into wet sky thousands of times before I improved and painted something I was actually proud of! This is where you require patience with yourself when it comes to watercolor painting.

Painting a subject over and over again and letting yourself enjoy the process is part of the journey! So don’t be too hard on yourself.