For this next post I wanted to create a colorful landscape, and the first thing that came to mind was a flower field. So I decided to go with it. In the article below I will take you through the step by step process of how I painted this scene. I hope you enjoy following along!
Lets get started:
- Watercolor paper: cold pressed 140lb/300gsm.
- Brushes: Round brushes (1 big and 1 smaller for detail). It also depends on how big your paper is and the manufacturing company. I used size 12 and 2
- Paint: Use what you have on hand, the colors are mentioned below
- Extra supplies:
- 2 jars of water
- Paper towel
- Light blue: Cerulean
- Warm yellow: Gamboge
- Red: Pyroll scarlet + touch of lemon yellow to make it little orange
- Field and tree:
- Light green: Lemon yellow + prussian blue (more lemon to make it lighter)
- Mid green: Gamboge yellow + Prussian blue
- Dark green: Gamboge yellow + prussian blue + touch of paynes gray or burnt sienna
- Warm orangish red: Pyroll scarlet + touch of gamboge
- Cool red: Rose madder or alizarin crimson
- Warm dark redish color: Alizarin crimson + paynes gray
Step by step tutorial
Basic field sketch
Start by drawing the horizon line followed by the outline of a tree. Finish the sketch by adding a few lines to show where the grass will be.
Since this will be a loose painting you won’t have to worry about adding too much detail to your sketch. Also remember not to make your sketch too dark, here’s how it looked on my paper:
Painting the sky
Start by wetting the paper in the sky area with clean water, avoid the tree foliage. Once the paper is wet enough it’s time to drop in some paint. Start by loading your brush with some cerulean blue, begin dragging your brush across the top of the paper in wavy stokes. Don’t rush, take your time.
Make sure to leave a few spaces lighter than the rest. You’ll see in the image below how I’ve left some white space in the middle.
You’ll also notice there is more blue towards the top. To achieve this use a lower concentration of blue by rinsing it and adding water to lighten it as you move towards the horizon.
Now that we’ve added the blue its time to clean your brush off and drop in some gamboge as shown in the image below.
If throughout the process, you feel there is too much paint you can always lift off the paint with a clean damp brush or paper towel. However, also keep in mind that the colors will dry a lighter tone.
While the sky is still wet paint in some red. Here I used a pyroll scarlet with a touch of lemon yellow.
I simply dropped in some color, with the point of my brush, along the horizon and let the paint bleed into the sky. I also added water to the mixture to create a lighter value. Although you should be careful with this, if the paper has already begun to dry then you’ll cause a backrun. So make sure that you add enough water in the beginning.
Now it’s time to let the paint dry! As tempting as it may be don’t make any changes to it and let it do it’s thing.
First wash of the field
Once the sky is dry you can continue to paint the field. Start by wetting the field area with clean water. Make sure you have a light green, mid green and dark green ready on your palette. The mixtures I used are listed below, but feel free to use what you prefer.
Light green: Lemon yellow + prussian blue (more lemon to make it lighter)
Mid green: Gamboge yellow + Prussian blue
Dark green: Gamboge yellow + prussian blue + touch of paynes gray or burnt sienna
Using the point of your brush paint horizontal lines of light green in the back of the field. Paint in the medium green as you approach the foreground. The idea is to go from light to dark, lighter in the background and darker in the foerground.
Picking up some dark green with your brush, start painting in some patches of grass. You can see in the image below how I painted a few strokes along the bottom of the paper.
Also add a few small dabs underneath the tree. This way you can draw the attention of the viewer to the tree. Leave some lighter spaces to add in the flowers later.
Before the paper dries it’s time to add the flowers. Once again, use the point of the brush to paint lines of red in the back and spots of red in the foreground. Painting horizontal lines in the back of the field will help create the illusion of depth, the further away things are the less detailed they tend to be.
Cover the rest of the paper then splatter in some dark green like so:
It’s time to let the field dry. As you paint wet in wet it is important to keep in mind how much water is in your brush, if the paper has begun to dampen and your brush is fully wet this will cause a backrun. If you’re interested in learning more about the different stages of wetness sign up for my free “beginner watercolor principles” E-book down below.
Flowers and grass
After the first layer of paint has dried, it’s time to add in the finer details. Switching to a smaller brush size, you can just add in a few strokes of grass between the red spots like I’ve done.
You can see how I painted short irregular lines at the back of the field and thicker more defined grasses towards the foreground.
After adding in the grass you can also add in few spots of dark red to express the flowers:
I kept most of the dark colors towards the foreground and the lighter colors in the distance.
Once you’ve finished adding the details you can move on to the tree.
Clean off your brush and dampen it on a paper towel, take some light green and begin dry brushing in the tree foliage. To get the desired texture make sure to turn the brush at an angle and use the side of the bristles.
Make sure to leave empty white spaces in between foliage.
If you’d like to learn about different techniques to paint trees you can check out this post which is all about painting autumn, winter, summer, foggy and autumn trees.
Finishing the tree
Use the smaller brush to add in darker spots through out the tree, remember to preserve those lighter spaces.
Continue by painting in the tree trunk, here I used a burnt umber and added a touch of dark green at the bottom of the trunk so that it would blend in with the grass.
Start to paint in the smaller branches through those lighter spaces we left earlier. You don’t have to cover each and every nook and cranny just a few branches are enough and you’ll be done.
We have come to the end of yet another watercolor tutorial, I hope you enjoyed following along with my process and painting this flower field landscape with me!
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