Day 3

Day three is finally here! Compared to the previous two landscapes this one might be a little more challenging. However, I’ll do my best to take you through the process.

If you haven’t received Day 1 and 2, make sure to check the spam folder of your email.

For this tutorial, you’ll be using a combination of wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry techniques.

Let’s get started…


Color mixtures used:

  • Light blue mixture: Cobalt blue + Cerulean blue
  • Light gray: Cobalt blue + touch of burnt sienna
  • Dark gray: Ultramarine + touch of rose madder + touch of burnt sienna
  • Light green: Cadmium yellow + cobalt blue
  • Dark green: Cadmium yellow + Cobalt blue + Paynes gray (a small touch)
  • Tree trunk: Burnt sienna + paynes gray

For a medium green, I simply added a little more blue to the light green mixture.

Other supplies:

  • Watercolor brushes (size 12 and 2)
  • Watercolor paper (100% cotton cold pressed paper)
  • Board (Placed at a slight angle)
  • Masking tape (to secure the paper)
  • 2 Jars of water
  • paper towel

Step 1: Drawing the outline

Place the board at a slight angle before you start to paint.

To draw the outline start by lightly drawing the horizon line. For this painting, I placed it a little below the center. Next, draw an uneven line to show where the bushes in the distance are.

Continue drawing the bushes slightly in front of the bushes in the distance. Their top should be a little higher than the bushes in the distance and a little lower than the horizon line.

Next, draw the big bush to the right, it should be between the tree trunk and the previous bushes. its height should be a little higher than the bushes behind it.

Finally, draw the tree and lightly outline the foliage. The tree trunk should be a little lower than the horizon line. Meanwhile, the foliage should start just above the horizon line and the bushes farthest away.

Use the images below as a reference:

This is a value sketch I made of the scene using graphite pencil:

Step 2: Painting the sky background

Start by wetting the sky with clean water, load your brush with the blue mixture, and start painting the sky. Negatively paint the clouds by painting around their shape with the blue.

The blue mixture should be milky and the paper should be shiny (wet without puddles).

You want larger clouds at the top of the sky and smaller ones as you move towards the horizon.

While the paper is still shiny, paint the clouds using the light gray mixture. I tried to leave some parts between the cloud and the blue sky white to create a glowing effect.

Next, take the dark gray mixture and drop it into the clouds to slightly darken the value.

Be careful not to make the sky too dark, it’s going to be the lightest value compared to the rest of the painting.

Before the sky area dries, you’ll have to paint the trees in the distance…

Step 3: Painting the trees in the distance

Now it’s time to mix the cool green on your palette in a creamy mixture and paint the farthest trees. You can switch to a smaller brush if needed.

If there’s a bead of water over the horizon line, use a paper towel to absorb the excess moisture and then drop in the paint.

If the paint is bleeding too much into the sky then use a clean damp brush to lift it off.

Next, create a dark green mixture (creamy), and start painting the other bushes in the background. At this point, the sky should be moist so it’s okay if the paint slightly bleeds and dilutes at the top of the bushes:

You can drop in more paint if needed.

Using the same mixture start painting the big bush closest to the viewer. Paint the shadow and the bottom of the bush then adjust the mixture by adding a little cadmium yellow and paint the top of the bush:

You can let the paper dry here…

Step 4: Painting the field

For the field, I used three colors: Cadmium yellow (warm yellow), Cobalt blue, and Paynes gray.

Start by loading your brush with a watery mix of cadmium yellow, then paint over the field area

Create a stronger milky mix of cadmium yellow and cobalt blue and start painting diagonal strokes in the foreground:

You can add a creamy mixture of cadmium yellow between the light green strokes like so:

Switch to a smaller brush and then add a little more blue to the green mixture and paint some lines dabs and dots into the field.

By this time the paper should be between moist and damp.

The direction of the strokes should be towards the tree trunk. You can use this same creamy mixture to paint the shadow of the tree:

Once the paper is damp, use the side of the brush and use the dry brush technique to create more texture.

Create a mix of dark green (cadmium yellow, cobalt blue, and Paynes gray) and paint over the shadow of the tree.

Step 5: Adding the main tree

Mix together burnt sienna with a touch of Paynes gray to paint the tree trunk.

Start by painting the left side of the tree trunk then rinse your brush and pull then blend the pigment towards the right side of the trunk.

Mix some light green and using the dry brush technique start painting the foliage. I started with the top parts of the tree where there would be the most light.

Add a little more blue for a medium green and use the point of the brush to drop the paint into the tree. This should create the middle values.

Next, mix some dark green and drop it into the darkest areas of the tree.

Here, I felt the field needed a little more texture on the right side so I created a creamy light green mixture. Then using the dry brush technique painted some more lines:

After I let the tree dry completely, the final step was to paint some small branches between the spaces of the foliage.

If you feel the field is too light in the distance you can add another layer of cadmium yellow on top, just make sure the paint is dry and you don’t cause any backruns.

You have come to the end of this exercise!!

I hope you have learned a lot from these exercises and are feeling inspired to start painting.

If you enjoyed these exercises or have some suggestions I would love to hear your thoughts! on the freebies and what challenges you face with watercolors.

Let me know your thoughts and struggles with watercolor painting by filling out this 2-minute feedback form:

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