Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lesson #22 Painting the Sky in Watercolor

For the past few lessons we’ve been learning some basic skills for painting a sunset painting similar to this one. This week we’ll paint the sky two different ways. You almost can’t make a mistake when painting a sky. It’s so free-form. Just have fun!

We’ll do a blue sky with fluffy white clouds first.

Let’s start by wetting your watercolor paper (about 5” X 7”) with clear water. (Since this is just for practice I’m not going to prep or staple my paper down on a board. But I will show you how when we actually start our “real” painting!). Then mix some blue paint (your choice of blue) with water and brush it across the top of your paper.

Now apply more blue in the shape of clouds. Any old way…just have fun! Leave some white space, probably more white on the bottom and more blue at the top.

Let it dry. You can use a hair blower to speed up the process.

With a brush and clear water wet some areas and blot with a paper towel to lift color and make more white clouds.

I sometimes use a “scrubber” with water to rub an area and then blot. This tool has tougher bristles than a watercolor brush. Children’s cheap paintbrushes are also good for scrubbing.

You can go back in and darken areas or soften edges where you want to. I showed you how to soften edges in a previous lesson.

Now let’s paint a sunset (or sunrise). Wet your paper with clear water. Wet it again to make sure it is very wet, but not dripping. Mix a blue color of your choice with water and apply it to the top of your paper. With more of the same color, while your paper is still wet, paint some jiggley horizontal streaks.

Mix some redish purple paint with water and Lightly paint just the top (or just the bottom) edges of your blue jiggley streaks. Suck up any harsh, dark edges with a clean almost-dry brush .

Let’s mix some red paint with a little water and make a few red streaks under the blue ones. It’s okay if it merges together a little bit. Now let it dry completely.

Wet the middle of your paper horizontally (from left to right) with clear water.

Mix a little yellow-orange and paint in the clear water area over everything you painted before. Suck up any hard lines with a clean almost-dry brush. Let everything dry completely.

Now let’s make some land by mixing some green and... paint it on!

Soften the bottom edge with clear water.

Mix a little red with that green to make a darker green and add little short brush strokes to suggest trees.

Add a little red mixture into the green for variation and then soften the bottom edge with clear water.

Now you can just tweak a little here and a little there by adding some more yellow, or any other colors you want to experiment with.

Since this lesson is about the sky don’t worry if your land doesn’t look right. We’ll work on that in another lesson. Just have fun watching the colors blend together. And don’t blend too much – just let the water and paint do it by itself. You can turn your paper upside down and sideways to get interesting affects also. And watercolors dry lighter than when you first put them on the paper.

For next week’s lesson have some masking tape or masking fluid ready to use.


Laryssa @ Heaven In The Home said...


Thank you for doing all these lessons. They are really helping me remember all I learned in art class. Just know I'm reading and learning!

Laryssa @ Heaven In The Home said...

Thanks for the thoughtful compliment and comment! I’m always ready to learn how to do things better, so your how- to posts are very helpful.

Anu Priya said...

Dis is awsm..i m new to dis n doin it ol by myslf...thankew so much :)