Beginner Lamppost Painting - Step by Step | Emily Curtis | Skillshare

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Beginner Lamppost Painting - Step by Step

teacher avatar Emily Curtis, Artist/Painter

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. About the Class

    • 2. Art Supplies

    • 3. Choosing the Colours

    • 4. Drawing the Shape

    • 5. Masking Fluid

    • 6. Background

    • 7. Lamp Light

    • 8. Lamp Post

    • 9. Class Project

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About This Class

Have you ever watched wondered how to capture the glow of a lamp light? This class is all about how to do just that.

In this class you’ll learn an easy process for painting a moody evening lamppost using watercolours. I’ll guide you step-by-step from choosing the colours to producing the finished piece. By the end of this class you’ll have your very own lamppost painting and all the techniques you’ll need to recreate the piece in any colours you like.

In this class you will learn:

  • How to select colours and mix the colours
  • How to use the wet-on-wet technique with watercolours
  • How to use masking fluid
  • Basic measurements to draw any lamppost you like.
  • Step-by-step process of a watercolour lamppost

This class is aimed at beginners but suitable for all skill levels from beginner to professional as everything is laid out easily for you to follow along.

If you like this class, please leave a review to help me improve.

Happy Painting!

E xx

Meet Your Teacher

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Emily Curtis




Hi there! I'm Emily Curtis.

I'm a full-time artist who specialises in acrylic and watercolour painting. I produce work which portrays atmosphere and emotion, often inspired by moments in nature and urban life.

My love of painting began as a child when I was mesmerised by the colours in the fields surrounding my home. I spent hours watching sunsets and soon became obsessed with recreating the beauty of the world on paper. Now, I use my art to prolong the moments that often feel too fleeting to be observed in everyday life.

I followed my passion into adulthood and gained a Fine Art Foundation Diploma from the University of Arts London. My art has also been seen in magazines such as 'World of Int... See full profile

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1. About the Class: Hello, my name's Emily Curtis and I'm a full-time artist based in the UK. I specialize in acrylic and watercolor painting. Today, I'm going to show you how to paint this Moody watercolor lamppost. This class is aimed at beginners, so you don't need any prior knowledge of watercolors to follow along. Because I'm going to walk you through all the techniques step-by-step. First, I'll take you through all the art supplies will be using and any replacements and you can use. Then we'll create a color chart for all of the colors will be using in this class. I'll take you through how to draw the basic shape of any lamppost. And I'll teach you how to use masking fluid. In the main section of this class, I'll take you through step-by-step instructions to creating the final project. Let's begin. 2. Art Supplies: Let's go over all the equipment will be using in this class and any replacements you can use. First, we have watercolor paper, and I'm using 300 GSM watercolor paper, and it can be bought in paths like this. In the main section of this class, you'll want to take that paper to the table. I recommend using scotch tape. Obviously will be using watercolors. You don't have to have the exact same set is made. Just use whatever you've got. We also using masking fluid in this class. This is the masking fluid I'm using, but any will do. And to go with that, you want to have a small pot of soapy water to protect your brushes. And then we have a water pot and tissue to wash and dry your brushes will be using three brushes in this class. The first is a big square brush, and this is an inch wide. This brush is optional. It's totally fine if you don't have something like it. I'm just using this brush to cover my paper with water. Then we'll be using a smallest square brush, and this is about a centimeter wide. And lastly, appointed brush to paint in the details. This one is incised three, this brush is also optional. If you don't have a pointed brush just to use the smallest brush you have. Or you could even use a black pen or pencil to draw in the details for more accuracy, will be drawing in our lamppost before we start our painting. So for this, you'll need the usual ruler, pencil and rubber. Makes sure the tip of your pencil is really sharp so that you're drawing nice fine lines. We'll also be using a dark pencil. This could be a black or brown or dark blue to draw over our sketch once it's finished. Lastly, you could use a black pen to draw on your lamp post at the end instead of painting it in. This is totally up to you. It just depends on how confident you are with your brush strokes. 3. Choosing the Colours: Before we start the class, I'll be taking you through all the colors will be using and how to mix them in two colors in the background, you want to use a lighter blue and a darker blue. The lighter blue I'm using is Windsor blue. We're actually not going to be doing a lot of mixing in this class because I'm trying to keep things super simple. So this time we'll be using our colors in their base forms, but don't be put off if you're not using the same colors as I am. All of them are replaceable and all my instructions will still apply if you're using different colors. And I'm using indigo for my darker blue. If you want to experiment or give yourself a bit of a challenge, then I absolutely recommend switching up the colors and recreating this piece in your own colors. If you only have one blue in your palate, then you can use it watered down when using as the lighter blue color. Or you could make some whiten. And then you could combine a Brown with your blue to make it darker when we add the shading, or you could even dark in it. We using black. We'll be using two colors when painting the lightened the lamp. First, you want to use a really light yellow for the brightest parts of the lump, I'm using lemon yellow. And then we're going to be adding some orange around the edges to create a warm glow. I'll be using Windsor orange for this. We'll be using black painting are lamppost. Which if you've seen any of my other classes, then you know, I rarely use Black. However, today we're painting are lamppost in as a solid silhouette. So we want it to be really dark. And those are all the colors will be using. I recommend you keep your color chart close to you so that you can refer back to it during the class. 4. Drawing the Shape: The first step of this painting is to draw the lamppost. And I've worked out some basic measurements for you to follow to get the shape. As some I denote. Before I take you through this, we're not taping the paper to the table just yet because drawing is easier when you can move the paper around. I think the most obvious line I've made, if this nine right down the center of my painting. And this is the line that we're going to shape the lamppost around. I've made my lamppost central because I want it to be the focal point at the center of my piece. But you can move your left or right or wherever you want to place it. Now, if we start with this line and we go seven centimeters up, we come to our first horizontal line. And this is two centimeters wide, one centimeter either side of our central line. And on either side of this line, you can see two little dots. And these are two millimeters up and two millimeters down from that horizontal line. These are what we'll be using to connect these lines together and form the base of our lamppost. If we start at that horizontal line and we go 2.5 centimeters up, we come to the next horizontal line. And that is three centimeters across, 1.5 centimeters either side. And that is where the top of the light part of the lamppost is going to go. So three millimeters up, we get to another dot, which we will be using to draw more lines to form the shape of our lamppost. From there we go another five millimeters up. We get to this dot, which we will be using to form the very top of our lamppost. Make sure you're leaving a big enough gap between the top of your lamppost and the top of the paper. Because you might want to put some ornaments on the top of the lamppost. If you look at some reference images, you can see that some of them are quite decorative. But one way to make the painting more advanced is to add some ornaments onto the lamppost. Okay, let's start connecting up some of these lines and forming the lump part of the lamppost. I'm starting at the base of my lamppost and I'm drawing a line between the very edge of that horizontal line and the dot two millimeters below the line. And then just doing the same on the other side. And then the same with the dots above the line as well. There are a few jump cuts in here where I've had to crop myself out. When I lean over the screen, they see what I'm doing. Unfortunately, the camera setup makes it quite difficult for me to get close enough to my work to put the ruler into the right place without blocking your view. So instead, I settled for leaving in enough to get the ruler into the right place and then leaning back out to frame again so that you can actually see what I'm drawing. Now. I'm drawing a line connecting the ends of my top horizontal line and the mark I made three millimeters above it. I'm using a mechanical pencil because it has a really fine point, which means you can draw lines really accurately. If you don't have one of these, then just make sure you've got a really sharp pencil. So you've got nice fine lines to work with. Now I'm drawing a line between my two horizontal lines so that we get the shape of the outer edge of the lamppost. As you can see, this is now formed the head of my lamppost. Now that we have this in place, I'm actually going to rush out to that top horizontal line so that it doesn't interrupt the slanting angle of the window panes on the lamp. And now connecting the top edges of the lamppost to that Mach five millimeters up to finish drawing in the top of the lamppost. And now we have the head of our lamppost fully drawn in. And you can go in and draw the pole and any ornamentation you want to put in. If you're a beginner and you don't have a lot of experience than I suggest keeping the design of your lamppost fairly simple and then working up to something more complex as you develop your skills. I'm going to be making my lamppost quite simple so that you have something easy to follow along with. But feel free to make your as much more ornate and decorative than mine if that's what you want to do. I'm going to draw all of this in off-camera so that I can actually get close enough to my painting to do so. And then I'll take you through what I've done afterwards. Okay. So we're back and as you can see, I've put in some very basic decorative additions to my lamppost to show you the main features that you often see on this type of lamppost. You often get little ornamentations on the very top of the lamp posts. This is a very simple example of that type of thing. You can copy this by drawing a little diamond shape on top of a semicircle. I've also added some little flicks at the edges of the lamp head. Further down, we have some swells which are helping to support the bottom of the lamp and add a bit of decoration. And then on the main pole itself, I've put in just a few of those little bumpy things that you see on my posts. I'm not actually sure what the purpose of these are full. And my Google search didn't yield any results. So if you do know, let me know down in the discussions before we start painting, you're going to want to go over all of your pencil lines in a dark colored pencil, either a black or brown or dark blue or something like that. This is so that you'll still be able to see the shape of your lamp post. Once we've started painting on it, we'll be using quite a dark background and it's very easy for the shape to get lost in that. So you'll want to use something that you're sure will show through several layers of water color paints and start your pencil first on a spare piece of paper. Draw a few fine lines and then do a quick wash over it with water just to check that the pencil isn't water-soluble and smudges the secondary gets wet. I have made this mistake before. The final thing we're going to do before we start painting is to take a rubber and drop out any excess lines around the outside of the lamppost. Once you're happy with the shape of your lamppost, move onto the next lesson. 5. Masking Fluid: Now we have the shape of our lamppost. We're ready to apply the masking fluid. We're not going to cover the whole of the lamppost unmasking fluid because that would be unnecessary. Our lamppost is going to be a silhouette and black will easily cover up the colors in our background. I still haven't taped my paper to the table because it's easier to paint in the masking fluid accurately if you can spin the paper around to give you better angles. We're only going to put masking fluid on the sections of the lamppost which are lighter than the background. Which in this case is the head of the lamppost where the light shines from. I recommend using an old brush when applying masking fluid so that you don't accidentally kill a new one by getting it all sticky. There's not really much you can do to save a brush from that, except hope and cross fingers. So start with something that's old and then it doesn't matter if it goes wrong with that said, you can protect your brushes by dipping them first into soapy water. And this will coat the bristles of the brush and stopped the masking fluid from sticking to them. Take your time when applying the masking fluid. Make sure you don't go over the outer edges of the lamppost onto the background. Or else you're going to end up with white gaps between the background and the lamppost. When you peel the masking fluid off, masking fluid acts a bit like a wax resist in that it stops the watercolor from settling on to areas that have masking fluid on them. And then when you peel the masking fluid off, those areas will remain white. When you're done, wash off your brush in that soapy water and then dry it. And as you can see, this leaves the brush perfectly clean. Wait for your masking fluid to fully dry before moving onto the next lesson. 6. Background: Make sure you're masking fluid is fully dry before starting on this lesson. If it isn't, then it will turn into a mushy mess once we start applying the water and the painting will be ruined. Before we've even started. We're going to start on the background by preparing our paper for the wet and wet technique. I have now taped to my paper to the table so that it doesn't bend and warp when it gets wet. You prepare the paper, fold the wet on wet technique by taking a brush. I'm using my large square brush, covering the whole of the paper with water until it's completely soaked. You may need to use a few layers to do this depending on how thick your paper is. Once you've soaked your paper, leave it for about ten seconds to let the water authority sink into the paper before applying the paint. Then we're going to take our smallest square brush and starting with our lighter blue color and painting that in close to the lump. Blending it out using wide circular motions with our brush. I'm using a square brush for this because it has a wide flat edge. So it's going to cover more area than a pointed brush would. This means that we should end up with the smooth blend overall. Now, we're going to put in the darker blue, painting this around the outside of our lighter blue and taking it right up to the edges of the painting. You don't need to worry about making the background smooth at the moment, as this is only our first layer. Right now with just trying to get down the basic colours and shading will work on getting everything smoothly blended together. Later on. I'm just going over both of these colors a bit more to bring up the vibrancy. Then d that to dry before starting on the next layer. We're starting the second layer exactly the same way we did with the first one by covering the paper with clean water from the first layer, we now have a basic map of where our light and shadows are going to go. So now we want to focus on bringing those rich, vibrant colors to the painting. So on layer two, we're going to cover a whole paper with an intense layer of our light-blue color to get that foundation of bright blue into the painting. Once you're done with the second layer and leave the painting to dry before starting on the third. You'll notice I keep cleaning up the sides of the painting and the top of my masking fluid with a tissue. This is to make sure I don't have water sitting around the edges of my painting because that really slows down the drying time. We starting the third layer by rewetting the paper. Once again, this time we're focusing on are darker blue color. Taking that round the edges of the painting and blending it towards the lighter blue around the lump. Make sure that dark blue is most intense towards the outside edges of the painting. And that it gets watered down as we blend it towards the center so that we're creating that gradient of light coming from the lump. You might be wondering why we are painting in layers, seeing as we keep rewetting the entire of the painting. This is because if you try to do everything in one layer, it can get to be far too much water on the paper. And then things end up getting patchy or the paper itself can start to disintegrate. Let to the painting dry before starting on the next layer. Once again, starting the layer by saturating the paper with water. Make sure you're keeping your brushstrokes really liked now, because as we apply the water, we re wet paint underneath and that can cause it to shift about if we're too rough with the brush strokes. I'm really focusing on the gradient in this layer, starting with my lighter blue and framing that circle of light around the lamp and then blending my Docker blew into it. This should create a really clear gradient between the bright night coming from the lamp diffusing into the darkness. Then leaving that to dry. Okay, so now I'm happy with my gradient, but I do have a bit of patchiness at the top of my work, which I'd like to take care of before moving on to spot fix areas, you can take one of your colors. And then like me, paint that over the area of patchiness, give it a more solid color. Then take a clean brush and I'm using my big square brush for this, and swipe it just over the edge of where your color ends so that it bleeds out into the gradient. Try not to become too perfectionist when working on your gradient. Especially when you're painting in a circular gradient like this, things will be imperfect. And if you keep messing around with things for too long, they can just end up getting worse instead of better. Once you're happy with the background, leave the piece to dry. 7. Lamp Light: Now the background is drying. We're going to move on to painting are light. First we're going to remove the masking fluid. You can do this by peeling it off with your fingers. Now I'm changing over to using My pointed brush so that I can paint in the finer details of my lamppost easily. Now we're going to start painting in the light. Firstly by taking our yellow and covering the whole of the light, would that be careful around the edges? We don't want to accidentally go over into the background. Then I'm dabbling a little of the paint away at the center using a tissue to take up some of the paint so that we have a little white glow where the light in the center of the lamp is. Then we're going to take our orange and line the edge of the lamp. With that. This is going to create a gradient between white to yellow to orange to capture that glowing effect from the lump. You can then go back in with your yellow to blend it altogether. I'm going over my orange again so that we get to reading warm glow around the lump. Once you're happy with the way your lamp light looks, leave your work to dry before moving on to the next lesson. 8. Lamp Post: Make sure your work is fully dry before starting on this lesson. Because if it isn't, when we apply the black, it's going to bleed out everywhere and cause a big mess. As you can see, because we drew in the lump using a dark colored pencil, it still shows through the background. This means it's going to be very easy for us to fill in the shape of the lamppost with our black. Make sure you get the black to be super concentrated so that it's really dark and doesn't have any patchiness once it dries at the same time. And this is the tricky part. You need it to be watery enough so that it is movable and you can paint with it easily. Water control is a very difficult part of using watercolors. Mainly it comes with experience. So if you don't get it right first time, just keep practicing. You might see my head come into shorter bit here. This state is going to be much easier for you that it is for me because I'm having to pretzel myself around a whole camera setup to paint this in. Try to use longest solid brushstrokes as opposed to quick short movements. This will give you much more control over where your brush stroke is actually going and should stop you from painting over the lines. If you have shaky hands or you're just not confident enough with your brushstrokes at the moment, then feel free to use a black pen or pencil to color in your lamppost. Try to fill in any swirly ornaments using as few brushstrokes as possible. This will make the mind smoother and you'll avoid getting bumps in the lines where your brushstrokes meet up with each other. When painting in the pole of your lamp post, it can be very difficult to keep the line straight. One tip I have is to tilt your brush that you're painting with the flat edge of your pointed brush. And then press on it lightly and slowly drag it down so that it paints in a controlled straight line. Now, I am not a god. This width camera setup means that I have no way of painting in those three's fine lines on my light without divine intervention. But instead of waiting for that, I've led to the rest of my painting dry fully. And then I'm taking a ruler and a black fine liner, and I'm just drawing those in. If you're doing this as well, make sure that the rest of your painting is completely dry or else your ruler will smudge the paint. Once you're happy, leave the pace to completely dry before removing the tape. 9. Class Project: Here is the finished piece, up-close feel class project. Try creating your own watercolor lamppost by following along with my instructions. Don't forget to post your results down below as I'd love to see them. And if you post your results on Instagram, do tag me so that I can feature your work in my stories. Do leave a review as it helps me out a lot. And if there's anything you want me to do a class on, let me know. You can find more of my work on Instagram at art of Emily Curtis, and on my website, www. And many curtis dot art. I hope you enjoyed this course and I'll see you in the next one.