Beginner Snowing Landscape Trees - Step by Step | Emily Curtis | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Beginner Snowing Landscape Trees - Step by Step

teacher avatar Emily Curtis, Artist/Painter

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

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. Painting the Sky

    • 5. Background Trees

    • 6. Midground Trees

    • 7. Foreground Trees

    • 8. Adding the Snow

    • 9. Class Project

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Would you like to know how to capture a magical winter landscape? This class is all about how to do just that.

In this class you’ll learn an easy process for painting purple snowy trees 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 winter landscape 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 mix the colours for this class
  • How to use the wet-on-wet technique with watercolours
  • The step-by-step process of watercolour snowy trees
  • How to add snowflakes to any painting

This class is 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

Teacher Profile Image

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

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. About the Class: Hello, my name's Emily curtis. I'm a full-time artist based in the UK, and I specialize in acrylic and watercolor painting. In this class, we'll be painting a magical purple Christmas Eocene using watercolors. We'll start by going over all the art supplies will be using and any replacements you can use. I'll also take you through all the colors will be using in this class and teach you how to mix them. In the main section of this class, I'll take you through step-by-step instructions to paint the final piece. And we'll cover different techniques, such as using the wet and wet technique to paint a gradient, and some options for painting snowflakes. Once you are ready to join the class, let's begin. 2. Art Supplies: Before we start the class, I'll just go over all the art supplies you'll need and any replacements you can use. First up, we'll be using watercolors. You don't have to have this exact set. Just use whatever you've got. You also need to use watercolor paper. I'm using 300 GSM paper, and it can be bought in paths like this. You want to take that paper to the table to stop it from bending when it gets wet. I recommend using scotch tape. Then we have a water pot and tissue to Washington draw your brushes, will be using three brushes in this class. First is a big square brush and this is an inch wide. I'm just using this brush to wet my paper when using the wet and wet technique. So it isn't essential. Just used the closest you've got. Then I'll be using a smaller square brush. And this one is about a centimeter wide. Do use a square brush if you have them, because they make for much smoother gradients. And finally, I'll be using a small pointed brush. This one is in size five. If you don't have a pointed brush, just use the smallest brush you have to paint details will also be using white acrylic paint in this class to paint the snowflakes. I'm using Liquitex, heavy body acrylic. This just happens to be the paint that I have. You don't need to use this exact one. You could also use goulash if you have that. Or if you're using tube watercolors, then just use that. And there we have all the art supplies will be using in this class. Move on to the next lesson to see how we're going to mix the colors. 3. Choosing the Colours: Before we start the main class, I'm going to go over all the colors will be using and how to mix them. We're only using three colors in this class to mix all of our colors. Let's start by mixing the colors for the sky. Firstly, we have a pinky purple mixed from permanent rose and windsor violet. You don't have to use the exact same colors is me. Just use whatever you've got. Or you could experiment by using completely different colors. Let's face it. It's not like purple sky and trees are the most realistic colors anyway. But I figured it's been a tough year for everyone. And I can have purple trees if I want them. And then for the shading at the top of this guy will be using a cooler purple. This is m6 using Windsor violet and ultramarine blue. If you've done a few of my classes, then you'll know I like to use cooler colors for shading or shadows. This is because cooler colors show the coldness that you feel when you're standing in the shade. So they make things appear darker without having to use blacks, which tend to gray other colors out, makes both of your colors for the sky fairly saturated because they will become watered down when we use the wet in wet technique for the gradient in the sky. Now I'm moving on to the colors for the trees. The first color we'll be using is a really light pinky purple mixed from permanent rose and windsor violet. Make sure this is really water down. We just tinting the paper with color in the background. One way to watered-down paint more easily is once you've mixed the color, you could then take some of it onto your brush and move it to a different area of your palate and watered down that small section of color. Usually, I would mix colors separately for background, mid ground, and foreground. However, in this class, we're basically using the same two colors in the background, mid ground and foreground, but gradually getting them more saturated. So what I'm going to do here is show you how to mix the original color and then show myself mixing them gradually, more saturated as we move into the foreground for the mid ground will then be painting the trees in the same color, just a bit more saturated. As you can see here. I'm keeping the same color I've currently got on my palette. And I'm just mixing more permanent rose and windsor violet into it. Still makes sure your paint is quite watered down. Because we need to get some contrast between the mid ground and the foreground, where we're going to use the colors really saturated. Here you can see I'm mixing up my pinky purple, really saturated using lots of permanent rose and lots of Windsor violet. Make sure you're still keeping your ratios of each color the same because it's very easy when moving into darker tint to accidentally changed the color you're using by putting in too much pink or too much purple, it might sound a bit difficult, but it's super easy to correct any mistakes by mixing in more of the color that you need. It's just about making sure that you take the time to really look at your colors and make sure you're mixing the color that you're aiming for. And now we're moving onto mixing the second color for the trees. This time we're going to mix a bluish purple using Windsor violet and ultramarine blue. Make sure this color is really watered down. It's very easy for a color like this to look too dark. Hopefully, you can see here that by having a warm purple and a cool purple, we're going to get in some contrast, which should help to show a bit of depth in our painting as well. And now I'm mixing up the color slightly more intense to use in the mid ground. And again, you might want to take a bit of that color and water it down on a separate section of your palate just to make sure that it doesn't get too intense at the moment. If you want to simplify the piece, you could absolutely just use one purple and use it in different intensities. Or you could just use blue and pink for the trees so that you have some contrast, but it's a bit easier to do. Finally, we have the foreground where we can now make that bluish purple really intense. And just like before, take the time to make sure that the color is still consistent with the previous colors. And you're not accidentally mixing it too blue or too purple. And here we have our finished color chart. I recommend making your own color chart and keeping it close to you during the class so that you have something to refer back to. Now we're ready to start on the class project. 4. Painting the Sky: We're starting this piece by painting the sky. We'll be using the wet and wet technique to paint the sky. The wet on wet technique just means using wet paint on wet paper. So we're going to start by taking our big brush and covering the paper in clean water. It may take a few layers to fully saturate your paper. The thicker your paper is, the more water you need to use to socket. Then leave your paper for about ten seconds to give the water a chance to sink in. And while that's happening, we can mix up our first color, which is a pinky purple. We're trying to create a gradient in the sky that goes from purple to white. So we're placing the purple at the top of the sky and then blending it downwards so that it gets less intense the further down the paper we go. I'm using my square brush for this because the large surface area will help to get an even finish on the paint. The gradient should stop about halfway down the paper so that we have half of the paper still left White to give us space to put in the trees later, makes sure you're starting back at the top of the paper every time you add more purple so that the paint is more saturated at the top of the paper and fades as it goes down the painting. Don't worry about making the purple too intense at the moment because this is just the first layer. We will be painting in layers because it's much easier to create a smooth gradient by building it up over several layers. This is because building the paint up gradually helps to prevent things from drying unevenly, all the paper from taking on too much water. Now let your painting dry before we start on the next two layer. We starting layer to the same way we did with the first layer by covering the paper with water and then leaving it for about ten seconds to let that water sinking before applying the paint. As you can see from the first layer, you don't need to worry too much about blending everything smoothly because the wet and wet technique will do that for you. Now I'm mixing up pinky purple again and painting that starting at the top and blending it down into the gradient. Just like before. I want the top of my sky to be quite dark. So I'm mixing up a deep bluish purple. And I'm painting that at the top of my sky and blending it down into the rest of the gradient. Take your bluish purple to about halfway down where your pinky purple stops. This way we get a gradient that goes from dark purple to medium purple and then into the white. As you can see here, I was having a little bit of trouble with bits of my paper coming off. This is usually a sign of over saturating the paper. However, that wouldn't make sense in this case because I used this paper for everything and I know that it can take much more water than this. So I'm not quite sure what was going on there, especially since it dried very smoothly and didn't look damaged at all. But hey, this is 2020, things happen. So generally speaking, if you do see this start to happen to your paper, leave it to dry and don't fiddle around with it too much because it's a sign that the paper is being damaged from using too much water or too harsh brushstrokes. Now leave your painting to dry before starting on the third layer. We starting this layer exactly the same way as we did the others. By taking your big brush and whetting your entire paper with clean water, you might find that your water is very purple from the previous layers. If this is the case, then I recommend getting some clean water for this layer because we don't want to tint the white section of the painting by using dirty water. Keep your brushstrokes very light now because watercolour paint can start to move around when it gets really wet. And if you brush strokes are too heavy, then you might end up moving around the paint that is already on the gradient. For this last layer, I'm just making sure that the top of my sky is as dark as possible. So we get a big contrast in the gradient. So I'm taking my bluish purple again and I'm putting that at the very top of my painting and blending it down into the gradient. Once you're happy with your gradient, leave your painting to dry before moving on to the next lesson. 5. Background Trees: Now that our painting is dry, we're ready to add the trees. We're going to start by using the wet on wet technique, but only on the bottom half of the painting. So I'm starting by taking my big square brush and I'm just putting clean water over the white area of the gradient. Make sure you're not going into your purple in the sky because we don't want to disturb that and cause unevenness in the paint. Now I'm mixing up a light pinky purple and I'm using my pointed brush to paint some vague Christmas tree shapes in the distance. Leaves some gaps in between the trees so that you have some space to add more trees using the next color. Although I'm saying to paint them in as Christmas tree shapes, they definitely won't look like that by the time they've tried because the wet and wet technique will blur them out. This is absolutely fine because we just want the suggestion of trees in the distance. And after that, I'm then mixing up a bluish purple. And I'm painting in some Christmas tree shapes in the same way as before. We're using two colors because it helps to get more depth into the painting by having a bit of contrast between the trees. We won't be using a lot of harsh lines in this painting. It's snowing in the scene and that can make things in the distance look very faint because you're not only looking out into the distance to see things, but you're also looking through layers of snowfall. Think of it as having the same effect as looking out onto a misty landscape. Once you're happy with your trees in the background, Navier painting to dry before starting on the next lesson. 6. Midground Trees: Once you're painting is fully dry, we can start painting in the trees in the mid ground. Make sure your paper is very dry because we won't be using the wet on wet technique in this lesson. And we don't want our trees blending out into the background. You can actually do as many layers of trees. And you'd like to transition from the background to the foreground. As this is a beginners class, I'm only using three layers so that we have a clear background, mid ground, and foreground to show depth. However, if you'd like to challenge yourself, then do put in more layers. I'm starting the mid ground by mixing up my pinky purple, slightly more intense than when we used it in the background. And then I'm using light side-to-side motions with my pointed brush to paint a Christmas tree shape. Make sure you're using the very tip of your pointed brush for this so that you get the look of those thin tree branches. Once you get to the bottom of the tree, you can use clean water on your brush to blend out the bottom of the tree so that it fades out gently. You can then use a tissue to double way some of the extra water. I've slowed down the video on the first tree so that you can see my brushstrokes clearly. Now I've spent the video back up. And as you can see, I'm just doing that same process again for several more trees in the mid ground. Make sure to leave some gaps because we will also be going in and painting some trees using the bluish purple. You could vary the sizes and height of the trees because this will help to show depth. I'm keeping my paint quite watered down in the mid ground because the trees are still quite far away. And we want to be able to emphasize the trees in the full ground by having them be much darker and more in focus in comparison. Now, I'm moving on to my bluish purple and putting in some more trees in the mid ground in exactly the same way as before. Once you're happy with the mid ground, leave your painting to dry before starting on the next lesson. 7. Foreground Trees: Now that the painting is fully dry, were ready to paint in the trees in the foreground. We're starting by mixing up the pinky purple from before, even more intense this time. And then using the very tip of my pointed brush to paint in that classic Christmas tree shape. Keep your brushstrokes really liked for this, and use quick side-to-side motions to get those thin branches. Just like in the last lesson, I've slowed down the speed of the video for the first tree so that you can see my brushstrokes clearly. The trees in the foreground should be bigger than the trees in the mid ground or the background. To show that they're closer to us. Then paint the rest of your trees in using the same method. You might not want all of your trees to come right to the bottom of the paper. If so, blend away the bottom of your tree the same way we did in the mid ground, so that it fades delicately into the painting. Now, I'm going to put in a few more trees using my bluish purple. I recommend still leaving some gaps between your trees so that you can see past the foreground and into the mid ground and the background. Once you're happy with your tree's, leaves, the painting to dry. 8. Adding the Snow: Now the painting is fully dry. Were ready to finish off that Christmas he feel, by putting in the snow, you could use lots of things to paint in the snow. I'm using Liquitex, white acrylic paint. You absolutely do not need to use this exact paint. Any white paint will do. First, you want to water down the paint so that it's thin enough to flick off your brush, but still opaque enough to stand out against the background. There are two methods to painting Snow. One is to flick the bristles of your pointed brush with your finger to create small splashes. This will create the parents of small snowflakes. Or you could saturate your brush with paint and then tap the handle of your brush against your finger to flick the paint at the painting. This will create largest blushes of paint, which will work for thick snowflakes. You do need to hold your brush loosely when doing this, but make sure you don't do what I just did and dropped the paintbrush right against the painting. However, this gives me the perfect opportunity to show you how to do a painting rescue acrylic paint dries very fast and once it's dry, it doesn't move. So you need to make sure you move quickly. When fixing something with acrylic paint. First, take a clean brush and wet the paint to debit away, and then dry the area using a tissue. Then re-mix a small amount of your colors in the sky and paint that likely over the area that needs to be fixed. Then leave your painting too dry or dry it with a hairdryer. Mike, I am. The key is to make sure you're not too perfectionist with your fixing. As it is unlikely that you will ever be able to fix a painting 100% smoothly. In this case, that doesn't matter because once the painting is dry, I can cover up the area using my snowflakes and then any unevenness won't show up too much. I know I looked quite com in this clip, but believe me, there was internal screaming. Why he does that always have to be something that goes wrong in these glosses. Anyway, crisis averted. You could now go over some of the snowflakes to make them brighter so that they stand out against the rest and create some contrast. Make sure you clean that acrylic paint off your palate quickly, because once it's dry there, it will probably be stuck there forever. If you want to be safe, you could actually put the acrylic paint onto a bit of cardboard or spare piece of paper to stop it from drying onto your palate. Once you're happy with your painting, leave your work to dry before peeling off the tape. 9. Class Project: Here we have the finished painting for your class project. Try creating your own purple watercolor trees. Or you could experiment by recreating the painting in your own colors. Do leave a review as it helps me out a lot. And if there's anything you'd like me to do a class on, let me know. Post your results down below as I'd love to see them. And if you post your results on Instagram, do tag me so I can feed to you in my stories. You can see more of my work on Instagram at out of MLE Curtis and on my website, www dot M&E curtis dot art. Thank you for joining my class and I'll see you in the next one.