Bold and Bright Rainbow Skies: an Introduction to Watercolor Blending and Color Mixing | Ariane Hope | Skillshare

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Bold and Bright Rainbow Skies: an Introduction to Watercolor Blending and Color Mixing

teacher avatar Ariane Hope, Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

6 Lessons (32m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. Color Mixing and Bleeding

    • 4. Warm Up Exercises

    • 5. Painting the Sky

    • 6. Painting the Rainbow and Final Touches

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About This Class

In this 30 minute class, led by artist Ariane Sarno Butler, you will create a vibrant rainbow scene (reminiscent of early 90's Lisa Frank trapper keeper cover art) by learning how to mix and blend only three colors!  Along with basic color mixing theory, watercolor techniques, such as wet-on-wet and color bleeding, are thoroughly explained throughout the lessons. 

Although this style isn't super realistic, it sure does bring a smile to one's face!  If you're looking for a fun, quick, and easy project, this class is for you!   


Meet Your Teacher

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Ariane Hope




Hello!  I'm Ariane, and I am so excited to finally be on Skillshare!  For practically my whole life, I've been doing some type of art or crafting.  I got into watercolors a few years ago and I haven't looked back since!  I love landscapes but have been branching out to other subjects, which I hope to teach some classes on in the future.  Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have! 


 Follow me on Instagram (@ariane_hope_) if you want regular speed painting, art posts, and mini-tutorials, and tag me in your projects! I love seeing class projects and sharing them in my stories, and I can't wait to feature yours!


Along with teaching on Skillshare, I am also a proud member of T... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Do you want to learn how to paint a vibrant rainbow seen worthy of being on a 19 nineties? Lisa Frank, Trapper Keeper I'm Marianne and welcome to my class on bold and bright rainbow skies, an introduction toe, watercolor blending and color mixing in this fund 30 minute class, we'll learn how to mix and blend colors together with confidence. First, we will learn the basics of mixing primary powers together. Then we will experiment with blending colors by bleeding them into one another. We'll also learn my variation on the tried and true wet on wet technique that I used to produce wispy skies. Throughout the lessons, you'll get countless valuable tips on pigments, water ratios, rush load, color mixing and more. By the end of the class, you'll be able to create a bold and bright rainbow sky escape. This class is suited for all levels, so no previous watercolor experience is necessary. I can't wait to see your Bolden break Rambo's in the project gallery and, as always, reach out with any questions you may have if you follow me on. Instagram attacked me in your project so I can share them. Thanks again for joining my class. I'll see you in the next lesson where we'll go over our supplies 2. Supplies: supplies you'll need for today. Starting off with watercolor paper, I always use 100% cotton 300 GSM cold press paper. You can find it in sheets, pads or blocks. I like to use blocks because they hold heavy washes. Well, I will be painting my final project on a watercolor block today, but I'll also be painting my warm up exercises on sheets of paper taped to a board with masking tape. You also want a selection of larger soft bristle brushes I will be using in number three squirrel hair mop brush in number 10. Synthetic squirrel hair round brush in a number six synthetic squirrel hair round brush. I like to use squirrel hairbrushes for this project because their bristles are really soft and springy. A pencil and a kneaded eraser, a paint palette or mixing trey. Two jars of water, one for cleaning your brushes off and one for using clean water. And a selection of watercolor pains in this class will cover how to mix all of the colors of the rainbow, using the three primary colors of red, yellow and blue albie using and magenta and lemon yellow from Lucas watercolor and fellow blue from Turner Water color in the color mixing exercise, I'll briefly cover how to pick out your primary colors. But for a more comprehensive color theory class, check out my last class on painting the Four Seasons using a limited palate. Lastly, you need a paper towel or cloth to clean your brush. Now that we have our supplies, let's set up our work space and start painting. 3. Color Mixing and Bleeding: way. If we're familiar with the color wheel, we know that mixing primary colors creates secondary colors, meaning bread and yellow make orange yellow employees. You make green and right and blue make purple. I filled my well palette with concentrated amounts of my primaries, meaning that I use more pigment and last water. I'll be going over pigment and water ratios later on, but it one of these mixes to be as bright as possible. For now, let's start by making orange with yellow and red. I chose a lemon yellow, which is a neutral Hugh, meaning it'll make a vibrant orange and vibrant green because it won't muddy the mixes down by being too warm or cool. If we were to use a warm yellow like a cadmium or GAM, bows are greens would look too muted for a rainbow. The blue I chose is a cool fail Oh blue. I chose a cool blue because it'll mix to create more vibrant purples and greens than a warm blue like ultra marine would fail. It was also a great sky blue color, so I won't have to worry about mixing the perfect shade for that part of our project. Lastly, I chose a cool red or magenta instead of the typical primary. Red cooler reds tend to make the most vibrant and saturated purples, and you can always add a slight amount of yellow to create a more basic primary right of necessary. My mixes air mostly 50 50 but feel free to experiment with different amounts of each primary color to get to know the mixing range of your pains. And now that we have are concentrated mixes, let's learn how to blend by bleeding one color into another start by laying down a decent amount of concentrated magenta. You want to brighten concentrated but not thick and gloopy. It needs to be liquid enough to move around on the surface of the paper, and you should be able to see the paint beating upon the paper surface, but not so much that it creates big puddles. After cleaning your brush, lay down some concentrated orange color alongside of the magenta and then very so gently you're going to drag the orange to meet the magenta and dab your brush very lightly between the colors, coaxing them to mingle on blend on their own. If not enough water is used in your color mixtures. The paint won't easily blends, but if there's too much water in your mixes, the pigment particles will disperse to widely and in some case, overpower and eradicate another color altogether. There's a fair amount of experimentation to the color bleeding process, so don't be discouraged if you need multiple attempts. Always be sure that both colors you're trying to bleed together have a nice, even wet sheen on them. Bleeding a wet color into an almost dry color can create cauliflower bleeds, which are beautiful, but it's not the look on going for in this piece. Also, try not to manipulate the colors with your brush too much. Let the paints blend on their own. I'm dropping in more yellow to keep it from drying out and also extending the yellow section a bit so that the green doesn't overpower it like before at the green alongside of yellow and gently dragon up to meet the yellow. You can also coax the colors to blend by, tipping your paper different ways. Like I said earlier, just be wary of over using your brush to blend, the more you move the colors around with a brush, the muddy or the blend will be, and you'll lose the cool, tie dyed effect of the colors blending on their own that we're trying to achieve. Continue these steps with blue and purple, keeping in mind the ratio of water to pigment in your mixtures and how that affects the color blends. In the next video, we'll learn my spin on a wet and wet sky in practice, another rainbow blend to prepare us for the final project, so I'll see you there. 4. Warm Up Exercises: in this lesson, we will learn a new way of painting a sky in elaborate a little more on color bleeding. Since we'll be working wet and wet for the sky. Let's tape or paper down, and we'll also set our palate up. If you haven't done so yet. We're now ready to begin our sky warm up. I'm gonna be using a number three squirrel mop brush If you don't have a mop brush, any larger watercolor brush will do as long as the bristles are soft and springy and not stiff it all. This wet on wet technique differs slightly from the norm, as instead of covering the entire surface with clear water and then adding the pigment, we will be loading our brushes with water and dabbing water on the surface in irregular patterns before adding the pigment. Make sure there are breaks of dry paper here and there on your surface. Activate the fellow blue pigment by swishing around a wet brush in the paint, mixing thoroughly to achieve a highly pigmented but smooth and transparent consistency. Load your brush with a lot of concentrated failure blue and then dropped the color on random wet areas of the surface, keeping in mind not to cover too much of the wet surface with pain just yet. Clean your brush thoroughly and then swipe your clean, damp brush along the edges of the pigment, lifting the pigment and blending the transitions between the blue areas and blank areas. Cleaning your brush frequently. The reason that we didn't wet the entire surface initially is so that the blue pigments didn't disperse too far and that we maintained the white areas of the sky toe act as clouds . Also, a low blue has a high dispersion property, so this technique hopes limit the flow of pain toe unwanted areas of the surface. Keep up the pattern of cleaning your brush and blending and lifting up pigment with a clean , damp brush, while keeping mind to preserve the whites and darks of the surface. To further brighten the clouds, take your clean brush dry slightly than sop up any unwanted paint within the clouds or in the transitions. By this time, areas of the surface that have been lifted of color, maybe starting to dry, maintain and even sheen of water on the entire surface by blending in some clean water to the white areas. Next, load your brush again with concentrated halo blue and drop it into the blue areas. Don't blend a too much with your brush. Just try to drop it in and forget it. Watercolors dry a lot lighter than they are when they're wet, so don't be alarmed at the blue areas. Look too dark. The pigments will disperse in. Lighten as they dry. Continue to blend and lift areas of the surface that you want. Lighter With a clean, damp brush, add one more round of concentrated blue paint, dabbing lightly and randomly, letting pigments disperse on their own, creating a free flowing tide. I look this background looks done for now. Try to avoid overworking the surface in over blending with the brush. Just when you think you need to blend more, I would back off. Like I said earlier watercolors changes. They dry so you don't want to overdo it. Next, let's refresh our memories on how to paint a rainbow. I know we just did this, but I wanted to show you my additional warmups to demonstrate how blending can go awry of certain colors or either too wet or dry before blending, I will be painting to rain bows, one with my number 10 and a thinner one With my number six. I sped up the first part of the video to save you on time. - While this blend between the green and blue looks smooth now, as it drives, a hard line will start to form between them. This is because the green was too diluted and starting to dry by the time I out of the blue and the blue is too concentrated, making a difficulty for the pigments to disperse and mingle with one another. These air common mistakes, but they're easy to overcome, the more you practice and get to know your pains. Our last warm up rainbow will be long and thin so that we can practice blending larger areas of space. Timing is everything with this technique of areas of the rainbow stripes dry before being blended into the next color lines and textures can occur between colors. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, though. This style could be is bold and break as you want it. - If hard edges occur, gently rub your brush over toe lift and blend them for this green stripe. I made sure my green was more concentrated than in my earlier rainbow. The colors of yellow, green and blue in this one had similar concentrations. Inconsistencies. So they blended together nicely. - I hope you enjoyed these warm ups in the next lesson will put together what we learned for our final project. 5. Painting the Sky: Although I'm painting on a block, I still taped the edges because I like how white border looks starting off draught to parallel park shapes or really any kind of rainbow shape with a pencil dr Lightly and get the basic form down. You can always use a plate or circular object to trace the arc. After you have your shape down fighting the lines with your eraser, I'd like to dab my kneaded eraser on pencil lines instead of rubbing. It eliminates the risk of ruining the paper surface. Start by loading your brush with clean water and dabbing it on the surface for now, avoiding the rainbow shape as we did before. Activate the Feillu blue with your wet brush and create a highly pigmented mixture. Load your brush and, just like in the warm up at the blue to random wet areas, avoiding the Rambo shape. For now, clean your brush thoroughly and then use your dampened brush to soften the edges between the sky and soon to be rainbow. Continue to lift color within the cloud spaces and in transitions between the clouds and rainbow by sopping up the paint particles with a clean, damp brush, like before as you lived in blend areas. Keep your brush clean and d up by soaking. Excess water on your brush with a paper towel dampened the rainbow shape with clean water. Further blending the transition to the sky deep in the blue areas of your sky by adding more concentrated blue mixture, feel free to drag some of the sky into the rainbow section. Just make sure it's later and more blended in. Those areas had more clear water back into the white areas that are drying too fast. If the white sections drive before we start deepening the sky color with more rounds of blue, hard edges may start to appear. Continue to lift and blend. Once you begin to add your last round of blue into the sky, feel free to blend and lift with a drier but still damp brush. Keeping in mind toe limit brush blending. Remember that pigments continue to disperse as they dry, so the looser we are with our pigment manipulation, the wispy er and more dramatic or sky will look. I'm going to stop on my sky. And now, before I get ahead of myself, make sure your sky is 100% dry before moving on to our final lesson. 6. Painting the Rainbow and Final Touches: have all of your primary and secondary colors mixed and ready to use, because once we start the stripes of color, we will need to work quickly to get the best color bleeds. As in the warm up, start with laying a break concentrated mixture of magenta to the outer rainbow boundary. I am using a number six round brush because I'll have more control over the amount of pigment in water with a smaller bristle load. Be sure to saturate the color so that it doesn't all sink into the paper surface. Remember, he won an even sheen of wetness on the surfaces of paper you're trying to blends together. If areas air losing their sheen before you're done blending, add more paint to those areas. Continue to add your rainbow stripes, laying them alongside of the previous color and gently joining the colors with the light coaxing of your brush to bleed the colors together. Keep in mind to maintain enough paint on the surface so that the colors blends together. If you start to get any hard edges, just gently rub with your brush to lift and soft in the blend. - Tilt your page to experiment with other blending effects. But the time I added the purple I had let the blue get too concentrated and dry before I was ready to blend, so you can see me struggle to blend them together. These mistakes can happen, but it's best to just shake it off and move on. Lastly, we're going to mix a gray color to paint in some birds. If you take a reddish orange color and add blue depending on the warm or cool properties of the colors you're using, it will turn into a greyish or brown color, experiment with different proportions and get the shade that's right for you. For more on mixing neutrals from primary colors, check out my last class painting the Four Seasons, using a limited palettes. I'm pretty happy with the steel gray color I made with the very tip of your brush. Make a small V shaped mark, and that's all you need for a bird silhouette. Feel free to add as many or as few birds as you like. As I said earlier, the blue and purple blends didn't come out as I wanted them to, although it's a risk to take, I'm gonna soften the edge with a damp brush. If your brushes too wet, softening areas that are in the process of drying can cause worse blends. So take caution. If you're touching up, your color bleeds. And as I said before, the less brushstrokes he used to blend, the more flowy and tie dyed. The effect will be once dried. To balance the composition out, I decided to add 1/3 bird to the foreground. Once the entire piece is dry, you can remove your masking tape. So here's our finished piece. Don't be discouraged if your piece needs work. There's a lot involved in bleeding colors together, and it takes practice to get a good pigment water ratio balance needed for the colors to evenly blend on their own. These are some of my previous attempts, some had better skies than others, and some had better rainbow blends. But what matters is that I continued to try and improve every time. I can't wait to see your bold and bright rainbow skies in the Project gallery. As always, reach out with any questions, follow me on Instagram and tag me in your class project so I can share them Happy painting