Easy Watercolour Lavender Fields Landscape - Step by step (Long Version) | Emily Curtis | Skillshare

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Easy Watercolour Lavender Fields Landscape - Step by step (Long Version)

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

10 Lessons (48m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Art Supplies

    • 3. Colour Chart

    • 4. Wet on wet Technique

    • 5. Vanishing Points

    • 6. Background

    • 7. Painting the Field

    • 8. Painting the Tree

    • 9. Adding the Details

    • 10. Class Project

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About This Class

Have you ever wanted to paint a vibrant purple lavender field? This class is all about how to do just that.

In this class you’ll learn an easy process for painting a fun lavender field 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 lavender field 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 for a lavender field painting
  • How to use the wet-on-wet technique with watercolours
  • How to use vanishing points in a landscape
  • Step-by-step process of a watercolour lavender field

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

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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. Intro: Hello, my name's Emily Curtis and I'm a full-time artist based in the UK. I specialize in a critic and watercolor painting. Today, I'm going to show you how to paint this lovely lavender landscape. Try saying that 10 times faster. You don't need any prior knowledge of watercolors for this class. As I'm going to walk you through all the techniques step-by-step as we go. This is the long version of this class. So everything has been slowed down to real time so that you can see my brush strokes more easily. I've also taken the time to explain certain sections in more detail. However, if you'd prefer to learn at a faster pace than you can check out the shorter version of this class on my profile. We'll start the cost by going over all the art supplies we'll need and any replacements you can use. Then we'll create a color chart of all the colors we'll be using and how to mix them. We'll go over a quick tutorial on using the wet-on-wet technique. And I'll teach you about vanishing points on how to use them in a landscape. In the main section of this class, I'll take you through all the steps to painting this Nevada landscape as we paint it together. I recommend this class for all skill levels. As everything is explained step-by-step from start to finish. Let's begin. 2. Art Supplies: We're going to start by talking through all the supplies we'll be using in this course. First up is watercolor paints. This is the set that I'm using, but you don't have to have the same ones. Just use what you've got. You'll also need to use watercolor paper. I'm using 300 GSM paper and it can be bought in paths like this. You'll want to tape your paper to the table to stop it from bending when it gets wet. I recommend using scotch tape. And then we have the standard water bold and tissues to wash and dry your brushes. We'll be using three brushes in this class. One is a big square brush and this is an inch wide. This brush is optional and I'm only using it to wet my paper. So if you don't have it, just use the closest thing you've got. The second brush is another square brush, but smaller this time it's about half an inch. And finally, appointed brush, this one's in size 5. If you don't have a pointed brush, any small brush will do. 3. Colour Chart: Before we start the class, Let's go over all the colors and how to mix them. Starting with my background and I'm going to start with the blue at the very top of my sky. And for this, I'm using some cerulean blue, which I'm going to be using quite watered down. So it's nice and light. For the lightest parts of my sky, I'll be using yellow. And this is Winsor yellow for my sunlight. As a transition color, I'll be using Winsor orange, which will help to blend my sky into the ground. My second transition color is permanent rose. I'm using this quite watered down, so it's nice and light. And finally, I'm mixing up a pinky purple for the bottom of my field using permanent rose and Winsor violet. Next for the colors in the field. For this, I'm using two colors. The first is my lightest color, which is a pinky purple mixed with permanent rose and Winsor violet. And I'm making this fairly watered down so we easy to use with the wet-on-wet technique. And then for the darker areas of my field, I'm mixing up a deep purple using Winsor violet and Winsor blue. Then for the colors on my tree, starting with my lightest color, I'm using olive green and I'm mixing this up nice and light using quite a lot of water. And for my shadow color, I'm mixing up a darker green using olive green and Winsor blue. And finally, for the colors I'll be using to add the details. First is a pinky purple mixed using permanent rose and Winsor violet. Mixing. This slightly more opaque than before, so that it will show up over the other colors on the field. And then lastly, I'm mixing up a deep purple using Winsor violet and Winsor blue. Again, mixing this slightly darker and more opaque than the other colors in my field so that it shows up. And here's what my color chart looks like when it's dry. I suggest keeping this close to you so that you can refer back to it during the class. 4. Wet on wet Technique: Before we start the class, we're going to do a quick tutorial on using the wet-on-wet technique. The wet on wet technique basically just means to use wet paint on wet paper. So the first thing we're going to do is wet the paper. I usually use a big square brush for this, but I have no idea where it is at the moment. So I'm using my other square brush. If you are using a smaller brush for this, you're going to need to use vertical and horizontal strokes to make sure the paper is completely covered. Then that the water sink into your paper for about 10 seconds before applying your paint. When using the wet-on-wet technique, Let's paint is applied to the paper. It starts to spread out immediately and diffuse into soft strokes. This is excellent for landscapes which don't often use precise lines. The wet-on-wet technique will also blend two colors that are sitting next to each other into each other slightly to create a soft gradient. Another technique we'll be using in this class is to splash clean water onto our wet paint to create areas of unevenness in the paint. You do this by loading your brush with clean water and then tapping the stem of your brush against your finger to flick the water at the paper. Which as you can see here, creates a sort of speckled effect in the paint. This was a very quick tutorial to get down the basics before we get into the main lesson. But don't worry if you don't understand it completely at the moment. Because I'll be explaining these techniques again as we use them during the class project. And this is what it looks like when it dries. Let's move on to learning about vanishing points. 5. Vanishing Points: This project utilizes vanishing points. So before we start on the main class, I'm going to give you a quick tutorial into water vanishing point is, and how we use them to create perspective and depth in a painting. In simple terms, a vanishing point is the point in an image or a painting where the lines of the landscape seem to meet. Don't worry if that doesn't really make sense to you at the moment because I'm going to demonstrate what that means. So this is my paper, and let's say that my vanishing point is here right at the center of it. For this example, I'm going to draw a street scene. And the first line I'm drawing is the line that the top of the houses on the street are going to follow. So I'm going to draw from my vanishing point outwards to the edge of my paper, connecting between my vanishing point and where I want the top of the houses nearest to me to be, then I'm going to do the same thing on the other side of my street. Next, I'm going to draw the bottom of the houses on the street. So I'm drawing the point where I want the bottom of the house closest to me to be and inwards to the vanishing point. And then the same on the other side of the street. Now to give the houses some form, I'm going to draw the vertical lines that separate the houses from each other. It's important to note that vertical lines in a painting are not affected by the vanishing point. So try to draw these as straight as possible. I'm free handing this entire drawing. So it's not going to be very straight. Now I'm going to draw the line for the roof of my house is exactly the same as before. Start at the vanishing point and then connect the line to where you want the top of your roof to finish on the house closest to you. And then I'm just drawing in some lines to separate the roofs of each of the houses. Next, I'm going to draw in the pavement. So starting at the vanishing point and draw down to where you want the pavement to be at the front of the painting. And I'm just adding an extra line there for the curve of the pavement as well. And then the same on the other side. As you can see here, the basics of the street then start to take shape. Because the mines converge at the vanishing point, it automatically brings depth into the painting. And you can see that for houses furthest away are then smaller than the houses closest to us. If we were to add some details, we could put the cobblestones in the street first by drawing horizontal lines and gradually making these further apart. The closest we get to the foreground. And the line separating the cobblestones from each other would follow the same vanishing point rule and face towards the vanishing point to keep that appearance of depth. The same rules apply when adding details onto the houses. If we had some windows, the top and bottom off the windows need to point towards the vanishing point. I've been doing this all free handed so that it's easier for you to see what I'm doing. But I'll draw the door of the house using a ruler to demonstrate how you do that. Just put a dot at the top of the door where you want your line to be. Then use your ruler connecting that dot to the vanishing point. And then just draw a small line for the top of the door. The size of the door and the window frames aren't affected by the vanishing point because those are vertical lines. So when using vanishing points, the important thing to take away is that everything should then follow the same vanishing point. If you're going to use the vanishing point to draw the house, then the details on the house, such as the windows and the door, must also follow the same vanishing point. Otherwise it's going to look wrong. Now let's apply this to the landscape will be painting today. I'm starting my drawing with my horizon line about two thirds up the painting. Horizontal lines are also not affected by the vanishing point, the same as vertical lines are not affected by the vanishing point. If you're into maths, you could think of it as your x and y-axis. These remain the same regardless of what's happening with your vanishing point. It's all the other lines that are affected. Here. I've drawn a big dot where the vanishing point of my painting is going to be. And then I'm going to draw in the lines of my field. The first line is essentially a vertical line from the vanishing point straight down to the bottom of my painting. Then I'm going to draw in several lines either side. And you can see that these gradually make up the rows of lavender in my field. I think you can already see without all the details of a painting that this is a super easy method to get in loads of depth into a landscape without too much difficulty. Also, if you have a vanishing point, you just have to make sure everything follows that. And then it's pretty impossible to mess up the perspective because the vanishing point lines draw everything for you. I'm going to be painting a tree into my painting. And as you can see here, because the tree is a vertical line, this isn't going to be affected by my vanishing point. I don't draw in all the lines from my vanishing points these days because I have a lot of practice with it. However, if you are a complete beginner and you find you're struggling with perspective in your paintings. I definitely recommend drawing in a fixed vanishing point dot in your painting. And working from that, I'm trying to keep this short so the cost isn't too long. But if you'd like me to dedicate a full class to using vanishing points in landscapes. I'd be happy to make that for you. Just need Men note down below in the discussion or in the reviews. Let's get started on the class project. 6. Background: Now we're ready to start on the class project. The first thing we're going to do is draw where our horizon line will be. I'm drawing my horizon roughly 1 third down the paper, so that the painting is going to be 1 third sky and two thirds ground. Make sure to draw this line in very lightly so you don't see the pencil markings through the paint at the end. And then I'm wetting the paper in preparation for the wet-on-wet technique. And yes, I did find my big square brush. Leave your paper for about 10 seconds to let the water sinking before you start the painting. The point of the background layer is to just do a wash of the base colors on the piece before we start the main painting. So just keep this very relaxed and easy for yourself. There's no need to worry about adding any detail or shading at the moment. I'm going to start with the colors in my sky. And I'm starting with my lightest color, which is yellow. I'm painting this all along the line of my horizon, where the sun is coming from. And then blending this upwards into my sky. I'm using a flat square brush for the background so that I can cover as much of the paper as possible to avoid uneven streaks when the paint dries. Next, I'm going in with my blue and I'm going to paint this just at the very top of the sky and then blending it down into my yellow. We're starting at the top so that the paint is most concentrated at the top of the sky where it is darkest because it's furthest away from the sun. And then blending it down into the yellow so that it gets lighter as we get closer to the horizon line and the sun. Imagine with this painting, It's very early in the morning and the sun hasn't come up yet from below the horizon. So we're not painting the sun in a specific place. We just have that strip of light all along the horizon and it diffuses upwards into the sky. Then we're going in with our orange and painting that just along the bottom of my horizon line and down into the ground. We're using orange because things in the sunlight often have a golden orange glow to them around the edges. Orange is also going to help us transition from the yellow in the sky to the purple on the ground. After the orange, we're going to take our pink and blend that first into the orange and then down further into the ground. To help show the illusion of depth, I've chosen to paint a soft blended background instead of a sharp horizon line. But this means we have to find a way to blend yellow down into purple. Yellow and purple are almost on opposite sides of the color wheel. So it's going to be very difficult to just blend the two together directly. However, we can make this transition easier by going from yellow to orange to pink and then finally to purple. And then lastly, I'm going to mix that pink into a pinky purple color and paint it at the very bottom of the ground. Water color gets lighter as it dries. So you might want to go over the background colors one more time just to make sure they don't fade too much as they dry. This can be a bit of a balancing act. Here. We are just trying to do a background wash so we don't want the colors to be too strong once it's dried because we still have all the details and the shadows to put on top. However, if the background isn't bright enough, then it will look dull once it's dried, which we also want to avoid. If you're unsure about what to do, I suggest playing it safe and letting your background dry. Then you can see the results of how it looks. Then if you decide that the background isn't bright enough, you can always re-wet the paper again and go over all of the colors in exactly the same way as we've just done to brighten them up with another layer. Leave your painting to dry once you're happy with the background. 7. Painting the Field: Make sure the background is fully dry. Before starting on this lesson, we're going to be using the wet-on-wet technique again. So if your background isn't fully dry, those colors will start to shift around and make everything very muddy. In this lesson, we're going to be painting the field. We're starting by wetting the paper with a big flat brush to prepare it for the wet-on-wet technique. Leave your paper for about 10 seconds to let the water sink in before you start painting. Then I'm going in with my pointed brush in size five and I'm mixing up my deep purple. So now I'm starting with my deep purple. And with this, I'm painting in the lines of shadow in-between the rows of lavender. We want these lines to be thicker at the bottom of the painting and get thinner as they disappear towards the vanishing point. The vanishing points in this painting is in the middle of the horizon. You can always draw a small dot where your vanishing point is. If that helps you. This will help us to show depth in the painting as things that are closest to us appear bigger than things that are further away. I'm using the handle off my brush to work out the angle of the line before I painted. This is very easy to do. Or you have to do is put one end of the brush at the vanishing point and the other island where you want your line to start. And this will show you the angle you need to paint your line. Usually with watercolors. We paint from light to dark. However, here I'm starting with my deep purple. Because painting the lines between the rows of lavender helps to carve out the shape of the landscape much more easily than if we were to paint the lighter areas first. Once we've finished painting the lines between the lavender, we're going to mix up a pinky purple and paint this in-between the lines of deep purple. I'm starting with a few lines of pink on each strip of lavender to get the color down. And then I'm painting a few horizontal arch shapes, each strip of lavender with my brush to start to get that dome shape, that lavender bushes growing. You don't need to be too precise at the moment because this is just the first layer. We'll add more detail and shadows later on. Next, we're going to flick clean water at the paper where we've just painted in those lines of color. This is going to soften those lines of color and make the painting look less streaky. To do this, just load up your brush with clean water and then tap the handle of the brush against your finger to flick the water out to the paper. This should leave a nice uneven speckled effect. This is a less commonly used technique as it basically causes the paint to dry unevenly. But it's perfect for this setting where we want the painting to look very free and on precise. Just be careful when you do this that you're not adding too much water to the paper. Less is more with this technique. Next, I'm taking my clean brush and using the tip of the brush to swipe over the tops of the rows of lavender in gentle arch shapes to pull the purple and pink together. This will help to soften the lines between the two colors. We're not trying to do perfectly smooth blending between the pink and purple with this. The aim is that some of the brushstrokes might dry into the painting, which will help to build the texture of the lavender plant. Now that the first layer is done, leave your painting to dry. We're starting the second layer by re-wetting the entire paper with clean water using our large brush. Because we're going to be using the wet on wet technique. Again. You might be wondering why I keep re-wetting the entire painting, seeing as we're only working on the ground section. This is because if I only wet one section of the paper than it might dry with a harsh line at the edge. I'm starting with my pinky purple on the second layer. This time I'm painting using short spiky brushstrokes and a soft arch shape to replicate the dome shape that lavender grows in. The spiky brushstrokes will help to describe the uneven texture of the lavender. Keep your brushstrokes very light and free for this, nature doesn't grow in exact shapes. So there's no need to try and make things look perfect. Use less paint on your brush when you paint the lavender that is further away so that it appears lighter and books like it's fading off into the distance. Next, I'm going in with my deep purple. This time I'm painting over any areas of shadow in the same short spiky brushstrokes. The majority of the purple should go in between the rows of lavender because this is where the shadows are. However, some purple we'll come onto the main lavender plant as there will be small sections of shadow there as well. Less is more when it comes to putting the deep purple on the top of the lavender plant, there shouldn't be too many areas of shadow on the top of the governor, as this is the area that's being hit by the sunlight. Now, I'm going to flick more clean water over the lavender to once again add a bit of unevenness to the paint as it dries. This will help to give the illusion of the rough texture of the lavender plant. Just at the end here, I realized that my deep purple we're starting to fade out too much as it dried. So I decided to go over it again. In general, when you're painting, get used to sitting back and analyzing your work so far, then don't be afraid to make small changes as you go. It's very common with watercolor that things dry, lighter than they originally painted. So you might find that as they dry, you need to go over something again. And then I added a bit of my pinky purple either side of the lines of deep purple just to help blend it out a little. As you can see here. This was a very quick and easy fix. I was just going over the top of what I've already painted to give it a bit of extra vibrancy. Then I finished off by flicking a little bit more water at the paper to add back in the uneven appearance. Once you're happy with the way your lavender field looks, leave your work to dry before moving on to the next lesson. 8. Painting the Tree: Make sure your work is fully dry before starting on this lesson. If it isn't, then the tree will blend out into the rest of the painting as we paint it. And we don't want that to happen. Now we're ready to start painting the tree. We're going to start by mixing up our light green. I'm keeping using my pointed brush for painting the tree. And we're going to position the tree 1 third in from the right of the paper. This is called using the rule of thirds, which is a general guideline to creating strong compositions. You use this by imagining you're painting has been broken into a grid with two vertical lines and two horizontal lines, thus creating nine squares. Positioning the focal points of your painting, in this case, the tree along these grid nines helps to keep the painting balanced. I always recommend painting trees starting from the top and going downwards into the base of the trunk. If you start at the trunk of your tree, I often find that it is easy to make the tree too tall by accident. If we start with the top branch off the tree, we then start at the thinnest point of the tree and gradually make the Dine thicker as you paint downwards into the trunk of the tree. This is easier than starting at the base and painting upwards to the top branch. Because then you have the difficulty of gradually making your line thinner as you paint. And most of the time we get to the top of the tree and realized that the line work is still too thick for painting the top branch. So we then have to make the tree taller than we originally wanted it. Now we're going to add in some branches. I'm only adding in three main branches at the moment, as this is a spring or summer inspired picture, my tree is going to be built up mostly of leaves. So we wouldn't see most of the branches anyway. We can paint in the leaf shapes using the very tip of the brush to paint over or tear drop shapes by dotting your brush onto the paper in quick movements. I like to paint the leaves by painting the outer leaves first to build up the overall shape of the tree and then gradually move in towards the center. It's good to vary the density of the leaves by leaving gaps in some places because this gives it a more realistic feel. You might be wondering why I'm using the same color for the leaves as the tree trunk. I decided to stick with the same green to avoid over complicating the painting with too many different colors. With a painting like this, It's more about capturing the general mood and atmosphere of the scene then getting exact detail. Also, the tree is relatively far away in this painting, so we wouldn't be able to see it in much detail anyway. Now I'm going in with my darker green to paint in the shadows on the tree. I'm putting some shadow down on the trunk of the tree to help differentiate that from the leaves. And then with the rest of the shadows, I'm just putting in a few random sections of shadows and I'm going to go over the leaves I've already painted so I don't accidentally make my tree too dense. I'm finishing off the shadows by mixing up some of my deep purple and painting in the shadow that the tree is casting down onto the field. Consider whether light is coming from, as you do this. In this painting, the light is coming from the horizon directly behind the tree. So in this case, the shadow is going to be coming down directly in front of the tree, following the same lines of the field. Once you're happy with your tree, move on to the next lesson. 9. Adding the Details: Now we're ready to add in the details to the painting. I'm starting up by mixing the same pinky purple color that I've been using on my lavender. Slightly more opaque this time so that it shows up against the background. And then I'm painting in small oval shapes for the tops of my lavender plants using quick dotting motions with the very tip of my brush. I'm choosing the areas to add these little details onto by selecting the areas where the paint has naturally dry darker. I recommend keeping the details into small clusters so that you don't end up with a field of random dots. We want to add the most detail onto the lavender plants at the front of the painting. And gradually peter these out as they get further away from us and more towards the horizon. This is because in real life, we would be able to see the most detail on the plants closest to us. As you can see here, when I went to mix up more of my pinky purple color, I accidentally mixed it to dock. I didn't want to add lots of water to thin it out because then my dots on my paper would be very watery and potentially smudge. So instead, I took a section of the color and mixed it into another pan on my palette, and then added a little bit more water to make the color slightly lighter without making it too watery. Make sure you're using the very tip of your brush as you work so that the details look very delicate. You want to paint your dots so that they create a soft arch shape over your lavender plant to help describe the dome shape that lavender often grows in. I've slowed this whole class down to real time so that you can see my brush strokes more easily. However, I wouldn't blame you if you chose to speed this section up because it's just doing the same thing over and over throughout the whole painting. I recommend building your app, your details gradually. You can always add more intersections later, but you can't take away very easily. Okay? Okay. Okay. Yeah. Okay. Make sure that your paint is more water down for the details closer to the horizon as this will help to show depth by making them appear faded and therefore further away from us. Now I'm going to add in some of these details using my deep purple down in my areas of shadow between the lines of lavender. This is going to help add the appearance of more texture to the painting and also build up the shadows in-between the rows of love in decimal. As you can see, I'm starting with my same light dotting motion with my brush to add in the details. But then I'm going over the very edges with clean water on my brush to blend things out slightly so that the details soften into the shadows. This is because you'll be able to see things in the shadows less clearly than things being hit by the sun because the darkness obscures a lot of things from view. Try to keep that same dotting motion with your brush when using clean water to blend out the Deep Purple. As this will fade the purple outwards still with the appearance of some texture on the plant. Instead of creating a smooth gradient. You'll find that we often have to use different techniques when painting nature and plants than we do when painting skies or man-made objects. This is because nature is often imperfect and has a lot more texture in it. And we want our painting techniques to reflect that. I'm sure you've noticed that a lot of this class has focused on putting texture into the painting and reinforcing unevenness in sections instead of the smooth blending that I usually use. This is because lavender plants are made up of lots of different stems. So they appear quite textured and uneven from far away. If you'd like to try class that focuses on smooth blending or soft gradients, then I recommend my sunset silhouette birds painting. Okay. Hello, right. Once you're happy with the way your painting looks, leave it to dry before removing the tape. 10. Class Project: Here is the finished piece, up-close feel cost project. Try creating your own watercolor lavender field by following along with my instructions. Don't forget to take a picture and post your results down below, as I'd love to see them. If you post your work on Instagram, do tag me so I can feed to you in my stories. I'm also on tiktok these days so you can tag me on there as well. 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 dot mit curtis dot art. And if you just want to see the general fund of life in the studio, then you can find me on Tiktok at art of Emily Curtis. I hope you enjoyed this class and I'll see you in the next one. Bye.