How to Paint Mini Tree Line Vignettes in Watercolor | Ariane Hope | Skillshare

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How to Paint Mini Tree Line Vignettes in Watercolor

teacher avatar Ariane Hope, Artist

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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 (48m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. A Quick Note About Color

    • 4. Painting the Background

    • 5. Painting the Tree Line

    • 6. Final Project

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About This Class

In this class, led by watercolor artist Ariane Hope, you will explore the ways you can use leftover scrap paper to turn into miniature atmospheric forest scenes. These small, dramatic landscapes are are a great way to practice color schemes and values, while producing quick, miniature masterpieces in the process.  They make for great gift ideas,too!  This class uses similar skills from Ariane's first Skillshare class, Painting a Watercolor Forest With Depth and Light, but is simplified in a way that makes the lesson accessible to artists of all skill levels. No previous experience necessary.  If you're looking for a 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: hello and welcome to this class on painting many treeline vignettes in water color. I'm very in, and I'm so happy to have you with me for my second skill share class. In today's lesson, we'll explore one of my favorite ways to use old scraps of paper by creating two miniature forestry line scenes. These small and quick to make masterpieces are full of drama and atmosphere and make for great gift ideas. After a brief discussion on supplies and color, we will learn some new techniques to create luminous backgrounds. Then we'll learn a little bit about how to form tree shapes and build up layers to create death. This class uses some of the techniques learned in my previous lesson how to pay a watercolor for a scene with light in depth, but it's simplified to adapt her are smaller paper size, so no previous experience is necessary. If you're looking for a quick and easy project, this classes for you. I can't wait to see your many masterpieces in the Project gallery 2. Supplies: Let's go over some of the supplies we'll need for today's project. First, you need some watercolor paper. I always use my arches block. It's 100% cotton £140 paper, so it's great for heavy washes. Today. I'll be using some scraps for my arches block. Now. This is a great project to reuse access paper or save some so called ruined paintings by painting on the undersides. So if you're like me, you have stacks of scrap paper. You might as well use thumb. You don't need a clipboard and some painter's tape to tape down our scraps. Toujours of water, one for cleaning your brush and one for using clean water, a palette or mixing trey. A variety of brushes and any brand will do as long as you have a large brush for the background washes and a small one for the tree line. I'll be using a number 10 and four rounds. If you're a beginner, you may want to use a smaller brush than a four because it would be easier to control the bristles. And then last year, the water conscious and any kind of brand will do. I'll be using some colors from my favorite palette of handmade watercolors made by Vanessa from the Sprout Creative. She also has a couple of amazing sculpture classes out, so I highly recommend her classes of products. I'll include her information in the class notes. I'm also gonna be taking this opportunity to try out use some dot cards I've gotten recently since these minis don't use much pain, it's a great chance for use up some dot cards. Also be using this card from watercolor gals, handmade paint company Blue Pine Arts, and she also has some amazing skill share classes out, and I highly recommend her classes and products, so I'll be included in her information in the class, and it's a swell. 3. A Quick Note About Color: for a more in depth look at color theory, check out that how to choose your colors lesson from my previous skill share class of painting a watercolor forest with death and light. Today, we'll just cover the basics. You'll need to know for this project so you're gonna pick two or three colors that leg next to each other on the color wheel or a few colors of the similar temperature. I e. Hot recall colors that create a harmonious look. Just like in my other class. You will need a lighter hued represents sunlight in a more pigmented Hugh for depth and shadow. So here's some examples that I've done in the past could do like a yellow to rust, with the yellow being the sunlight and the rust color being more of the shadows and foreground and also do like pinks and purples. You can also play on a couple different shades of the same color, so this is agreeing more of like a sea glass screen to a forest green. So today I'm gonna be doing probably like a red and orange one, maybe a warmer version of this rusty fall harvest version, and then I'm probably gonna be doing like a turquoise, blue ish purple one. I encourage you to experiment with different color combinations, and I can't wait to see your interpretations in the Project gallery. 4. Painting the Background: I went through my scraps and salvaged a four inch by four inch square and also the 2.5 by 3.5 inch rectangle. So now that I cut these out, I'm gonna take the mantra my board with my painter's tape when I'm painting minis always like toe work on multiple minis at the same time. This gives me time to work on something else while different layers dry on the other paintings, and it keeps me from getting bored and losing focus. Now that we have, our surface is prepped and our colors picked out. We're ready to paint. Let's proper paint palette so that we can begin our backgrounds for this larger piece. I have decided to do my red, orange and yellow scheme, and I'm going to be doing a turquoise and blue scheme for my smaller one. So I'm just gonna start by wedding the colors with waters to soften up the pigments so that I can transfer the paint from either the dot card or the pan to the palate. You always want to be mixing your paint with water on your palate before you move on to the paper you never want toe. Just dip your brush into the paint and move it to the paper you always want. Oh, activate the pigments with water mix and blend as much as you can on the palate. It's your fool. Quinacrine down Rose color from Blue Pine Arts. It's absolutely gorgeous. Okay, so I'm gonna clean off my brush all the way, and I'm gonna grab some for INGE. This is called Pumpkin Frost, and this is from the sprout creative. I think that's gonna look nice together, cleaning off my brush in between colors so I don't contaminate my dots or my pans. Okay, Okay. I'm going to start doing the background on this large one, and then I'm gonna move to the background on the small one. We're gonna be doing a wet on wet technique for the backgrounds, So going to take your clean brush with clean water and what your entire tape down service the reason we're taping our paper down, so it minimizes the amount that the paper's gonna buckle under the heavy water washes that we're gonna dio. And also make sure that you do use 100% cotton paper if you're gonna be taping your paper down, because if it's, um, not cotton or there's no continent at all, the tape is just going to rip your paper to shreds. Okay, so that's nice and wet, so it's wet, but the water is not pulling into puddles. So that's what we want. We don't want it so that there are puddles of water, but we want a nice even sheen to the surface. And I'm gonna take some of my yellow Just my lighter color representing sunlight. Drop it in the middle circular pattern, trying to preserve some of the whiteness of the paper, if possible, Right in the center. Coming clean my brush from there. Work out some of my orange, blending it slightly into the yellow, cleaning my brush moving to this quinacrine en rose, which is my darkest color. And I'm going Teoh. Just drop it in around the perimeter, okay? And then I'm gonna go back. I'm gonna grab a little bit more orange. Orange was a little bit later than I had. I wanted it to be initially the read kind of took over, so I'm just gonna go back through, had some orange cleaning off my brush in between colors, but also good at at a little bit more yellow. Just add a bit more pop. The vibrancy Too much water starts pulling around the edges. Just make sure that your diligent with taking a paper towel wiping it up. I think I added a little bit too much water. See, all the paint kind of going towards the edge is going to take my damp brush and just stop up some of the water that was pulling on the edges. And while my paper so wet I'm going to go back and add a little bit more of this room is color to the edges just to create a nice, dark outline. - Okay , so now you see, we have the rose outline. We have a little bit of orange and some yellow in the centre. I'm gonna dio a little trick. I learned another skill share instructor Ashley Per hole is she has some amazing classes out there as well. I'm going to just kind of blow right on the center, disperses some of the pigments and creates a little bit more lightness in the center. Your breath kind of will disperse the pigments outwards. So it's just another little tip on making the center of your paintings light in the perimeter of your paintings. More pigmented. Okay, so I'm pretty happy with how that looks. It's not very blended. The orange in the roads, um, haven't mixed as much as I want one of them too. Um, that's because I didn't really test this color combination out, just kind of winging it. And that's okay. I don't want toe mix them too much on the paper, because then all my colors, we're just gonna muddy together. You won't see any distinction between the yellow, orange and rows, and I kind of I want to be able to see that there were multiple colors but still cohesive composition in this painting. So I'm gonna let that dry. Well, that's drying. I'm gonna move on to my other mini just like before. We're gonna pick out our colors What? The pigments with our wet brushes and transfer the paint from the pallets or from the pans to your palate. E. So I have my turquoise, which is called Tennessee Blues, and that's from the sprout creative I'm also gonna be using. I actually don't know what color. It is because I already painted over on my dot card, but I'm gonna be using this really beautiful kind of looks like a variety in green color from blue pine arts dot card. I will look into what this is called and all my colors that I'm using what they're called and puts them in the class notes as well. So for this smaller one, I think I'm only gonna be using these two colors this lighter turquoise color in this darker and ruled color, which is gorgeous as well. So I have a lighter hue in a darker hue. Hopefully, when the two combined in the near the center of my painting, it'll create like a bluish green. But I have not tested these colors out yet, so we'll see. Yeah, my brush was not cleaned boldly, but we're gonna be doing the wet and wet technique for the smaller one as well. So this should be clean water. I did not clean my brush properly, so there's still a little bit of blue green residue. That's okay, cause that's the color scheme. We're gonna make this anyways. Okay, so I'm gonna take a little bit of my lighter turquoise color. Drop it towards the center, following up with the emerald color on the perimeters. Okay, I'm just gonna add a little bit more water to the senator because I got a little bit too hasty with adding colors and did not do a good job at preserving the lighter center. So I'm just going to take a clean, wet brush slightly. What you wanted a little bit, Damper. Just move some of that pigment away from the center. And just like the 1st 1 we're just gonna build up the perimeters that they're darker while preserving the lightness in the center with just gonna blow on the center again. You can see how it was. Gently dispersed some of the pigments as well, taking time to sop up any puddles of water. I'm going to add a little bit more darkness, starker green to the perimeter and that you do for these backgrounds. Like I said earlier, you don't want to spend too much time fiddling around with the paint and your brush on the paper. You just kind of want the water and the pigments to do the blending for you with coaxing from your brush and from blood. The blowing technique. If you choose to do that, the more you're gonna You mix the colors together, the muddier it's gonna look. So I'm going to stop while I'm ahead and wait for these to dry 100%. Until then, we're gonna move on to our next layer. 5. Painting the Tree Line: another backgrounds or 100% dry. It's time to move on and start painting the background tree line layer. And since the definition of a vignette is basically a small illustration or photograph, which fades into its background without a definite border, we're gonna be making the the background layer of trees a little bit darker, going towards the center a little bit later in the center, going to darker again. So basically, whatever trees are hitting this lighter color in the center are gonna be mostly this orange and yellow mixture with a little bit of the rose. And then, as we go away from the center, the tree line is going to be turning mawr into this rose color to just kind of fade into the background. This will be clearer as we go along. So if you want to just watch the next couple videos first and then paint, that's perfectly fine. Or if you feel comfortable, you could just pain alongside with me. And since this is going to be the background layer, it is going to blend a little bit more into, or the background tree layer Excuse me is gonna blend into the background a little bit more . So we're going to be watering or pigments down slightly. Oh, so I'm just gonna start right in the center, and I'll just show you how I make my tree shapes. Gonna take a little bit of this orangy yellow mixture that's a slightly watered down, but not too late. You still want to be able to see it and how I start my pine trees to start just by dragging a little bit of this late layer a drag, a little bit of this light color down. Just make a little bit of the trunk. You don't want to be drawing a line quite yet. Way down to the bottom. Okay, so I did this top of the tree basically a straight line with a couple little protruding branches and just going dab a little bit to create some true some leaves. As I continue going down, I'm gonna be adding a little bit more with the rose colored a little bit too much right off the bat. So I'm just going to get some of my orange blended in easier. I'm adding a little bit of the trunk at a time building little branches off of the trunk. If you want a bit more of an in depth look on how I make my tree shapes Check out my previous skill share class, the painting A watercolor for a scene with light and depth. Okay, so I'm pretty happy with this tree. I'm not gonna mess with it too much since it is gonna be in the background. Some of the branches may be covered up my foreground trees so you don't have to take too much time and worrying about making all the branches and leaves perfect looking because chances are you can cover up any of those mistakes as we go. You see, with this tree, it's lighter in the center as we go down. And as the branches and trunk intersect with the different colors of the background, you kind of just mirror whatever shining through the background on top of the tree. So where it's pink in the background, part of the tree is gonna be a braider pink where it's orange gonna be orange and where you see a lot with light shining through. That's where you want your most water down pain and we're gonna move on from the center and for this tree line, I kind of want to make the center the tallest and make my tree line go down from there. Just gonna be a little bit more interesting of a tree line shape as opposed to a straight across, just like the previous tree. I'm going to start with some orangish yellow dry, a little bit of the trunk at a time with a bit more water down paint than you would normally use. As you drag the trunk down, you're gonna add branches along the way and dab for leaves. You don't have to add leaves. Thes. Could be bare branches. They heard trunks. You can decide how your trees air Gonna look what season they're gonna be in There's a lot of foliage or not. It's all up to you. I'm kind of you see on my palette. I am mixing a little bit of the orange in the rose color together for this in between shade . But as the trunk goes down to the bottom, I'm increasingly adding more pink and all these leaves they could just be dabbed. They don't really have to be connected to any type of branch. This is just a loose interpretation of trees. Don't get too hung up on symmetry. Her perfect branches gonna make this one on the left a little bit shorter than the one on the right. I just said it doesn't look super symmetrical. - Okay ? And keep working outwards. And as you work out words, you're going to see it to get to the perimeter of the painting. There's not a lot of orange, so my colors we're gonna be more orangey pink instead of yellow orangy pink. Get what I'm saying. I'm very happy with how this first tree line layer went. So I'm going to move on to my other many contests. We're gonna cleaner brush. Really well, get back into the turquoise and green zone. It's going to take some of this gorgeous turquoise water down slightly, - just like before Do small areas of the trunk at a time dragging down, mixing in some of the green color, has the trunk intersex with the background area that has green. And if you feel like you haven't added enough water and your background layers a little bit darker than you want it to be because you do want the difference between the background in the foreground tree layer. Just add a little bit of water to your brush dab in some extra trees. The water on your brush will help disperse some of the darker pigments. And for this composition, I'm going to be doing short of trees in the center leading up to larger trees. Taller trees on the perimeter like to switch up my tree line shapes. Stow had some variety. - I think I'm adding a little bit too much paints from lightening up, lightning it up with some water. Well, dabs of water here and there. I'm pretty happy with this is well, so I'm gonna let this dry. And by the time this layers dry, it seems like our first background treeline layer has dried on our warm tone forest, which is great so they can move on without how them to stop and get bored and lose focus. So as opposed to what we did in my last class, we did three layers of trees in my last class. We're only gonna be doing two layers of trees were gonna keep thes compositions a little more simple. Since they're just miniature paintings, we don't want to add too much detail, takes away from the beauty of the colors mingling and the beauty of the simplicity of it. So going to take my darkest color, which is this when acrid own rose color, which I will get all this information in the class notes, move the pigment to the palate, mix in the water, activate the pigments. It's definitely gonna be a lot more concentrated from the water down layers that we did in the background. So I'm gonna be mostly working with the rose color. I'm only gonna add a little bit of orange to the mixture and only where the covers are directly in the middle of the painting. Okay, so now that my brush is loaded up with an orange rose mixture that slightly more pigmented has a lot less water than the first layer just going to start putting foreground trees in between the trees from the background layer a little orange to the center, but keep it mostly this dark pink rose color. As I dragged the trunk down, it's gonna transition more from the orange to the rose and these branches air definitely gonna overlap some of the branches from the background. But this is more pigmented paint, so you're not gonna see trees through it as much, which is good. You don't want to see three looking trees, - so I don't have much room to fit in some trees on the edges. I'm just going to use my brush to make some whose troops out to look like some loose branches is escaping from the tree line. Usually I will add a little one over here. Do that one more tree, just a really their one just to fill in the void. Over here, it looks like the little unsent erred and some extra stray branches. We should be good. And then the last thing I like to add on these miniature treeline vignettes are birds. You just going to get some of my orangey rose color a little bit later, meaning having a little bit more water to it ends the tip of my brush and just going to make little V shapes. I really have won many completed. We have one more layer from this turquoise and green one on. We'll have completed too many masterpieces in one sitting, you delivered my palate up with my Tennessee blues, turquoise color and my enrolled green color. Definitely the using less water. Then we did in the first layer for background trees. And just like the 1st 1 that we did, the foreground tree layer is gonna be darker. So I'm gonna be doing more of a green blue instead of a blue green color. If that makes sense, because as of now, the green is the dirtiest pigment that I have in this piece. If you've noticed, I've been dipping my brush into the paint a lot. That's just because since I'm using less water, you just have to keep adding more paint because your brush dries out faster. Just kind of common sense. But I thought I'd just explain that further. - Okay , just like our first money. I'm gonna finish this by adding a few little birds to the tree line using a V shape with the point of your brush. So there you have it. Let's take the tape off to reveal these many masterpieces When taking tape off, make sure you're pulling away from the painting, has to know 6. Final Project: Here's a finished project, along with some other minis that have done recently. It's amazing how atmospheric and dramatic these little scraps of paper can become. Using so few colors. The favorite thing to do with eases. Turn them into magnets. Fight, inserting them into clear acrylic magnetic frames like this. They make such great gift ideas. I'm so glad you took this class and can't wait to see your many masterpieces in the project gallery until next time.