Intermediate Yellow Forest Watercolour - Step by Step | Emily Curtis | Skillshare

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Intermediate Yellow Forest Watercolour - Step by Step

teacher avatar Emily Curtis, Artist/Painter

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

Watch this class and thousands more

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

Lessons in This Class

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

    • 2. Art Supplies

    • 3. Choosing the Colours

    • 4. Wet-on-wet Technique

    • 5. Background

    • 6. Painting the Trees

    • 7. Painting the Leaves

    • 8. Class Project

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About This Class

Have you ever wanted to capture light coming through the forest trees? This class is all about how to do just that.

In this class you’ll learn an easy process for painting a warm, yellow forest 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 forest painting and all the techniques you’ll need to recreate the piece in any colours you like.

This is the intermediate version of this class. If you’d like to try out a simplified version, you can access the beginner class through my artist profile.

In this class you will learn:

  • How to select colours for a forest painting
  • How to use the wet-on-wet technique with watercolours
  • Step-by-step process of painting a watercolour forest

This class is marked as intermediate. However, it 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. About the Class: Hello, my name's Emily Curtis and I'm a full-time artist based in the UK. I specialize in acrylic and watercolor painting. Today, I'm going to show you how to paint this beautiful light through the trees, forest painting. You don't need to have any prior knowledge of watercolors for this class. As I'm going to walk you through all the techniques step-by-step. However, I have titled this as an intermediate class because I also have a beginner's version of this painting. If you find it a little bit too complicated. We'll start off this class by going through the art supplies you're going to meet any replacements you can use. Then I'll talk you through all the paints will be using and how to mix the colors. Will also be completing a quick practice of the wet in wet technique. During the main section of this class, I'll be guiding you through the painting step-by-step until we reach the final product. I just like to remind everyone that transcripts are now available over all skill share tutorials so that you can fall back to those should you need them. Let's start the class. 2. Art Supplies: Before we start, I'm going to go over the equipment will be using for this class. You will need a set of watercolor paints. It doesn't have to be this exact one or the exact colors that I'm using. Any colors will do. You will need to use watercolor paper for this class. I'm using 300 GSM paper and it can be bought in paths like this. You'll 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 standard water bowl and tissue to wash and dry your brushes. I'll be using two brushes in this course. One is a square brush and this is one inch. And the second is appointed brush in size five. If you don't have a pointed brush than I recommend using a small brush when it comes to painting in the more detailed areas of this painting, the big square brush is also not an essential. You just need any brush that you can use to cover your paper with water. 3. Choosing the Colours: I'm going to take you through all the colors will be using and how to mix them. Before we start on the main piece. In this painting, I'll be using lemon yellow, Windsor yellow, Windsor orange, Windsor red, and burnt umber. If you don't have these exact colors, that's fine. Just to use whatever you've got. Or you could experiment with using completely different colors. All of the techniques I use in this class, we're still apply. I'm going to use two colours to paint the background of my piece. I'll be using lemon yellow to paint the sun's rays and an orange to paint in the shadows. This is mixed by using Windsor orange and winds of red. I'm going to book out my trees using basic colors before adding the shading. I'll be using two colors to do this. First, a light yellow mixed from lemon yellow and windsor yellow for the tree is closest to the sun. And then a brown mixed from Windsor orange and burnt umber for the Docker trees. I'll be using three colors to add shading to the trees. Two of them are the same as before. Yana, you've made from lemon yellow and windsor yellow and brown, made from Windsor orange and burnt umber. Then to blend these two colors together smoothly, I'll also be using a bright yellowish orange mixed by using Windsor yellow and winds the orange. Next, let's take a look at the colors will be using to paint the leaves. First, we have a bright orange yellow mixed from Windsor yellow and windsor orange. Then I'm going to use a more intense orange from winds orange and windsor red. The darkest color I'm using on the leaves is an orangey brown mixed from burnt umber, Windsor red and windsor orange. And hey, we have all the colors will be using to make this piece. I recommend making your own color chart to refer back to join the class. 4. Wet-on-wet Technique: Now we're going to have a quick tutorial on how to do the wet on wet technique before we start on the main piece. If you've completed a lot of my other classes, then you'll be very familiar with this technique. So feel free to skip ahead to the next lesson. All stay with us if you want a quick refresher to use the wet on wet technique basically means to apply wet paint onto wet paper. All you have to do is saturate your paper with water like this. Give it a moment to let the water sinking. Then apply your paint and watch as it bleeds outwards. It may take more than one layer of water to thoroughly soak your paper. This will depend on how thick your paper is. I'm using 300 GSM paper. Can you see how easily the paint is diffusing and bleeding outwards? You could also drag your brush across the paper to paint streaks and watches those bleed outwards. Or you could adopt your brush onto the paper. Now. You can also use the wet and wet technique to blend one or more colors together like this. If you are unfamiliar with this technique, then I recommend that you practice with it a bit before jumping into the main tutorial. 5. Background: We're going to start by painting the background of the piece. You'll notice that I've drawn some lines on my paper to mark out where my trees are going to go. We didn't do this step in the beginner version because that was a much more relaxed way of painting. But I recommend it now because it's much easier to keep a sense of depth in your painting if you've already mapped out where you want your trees to sit, make sure to keep your pencil markings light. Don't show through what's the painting is finished. The first step is to cover your paper with water to prepare it for the wet on wet technique. I'm using my big square brush for this. Give the water a moment to sink in and then apply another layer if necessary. The thicker the paper you're using, the more water you will need to use to circuit. Once my paper is prepped and ready, I'm going to mix up my yellow. I'm painting this on in streaks going from the edges of my paper towards the center, leaving a gap at the center of my paper to show where the sun is. I'm also leaving some gaps between the yellow where the white of the paper can shine through to show the brightest sunrise. Despite the fact that you might want to go over the yellow again to build it up a bit. Teachers teach. Next, I'm mixing up my orange. I'm pacing that over some sections of my yellow using the same method of application. In this painting, I'm using the orange as my shadow color. So I'm putting it too are what the shadows and darker areas of my forest to be. Usually, I would use a cool color, like blue for my shadows. But this is a very warm painting of sunlight coming through an autumn forest. So I'm using orange for the shadows too dark in the painting and keep the warmth. Once you're happy with the position of the light and shadows near the painting to dry before starting on the next lesson. 6. Painting the Trees: Now the paper is dry. We can start painting in the trees. We're going to paint the trees in two layers. One to put in the depth and the second to add light and shadow. This is just the first layer. So keep your paint watered-down and light. I'm starting with my yellow and I'm painting the two trees closest to the sun, making sure that the center of the trees are left white because anything in the direct line of the sun is going to be wiped out by the light. I'm going to paint the trees in the distance in yellow. Because things that are further away will appear lighter because they are closer to the light source. You'll see me dabbing at the trees with a tissue on areas where they overlap the sun's rays. This is to remove some of the paint so that the trees appear lighter where they are being hit by the sun. I'm painting the trees, the foreground in brown. They are darker because they are further away from the sun. Make sure your brown is watered down so that the trees are not enough for us to add more light and shadow later. In general, the trees in the foreground should appear bigger than the trees in the background because they are closer to us. So consider this when choosing which color you're going to use to paint each tree. Once you've finished painting the first layer of trees, and leave the piece to dry. Now my painting is dry. I can put the light and shadow on the trees. I'm going to start by painting the trees in the foreground because the dock is tones, we'll need to be built up over several layers. First, I'm painting yellow on the lightest section of the tree, and then placing orange either side to help the blending. Then I'm putting the Brown at the top and bottom of the tree and blending it into the orange. I'm only painting one light patch on this tree because the tree is in the foreground, won't be hit by all the sun's rays because some of them will be blocked by the trees in front. At the time, a tree is whiten the center, even though it's in the foreground and quite far away from the sun. This is because it is directly in front of the Sun. So the middle of the tree is being washed out by the night. A lot like when you get lens flare in a photo. Once again, I'm putting yellow on the lightest sections of the tree and blending orange into it on the darker sections. Now I'm going back over the first tree to build up the colors and the shadows. Watercolor paints dry lighter than when you first apply them. So it can sometimes take a few layers to build up the intensity you're looking for. And then using the same method to paint the third tree in the full ground. Yellow one, the lightest parts, brown on the areas in shadow and orange for the mid tones. Next, I'm adding another layer of brown to dock in any sections in the shadows. Tightly trapped atoms interact. Now I'm moving on to painting the trees in the mid ground. Here. I'm basically just building up the color over the areas in the shadows. So for example, if I painted the tree brown on the first two layer, then I'm using that same brown again to add another layer, but only on the sections in the shadows. This way, the tree looks Dhaka in the shadow and lighter where it's being hit by the sun's rays. If I originally painted the tree in yellow, then I'm using my orange to add some shading. I teach. At work. You could vary the shading by making some of the trees in the mid ground darker than others so that they will appear slightly closer. This will help our depth to the painting. I think we're going to be taxed at a time. Don't forget, you can always use a tissue to remove wet paint if you make a mistake or if any of the trees are looking a bit to dock. Once you're happy with the way the tree is, loke, leave your painting to dry before moving on to the next lesson. 7. Painting the Leaves: Now we're going to add the leaves to our painting. Starting with a light yellow, orange color. I'm painting in the leaves where they appear lightest around the center of the painting. Don't worry about painting in exact leaf shapes. We aren't trying to act too much detail into this painting. The main focus is to create the general impression of leaves by dotting the paint onto the paper with the point of your brush. Keep your paint light and water down. We want it to look like the leaves fade away into the light and get washed out by the sun's rays. The closer they get to the sun. Let me make sure not to paint too many leaves over the white sun's rays and the painting. It's very easy to accidentally close these up, which will ruin all our hard work from earlier. Now the leaves around the center of finished by moving outwards to paint the rest of the leaves. Keeping with my orange, I'm starting by painting the basic shape of the leaves on the lightest areas of my painting, anywhere with white or yellow sun rays. Mr. Next are mixing up a midtone orange and using this to start darkening up the leaves and the shadows. Hi, I'm very sorry. The camera has gone slightly out of focus in between these two clips is not too bad though. So hopefully you'll still be able to see what I'm doing. Now. I'm mixing up a dark orange and then painting in the leaves that are in the shadows. These are the areas that I painted in, orange in the background. Sometimes I'm going back over the leaves where they overlap with the sun's rays with a clean brush to create a smoother transition between the lighter and darker sections. At the packing. Just like when we were painting the trees and going back over some of the darker sections again, to build up the shadows that you might want to paint some of the leaves in front of the trees and some behind them. So it looks like there are layers as we move back into the painting to add depth. And when you're finished, leave your painting to dry. 8. Class Project: Here is the finished piece up-close for your class project. Try creating your own watercolor forest by following along with my instructions. Don't forget to 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 your, your work in my stories. Do leave a review as it helps me out a lot. And if there's anything you want me to do a class on, let me know. You can find more of my work on Instagram at E dot dot curtis, And on my website, www dot MIT hyphen I hope you enjoyed this class and I'll see you in the next one.