Loose Watercolor Landscape Painting - Using A Reference Photo | Alifya P. Tarwala | Skillshare

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Loose Watercolor Landscape Painting - Using A Reference Photo

teacher avatar Alifya P. Tarwala, Artist | Acrylics, Watercolors | Painter

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

12 Lessons (33m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Exercises - Techniques, Layering, Wash

    • 4. Prep & Sketch

    • 5. Painting Process 1 - Sky

    • 6. Painting Process 2 - Mountains

    • 7. Painting Process 3 - Pathway

    • 8. Painting Process 4 - Grass

    • 9. Painting Process 5 - More Grass

    • 10. Painting Process 6 - Fence

    • 11. Final Details

    • 12. Thoughts & Class Project

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About This Class


In this class, I will be teaching you how to paint a Loose Watercolor Landscape Painting using a reference photo but adding your own touch to it. I will show you basic watercolor techniques and will demonstrate how you can make a simple painting interesting by just adding a few small details and marks. This class is perfect for all levels.

A former art teacher and now an independent full-time artist, I am so excited to be teaching on Skillshare and I truly hope you find this corner of your space comforting, inspiring, and encouraging! Can't wait to connect with you all!

  • BONUS - Follow this class up with more loose Watercolor Landscape painting right here! - https://skl.sh/2Nn894j



  • Prepping your paper and materials – I will show you how to prep your paper before painting and all the brushes and paints you will need for this project.
  • Warm up exercises – I will go through 3 exercises and cover basic techniques, layering, and washes.
  • Sketching – I will show you how to roughly sketch your landscape to prep your composition before painting.
  • Painting process and details – We will go through a couple of layers, keeping our exercises in mind.
  • Final Touches – This step will teach you how you can be more expressive by mark making.


MATERIALS I USED (but use whatever you have available.)

1) Paints:

- fern green, indigo, paynes grey, golden yellow, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, naples yellow, spring green, olive green, burnt umber and acrylic white paint.

2) Brushes: #12 round, #6 round, #long thing round brush, any flat rough brush  

3) Arteza Watercolor Paper 140 lbs - https://bit.ly/3egWHzt

4) Masking tape - https://amzn.to/2XAtPuI

5) Bowl for water

6) Paper towel / rag

*Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, I will make a commission, if you click through and make a purchase. I only recommend products that I genuinely use on a regular basis!



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Meet Your Teacher

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Alifya P. Tarwala

Artist | Acrylics, Watercolors | Painter


Hello, I'm Alifya Plumber Tarwala, a Fine Artist from sunny California and founder of 'Alifya Lifestyle' where I create and sell my Originals, Art Prints & various Merchandise (phone cases, mugs and much more!) I also have an Etsy Shop to fit YOUR home! A former art teacher and now an independent full-time artist. My classes here will be focused over Loose Landscapes and Florals in Acrylics and Watercolors. I am so excited to be teaching on Skillshare and I truly hope you find this corner of your space comforting, inspiring, and encouraging! Can't wait to connect with you all!

To keep up with snippets of my artist life, follow along on Instagram or join my private Facebook Group, where you can connect with a community of other art lover's! I als... See full profile

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1. Introduction : Hello everyone. My name is Alicia and I'm an artist here in San Jose, California. Today I'm gonna be showing you how to make a loose watercolor landscapes using a reference photo. You will also be going through some watercolor basics. I will not be overwhelming you with a lot of techniques because I know watercolors as a medium can be quite daunting. I don't want you to feel lobby, but we're just going to cover the techniques and all the basics that we will be using in today's class project. I will show you all the materials that you will need, will walk you through a BET techniques, leaving and washers. And then we'll walk you through painting this loose watercolor landscapes step-by-step, using the guide of env reference photo at all times. This painting class is great for him, but also good for someone who wants to brush up on the loose painting style skills. I will also be adding a class project at the very end, which I cannot wait to see what you guys come up with. So let's dive right into painting. 2. Materials : All right, so these are all the materials and you will need a ball, take a paper towel. I use acrylic white paint. And these are the four brushes that I used. Again, I'm going to list everything in the description, so be sure to check them out if you are interested. I use Artesia paints and they worked pretty well. I really like this, sat along with his watercolor paper. Again, I really love the quality of this and it does the job. And yep, and that's it. That's all you need. 3. Exercises - Techniques, Layering, Wash : So before we start, I just wanted to go over some basics with you. I'm not going to overwhelm you with a lot of techniques and brushwork, but I'm just gonna cover the techniques that we will use in today's class so that you can get a more practical approach for this. So the two most common watercolor techniques, but on wet and wet and dry. For the wet on wet paint is applied to wet paper. You can layer different colors on top of existing web paint, which will create this blurred out expansion effect, where you will notice the colors bleeding into one another. And the second technique is on dry. The paint is applied onto dry paper. It is as simple as that. So let's look at the effects that these gave us dates and now the wet on wet gives us soft edges. It's more blurred out. This is great if you want more delicate, softer paintings, good use for backgrounds or far-away objects. You can also blend easily while getting an effective gradient and also creates a misty effect. It is also unpredictable and hence, not so much in your control. And the very opposite of the wet on wet is the wet and dry, which gives us a sharper edges. So you can definitely have more control where you can get a well-defined as ships. The wet and dry also allows you to lay your paint as much as you want. We will go through layering in the next step. So here I'm going to show you how you can Leo your paint in watercolors. I'm going to show you three different kind of washes here, each one with a little more pigment to show you the effects of leering. If you want well-defined shapes when it comes to leering, you will have to work on this but on dry. So I'm dry out my paper with a blow dryer to speed up the process before I begin to lay on my shapes. Ok, once you're painting has dried, layer your shapes Little By Little getting darker each time. But also weight foil pan to dry in between each layer that you add. So as you can see, the lighter your initial wash is, the easier it is to build up on leering. So keep that in mind when you are painting with watercolors, you always have to work late to dark. Unlike acrylics, where you can get away with working from dark to light, I think watercolors as a medium does require you to be more patient. Let's go over some basic washes here. So for the first one, we have a flat Bosch where you're pigment is even all around. And then to get a grade and I'm starting from a light Bosch with less pigment and will slowly increase my pigment and take as I move downwards. You can also, you can also start dark and then gradually lighten up your wash as well. To atoned is where you combine two colors and merge them together by blending. And to blend them, you will likely kind of brush your colors in between. 4. Prep & Sketch: I'd so the fray forest hub as usual is to take our paper down. So for couple of reasons. One is that it can stay in place when your paint. And also because I will be attending the entire paper or with a soft color. So at the end, when you take off the tape, it leaves a willingness clean water. So before we begin, I am going to like the sketch out a quick drying using the reference photo we have here. We are going to keep this simple and easy and only add things that will help us visualize and breakdown shapes. Some starting here over the mountains in the background. And this beautiful pathway that we have laid out in the pig along with some fence to the side of it. I will be leaving at the this reference picture down below. So feel free to use that if he would like. You can also open it up and then print it out and use it on the side as you sketch and paint along with me. Here I'm using the reference pick to break up my shapes by color instead of sketching out details. So you can see that the right and the left side, they have some greens. So I'm simply boxing that out and making a mental note. To add though when I paint, just add n whatever information that is helpful to you and that will guide you through your painting process. Do not focus on details here, just impressions of objects. And roughly sketching out some trees to the left side of the mountain and making a mental note to leave a bunch of white spaces to the right side of the mountain to give impressions of tiny houses far back. 5. Painting Process 1 - Sky: We're going to start with the wet on wet technique for the sky. So start by likely reading your entire sky section here. Don't over pool it just enough for you to notice a slight Xin to the paper. Alright, so to begin, I am using foreign green and indigo to create this multicolor. But any dark greens and blues or even some gray will, will make a really nice mixture for this. I wasn't necessarily looking at the reference peak for this section. I wanted my top left of my sky to be more heavy, so that is what I did. Now since your papers already, but you will only need to lightly touch your brush to your paper and it will automatically spread out by itself. I left some wide section in the center and randomly worked my way across the page when it comes to Bhutan. But you would have noticed if you've tried this technique that you don't really have that much control. So just let your pain do the talking here. Hand kinda lead its way. Where I'm building up some more color to give it more depth. I added a little bit of Payne's gray to this to deepen their colors like day. You can also left off color by simply in tracking a brash across any section that you have excess paint and then tapping it onto your paper towel and then repeat the process until you're satisfied. 6. Painting Process 2 - Mountains: Using that same color embedding my mountains for the first layer. Keeping in mind to leave some white gaps open to give impressions of tiny far-away houses. And to add more interest. Going back in with foreign green and a smudge of Payne's gray, I'm dabbing my brush likely to paint the mountains. It's okay if the color bleeds a little bit, which is expected since it is wet, you can very easily lift the color off. Doing the same to the mountain in the back while being mindful of leaving whitespaces. Just so that you can leave room for interpretation. As you can see, I'm only using the tip of the brush and very gently working my way through these mountains. Here I'm going in for a second layer of color to add in more depth. At this point, my paint is still damp and still working with the same colors. So dark greens, dark blues, and a little bit of Payne's gray. I'm also intentionally keeping the mountain in the back slightly lighter than the mountain in the front. Now using indigo and Payne's gray, I'm going to be adding some trees to the foreground of the mountain. I haven't allowed any extra drying time in-between. So my papers told them, using the tip of the branch, simply dab gently to create tree-like shapes. Remember this is a loser approach. So do not stress too much on details, but only the impression of it. I'm adding some definition and little specs to the mountain in the back. Feel free to switch to a fan or a longer brush for more control. I'm taking and very little golden yellow here to build on some dimension and light values. You know, maybe just a tiny bit of sun shining through. 7. Painting Process 3 - Pathway: So I'm using a mixture of golden yellow, yellow ochre and burnt sienna and some orange. So basically some sturdy colors with some brown. Just add if flat wash or the forest base layer. Some working with this wet on dry. So you're basically applying paint on dry paper. Slowly intensify that color. Keeping your reference book handy for you to look at. Looking at the reference peg, I you know, I see some like pavement marks across the pathway, which I'm trying to capture here. I'm creating a very light base layer for the sandy sections to the left and right. And then we'll keep building on layers on top of it. 8. Painting Process 4 - Grass: Using some spring green and all of Queen ion going to be dropping in some colour to the sand. And where I see it in the PEC. We are working with this wet on wet using some bond, Amber and olive green. I'm adding in some color on top of the existing greens Savi. Coming back to the pathway, I'm adding in some lines and details that I see picture again using the same color, so burnt, umber and honest when this picture was taken by me from one of my favorite beach spots here in California. Fun fact, I've actually used this picture to also make an acrylic version of this painting was just now sold, and so did right here. But I thought it would be really fun to create a loose watercolors style painting to this as well. So at this point I'm simply looking at by reference picture and slowly building on the colors that I see. Watercolors is all about layering and building your colors to add dimensions. So take your time with it. But at the same time, I'm also working with the slightly damp. I haven't waited for my pain to completely dry off at any point. I'm working with this went on bads and slightly damp. But if you feel like you need to slow it down even more, WIC dries up your layers underneath, that is fine to just add your colors on top and go from there. But working with this a little VAT on bad will allow a little bit more of that Lewis style approach that we're going for. Adding a bit more definition here on creating some quick grass like shapes using vertical strokes. Using US and Russia will be helpful for this part. So keep your brush Wang snows and quick. 9. Painting Process 5 - More Grass: Adding and some light green again to build up on the grass. Using some olive green for the dark tones. To add some texture, I'm dragging the color we have upwards to give impressions of grass. Using your fingernails or even a palette knife or something really pointy that has appointed. And two, it can also add some really interesting Marx and texture to your painting as well. But this can only work if you're pinned, is a little wet. Once it's completely dried off, you won't be able to use this technique. I'm just getting in some details here to the pathway and then also I will be adding in some darker details to the grass has vanished. Using a refresh and some dark paint. I am somebody flicking the bristles off to splashes some of those of the color on the painting to add some texture and also give it some more and trust. 10. Painting Process 6 - Fence: I wanted my sky to be a bit more dramatic and Moody's ongoing bike in reading the top layer of the sky. So I'm using some indigo and dark Queen similar to the colors that we used for the mountains. And adding a tiny bit of that in places lifts off some of that color by the edges to blended a bit more and to make it more softer. Now, also going in with a tiny smush of yellow ochre to add to the Skype. Using burned out. I am going in and adding and some of that fence. Just adding final last minute details to anything that I just want to accentuate up at war. Mm-hm. 11. Final Details : Bringing and some acrylic. Wait, I will be adding in a few essential details that will bring the painting a bit more to life. It is the little things that makes things really stand out. And there we go. We've got our little watercolor landscape painting. I really hope you all enjoyed today's lose water color class painting. And I cannot wait to see what you guys come up with and how you interpret this. I've referenced Peck. I will be leaving the reference picture down below for you to use as a guide and inspiration. 12. Thoughts & Class Project: Thank you guys so much for watching and I hope you took something useful from today's class. There's only so much that you can take in when you are watching online. But practical approach is fundamental when it comes to this medium, especially if you are a beginner. And the more you will paint, you will get used to the brush application and the water to pin consistency, which most biggest struggle with. And if you're up for a challenge, I would love for you to go ahead and then paint the class project. I'm going to leave the reference photo in the description or in the bottomed down below. So check that out if you would like to append that as well. Again, feel free to ask me any questions if you need to. Just leave them in the discussion tab below, and I'll be sure to help out once again, thank you so much for watching and for completing your class. Well done. And I cannot wait to see what you guys come up with in the class projects. I'll catch you guys next time.