Loose Watercolor Sunset Sky and Clouds - Learn The 'Wet On Wet' Technique! | Alifya P. Tarwala | Skillshare

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Loose Watercolor Sunset Sky and Clouds - Learn The 'Wet On Wet' Technique!

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

9 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. 2 Materials

    • 3. 3 Exercise 1 Techniques

    • 4. 4 Exercise 2 Layering

    • 5. 5 Prep Paper

    • 6. 6 First Layer Wet on Wet

    • 7. 7 Second Layer Wet on Wet

    • 8. 8 Thrid Layer Wet on Dry

    • 9. 9 Final Details & Class Project

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About This Class


In this class, I will be teaching you how to paint a simple Loose Watercolor Sunset Sky by using mainly the wet on wet technique. I will teach you basic watercolor techniques and layering and will demonstrate how to paint this watercolor sky! This class is perfect for beginners and beyond.

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!



  • 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 and Brushstrokes – I will go through exercises in basic techniques and layering.
  • Painting process and details – We will go through the painting process, keeping our exercises in mind.


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

1) Paints:

- indigo, phthalo blue, prussian blue, violet, cadmium light yellow, golden yellow, chrome orange, magenta, black, & Acrylic white paint

2) Brushes: #10 round, # 2 round, #8 flat brush, any thin brush for details  - https://amzn.to/2A98C3x

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

4) Gesso - https://amzn.to/3j48nXY (optional)

5) Artist Tape - https://amzn.to/2XAtPuI

6) Bowl for water

7) 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: Hey everyone, My name is Lisa and I am an artist here in San Jose, California. In today's class, I will show you how to paint a loose watercolor sunset sky with clouds. We'll mainly be focusing on how to apply the wet on wet technique. So this class is great for beginners who need a more practical hands-on approach in that specific technique, I will show you all the materials that you will need, will walk you through the basic techniques, leaving and washes. And then we'll show you how to paint loose watercolor, sunset sky step-by-step. I will also provide a reference photo in the project and resources tab below. So you can use that for inspiration. I, let's get started and dive into painting. 2. 2 Materials: Okay. So these other materials that he will need, a paper towel and masking tape, I'm using an artist's tape, a bowl for water. And I use these for brushes. So one is the flat brush that I just used in the beginning. So any flat brush will work and the thin brush that I use at the very end. But for majority of the painting I use these two brushes. And again, I've listed everything in the description so you can check that out. You will also need just so, that's just a little hack that I showed at the very end. Acrylic paint, four stars. And then I'm using our teaser palette. Looks like this. For my paper. I'm also using our T-cell paper. I just cut them into smaller sizes. So the one that I'm using for today's class project is a five by seven. I really like the paper a lot. Again, the links are mentioned in the description. If you want to check those out. 3. 3 Exercise 1 Techniques: 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 going to 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, wet on wet and wet on 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 color is bleeding into one another. And the second technique is wet 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. 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 by 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, wet on dry, which gives us a sharper edges. So you can definitely have more control where you can get VL defined as shapes. The wet on dry also allows you to lay your paint as much as you want. We will go through layering in the next step. 4. 4 Exercise 2 Layering: So here I'm going to show you how you can layer your paint in watercolors. I'm going to show you three different kind of washers 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 layering, you will have to work on this wet, on dry. So I'm dry out my paper with a blow dryer to speed up the process before I begin to layer my shapes. Okay, Once you are painting has dried, layer your shapes little by little, getting darker each time. But also wait for your paint 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 light to dark. And like acrylics where you can get away with Watching from dark to light. 5. 5 Prep Paper: Begin by taping a paper towel with masking tape, like we do with every single class project. I'm using artist's tape here. It's a very specific kind. If you're interested in purchasing the exact same one, I have left a link in the description and the Project tab below, using any flat brush that you have. Now let's begin by reading down your entire paper. Most of this project is done using the wet on wet technique, which is applying paint to wet paper. Make sure to go over the techniques explained in the previous lesson. If you need more explanation on this, do not over pull your paper and adjust enough that you see a slight sheen to it. 6. 6 First Layer Wet on Wet: For majority of this painting, I will be using this round brush. We'll switch back and forth to wave around Russia as well. Once again, the links are mentioned in the project tab below. To start off views, any light blue that you have. The colors do not have to be exact since this is the sky, there is no right or wrong really. So just have fun with it and let the painting to the talking for the most part. Regardless, I will be listing the colors down below. If you need exact color references, simply laid the color in likely in random places while leaving some gaps open. Keep it light so that you can build up on these colors slowly. I have left the reference pic down below for inspiration. Only glance to it every now and then. But I did my own thing as well. Feel free to open up the pig as you paint just to help you along. So using the reference pic, I did kind of take the bright orange, kinda yellow sections in the center. And I'm playing the darker side, the darker blues and purples on the side. Now since this is wet on wet, you do have to work a little fast and have the paints, mix them, blend with each other, and have the blurred out software approach. Here I'm adding in some purple and adding few marks to decide the reason I like the wet on wet technique, especially for beginners. And maybe this is a pro and a con, is that you do not have much control over the painting and on how the colors mix with one another? Yes, to a certain extent, you do. And you can tweak it the way you want. But most of the time, the paints dictate the painting in the end, which I find quite liberating. And it's a nice approach to the loose feel anyway. And then think one of the best ways to learn how to paint this technique is to paint the sky. Um, since you dwell, you do not need to control it too much anyway, and it can just look good no matter how you put the colors in. So just have fun with this process and I hope you guys enjoy your I'm mixing in some orange to the center which we had initially left blank. A good tip is to make sure you are constantly rinsing your brush between each new color to prevent that muddy brown color mix. That is the only thing you need to be cautious of using the wet on wet technique. It's best to leave some gaps open and people clear from the beginning if you know for sure you want to add a new color, new like bright color there to keep the colors looking fresh. Another tip is to keep a paper towel handy and simply dab in the sections you want to lift off color so that you can maybe add a new color there or just leave that space looking light and softer. I wanted to add some of that blue sky in the center. So that is why I lifted off the color there. Remember we're still working on this wet on wet. And remember to keep it light in the beginning so that we can build on the and slowly. I'm now switching to a yellow to add in the center portion here. Notice how I'm only lightly touching my brush to the paper with no force at all. You only need to use the tip of the brush for the most part and gently touch the paper to have it blend slightly. I'm breaking out the layers a little bit more and adding some more orange to the middle of the sky. Another way to blend the edges and soften them up is to dip your brush in your water to clean it up, and then tap the brush on your paper towel and then slide the edge of the color outward. This helps to soften any sharp edges. 7. 7 Second Layer Wet on Wet: Now I'm using a combination of purple, pink, and blue to get this deeper purple color, like shown in the reference. And adding that to the sides to create more darker clouds. I'm still using the light dabbing motion when it comes to brush application, I haven't switched my brush at all at this point. So using the same brush and the people at this point is also still damp. So I'm working on it, but on that, I haven't allowed it to dry or stopped at any point thus far. It isn't as bad as mentally for us began, but still has a slight blending effect. Since the paper is slightly damp. I'm lifting off some color again with my paper towel and I will be doing a lot more of that zone to define soft clouds. So keep watching for that. Now that we're done with our basic layer, it is time to build on these layers and intensify some of these colors a bit more. So using the same method and technique and the same colors, I'm adding more layers to build it up more. Again, make sure to use the reference pic If you need assistance to how, on how to, you know, on what color to put where and composition, vice and so forth. So make sure you pull up your reference pic on the side so that you can follow along. The reason I didn't have the reference pic stuck on the screen while I paint is because, well, one I do think it does block the painting a little bit and makes it hard for you to see me painting or the reference Big Endian matter because it's so tiny. And also because I do not really follow the reference too much, but just use it as inspiration. So I don't want people to get confused in that, in that sense. So I would suggest you open up the reference pic instead and just have it to the side while I'm painting. And you can kind of compare and also to help you paint as bone. And remember to keep your colors clean and makes it too much. The colors around it. It will get brown. So keep pressing your brush regularly. All right, so now I'm going to be adding some more defined and darker clouds to the side. So I'm using a combination of purple, a tiny bit of a dark blue. You can maybe even use the little blue and just a tiny bit of black. And I'm just going to be adding a few dabs of that to the sky. Like I said earlier, there is no right or wrong when it comes to clouds and painting the sky for the most part, because it is so organic in nature and doesn't rule the Harvey standards specific shape to it usually can be creative urine loosened up to painting process. Play around with your combination of colors and composition. And I really do feel like this wet on wet technique is quite fun and very therapeutic in some ways too. And it's okay if you mess up or you get your colors looking brown or if you add too much water or too little water instead, just start over. I remember learning to paint is a process and it's the intention. Painting and not so much the outcome of it. So as long as your paint and learn but that mindset, you will open up your painting skills to new possibilities, which is the main purpose anyway, right here, I'm giving the bottom half of this painting some land and some faraway mountains. Just to break up this colorful sky and just a grounded a little bit. I'm using the same combination of purple and black. I'm going to keep the mountain in the back slightly lighter than the one in the front. Just to get the right perspective since it is further away. I'm going back to the lift-off technique to lighten up some spots and to break and define some of the shapes of the clouds here. So using the corner of your paper towel, lightly dab in areas you want to lift off. I'm keeping it random here and mostly just lifting off sections that are Ibid diagram. Also, just to note that you can only do this technique if your paper is slightly damp. So like I said, at this point, my entire painting is still a little bit, cannot read. And after I left off, I would say it's nearing the beginning. I was buying stage. So as long as you still have your paper, a lot of the damp you can left. I'm now switching to ethanol round brush for more precision and control. And to ultimately get some more tiny or clouds moving on. I'm taking some darker purples again to intensify the dark clouds. So now my paper is about 90 to 95 percent dry. So from this point onwards, you will have to blend the edges a bit more since the people is not so dampening one. You can do that by either a lifting off the color with your paper towel or using your brush to blend the edges outward to soften it up. I'm intentionally keeping the clouds towards the horizon smaller because in theory that is further away from us. And to gain the right perspective, things farther away are smaller in size than things that are closer to us. This is where if an airbrush will help, so keep your marks tiny with little dabs and strokes. Did I forget to blend and soften the edges? 8. 8 Thrid Layer Wet on Dry: All right, so now onto our last and final layer, Let's bring out these colors and make the sunset a bit more vibrant. I'm working this layer, but on dry, which is basically applying paint to dry paper. So you will need to blend the edges yourself, like mentioned below. I'm going to be speeding up this last layer a little bit here, since it is exactly the same process and method we use for the first two layers, the skin and how we think. For this class. Look. Thank you. Okay. And this completes our layers to the sky. You can add an intensify the colors, how much ever you want. But it is so easy to get carried away and constantly apply layers after layers. So at some point, take a step back and be satisfied with what you have and call it a day. In the next lesson, I will be showing you optional final details that can help bring more interest to your sky paintings. So make sure to watch that once you are done with this layer. 9. 9 Final Details & Class Project: These final details are totally optional. You can very well leave your painting as is. But I decided to add some electric lines with some few boards around it. So using any thin brush that you have, go head and make three lines across. Feel free to draw this out with a pencil first if that makes you more comfortable. And now I'm just going to take just black and make tiny boats around this. So some of them flying around and some setting on the wire. Make tiny code review be like shapes for the words. Again, you don't have to be precise, these are far away, so just give it an impression. Instead of drawing the exact details for the 1s is sitting, think of making a half semicircle or a half moon crescent, followed by a little dot to one end, and which indicates the head. And then an even smaller dot to the other side, which indicates the back feather. Change the orientation of these to make them look more natural. All right, It is now time to peel off this tape before we add some stars. I'm also going to show you a quick little hacked on how to cover up any paint marks that may have bled through the sides of the tape. You can get rid of the paint works by using gestures, acrylic primer. I have linked it in the project tab below. So you can check that out. If you do not have just said then acrylic white paint is the next best option. But just so we'll look more natural, simply dip your brush in JSON, apply it directly onto your paint marks you need to cover up. And that should take care of it. For our last and final detail, I am going to add some few stars with plain acrylic white. To make this a little more dreamy, just make a few small dots with your thin brush and that will do. This completes our loose and simple watercolor sunset sky for today. Hope you all enjoyed and known some fun ether techniques from today's watercolor painting class. Remember, try not to control your painting too much. This beginner watercolor class was mainly for you to let loose. When it comes to applying the wet on wet technique, I cannot wait to see what you all come up with. Feel free to share your results in the project and resources tab below. And I will see you there. Bye guys. If you are a beginner, definitely go through the warm-up exercises I showed you in the very beginning. So make sure you practice that before you begin to leave this class of review. Also, don't forget to follow me so that, you know, when I upload and then you don't miss any updates from me in the future. Once again, thank you all so much for watching and for completing your class. Bolden. I will see you very soon.