Monochromatic Landscape in Watercolour | Trupti Ratnaparkhi | Skillshare

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Monochromatic Landscape in Watercolour

teacher avatar Trupti Ratnaparkhi, Artist and Entrepreneur

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

11 Lessons (56m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Materials

    • 3. Choosing Colours for a Monochrome

    • 4. First Project: Part I

    • 5. First Project: Part II

    • 6. Second Project: Part I

    • 7. Second Project: Part II

    • 8. Third Project: Part I

    • 9. Third Project: Part II

    • 10. Final Thoughts

    • 11. Bonus Video

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About This Class

This class is all about painting monochromatic landscapes in watercolour. In this class you will learn painting a whole landscape with just a single colour. It will give you an idea about value or tonal range of a colour. You will learn how to create flat washes with wet-on-dry and wet-on-wet method. You will learn to paint particular elements like grass, leafless trees and palm trees. 

It includes three class projects. The difficulty level goes from beginner to advanced. With each landscape you will learn to handle different techniques in layering washes. This class is well-suited for beginner and intermediate level watercolour painter. As the projects demand just a single colour apart from the usual requirements like watercolour paper, brushes and water, it makes for a relaxing painting session with lots of value.

Meet Your Teacher

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Trupti Ratnaparkhi

Artist and Entrepreneur



I am Trupti. A watercolor artist and creative business owner from India. I have moved to creative entrepreneurship from my academics. I have taught English Language and Literature in one of the most prestigious universities in India for seven years. I recently quit my full time job to devote my time to my art and creative business, Arkaar Creation. We make artist quality watercolor paints and sketchbooks at Arkaar Creation. I love painting landscapes in watercolor and the flow of this medium is quite addictive to me.

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1. Introduction : Hello and welcome to my very first Skillshare class, monochromatic landscapes in watercolor. I'm Trupti Ratnaparkhi A watercolor artist and owner of Arkaar creation. At Arkaar Creation, we make handmade paints and other art supply. This class is all about monochromatic landscape. Mono means Single and chroma means colour A landscape painted using a single color. There will be three projects, and the difficulty level will vary from beginner to advanced level. There will be different layers of paints and all in each landscape. And as we progress through each project, you will know how to paint a monochromatic landscape with different kinds of tonal ranges. Painting monochrome is therapeutic as you don't have to deal a lot with the color choices. You don't have to think too much about the elements when you are painting, you just have to concentrate on the tonal range of your paint, how much water you're using, how dark or faint the mix is. It is useful as a beginner when you are just starting with the landscapes and want to get more practice in other elements or aspects of painting. You can think about your composition. You can think about the actual sketch, the elements of your painting, without thinking too much about the colour We will also learn how to choose appropriate colour for your landscape painting. We will do swatches. I will show you how to do a variety of ways that you can get from particular colours. And it is going to be exciting. So let's go to the next video and dive into the world of monochromatic landscape painting. 2. Class Materials : Let us take a look at the material. You will need 300 GSM, 100 percent cotton watercolor paper. I'm using Arches, a backing board to attach the paper to, and the masking tape. You will also need a mixing palette mixing surface. As there is just one color, you can use a little palette like dark or any palette of your choice. You will need tissue paper or kitchen towel To clean your brushes, to manage the water content in your brush. Two jars of water. One for cleaning the brush and one for picking up clean water. For larger washes, you will need a large brush, large flat brush. I'm using Hake brush by Princeton. Any large brush will do, a number 12 round brush for larger details. I'm using silver brush, Black velvet And number six or number eight brush with a good point. I'm using Princeton velvet touch number 6 and a small detail brush, number one or number two. It is an optional brush. It is not necessary for you to have it in your collection. particularly for this painting. If your number six on number eight, brush has a good point. It will be enough for the details. And that's all. See you in the next video. 3. Choosing Colours for a Monochrome: Choosing the right color for your monochromatic landscape is vital. As you're going to use just one color for the whole painting, it is important that you choose a color with that rich tonal range. It is not that monochrome’s are not painted with we can say flowery or lighter colours but to get that moody feel for the particular subjects that we are going to paint. The color choice is going to be vital. You can pick up any darker paint that you might have in your palette Paints.. shades like indigo, Payne's gray, Burnt Umber or sepia. Such dark tones have that wide tonal range from their mass stone to the tint. So here what I'm doing is I'm just painting swatches of colours that I had considered for my landscape paintings, monochromatic landscape paintings. The first one is mulberry vine, the second one is Van Dyke Hue And then the following colors are going to be Mars Black, Warm Indigo and cool indigo. And Ivory Black. I had chosen three out of these 5 to 6 scholars, mulberry wine Van Dyke, brown hue, and Warm indigo. So I had plenty of colors to choose from. What you can do is you can look at your palette and choose your favorite darkest color. It can be anything from Payne’s Gray, neutral tint, sepia to indigo. So what I'm doing here is swatching them and later, I'm going to swatch them from their mass tone to their tint. And it will show you the tonal range these colors have. It is a useful exercise if you decide to do it yourself. And to see what kind of tonal range the color of your choice has. And also how you can vary the amount of water you are mixing in to get the exact shade or the tonal range that you want to paint for a particular element in your landscape. To be important when you're painting a landscape in monochromatic watercolor. Swatch out your paint and see which colors appeals to you the most, and choose it for your painting. You can even vary your color choice for different kinds of fields that you want to get out of it. So it is up to you. And with this my colour chart is complete, it is time to get into the new project, the very first project of this class. I'll see you in the next video. 4. First Project: Part I: I have taped down my paper and I'm using a roll of masking tape to create that tilt that angle to ensure that the paint flows downwards. As I'm giving the wash, creating the wash, I'm testing my paint mixture on a scrap of paper, the same paper which I'm using for my painting. But it is important to test your paint on the same paper that you're using for your painting so that there is not much difference in the performance of the paint. Because according to paper, that can be significant differences in how the paint behaves. And as before, we will go into the wash. The wet on dry wash it is important to keep that bead alive. And one way to do it is, replenishing your brush, charging your brush with each stroke. Keeping the first wash lighter is important in this case, in the first project because we have to have that contrast so that the details stand out. If your first wash is too dark, then the details you are going to put in later won't look good. It won't look good because there is lack of contrast between these two tones, two values. So make sure that your paint mixture is watery enough, is lighter enough to create that light valued airy first wash. And when you're done, wipe your brush and pick up the extra paint which might have accumulated on your masking tape. It ensures that you won't have any backruns and we'll let it dry. As it dries completely. We will get in With the details. The wash has dried and you can see how lighter it has dried. For the details, I'm shifting to a number 6 velvet touch brush by Princeton. And I'll be using my paint in its mass stone. At its thickest, we can say. As there are only two values in this first project, you don't have to worry too much about the paint mix now Just pick up from your pan or create a thicker mix in your palette. To create a natural-looking branch structure. Observing branches in nature of living trees and nature is really important. You can even use photographs of bare trees, which are plentiful on internet. For guidance. Shifting to pointed brush and a smaller brush will help you in creating those delicate branches. I'm just trying to create a skeleton of the tree, the basic structure at first, the major branches are going to be thicker. And as I'm painting the details, the secondary branches, I'm making sure my brush don't or the pressure on the brush is not too much to ensure that they are in thinner, wispier than the main branches. Also make sure that as your branch progresses from its origin to the tip, It is going to get thinner. From thicker to thin. And the paint mixture is going to be really thick, controlling the pressure on your brush is going to be easier. Too much water in your brush at this stage, and you will lose control over your brush stroke. So make sure that there is not too much water and you're comfortable with whatever brush you're using. Later I will shift to a smaller brush, to paint in really tiny little branches. Stopping at the stage is okay. If you don't want to go in with even tinier branches. But as this is the only detail that we are going to paint in, I think going in with the smaller brush and create more branches At the tip of the smaller branches. It's going to give that delicateness to the design. And like printing trees So yeah, I take pleasure in doing these branches. It is up to you. Create enough angles, sharp angles in your branches. It will add that aesthetic value and a resemblance to nature. Try to create that organic shape. You can stop whenever you feel like you are satisfied with what you have. 5. First Project: Part II: I will be painting birds in my sketchbook first before committing to the actual painting. It is important to practice shapes or elements that you want to keep in your final painting before committing to the final paper. So I'm using my sketchbook for that and making sure that I have an idea what I want to paint, what it will look like, what kind of brush strokes I would like to make. And the birds are not going to be monotonous, facing the same direction and all. So I will have to see if I am comfortable with painting birds from both directions. Sometimes our hands will be more comfortable painting something from a particular direction and won't be much. So I have to get that done, the practice to ensure that my birds will have some kind of variety in them. Practice as many times as you wish. Try different shapes, different kind of bird figures, and I say that sketchbook practice would never hurt And now and now we will shift and commit to the paper. Arrangement of your birds on the branches is also important. We want the eye to travel from one form to another. So crowding them on a part of a tree or painting them facing only a single direction is not going to be helpful. So decide on your approach before you go in with your paint and then paint accordingly. You can even vary the size of your birds to create that variety. And it shouldn’t also be that you are evenly distributing birds on the braches, three from this side, And three from that side or whatever number. Because such kind of balance, will create a monotony It will create, it won't be able to create that interest. So make sure of that as well. There should be variety in size. There should be variety in the posture of the birds. See where you are placing them. This watercolour project, this particular landscape We can say that is more a matter of design, of aesthetic pleasure than anything else. So be careful about that. You can see I'm using the paint directly from the pan now I wish that these birds were not that similar, at the same height or level But I cannot undo that now, so I have to create Interest through some other means to avoid the monotony , of this similar kind of birds through other means. I'm adding a new bird here. So even though there are two birds on this part and two birds on the other You can see how the difference in sizes is creating that unevenness. We want that unevenness. We don't want the picture to be too balanced. And the little birdie here. I think this will be enough. 6. Second Project: Part I: For the second project, we'll be painting on a portrait sized paper, which is a bit vertical in shape. As the major element of this landscape is this tree, the vertical object. I think this works better. Apart from the 2-3 values you are able to look at in this paper, the white of the paper is going to be another element. We are going to use controlled wash to keep that white of the paper. And it is going to add to the contrast of the painting. And I'll be using controlled wash for this sky. Controlled in the sense, I don't want it to be flat. I don't want it to be variegated. I want to control it in the sense -I want to keep that white space between the cloud shapes. So even though I'm wetting the paper, I'm not making it sopping wet. It will be moderately wet a bit less amount of water will help me in keeping the cloud shapes separate. And to keep that white. We'll just wet the sky part for now. And we'll take a really diluted mix of Van Dyke Brown Hue The Sky is the second lightest element after the white of the paper. So it is important that it is diluted enough. Test your paint on a scrap paper and then add water or paint to it. As per the necessity. I'm using my brush flat angle... at a flat angle to create those organic sky shapes. And you can see these are just random strokes. The white of the paper is still there and the sky is complete. You can vary the shape of the clouds by the stroke of your brush. And when the paper is still wet, we have to go in with the trees on the distant bank. The diffusion at the top of the trees is important because it denotes the distance. And when the paper is still wet, we have to get in and get those trees painted down. As we haven't used that much amount of water in here, the paper is going to dry sooner than it usually does in wet-on-wet painting. You can see how on the right side of the paper, the edges look hard. And as I go to the left side, they are softer, because the paper was dry on the right side. It's okay though. Timing is really important in watercolor painting. And when you want to get specific results, you have to be to be mindful of when you are going in with the second wash or layer, or any element for that matter. The second element will be the water. I'm wetting the water area with clear water right now. And I'm going to leave that white space between the water and the treeline If you observe in nature, the very line, like a sharp edge below, just below the tree line, is always white because it reflects the sky or light So we have to keep that and rest of the area I'm going to cover with diluted mix with Van Dyke brown hue. It is not going to be as dark as the Tree line which is there. And I'm also going to keep some area white, white of the paper. I'm painting right now Some broken down. Waves, ripples in the water. To make it look like water. I have shifted to number 6 brush because I want that waves to be smaller. In their width..picking up paint to reveal that white of the paper, I might have to go down again in here and darken this part a bit. But right now I just want to get that effect of moving water here. Ripples here and there. The water is not going to be the focus of this painting. 7. Second Project: Part II: Now we'll be moving on to the darkest are in our painting. The foreground. The foreground mainly consists of some grass and the major element, tree. we want the color of it even so I'm mixing as much as paint as I can. And I'm painting in that foreground and keeping the edges uneven to give it a feel of a land, it is not flat. I'm not keeping it flat. It goes up in the left side and then it is steep there and it goes down. It is in direct contrast to the treeline there. And it balances out the landscape a bit. Again, shifting to the smaller brush, I will paint in some grass. This tree is comparatively gentle. So the tree bark is not that large or something. Keep it gentle, keep it more aesthetic. I can say.. it will suit the landscape. And I think the sky area here is still wet. The paint is diffusing a bit. So I won't go any further and I will concentrate on the grass for now. And as the area dries, we'll go in with the branches and the foliage. So while painting grass you have to keep your strokes really loose. I'm holding the brush towards the ferrule, towards its tip. So it is giving me a bit of control. And as I go with the upward stroke, my hand is almost loose. So the edge of the grass, the tip of the grass has that tiny edge. I'm not putting too much pressure when I'm making that upward stroke. And keep changing the direction of the grass. So it looks more organic. Some strokes are downward as well. So it helps me in keeping the momentum, some finer details. Like weeds in there. I want to break that tree mass. It is too monotonous. So I'm going in with my palette knife there and scraping some of the paint. The major part of it is sufficiently wet so I'm able to scrape out some paint. The part which is towards the left-hand side has dried a bit, so I'm not able to lift paint much from there. So timing is important. If I had gone earlier with my palette knife, it would have created darker lines Now the paint actually comes out and we are able to see those tree bark like thing. With a smaller brush again. I'm going in to paint the details. Before going on to the tree. I think we should darken up the shadow area, the reflection area of the water first, I'm using a bigger brush for that. The paint is not as dark as the foreground elements. It is.. It contains a bit of water, so it is going to dry lighter. And I'm painting in the reflection as if it is breaking down due to waves. You can also take help of your smaller brush to diffuse it a bit and to pick up the paint with a damp brush to create the whitespace. The moving space, the water is not..the water is not still here. So there are going to be ripples here and the ripples are going to create. an uneven shadow. I'm picking up paint, washing up the paint, wipe it on the tissue paper and then going in and picking up paint, again, washing my brush. So, the paint won't go again into the painting again, on the paper again. So always wipe your brush in between the strokes when you are picking up paint. And I think that's it. This area is dry now, we are going to go in with our branches and foliage. Using the darkest mix, we are going to put in some branches. The branches are not going to be visible when we will paint foliage. By painting the skeleton of the tree will give us some kind of idea about the shape. The way we want to arrange it’s foliage, and the kind of shape it is going to take in the end. It is helpful. So we'll just get in with the branches for now. I'm not being too careful about the branches. I just want that map-like thing to hang the foliage we can say, paint the foliage and keeping the consistency of the paint even. We will go in with our foliage, the leaves. Again, we are not painting individual leaf. We are just making marks. And we want the tree to be airy and not a huge mass of Sepia or Van Dyke brown leaves. So we are going to keep that white space in-between edges of this tree are particularly important as it is the major focus of this landscape. We want it to stand out. You don't want to paint any random round tree You want it to have varied shape. You want it to have some kind of personality. So be mindful of the kind of shape you are giving your tree. Many times it happens that by mistake, unconsciously, we only paint rounded kind of trees. Trees are not always round. They are of varied shape, They have character, a branch, my jut out from a corner or something. So yeah, I tried to bring in that variety in your branching and try to paint the leaves which are at the edge individually, individual in the sense they should stand out. It looks beautiful and realistic as well. Work on your tree as long as you want without overdoing it. Be mindful of the shape that we're creating. I'm just painting some twigs which are coming out from the edges here and there. And I think I'm done with this landscape. Time to take out the tape and see what the final result looks like. You can choose any shade of your choice. But I think the Sepia or Van Dyke brown, Hue is given this landscape a vintage photograph kind of feel, feel free to use any color of your choice and paint in this landscape. I hope you liked this class and will enjoy painting this project. Thank you. 8. Third Project: Part I: The last project will be done on a bigger sheet of paper. It is an expansive landscape with multiple layers. So it is better to be done on a slightly bigger sheet. As you can see, there are multiple layers and tonal values here. And we have to work a layer at a time. The first wash is going to be flat wash. And as usual we will have to wet the whole paper for doing it, it is going to be the lightest value. And it will denote the sky The sky is not that a dominating part of this landscape. It is going to be just pale blue, flat wash. I'm using warm indigo for this landscape. So it will need a lot of water to get to that diluted wash. Mix enough water, watery paint in your palette. As you have to cover a larger area. It is better to have a puddle of paint. Test it on paper first and diluted more if you want. Holding the board at an angle, I will start from the top. Use whole brush, not just a point. And don't go into the wash too much when you are adding a layer to it. You can see how the angle is helping the paint to flow down. It's okay if your wash is not perfectly even, it is going to be covered by another layer, the major part of it. And when you are done covering the paper, Just wipe up the edges with a damp brush. As the wash is still wet, we are going to go in with another layer. But we had to take care of wiping up every bit of stray paint accumulating on our masking tape. And when it is wiped properly, you can start with another layer. And when the paper is still wet, I'll be going in with a darker second wash. The second wash is going to show the palm trees in the background. It will create the hint of palm trees. Not exactly a really clear outline or so. So first I am creating an uneven layer of the background. And later..immediately even, I will try and shape, showcase some shapes, palm like shapes in the background. As long as the paper is wet and the paint consistency is consistent. We don't have to fear creating cauliflowers. But if you add water to this mix by mistake, instead of this slightly thicker mixed than before, then there'll be a possibility that you might get cauliflowers. So be careful with your paint mixture. And you can see there are just shapes in the background. In this wash is not even, even that we'll do. No problem. Like you can see in the middle it has diffused a bit, creating that whitespace, but that is okay. The concentration is on getting those shapes right. The palm shapes. Even if, when you try to define them like this, they are going to be diffused because the paper is wet and that is what our goal is. Now we'll let this layer completely dry. As the next steps are going to be wet-on-dry. It is dry now. And we're going with our third element, the bushes. In the middle. Again, a slightly darker mix. Than what we have in the second wash. And with the uneven brushstrokes we will create those bushes. It defines that horizon line. Creating a background and the foreground. You can use a scale if you want that line to be precise. If you are not that confident, draw a line with a scale and then fill in the bushes above that. So it won't be distorted. 9. Third Project: Part II: And the layers are completely dry. You can see how lighter they look now. We will be drawing, sorry, painting the palm trees now with the thickest mix of indigo, they are the darkest part of the painting. I have switched to a smaller brush number 6, velvet touch by Princeton. It will give me better control over my brushstrokes and will help me to paint those final details of the palm leaves. If you're not confident with painting palm trees directly on the final artwork you can practice on a scrap of paper. The shape of the palm leaves is really particular. It makes them palm trees You can say that the way it starts from the top and kind of flares up. But it's actually beautiful and With practice, you'll get them right. It is better to practice on a piece of paper first before committing to the work. You can see how little brushstrokes are creating those leaves. All you have to do is leave some white space. Between those leaves. You can see that you can use photographs of course to get them right. There are plenty of photographs available on internet. While creating these groups of palm trees take care that there is, again variation. Variation in height, variation in numbers, the distance between them. Otherwise, there is a danger that it will become monotonous. The pattern will become really artificial, So to create that variety how to keep it uneven. We can say that we have to create some kind of platform for the palm trees to stand on. So I'm darkening. The part where they are attached to the soil or to the paper. Otherwise, you will feel as if they're floating in the air. Adding a second layer of bushes. This layer will emphasise the distance more and more. It is just an improvisation because I can see the last layer that we painted has dried quite lighter. And it did not look that interesting. So I have added this layer. And here will come a little tree. I'm drawing the branches first. When I am painting the foliage behind that palm tree. And again, it creates that sense of distance. As that it creates that overlap. Will have to create some kind of details on the foreground. Otherwise it will look too plain. Right now it is of the similar value to the background wash of palm trees. So we'll create some kind of shadow or path-like structure there. It doesn't have any particular shape or meaning. But by darkening the ground in the front, the palm trees will pop up. It is not as dark as the palms, but it is darker than the background palm trees.. The layer that we have created. If you want to add a few more details, a bush here and there. One more tree somewhere between the palms. It is up to you. But for me, I guess the paintings painting looks complete right now. 10. Final Thoughts: So here we are at the end of the class. And even when I said that monochromatic painting is easier as a beginner, watercolor is a challenging medium. You will struggle with a lot of things. You might not get everything right in the first go. especially in case of wet-on-wet, In case of the diffused edges, anything can go wrong. What is important is that you remember what went right and what went wrong. And be mindful of the process. Once you get the hang of wet-on-wet, once you get the hang of the water content that you might require to get a certain effect, the process will become easier for you. And mindful process is the answer we can have for the challenging medium like watercolor. I hope that you found this class helpful and would try some of these landscapes with the color of your choice. I would love to see your projects, so please upload them in the project section of this class. And don't be discouraged by any failure or any problem that you might encounter in painting. Keep trying, keep painting. You will get there. Thank you and happy painting. 11. Bonus Video: Right? Yeah.