Painting A Watercolor Forest Scene with Depth and Light | Ariane Hope | Skillshare

Painting A Watercolor Forest Scene with Depth and Light

Ariane Hope, Artist

Painting A Watercolor Forest Scene with Depth and Light

Ariane Hope, Artist

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8 Lessons (41m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. How to Choose Your Colors

    • 4. Painting the Background

    • 5. Painting the Background Trees

    • 6. Painting the Second Tree Layer

    • 7. Painting the Foreground Trees

    • 8. Final Project

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About This Class

Learn how to paint sunlit forests that have depth and dimension!  In this 40 minute class lead by artist Ariane Hope, you will learn some principles of color theory and a few basic watercolor techniques.  Using that knowledge, you will create a simple, but eye-catching forest scene. Some previous watercolor experience is helpful, but is definitely not necessary to complete this project.  There are so many moods you can create with your forests depending on your color scheme, so experimentation is encouraged!    


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: hi there, and welcome to this class on painting a watercolor for a scene that has light and death. I'm Arian and I've been painting for us. Long as I can remember, my favorite medium is watercolors, and I'm constantly learning new things about, um, I can't wait to share what I've learned over the years. Today will briefly cover some color theory and learn about creating harmonious color palettes. We will also learn a few watercolor techniques to create a simple but catching scene of trees through a forest. There are four main steps to this project, starting with creating a background than building three layers of trees upon each other, increasing the pigmentation in our paints in each layer. By the end of this class, you will be able to create a depth field landscape that looks impressive but only requires a few skills that will cover in class. So although some previous experience is helpful, it is not necessary to complete this project with confidence. Also, the skills learned today or universal you can translate well to many subjects and styles, so the creative possibilities are endless. I hope you learn something new from my class, and I can't wait to see your projects and interpretations in the Project Gallery 2. Supplies: Here are some of the supplies you will need today. Watercolor paper cut to the size of your choosing. I always use 100% cotton. 300 GSM cool press paper. I like the way it holds. Washes in the texture is perfect for landscapes. This is a Nargis block that I use often. It's large. Size is great for cutting smaller paintings out of it, and usually I paint directly onto the block. But when I have pre cut paper, I always like to tape it to a clipboard or something stiff. And I just need his basic painters or masking tape, and taking it down is gonna keep the paper flattened. Stretch and I also like the way that it leaves a nice crisp border around my paintings, a variety of paintbrushes and really any type will dio. You don't have to worry about getting too small. You want somewhat of a smaller brush for details, but don't worry about getting a liner brush. I usually use round brushes because they're really versatile, but any brushes that you have well dio two or three colors of water color paint of any brand of your choosing, and we're going to go into what colors to choose in the next video, So don't worry yourself about that yet. I like to use pan watercolors because I feel like they last longer, but that's just my preference. Feel free to use that. Whatever type of water color paint you have the palate or mixing trade. Two jars of water, one for cleaning your brushes and one for Clearwater. Now pencil is optional the way we're not. I approached. This painting's proposition is really organic in the way that we're going to choose. Where are trees? Go based on how the layer shapes up. Previously on this is gonna have become clearer in the next couple lessons. So don't worry yourself about planning out your trees and where they're gonna be quite yet , you're going to see how everything is going to shape up hands a paper towel or cloth 3. How to Choose Your Colors: Before we start painting today, let's talk a little bit about color. Now. If you've done any kind of art before, you may be familiar with the color wheel. For those of you that aren't, it's basically the organization of color hues around a circles with the three primary colors red, yellow and blue spaced evenly apart. When you mix two primary colors like yellow and blue, you get a second terry color, which is green. When you mix a primary and secondary color like yellow and green, you get a tertiary color yellow green. So that's basically how you come up with all the colors in a wheel. Someone's were familiar. With this set up, we can use this wheel to help us visualize color palettes. The back of this color will illustrate some various color combinations that make a good color scheme, and there's a lot listed here about different combinations. But today we're just going to be working with an analogous color scheme, and what analogous color scheme is colors next to each other on the color wheel. They usually match well and create harmonious stop designs, and since they're often found in nature analogous color schemes are great for a project. When choosing your colors, try to stick to no more than three colors that lie near each other. You want a lighter color to represent sunlight. I'm gonna be using yellow today, and you want a media mid tone color. I'll be using green and then you want a color, the starker of it more pigmented. I'm using a like a blue green teal color today, and this is our little swatch yellow, green and teal. Here's some other color palettes that worked really well with this subject. Could do like a light green going through blues. A nice warm palette could even do a more muted kind of looks like of harvest color scheme even of dung, pinks, leading toe, violets and blues. Before. And here are some paintings that I've done just to give you a little example about how analogous color schemes can really add dimension in depth to your painting. So there's so much we can learn from using a color wheel, but we're going to stick to these basic principles for this project. I heard you ought to get one and play around with it, and now that we have this basic color knowledge we need, let's start painting 4. Painting the Background: I've arranged my paints on my palette. I'm going to keep that pans handy in case I need more. We're gonna paint the background in a wet on wet technique. So we're going to start by wedding the paper completely with clean water. He's a big brush for this. A large flat brush would probably be ideal, but I don't have one, so I just using what I have. So make sure the paper is fully saturated, but not pulling into puddles. You definitely don't want any puddles. But you want enough water so that the pain is going to move and interact and dance with each other on the paper. The switch to a little smaller brush. Now I'm gonna load my brush up with some yellow or whatever color you chose for your lightest shade. I'm gonna make a little bit watery, but not too much. And we're just going to drop it to the center of the paper in irregular patterns. And don't be afraid to let the white of the paper show through in areas. We kind of want that look just kind of spread it out from the center. I'm happy with that for now. then we're gonna live it. Our brush with some of the medium color I'm gonna be using green. Just dab it in irregular patterns surrounding the yellow blob or whatever color you have in the middle. You don't wanna move your brush around into the colors too much. You want the paper, water and pigments to do the blending for you. You can get a little bit close into that yellow, but we want to keep a lot of the yellow there. Okay, now I'm going. Teoh, get some of the darker color this teal. I'm just going to drop it in around the perimeter of the painting. Drag in a little bit to the center. I'm going to go in with a little bit more yellow and use more water if necessary to coaxum interesting blends out of the pigment. But if you start getting puddles, just stop them up with a D up cloth for not a cloth, a damp paintbrush. I'm gonna add a little bit more teal to the perimeter a little darker, so I'm not gonna mess around with this too much, and the background has to dry completely like 100% before we continue. So whether you're using a hair dryer or letting an air dry, I'll see in a little bit 5. Painting the Background Trees: before we start painting the trees. Here are some tips on how to bury our tree shapes to create an interesting composition. Have some photo references handy? I like to surround myself with previous work I was happy with for inspiration. You can also use websites like picks, obey or shutter stock for royalty, free kota references and also look up multiple styles of trees. Observe how irregular their branches may look. Don't shy away from ugly trees, either. Sometimes the barren trees are the most interesting, and lastly, nothing makes a landscape look more amateur quite like a pine tree that's exactly symmetrical, with equally space branches. Trees like that are rarely found in nature, so we don't have to worry about making the perfect tree. Also for a project today, we will mostly be painting loose branches and foliage, no trunks leading to the ground. So feel free to experiment with wacky tree and branch shapes because there's really no wrong way. The more you observe in practice, that easier is going to get. So let's jump in gonna pay the trees directly on the paper without drawing them first. If you need to use a pencil, make sure the lines are very light. We're gonna be working with washed out colors for this layer, so pencil lines could show through. And we're gonna use the same wet on wet technique that we use for the background. And we're going to start by painting the trunk in just some Clearwater for a first tree, but a space it over here. Okay, so I've painted a line of Clearwater going to get some of my yellow. Wherever I see the yellow shining through the paper from the background, I'm just gonna dab it in and let the pigments spread. Clean my brush, grab some green, let those colors kind of bleed into each other. Going to take my brush that's cleaned off. I'm using a round number six, by the way. Just drag some irregular branches out with water, had a little bit more yellow sunlight. And then when I like to do toe, add the look of leaves. Just kind of dab my brush down, gonna add some of the teal color around the top. Bottomless. Well, okay, I might add more to that tree, but I like how it's a little bit washed out. Then I added a little bit more water to thes branches going to the center. So they are pretty light. But that's OK, because most of it is gonna be covered up with foreground trees. Anyways, I'm gonna move onto my next tree, and I think I want to make it, like maybe a curvy tree like that. That's not a technical term. Okay, so here we go with some water again. No, I didn't wet the entire tree with water. I just got the basic trunk down and then I'm dragging the pain out with my brush to create branches. - Do you think my pain is a little bit too pigmented? I want this to blend in a little bit more with the background, So I'm just stabbing a little bit and adding a little bit of water again. You don't wanna be messing around with the brush too much. You want to still keep your lights? Keep the yellows of your paper yellow. When I'm getting my paints. I am adding water because I do want a little bit later, randomly dab some leaves in and wherever the tree branch intersex with one of the areas of your background. That's the later colored at a little bit more of that same later color. So it kind of looks like this son is going through. Believes I'm just adding a little bit of teal color towards the top in the bottom. I'm gonna leave that tree alone before I add too much. I think this tree over here is gonna be a little bit more simple. Kind of like this straight tree on the other side. I'm just gonna do three trees on this first layer. No one overwhelmed the background with trees right away. Definitely want to build it. Dropping in some yellow into this drunk. - Okay , now we're going to pull some branches out, free the trunk and add leaves with dabbing. 6. Painting the Second Tree Layer: Okay, We're ready to start. The second layer of trees and where we're gonna place them is based on where you put your trees in the background. So I'm going to do a tree here and probably there, and it's gonna be the same basic concept. What? On wet technique, however, we're gonna add a little bit more paint and pigmentation. It is a little hard to see the water in the tree shape, but do your best. I was just dropping in the color. If you're not sure where the trees were going, and then you can go from there with your branches and this thing, this trunk intersects with this branch. Just go toe, rob my brush, a little toe lift, whatever was behind there. Just has a little bit later. It doesn't look like the tree is transparent. Okay, I'm pretty happy with this. Now I'm going to save the sides that are untouched for the foreground trees, which is our last layer of trees. And again, this has to dry 100%. So I'll see you when that happens. 7. Painting the Foreground Trees: and we're ready to do the foreground layer of trees, which is gonna be our last layer. We're gonna be working wet on dry so we don't have to worry about getting our tree trunks in with Clearwater Weaken. Just loader. Brush up with our darkest color. I tend to do a little bit more delicate and more detailed trees up in the foreground as well, and we'll just go for it if I'm unsure about how I want my tree to look. Usually just start by making a line and making a little corrupted and then dragging some branches off of it. And since this pain is very pigmented, we won't really have to mess around with trying to get whatever was behind. It all lightened up because I don't it's not gonna look like a see through tree. I'm working just with the darkest color, the feel free to add a little bit of later color in to the tips of leaves and what not so around the perimeter. I like to do some half branches. Just make it look natural. The branches were coming from outside of your painting, - then I like to add some shorter kind of scraggly branches near the bottom of the painting feel free to add as much or as little of foliage is you want. I'm gonna stop right now before overcrowd piece, and you kind of lose the background trees. I want those to shine through. I'm just going to remove the tape. It's best to remove the tape by pulling away from the picture. 8. Final Project: Here's our final project, and I am extremely pleased with how it came out. Could clearly see the sunlight shining through the trees and their steps in dimension. Make sure you post your projects in the Project gallery. I love to see what color combinations and trees you come up with and please reach out with any questions you may have along the way. Thank you so much for joining me today, and I'll see you next time.