Painting the forest with watercolor : part 1 birch trees | Sarah Van Der Linden | Skillshare

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Painting the forest with watercolor : part 1 birch trees

teacher avatar Sarah Van Der Linden, watercolor artist & nature enthusiast

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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

7 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. Layer 1

    • 4. Layer 2

    • 5. Layer 3

    • 6. Layer 4

    • 7. Project time

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About This Class


Hi everyone, and welcome to this class about painting the forest with watercolor! In this first part, we are going to focus on birch trees.

Watercolor is a great medium to paint landscapes because it allows you to create many different atmospheres with just a few colors. You can play with water and texture to capture the feel of a place and let watercolor do its magic.

This class is the first part of a series about painting the forest, and each one will cover a different topic. I wanted to start by showing you how to paint birch trees because I find them amazing with their tall thin silhouettes, and the interesting texture on their trunk.


In this class, we are going to paint together one landscape from start to finish. I will show you how to create an abstract background using the wet on wet technique, how to paint the trees and add some texture, how to paint the ferns and I will also share a few tips along the way. 

You will only need a few colors for this class, so feel free to use what you already have at home.


Each video is in real time and you will be able to observe every brushstroke and replicate the entire process.

So, grab a brush, your watercolor palette, and let’s get started!

You will find here my others classes about watercolor :

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Sarah Van Der Linden

watercolor artist & nature enthusiast


Hi there, my name is Sarah also known @mirglis on instagram. I’m a watercolor and gouache artist living in the French countryside.


I believe that nature, inspiration and imagination are deeply connected, and for me, creativity is a long road leading to a better observation and understanding of the world. I'm most myself and happier when I'm in a forest or in the middle of nowhere, and that’s why all my inspiration comes from nature. I love painting landscapes with watercolor, playing with water to create textures, and patiently adding one layer after another.


You will find here on Skillshare different classes to learn to paint landscapes with waterc... See full profile

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1. Intro: Hello, everyone, and welcome to this nucleus. My name is Sarah, and I'm a landscape artist living in the French countryside. Today I'm going to show you how to paint a bitch reef arrest without a coat. This is the first parts off the series of crises about paintings of arrest, and each one will cover different. I wanted to start by showing you how to paint beech trees because I find them amazing with their toll thing, cigarettes and the interesting picture on the church. In this class we are going to spend together, it's no escape from start to finish. I will show you how to create an extract back room, using the wet on wet technique out to bend the trees and at some picture out to friends of friends and I were also share a few tips along the way. You will only need a few corals discuss, so feel free to use what you already have at home. This class is great for anyone who goes to stop ending victories with just a few layers each day, always in real time, so you will be able to paint a long and observes on your process. So let's get started 2. Supplies: so I'm going to show you quickly what supplies you in it. For this project, we will use off course some watercolor paper taped to something. I use some Godbold. You will need to jazz off water one to clean your brush in one with clear water. Some paper toe well of sugar. She's off value sizes. A big one image. Um, and a small one. What a cool opened its and we would use Is this foreclose one pink. This one is called Flammer holes. One greenish ember. A round that we're going to create with sub green and friends Jamil Young and in a ranch made with flour more holes and neighbors, you know, and that's it's 3. Layer 1: So the first thing I'm going to do is to makes my Flammer whose and my neighbors you know to create that arrange. So he's my brush. I will add some knepper zero on my bed. It's and some off my flannel horse pink. Okay, I need to add a bit more. Um, it's more. And for this first layer, we will be using Some greenish embers are going toe at some on my pets of soup. So the first thing I'm going to do ice toe draw with a pencil exhausted, wept off the trunk so your trees need to be straight. Not perfect. Illustrates, illustrates and drew some drinks. Value says is some close to each other and zoo in space. He's try not to press two much on your been sealed. Okay, maybe it's more as a term Magas is. Let's start painting our first layer. I want to first treats background, so I'm going to use So what? On what technique? But I won't add water everywhere. I'm going to add water in the space between my tricks. So with my big brush, I'm waiting as a paper between my tricks case somewhat. Uh oh. Here a bit more here. Was there fine? Yeah, I'm a bit more over there. Hungry. So too wet a bit. The bottom on make sure is that my paper is what? Where I want it to be. No. I'm going to grab my MMA gym brush. Um, lights arrange and I really Edgett in the middle. So be trends or trees here, so no. So I'm adding orange everywhere must be Oops, it's a full duck. Mostly. Answer me. Yeah. So I'm making sure that there is a range until trunks. The goal is to create a warm atmosphere behind the trees. No, I'm cleaning my brush and I really use my great so agility Grete and I'm going to edit first. That's it. Okay. Sorry, Mrs Sports. I'm going toe. Great. Small. Okay, Some great. That's it. Yeah, you get you need to pent. It's quickly because you don't from such as their to start training going to spread my great spread. Keep ending my gray. And so here I'm going also toe add a bit of a way on my orange over here and they're so a bit off. Great. At the very bottom. So must feel is there. So the goal is that zgray bleed on top of the orange here. A nice it's so if you see some areas that are always dry you something Water to what it took in more here. Okay. And to finish this first lady, Yeah, I'm going to use and did your brush with some orange again. I'm just going to budgets. That's a very built, um, a bit random meat. Remember that the first layer is not mad to be pretty Amending your beautiful arrange. You're in that connect. So bottom battles around escape, visitor. And then we let this first layer dry completely before adding ma jitters. 4. Layer 2: but no more first layer is fully dry, so I'm going to pence the trees. So I will need some wrong that I am going to mix using some French venue. So this is this red and some sub green, probably and better it. Oh my God, it's And as a marine and zoo red create a beautiful wrong. I think any toe read more read on a bit more green. That's it's I like this shade of brown. So when he took in my rush really carefully and using some clean water, I'm going toe wits all the trips. Who is my clean water? I'm waiting on me tricks one after another. So take your time and make sure that all your trends are fully with Swan. Is this one here? Um, zit us When? On the right? No, I'm going to take a smaller brush. This one is a size full. And with my wrong, I'm just going toe ad a bit of pens. He ran there on the trunk. So my bone is orbits, Doc. So I will add some water to duty to kids. There. I'm imagining bits. Was a long digital. This one that's a term that say we are going to bend to nine years for this tree. So this one is only the 1st 1 So don't add Brome everywhere, just on a few areas to create a beautiful picture. You have to walk quick because you trunks, it's to be wet. Otherwise you will need toe add a bit more water. I seems the last one as already tried. So I'm watching it again. And was my Braun. I'm ending a few drops. You're in there. Let's have this'll. One. Yeah, a bitter so as it up. And that's a very tough I can see that the room here is not spreading at all. So I will let the trunk again and that will end that Braun spread owns a trick. It can be tricky to find the right balance between a bit of water and too much water. And you we need to practice. And sometimes I had water afterwards. If you're not happy with the results, so this is a very quickly er know where we let my trunks dry and we will add another year 5. Layer 3: No. Let's have a bit more picture honor bitch trees. I will use a small brush. This is my size for ends up wrong that I mixed. Oh, yeah. Actually, I'm gonna add a bit more real. It exists. And first I will add some more teacher on the trunk. So bitch trees of they're shoe lands. He runs eso well spent. That's I'm using mostly the tip off my brush. Then I'm just venting If she lying's a few spots here and there on the tree try to pent your lines a bit randomly and that too many of then everywhere. No, we'll stand seeing on my sickle tree. It's I will add a bit more lines on this one. No, I'm moving on to myself one this time. Um, that's id'ing. So Marx everywhere, Mitt more ads it up for the tree on. If you want to refine the outline of your tree is this is also the perfect time to do it. And you can add a bit of brown on one side of the tree, but not on both sides. Who's was a wise It will be a bit too much. He sees more out set up for this one? No, I would bends that we had seen. What's here, Mitt. More marks air in there, trying not to focus too much on what's right wing. It will help shoe loose things up and not venting something too realistic. Now I'm using more than tip of my brush, and I'm a gene of Schimmel lines. I'm going to switch through this brush with the fantasy and using my broom again. I will pence a few branches, so we start by my treat. That's on the ref, and I'm venting a few branches. He runs there. It's maybe over here. Let's have someone she's toe, sir. Country so amusing. Really? The tip off my brush and I tried to pants. 01 She's bits two different forms of previous one. I need to mix some of wrong, so I will use my red again and orbits of my sub green. More on, Recreate some wrong get more green. That red is really, really powerful. Okay, that's it's so who is my brush again? I will add a bit more what's there, and I would ban some room. She's sometimes they are going up, but sometimes there also going down, try to add someone. She's that cause in many direction meets here. That's it, Um, is there and it's creates. If you add some branches that goes on top off, transit will add. It's more this. Now I'm going to clean my brush, and I'm going to use some being. So this is my flammer was Pinch, and I will spend some friends at the bottom of the Trans. So using the tip of my bush again, I'm just printing shoot berms. So again, if you can add them in the forefront of the trunk, it's great and mostly trade toe handsome lines that goes in different direction. So he bits of oil herbs. Who's there? See that I'm not losing my brush with spends every time. Sometimes I'm just deep in my brush into my water, and it's creates the lighter cool. Now I'm going to wit coun that's a really so that my herbs blended it with the baton and I will add a few mo with my problem. So I'm doing it in my room more and I'm creating my Why'd herbs my firm whatever you want to cause him? No, he adds a bit more here. Nothing in my brush and we use my pink again. And I really insists from that side here years It was a bit to Mitch, right? Space and then making sure that's there are some firms in front off every trunk. No, let's spend the bottom bots. I'm going to do something really simple. I would use my Flammer hose and my knepper zero to have Carlos that is more orange And how we just spent, if she nines using Oh, my brush. We some teacher we add, did more pink, um, a tiny bit of wrong. Um oh, let it dry. 6. Layer 4: so our printing is almost finished. I just want to add a small texture on the bottom paths. So I'm gonna use my Megyn brush. Who is some water ends. LeBron I mixed earlier, and I'm just going to add a bit of a picture you can add so wrong. Better So there any bit of water toe. Is this car all spread? I'm also going to add some what? Just on top of my wrong. And there's so here and that will add a bit more brown again. And to finish, I will add some very saturated being. So I'm going to use something straight from the ban. And just as I did, yeah, I'm venting if you more lines and that's it's for dispensing. Let's everything dry before removing your masking tape and that's it. 7. Project time: and that's it for this class. I hope you enjoy painting big trees and no feel more cramping than to create your fifth way to show your painting in the project section of this class. I would love to see what you creates. If you're interested in nothing more betting escapes. You can shake my also class ease about pantries Next, guys. And if you want to be notified, when I tradition New class, please click the for a better uses video and I will see you soon.