Super simple skies for beautiful watercolor landscapes | Kate Bentley SWA | Skillshare

Super simple skies for beautiful watercolor landscapes

Kate Bentley SWA, Professional Artist

Super simple skies for beautiful watercolor landscapes

Kate Bentley SWA, Professional Artist

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16 Lessons (47m)
    • 1. SKIES INTRO

    • 2. 1.Practice practice ...practice mixing

    • 3. 2.Practice practice ..practice washes

    • 4. 3.Practice practice...wet or dry?

    • 5. 4.Repeating your wash exercises

    • 6. New#1

    • 7. New#2

    • 8. New#3

    • 9. 8.Cirrus Clouds

    • 10. 9.Adding some scenery

    • 11. 10.New project..Sunset sky

    • 12. 11.Two Part wash

    • 13. 12.Adding some landscape.

    • 14. 13.Reflections

    • 15. 14.Summary of technique.

    • 16. 15.Happy Painting!

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About This Class

This class is designed for the beginner or improver.

Kate will talk you through mixing and laying washes and techniques for effective sky making!

3 Demos of 3 different skies and simple ways to incorperate landscape/seascape to make a believable simple scene

Link to "Watercolor Painting for the Terrified Beginner!":

Meet Your Teacher

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Kate Bentley SWA

Professional Artist


 Kate Bentley S.W.A. is an multi award-winning professional painter based in the English Lake District.

She is an elected member of the Society of Women Artists and The Lakes Artists Society and her work is held in both private and public collections.

 When time and Covid 19 allows Kate runs private painting workshops in the Lyth Valley in the Southern Lake District.

Kate has broad teaching experience and has been teaching for 25 years and in the past has worked for painting holiday specialists Authentic Adventures, Solo Holidays and P&O Cruises.



Kate Bentley S.W.A.  

In the studio Kate usually works from her imagination often referring to sketches from en-plein air exp... See full profile

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1. SKIES INTRO: Okay. So my name's Kate Bentley from the UK and I live in the Lake District. I've been a professional artists for 25 years. I've been painting for a lot longer than that and I'm not gonna disclose that bit. Okay. So I have just been rummaging around in bottom of my studio and I come across the sketchbooks. I was fortunate enough to go to Norway about ten years ago. And the trip up to Stephen was quite a long one with not much to see really apart from this guy. So I did these sky citizen age actually I still really like and this flip through here. So this is what we're gonna do today. We're going to have a look at cloud skies. You all's, I'm going to maybe be as complex as this, but it won't be long until you'll be able to achieve something similar. So let's go and paint some blue sky. 2. 1.Practice practice ...practice mixing : Okay guys, so the next thing we need to do is do a little bit of practicing. We've got to do our scales before we can play our piano piece as it were. So we're going to just draw out some boxes. Use warm color which you use ultramarine, and a couple of brushes. So let's go high. So we've got another exercise to do. We're going to actually, for this lesson, we're going to look at skies and clouds. But we need to do first is to master some washes, which actually I find incredibly hard. I've been painting for nearly 30 years and I still find this quite hard, so don't beat yourself up about it, but it's something we can practice on a wet to a wet day kitchen table. And you'll get a lot out of it. Okay, so I've got some French ultramarine. You could use cobalt. Cobalt, so Series 5, which means it's more expensive than ultramarine, which is a series of warm or too, let me just check for you is to Ceres too. So it's better to use something that's a bit cheaper just to practice with. So I've squeezed some ultramarine out there. And the other colors we're going to use raw umber. And I actually prefer that Dale around new raw umber. If you can get it. That's fabulous. It's much, much darker brown than some of the conventional brands. And a burnt sienna, again, this is a Winsor and Newton. We might use elected bit of raw sienna. But I'll tell you as we go along, but not for this initial exercise. So I've just got an A3 part. This is the see white pad that I've used earlier. It's quite a lightweight paper. Shouldn't matter too much. That it's a lightweight paper for this, even though we're doing wash is what happened to the more water you apply to a piece of paper, it's going to cockle unless it's a thicker gauge. So that's a heavy weight paper. But there are a few little tips and tricks I can show you along the way that will save you a little bit of money. And to help you get around that problem until you have the confidence to buy a more expensive paper may be. 3. 2.Practice practice ..practice washes: So I've drawn some fairly large squares here for you to practice. And I'd like you to join in with this as I'm, as I'm doing it. So with my flats, I'm going to pick up some ultramarine. So this is where if you using patterns, this is fine, but I'd probably make my squares a bit smaller to make it easier for you to mix up the quantity of paint. Because this quantity paint is going to go over one of the squares. So you can start off small if you prefer. Let's do a little bit more water there. And I'm sort of, again, it's, it's learning by experience, but I'm guessing that's probably enough paint to cover one of those squares. And this obviously a few ways that you can apply it. So you can apply with your round, fewer, more control, or you can apply it with your wash brush. So make sure your brush is wet but not dripping wet. So wipe off the excess on a bit of kitchen roll. And then we're going to pick up the paints. I'm going to make sure that actually this is for your call fully loaded. And we're going to start and we'll go, I'm right handed, so on going from left to right. And this is how you achieve a flat wash. The hardest bit is doing college, picking up more color, wipe off a little bit and come back in. And this is on dry paper. If you get lines, it's because you're pressing down too hard. I'm going to get lines anyway. That's easy to do it on wet paper, but it's quite a useful exercise for you to do. 4. 3.Practice practice...wet or dry?: Okay, so we're gonna do it on dry paper, but there's just one thing which you will, which will help you with the whole process. I'm not going to do because of the way that the camera setup here. But if you are painting, prop up your pad or your board, if you've got a piece of paper texture board towards you. And it will help enormously with the flow of paint, particularly in this sort of exercise. I'm going to have to put it flat so you have to excuse my uneven washes, but I'm going to blame it on that. Okay. So we're gonna do on wet paper now. And again, not too accurate because I'm using a moped brush, but if you wanted a really accurate edge, get your flat brush out to do this process. And she's quite important that this is an even coating. So bob down and see if you've got any areas that are wetter in one area to the other. So again, I'm going to apply it with my round. So left to right. If you find in the ER getting stripes just lower the angle of your brush. I haven't done this very well at all, but never mind. And leave a little trick is to actually tilt your paper one way and the other end. You can say who writes a is making it more even. Okay? So that's become a bit smoother and I have done it so badly. I've got a white stripe in the medieval book. I hope. 5. 4.Repeating your wash exercises: Okay, So we can also then use apply wash with a wash brush, obviously. So we could do it on wet paper, wet it first and then pick up the paint. I'm just going to pick it up directly from the wild, remembering you've got quite a lot of water in the air at the moment. So if you just give it a bit of a squeeze so that when you pick this up, it's going to be a little bit more concentrated. So again, that's the sort of action. Yeah. And you can just see how this whole process isn't very easy. So as I don't, don't be too hard on yourself really over this. Some people can technically go to, can do this brilliant labor to most people can't. So we happy with that? I think that's okay for what I want to do. 7. New#1: Right, Okay, So next step, we're gonna do some small little sky studies with clouds. So I'm going to just change to a smaller pad because I'm using lightweight paper. If you want to work on a larger scale, this is a four. You want to work on A3 and you need to use a heavier weight piece of paper. What I'm doing is I'm making myself a block rather badly. And the equivalent, maybe taping it down piece of paper onto a board or just using masking tape, securing it round like that. So it's actually secured not just on the one side, but on all four sides. And that should help your paper prevent it from a Cochran quite so badly and from moving around. 9. New#2: Hi, So welcome back. You hopefully had an interesting time laying the washes. And we're not going to have a little bit more fun. And we're going to try and create a sky that has some sort of perspective in it. And we'll talk through it. But just quickly I'll just, I'll just go in here and talk about aerial perspective. Where the clouds that are near the horizon are smaller than further away from you. And the clouds at the top of the painting are going to be the ones that are almost directly above you. And so they're going to be larger. So what we're gonna do is we're going to practice some sky. So I'm using my ultramarine. And this is my Winsor and Newton ocher marine. Now if we were to put that color straight out there, it definitely wouldn't be England, definitely not Northern England. It's the wrong color. So great tip here. It's going to add a little bit more water to that first. And that's to add a little bit of brown. So I'm using the Dale around me, raw umber and not just graze that blue down a tad too late, make it look a little bit more like an English guy. And you see there that just taking the edge off that color. And what you have to make sure that you're doing now is also adding enough water. And again, don't mix with your wash brush. You can drop water in, but don't mix it because if you get a big blob of paint in this and you laying a beautiful washer the sky. You're going to be really cross with yourself if you get a dark blue stripe. Okay, so again, experience is telling me that I've got enough paint to cover this piece of paper. Okay. So we're going to wet actually, we're not going to wet the paper. I'm gonna do it on dry paper. But what you could do is you could wet your paper for one version and then apply your wash. And then for your second version, you could do it on dry paper like I'm doing cuz you might just like a little bit more time and you'll see what I mean once we get going. So my wash brush up, just rinsed it out. And I'm going to squeeze it because it's got dilate paint on it. And then I'm going to pick up my wash. And what I'm hoping actually is I've got enough paint on there to go all the way over my my sky area and I'm actually going to go all the way down to the bottom. Just as a, an example of an experiment really. So again, keep your angle of your brush quite low. And this doubleness deliberately, this is bad, okay? This is going to bleed back in if you're not careful and leave you with funny shapes and lines. Hopefully your wash application to be better than mine because you lived on it on the slope. And also the lights. I'm working into redrawing this quite quickly. Sometimes actually by tilting it, you create quite a nice sky just as it is. So what if you want a nice even won it. So again, it's something that you have to practice some of her age just by tilting it like that. Okay. So you what you want to be doing now? I might go quiet while I'm doing this because I need to concentrate. I'm just going to create a sky with general cumulus clouds. And I'm using a kitchen, roll that out. So in my head, I'm thinking big clouds at the top, little clouds towards the horizon. So the trick to this is creating random shapes. Don't screw your tissue up and press down either. That's the warm common thing that people do. You're trying to create random shapes and if you press down you also such a mock the pay package, you're scoring the surface. So get yourself some pictures of clouds and skies and follow them if you're feeling a little bit insecure this stage. Okay. So we've got, we've got a cloudy sky, cumulus clouds. 11. New#3: So I don't know why this has actually happened, but can you see half of my paper is still wet and half of it's dry. And you might have a similar problem. So using just the corner of your tissue, you can still work on this a little bit. So we can lift out some more detail if you like, if you wanted to specific sky that you are copying. And why I can do this is the paper that I'm using and the paint I'm using both helping me so the paint is non-sustaining, so it's not painting, it not stain the paper. And the paper is one which I can lift off quite easily. So when you're doing a smaller clouds, don't know the notice before actually sort of twisting. And we're gonna do some cirrus clouds in a minute. And there were definitely will be twisty. So that's how you start just do a general blue scanning. So some, some of you who might have watched my earlier video teaching you about lifting out light with a brush, a damp brush on dry paper. So again, you can do this if you don't like the tissue technique, you can use your brush, but again, not too wet brush, it'll just drip and make a mess. Damp brush, tissue. Um, I can get I can lift out little bits of detail remembering that you're lifting the paint off so you need to keep cleaning your brush. Otherwise you just send up shifting the paint around the paper. But it's useful for just sort of connecting some shapes. Also find that dabbing with the tissue helps and every, all those little maneuvers all help to create a more realistic effect. 12. 8.Cirrus Clouds: Okay, so we're just going to try and do the type of cloud here. We're going to do some cirrus clouds. Let's drop some water in. Simple old shimmering roar IMBA. By the way, when you're lifting out those clouds, if you're not getting much of a lift is probably because your paint is too light. So your tone of your blue isn't dark enough because he can't see the light and less is dark around it. So it might be that you have to practice your war. She's like we did on an earlier section. And get your tones right for. So you need to have put in enough paint to create the dark so that you can see the light clouds. Makes sense. So I'm going to do a wash hair. I'm gonna do it on wet this time so that you can see the difference. So we're just going to wet this paper. Keep your brush down low. So there's less friction. Although at this stage actually so the water anyway, so it doesn't really matter, but it's good good practice for you. Okay. Make sure that it's mixed up. The sediment in paint does collect at the bottom. So if he go away, nip out for a cup of tea or something, you do need to stay, you're paying when you come back. Well, so I just want to make sure I've got not too much water in there so that when I pick this up, It's not going to be diluted. Left to right. And keep on going actually is, it's often tailored towards the horizon anyway. That's bad painting there. And we're just going to tilt a little bit. Doesn't matter too much when you're putting clouds in the sky. If you wanted a flat blue sky, that's where you really have to practice, use your washes. Okay. And if you remember about having your roll of tape underneath it, that will also help you. So we're going to go for cirrus clouds. Again, get some reference material before you start. So here I've twist my paper and we're going to drag. And we actually don't have to do too much to pay for it. Does it for us. Look a bit too much of a hard line that we can try remembering. Still, lift the clouds towards the bottom if possible. I'm just going to print. You will seek out a bit repetitive of it like a Mac whole sky in some areas when you're doing service, sky. So I'm going to do that as well. What I'm doing like her repetitive prints. So we get under really nice suggestive plowed and everything is quite soft because doing it on wet paper, just got this bit here, which I'm not happy about. So we're just gonna, I'm gonna see if I can pull that out a little bit of tissue. Maybe that line that's just a little bit too harsh or please do that. So that's our cirrus. 13. 9.Adding some scenery: Okay, so we're going to pretend like a bit of a senior at the bottom of this cloud scape. And I've mixed up the same two colors so the data around a row, remember? And it could use Van Dyke brown. But I think, I think I'm correct in thinking that it's actually a bit of a staying there. So that's why I stick to that one. And they ultramarine. So I've just thrown the bias little bit towards the warmer by adding slightly more brown than we did for the sky. So my round brush, I'm going to put saying suggestion of landscape at the bottom here. Going back to what we did earlier, we actually use pure pigment, as you can see, independent both colors. And that will help ferry the tones out a little bit more interests, little bit too much brown in. And I'm also going to show you how you can do some cloud over a mountain as well. So just a little bit of detail. Forestry going on. And have some of these low clouds. So I'm just going to dip into my tissue, into the water. You can actually have some of that cloud creeping in. Cross-site. Could also help the landscape little bit by having some light direction, but have it coming from the left. So we can lift out a little bit of light so my brush is damp and not wet and I'm taking off a little bit of light. Knows add little bits of detail. We can also make this facility bit darker. The landscape becomes darker in tone and warmer as it comes nearer to you. I'm just going to suggest that these trees or something down here should need a bit more paint. Scripted brown. And with that blue, bit darker. Just so you can just adjust some of your shapes if you think they're not quite right. With you actually following a natural landscape, you need to keep maybe referring back to your original reference material. And there you have it. 14. 10.New project..Sunset sky: Hi again. Okay, So we've had a go at skies with clouds, typical fluffy clouds, cirrus clouds. But we're going to, we also have the clouds that we get on a nice quiet day. We get this sort of sets. So this is what we're going to have a go at next. So let's go again. Okay, so we're just going to put all these things together, really. Just create a little landscape. I'm just going to use a ruler to create a horizon line. It's not absolutely necessary, but you might find it helpful. And I'm just gonna do it slightly below halfway. And what we do is do a great day to wash with another color in for our sky. I'm going to do reflections on the water too. So you can make this up. It's not prescriptive. You can use any colors you want. You could do it on the smallest scale he could do. You could divide this up into four, do for little ones just so that you get the feel of it and also experiment maybe with some color mixing. So I'm just giving you a guide, but you can actually do what ever you want really. Okay, so I'm going to maybe have, what I'm thinking is darker blue top and bottom and such a warm glow on the horizon. So I'm going to sort of sort that out first. So this is a little bit too forum and a little bit of burnt sienna. So it's not wrong number toll as raw sienna or raw sienna. And burnt sienna will create us a nice warm color that we can drop in. It's going to be quite so to SFO really on the horizon. And if you're not sure, just do little swatch on a scrap of paper. Just leaned over and get one here. And this is what I did earlier. Okay. Let's see how that dries. And if it's what you want. Okay, That needs to be a little bit more in quantity. So I've added a bit more water. So we're going to add a little bit more paint. And these are all transparent colors that I'm using. I'm not using any of paint colors at the moment. And then we need to mix up some sky color as well. Okay, a bit more ultramarine green for a little bit of a pay lift failing them won't. But when we were using the we doing the clouds, this is Morgan's be like a nice, gentle evening without clouds. Well, or sometimes a book clouds. And when I've made a bit of a mistake and you'll see why it happens. Again. Do a little color swatch if you need to tone it down. If again, if you need to squeeze out. So I'm going to do darkish blue at the top and the bottom. I've cleaned my brush, I'm taking a little bit of the excess are this is where inverting your paper is going to help or you could do it on wet paper. So it didn't align of water, taking the excess off again. And now I'm going to put my glove and I'm just gonna do it all the way down. So we have something like that. Tidy up your edges. Transmitted bit more niche that I have. Go right over to the edges of the eye, you end up having to crop the picture in that section. 15. 11.Two Part wash: All right, so this is going to be similar to what we did in the lesson when a proper landscape in the bottom. So this is the burnt sienna fat and doing what I told you not to do, just to use your round brush. As you can see, it's actually quite hard to get it off the round brush. So there's a lesson learned. Take off. Let's mix a little bit of the burnt sienna. Drop of water into the consistency of cream. Same. With a raw sienna. You can pick out little bit too much water on my brush that already you can see that it spread that paint that has gone out underneath and delight. So squeezing fresh pigment out and just dropped a bit of water and there's hope it hasn't stained it. And then saying with the ultramarine, because we're going to do this next bit on wet. This paint is all fairly thick, but it's still flows. And this is where you need lots of water. So I've got three vessels going on at the moment. And this is my rule. Remember? And again, bit more paint squeezed out. So we're gonna do a row of hills and then some trees in the foreground. And you can do it one of two ways. You can wet a section and draw a sane, or you can paint in the diluted paint and drop thicker pigment in. So for you or probably suggest that you maybe put a little bit of paint on your brush, quite diluted like that. And just to plot out way even to put your hills. So I'm going to have mine sort of like that. Working from left to right. Probably not going to go all the way across just yet, but I don't want any hard edges, so just blend that so you can see That's going to stay wet for a long enough for me to fiddle with the evidence. So I'm just dropping all these colors in here. And somebody asks me why, why do I mix the colors on the palette here? Well, it makes it a lot more interesting. And there's nothing worse than seeing a silhouette of mountains in a painting that has got no definition or interest in them is just boring. And so I'm going to put trees and they're also going to drop some water in like we did on one of the other videos to create a little bit of interest. And just see what happens. 16. 12.Adding some landscape.: Okay, so we've got some little puddles of water here, but they're actually helping us create some really nice, interesting effects. And I've screwed up my tissue as well and lifted out some areas to create some interest. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. And it's sort of probably fiddle a little bit with this. Shouldn't those colors around? And maybe pick up a little bit about water. We dot it in so you can shift some of these patterns and colors. Okay, so we're gonna do now is do the reflection. If you, obviously, if you were doing a specific place, you would want to draw the profile of the mountain in and draw the reflection. If you wanted it to be a mirror reflection. That can take some practice to do. And he suggests that you maybe did that. Good tick Ashley is to put your paper this way and you paint downwards. So you've seen the mirror, reflection might do that in a minute anyway. I'll just turn it back. We're actually going to do a softer reflection. And we're going to do, is we're going to do it on wet paper. So we're going to use all the same color. So make sure you've got enough color squeezed out and your puddles as well for this before you start. And then we're just going to put a wash of water now, this is still damp. You can see the glare probably. So I don't want to particularly touch that edge with my brush, so I'm just going a little bit below it. You might even want to say a few times. And then I'm sort of matching because I can see above so that there's a little bit more brown to about here. And then I've started to use some of the warmer colors along here. And then we've got a bit browner. I'm a little bit darker blue. A little bit of that blue in there. While Sumner actually input little row of dark trees. Just to take advantage of that. So you can leave it like that. You can tilt it. You see. And you can even drag the paint down with the flat brush. Just be wary of that edge. As you can see that stretch right the way down. I quite like it is, it is actually that this is what you can do. So fat brush, a wide flat brush, this is a one-inch and I'm going to hold it really low down and it's just damp. So we're going to drag, oops. So those codes down tick where you've got a light area behind. Actually, what isn't working brilliantly here is that the papers cochlea. So make sure that you either do it very, very quickly. Well, you better actually now, isn't it? Okay. I quite like that. 17. 13.Reflections: Okay, so what I like to do at this stage is to actually look at what the painting has done it for itself. So there's some lovely little bits that where the paint has done interesting things here. Like that. Looks like it could be the reflection of a tree. So you could make that into a tree above it. There's some lighter areas that have happened here. So you might like to enlighten an area there. I've got a little tiny slice that, or they can say, looks like it could be the top of a house. Again, you might like to lift out little white house or make a little bit more of that could be a group of houses. So I tend to act instinctively at this stage. One thing we can do is we introduce clouds as well. So we can lift out some soft clouds in here. Just from using our flat brush. Quite nice to do that. Maybe clouds up here. And if you like, you can do the same in the reflection, but because this is nice and soft, I'm not sure that it's necessary, but I'll do a little bit there. We probably wouldn't see top of that cloud anyway, although you could make that just a little bit like so maybe another little thing if you are struggling with the water concept and you're not quite sure that you're making it horizontal. Again, this isn't quite dry, so don't do that. You can see it's cock link, so it's actually hard to do these. So wait until it's flat. I'll just show you the process. So you'll just using your flat brush and just sometimes by lifting out a few horizontal lines, just suggestion of a few ripples just helps particularly if you like, what if you wanted to put a boat? In fact, why don't we put a boating? But we got something here which could actually be the reflection of a sale, couldn't it? So let's lift out, say live a boat. This could be the reflection sequentially Tibet. And we'll just drop in the base of that boat. And reflection to pull up a little bit maybe. And there you have it. I think. 18. 14.Summary of technique.: So this is our exams are but upside down there. I hope you spotted that deliberate mistake where the biggest Clouds are at the top because they're the ones that are nearest to you. And the smaller ones at the bottom. Offer this to eye on the horizon. So this is my scrapbook of ideas and my library of techniques. So in here, I'm reminding myself what else I can do when I'm painting a sky. So this is a different technique here, where much she leaving the white paper and working with a dry edge, dropping in the paint around the Cloud. So it's again a different technique. I'm dropping in water and lifting. This is pretty similar to what we've already done. Again, this is a, quite a sketchy, such a technique that a lot of architects use. Again, dry paper around the edges. These little S3 studies, again, very, very delicate. But again, I'm compiling ideas. This type of paper is particularly good for skies because it's made of cotton rag. So I've learned that from doing these things and thought, well, why would I do it on this paper? Does it do this? And why would I do it on that paper? Is it not as effective? So I know that the certain papers like arches in particular, but it's quite expensive, is brilliant for doing things like skies. 19. 15.Happy Painting!: Okay, so I hope you enjoyed that. I'm offer brew. Thanks for watching, and I hope we'll see you again soon. Bye.