Watercolor Beginner basics: adding sunlight into a sunrise landscape, | Emily Davis | Skillshare

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Watercolor Beginner basics: adding sunlight into a sunrise landscape,

teacher avatar Emily Davis, ARTIST || watercolor artist

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

9 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Setting up and stretching your Paper

    • 3. Choosing your Colors

    • 4. Putting in the Sky

    • 5. Putting in the Landscape

    • 6. Adding sunlight into our trees

    • 7. Adding finishing touches

    • 8. The Reveal

    • 9. Outro

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About This Class

In todays class you will be following along to create a watercolor landscape with sunlight as the main element. 

I teach you how to create a very glowy landscape and how to use yellow in all aspects of your painting to create all over sunlight.

Todays class is simple and the landscape is customizable to your skill level.

I hope you enjoy!

Meet Your Teacher

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Emily Davis

ARTIST || watercolor artist


Hello, I'm Emily.

I'm a Mom of two and a painter during nap time. I've always had a passion for art, ever since a young age. It wasn't until I was in my late teens that I discovered watercolor and even then it wasn't until after my first born that I decided to give it an honest shot. Let me just say I LOVED it!

I'm so passionate about creativity and creating beauty through art! I really hope I can bring that to you in simple ways so that you can also express yourself through painting! 

I'm excited that you're here!


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1. Intro: Hi guys, my name is Emily. Thanks for tuning into this week's class. I am a watercolour artists, but I also paint with acrylic or oil. But for this class and we teaching it in watercolor, we're going to be painting a very simple sunrise landscape. But the main focal point of this class is going to be for you to learn how to add some light behind trees and onto grasp. With that, we're gonna get started. And I hope you enjoy it and I hope it's easy to follow along. 2. Setting up and stretching your Paper: So this is the piece of paper angling to work with. And it is just a scrap that I cut from a role, which is why it has this bend here is it's been enrolled for a while. Now. It's not a perfect square. So I need to straighten out the end is. So what I like to do is get a little ruler. And my paper. I just straighten it out a little bit along that line. And if you're using the paper that comes in actual pad, you won't have to do this step. But I have to kind of stretch the paper now. So you can see on line two different sides in this one is a little bit less type squared. Then this side, this side is the side I typically like to paint with. Now this is Arches paper. This is a 140 pound cold pressed. So you're going to want to lay flat and learn to paint the study that you're not going to paint on. And you get your water, get your wash brush, and you're going to wet that side of the paper. Now what this does is it softens the papers so that it can be molded. And then we will keep it down so that as it dries again, it can dry flat instead of in this curve. Because if you just got it went like this and lay it out to dry, the edges would still curl upward. Now you'll wanna take some tape. You can use painter's tape, you can use a more special, expensive tape, but this is called Fraud tape. So you're gonna wanna do is layer paper, wet side down and push outward from the center. And then tape it down. If you don't want a border on your painting, you want to paint to the very edges. Then you'll want to let this dry before you do the rest of this class. Now your paper is trimmed and stretched. This is where you can let it dry completely, remove the tape, and then start painting. But if you aren't gonna do that and you want a border, you can go ahead and paint now while it's still wet and this will kind of keep it down while you paint and then you can leave it like this. It will dry completely and then remove your tape. 3. Choosing your Colors: Now for this class, since we are doing sunlight shining through pine trees, we are going to be sticking to tons of yellow, brown, and green. You can obviously customize this as you've practiced this technique. But for today's class, we're going to do yellows, Brown's, greens in a little bit of blue. So what you'll wanna do is pick a color that is a shade of orange, that's kind of close to your shade of yellow, but you're gonna be working with, so we're gonna go here, we're going to put a little bit of orange down. And we're gonna do the same thing. We're gonna do some yellow. Now this color is a color I really like to use. It's burnt sienna. I just find it such a pretty it's such a Pretty Brown with a little bit of a orangey red, coppery color. And it looks really pretty on the paper and works really great for sense hubs like this. Where you're doing a kind of an orange sunset behind brown or green sounding a little bit of a lighter Sean. And that's why it's Windsor and Newton's wrought Amber. I'm doing a darker shade of brown. So light brown, dark brown. And then I'm using a shade of green. What you'll wanna do some medium green, you don't want a bright, bright, you could do a darker green too, because you can mix yellow if you need to. A little bit of blue. And lastly, we're going to put just the tiniest bit of black. 4. Putting in the Sky: To start, we're going to work on a wash. So what we're gonna do to start is you're going to want to decide where you want your landscape edge to be. Typically a good rule I have is if you divide the paper into thirds, you want the landscape to fill at least the first third. No more than half, say you wanted to keep it around just 1 third of the paper. So we're gonna do is just mark a quick line so that you know where to go off of. But now, same thing with your son. You wanted to have a point where the sunshine or the actual sun it's setting. So I am going to have that v right around here. So what this means is I'm not gonna put any color right there in that spot. I'm going to start by washing or dampening the paper, but leaving that spot that my colleagues don't bleed into it. So dampen all of your sky. And here's where you need to be very careful. Who are going to be starting with oranges and yellows down here and working up and eventually into blue. So yellow and blue obviously makes green. Green is not a color that you'll find in a sunset typically. I don't know if I've ever seen a green sum set. So you need to be very careful as you do this not to bleed your yellows into your blue. So we're gonna start with our yellow. So start with our light yellow, which is kind of more of a Orange, to be honest. And I'm going to bake a little halo around where the sun is going to be. This just gives me a good starting point and start working outward with that color. Now, you don't want this edge to dry completely. You wanna kinda let it dry it just enough that it'll still be blended and we get back to it, but not super damp so that it bleeds everywhere. So workbench out a little bit, maybe add tiny meant more. And then we're going to work this color up into the rest of our wash. And this is where you could choose a side and add a little bit of orange. Not too much, but just enough that it's kinda gives you an idea that it's really dark and an orange pen blenders color all the way out and up burning. And this is where you want to be very careful as to where it gets tricky. So you're gonna get a little bit of your blue. Here are going to start by putting some blue just on the very top edge. So this is more of what you do know now. If you had a sunrise, so you don't want the blue to be super, super dark. But you do want to be dark enough that you can see it obviously. So start blending that blue downward. As you get to about where you left off with the orange. Rinse your brush completely and blend that edge a little bit. Try really hard not to blended the orange D right here. I'm kind of doing a little bit, so kinda just pick that up again. You can dark in that blue a little bit too if you need to. Now those point just at the very edge. Now, just get this edge and soften it just enough. And it's believable that there's a sundown here. Let this dry completely before you go on. 5. Putting in the Landscape: So at this point this is dry enough that we can keep working. You're going to erase your lines. And we're gonna get started on the landscape part of this. What I'm gonna do is start with a field behind a row of pine trees. So you're gonna go with your green and this is what you went to Do. You want to imagine where the sun is shining. So if this is the dead center point, so understanding outward from all directions, so closest to the sun, you're going to want to add a lot more yellow into your green. So for example, we're gonna go and just make like a line across the ground will be. We're gonna get some of our Green and add that to that. So like this. So this makes it look like and look as though the sun is just so bright shining onto the ground. And I like to do is add a little bit of brown to my greens. I just liked that look. So I'm going to add some brown. Now, fill in as much as you want. Some tall pine trees right here. So I'm going to fill in most of this area with this color, green and brown. Something to note also is you'll want to start making the color darker corners. Down here. Now a baton dry completely. Before you move onto your next step. 6. Adding sunlight into our trees: Okay, so this is where we're going to start with our pine trees. This is a key tip. Where and you make a mistake like this and this, I was going too fast. You can cover it with a pine tree. So what you're gonna do is same concentrate here where you put yellow down. You're gonna get a little bit of that color. And you're going to put it down where you want your pine tree to be as kinda like a beginning of the branches. So and I like this, see how it looks like a golden pine tree. I'm gonna do a little bit right here to come in and put a pine tree right here. Now, with this, you want to go back over it then with or not over it completely, but you're gonna blend that into the actual color of your pine trees. So like this. Now, since the light casts a shadow, what we're gonna do is let this dry completely so that we don't get bleeding. But once it's dry, We're going to add some darker either dark green, dark brown black may be onto the back of this because right now it's just a little too little too light for this. I need to add another pine tree right here. So yeah, so after it's dry, you will go in and make it look more like an actual pine tree with a shadow. And we'll do the same kind of concept over here on this side, right over here. Now these are going to be large pine trees. So I'm thinking about this high and this high. So what I wanted to do is get my yellow and create like a mine where I'm gonna have my trunk just as a guide and start putting in those top branches on both sides. And then I'm going to add some color. Has a go. Still adding the yellow to the side of the tree because there's still sunshine shining on it. But seeing as the tree is, for the most part, down on this half, it's going to be shadowed by this tree. We don't need to add as much yellow Once we get there. So filling this in, some kind of morphed into round because I've put a lot of brown in that green. And so then right here and you do the same. And so yellow tree top blends, integrate a little bit. The concept behind here is essentially just making the trees darker as you work your way down. But also keeping in mind making them darker on the side that is opposite of the Sun shines. So if the Sun, for example, is here, this side is lighter, this sense darker, but that's the opposite over here, whereas this side is lighter, but this side's darker. You can add as many pine trees as you want doing this just you have to kind of keep in mind where the light is hitting. So if you have a lot of pine trees, you got to remember that the pine trees are going to also shadowed each other. Especially if they're close together. If you have on spaced out, then they wouldn't. But if they're close together, you wanna make sure they're going to be shadowing each other pretty well. So there's our two pine tree instead. So I want to do is go in with this darker color, handsome backing to these ones. So they aren't quite so washed out. Now, done here you can stop, but I feel like the painting is pretty empty. So I'm gonna kinda add some texture to the grass by adding a little bit of a yellow kind of where I want it to look like this Hills or a little bit of a hump in the ground. But then underneath that little bit of yellow, I'm going to be adding some darker green. So it kinda looks like there's something going on here. And then what we'll probably do is add a few more pine trees right over here. Once this is completely dry. 7. Adding finishing touches: So this is where you could either just leaving or you could actually add in some clouds. So what I'm gonna do is add some clouds. So my basic behind this is you want to start with obviously where the sun's here. When heading this way, you want the sun to come first and then the clouds. So kind of going to add some sun. And then on top of that sun, we're gonna add our clouds. So this is where my brown over here comes in real handy because it looks really pretty in here as a cloud. A little bit of blue on top. To the bottom of this blue. Kind of soften the edges of the clouds. Those clouds that I'm going to add m n right here, this bottom corner. We're going to add another pine tree and there a little bit yellow. You want me to see it very well because it's on top of three. We're gonna do a little bit over here. Just throw in a couple last little pine trees to finish off the painting. Finish your painting. I'm just gonna get my green grass. 8. The Reveal: I'm a buyer. 9. Outro: And with that, you are done with this week's class. I hope you really enjoyed it. I hope it was easy to follow along. I have my painting right here so you can have a size perspective, but please share with me, if you've painted this and what it looks like, I would love to see it. Thank you so much and I'll see you next week.