Watercolor Northern Lights | Kolbie Blume | Skillshare

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Watercolor Northern Lights

teacher avatar Kolbie Blume, 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

14 Lessons (2h 3m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Warm Up: Color Mixing

    • 4. Warm Up: The Wet-on-Wet Technique

    • 5. Practice: Method 1

    • 6. Practice: Method 2

    • 7. Practice: Wilderness Elements #1

    • 8. Practice: Wilderness Elements #2

    • 9. Final Project #1: Part One

    • 10. Final Project #1: Part Two

    • 11. Final Project #2: Part One

    • 12. Final Project #2: Part Two

    • 13. Final Project #2: Part Three

    • 14. Recap

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About This Class

Learn to capture the ethereal Aurora Borealis in a loose watercolor style! Paint with me to learn two tried-and-true methods for painting the northern lights, complete with wilderness elements to bring the magic of the dancing skies to your home. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Kolbie Blume





If you're pretty sure you're terrible at art...

...you're in the right place, my friend. 



Hi there! My name is Kolbie, and I'm a full-time artist, writer, and online educator -- but up until a few years ago, I was working a 9-5 desk job and thought my artistic ability maxed out at poorly-drawn stick figures. 

In my early 20s, I stumbled on mesmerizing Instagram videos with luminous watercolor paintings and flourishing calligraphy pieces, and ... See full profile

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1. Intro: Hi. My name is Colby, and I'm so excited that you're interested in joining me from my watercolor Northern lights skills. Sharp class. I've been a watercolor artist for about three years, and one of my very favorite things is to teach myself how to learn something, especially so that I can teach it to other people. And watercolor Northern lights arm was a subject that was no exception. I have always been fascinated with looking at the Northern lights and trying to figure out how to capture them with paint. And I have had some, like, haphazard tries successfully over the past few years. But I really wanted Teoh find a technique that I could easily teach to other people and that also looked really cool on paper. So finally, after a few months of really wrestling with and experimenting, I think I found a couple methods that work really well for my loose watercolor style. If you join me today, we're going. Teoh hey, used two different methods to paint watercolor northern lights pieces that look like this one. This is the first project that we're gonna dio and this one. This is the second project that we're gonna dio. Now my style of watercolor landscapes is more like loose, quasi realistic, but definitely has an arty kind of feel to it. So if that sounds right up your alley, then I would love for you to join me for the rest of the class. Can't wait to see you there. 2. Materials: before we get started. Let's go over all of the materials that I'm going to be using today and that I recommend you gather as well. You don't have to use the same materials that I'm using, but I find it can be helpful to know what I am using in case you want to replicate that on also, um, choose the colors that will optimize success for these projects were going to do today. So first, since we started talking about the colors, let's go over paint. I am a firm believer that you can make beautiful things with whatever you have on hand. So if you only have, like cheapo student grade paint at home, no worries. Um, these technique with these techniques, you should still be able Teoh paint some beautiful things. That said, the professional stuff really is leaps and bounds better than student grade. So today I'm going to be using Daniel Smith extra find water colors. They are some of my very favorites, Um, and then also Windsor Newton professional watercolors. So, um, forth. I have four colors in Daniel Smith, sallow yellow green, which is going Teoh, help us get that really bright green that the northern lights often appears. And then I'm also using fallow turquoise Teoh, go along with the green and opera pink. I'm going to mix a little bit with the other colors to create that kind of purplish pink color that sometimes auroras look like. Also. And then Payne's gray Windsor Newton pains grazed my favorite and, um, it often it's a great color. Four nights, guys. So pains graze while I'm using. And then a lamp black for some of the silhouette salute painting at the end. Um, and then, um, I'm using a little bit of Dr pH Martin's bleed proof White stars for Northern Lights don't often appear super bright, so I'm going to show you how to make some dull looking stars with, um, leakproof white. But if you don't have this white wash would also work or a white Joe pen or something like that. So that's the paint next paintbrushes. I am using this Princeton Neptune sized 10 paintbrush. Um, these paintbrushes air really good. Thies. This Neptune Siri's is really good. If you're looking for a synthetic, um, sable hair brush, so a brush that really does mimic the effect of real sable hair without actually using a stable hairbrush. Um, so I really like the Neptune Siris for that. You can recognize it by this nice, like cherry wood handle. Um, that's a size 10. And then I'm using a Princeton glacier, Siri's size six and also a size zero around size zero. And this is you tricked sublet sable. Siri's. All of these brushes are synthetic sable hair, which, in addition to being cruelty free, I actually prefer send that eggs able here to really stable here because I think that they it's easier to control water with them. So those are my paintbrushes that I'm using today and paper for practice. I always like to you student grade paper, because it's cheaper. And, um so I am using Kansan Excel today always £140 Um, just so that you can have some nice, thick paper and then for our final projects. I am using this, um, Blick Premier Cold press watercolor block so cold prepped for final projects. I always use professional watercolor paper, which is made of 100% cotton acid free archival, and so it's just made of better materials and made with a better process so that it makes your colors more vibrant and helps withstand the test of time. The difference is it's a little bit more expensive in student grade, So that's why I always have both when I do these classes and then last but not least, I have two cups of water off to the side, one to keep clean always, which is actually going to be really important for Northern lights. Because water, um, the in order to for our northern lights to really shine water is going to play an important part. And so we want to have clean water, not muddied water for that. So I have two cups of clean water off to the side, one to stay dirty and want to keep clean. And then I have a mixing. If you don't have, like, a palette like this with your colors on it, then just make sure you have someplace to mix things. This is a nice little round ceramic pilot that I like to use, and then I have some Q tips in case I need to mop up some extra totally things and a paper toe off to the side so that wraps up materials that were going to be using for this class. So, um, paper paints paintbrushes. This is what I'm using. But don't feel like if you don't have this, then you can't do this class. You should use whatever you have on hand, and I'm sure you are going to make something beautiful. So with that, let's move on to the warm up videos. 3. Warm Up: Color Mixing: Okay, So before we even start painting, I like to prep my scenes. Whatever seems I'm doing, um, by mixing, testing out the color said, I'm going to be using before I use on the final piece. And that's especially important for things. Northern Lights class because I think that getting the color exactly right for Northern Rights can be from Northern Life's could be kind of tricky, So let's test things out. Like I mentioned before. I'm using all of these color paints today. But if you don't have this fallow yellow green, you can make your own by mixing together like lemon yellow with hookers, green or probably even lemon yellow with turquoise green. So we'll test out a bunch of different things today in this video. And while I'm while you're watching, I recommend you do the you do the same to test out what colors that you want to be using today. So first of all, let's take a look at what this fallow yellow green looks like. Um, just in general. So I have some of it on my palette right here. And so it's this, like bright, bright light yellow green and that really is exactly what we're looking for in terms off our northern lights. Ah, in my opinion. But you can also let's see what happens when we mix some lemon yellow. If you don't have this, if we make some lemon yellow. And by the way, when you're mixing yellow with things, typically you need a lot more yellow than you need to. The other thing. Um, and that's just because the range of yellow is pretty small range, meaning how light or dark it can go in terms of color value. So I'm, like, sing. And this is Hooker's green. I have, which is just like a typical normal green. Um, so I'm mixing that together and notice how, um, I used a ton of you. Hello? It felt like, and it's still not quite as grain as this. Salo. Yellow greenest. So, um, I'm gonna grab a bunch more lemon yellow, so you need a lot of lemon yellow to mix with what other? Whatever green you have in order to make it this, like, bright green that we're going for so at a bunch. Okay, that's more along the lines of it. So if you this this is how you can create yellow green, then you should definitely go for it. You don't need to buy every color under the sun. Order to make the colors that you need it. You just need to know a little bit about color theory and color mixing. And, um, that will go a long way. So we need this bright green, and we also need a like pinkish purple to go along with the other color that the northern lights often are. So, in order to get that pinkish purple I'm mixing. Offer pink, putting a bunch of opera pink and, once again, just in general when you're mixing colors. If one of the colors is a light color like opera pink and lemon yellow, you probably need Maurer of the lighter color than you do off the darker color. Because darker colors often have a hot have a wider range in terms of color value than whiter colors. So that's just a tidbit of information for you. So I have this opera pink, and this is actually an experiment for me. I'm gonna try mixing it with a little bit of follow turquoise and see what the result is. Um, I really love mixing fallow turquoise with things because it's this really cool combination of blue and green so it can make some really cool, um, color combos. Okay, so I mixed a tiny bit of Thala turquoise, and that's not quite the purple that I'm Let's a little bit too purple, so I'm just gonna add in a little bit more. It's more opera pink here, see if I can get it. Yeah, so it is more like this Color is what we're looking for. Like, um, if you are mixing red and blue together than this, I think would be classified Moore's Red violet. So you're looking on from a warmer side of the A mixture of opera pink with whatever color you're mixing it with so you can do with Al Attar turquoise like I'm using you could also make Soper pink with like Prussian blue is a good way to get a color with just a tiny bit of Prussian blue, which is just like a normal your everyday blue. Um, so I have a tiny bit of Prussian blue and mixing it with opera pink, and once again you need a lot more upper pink than you dio what other? Whatever other color you're mixing it for with, and that gets a pretty similar results. So, um, that's good to know. But I'm because I'm using fellow turquoise already in my, um, piece, which I'm going to use it as kind of like a buffer to help the green northern lights shine . And we'll show you that later in the class. Um, I just mixed ah, lot of opera pink with a tiny bit, a little bit of hollow turquoise to make it not quite so bright. So in case you don't know opera pink is it's just like super bright, hot pink. Pretty much, Um, but I really like having it in my color pilot, uh, for mixing, mostly because if typically to get pink, you would take a lighter color value of red. But I think that this pink like this light red, there's only so much you could do with it. It's not you. This the brightness of this pigment in opera pink. It just I can't find it by mixing any other color. So, um, I really like having offer pink in my, um, color tool deck. My color palette for that reason. Okay, so these are the colors were using. And then just to show you once again, all the colors here is hollow turquoise. That's kind of like a light value fellow turquoise. And then here is Payne's Gray Windsor, Newton's Pain Windsor and Newton's Payne's Gray. If you, um for the record, if you are only using Daniel Smith, this is something that I found out, and it's really interesting. Daniel Smith. Their blue line of colors is quite a bit darker than Windsor Newton, so if you have Daniel Smith Paynes Grey, it looks more gray, grayish black than Windsor, Newton, Windsor and Newton's pains. Great Windsor. Nunes Payne's gray looks like this dark navy, and this dark navy is more like Daniel Smith's into go. So, um, just a little tidbit of information for you there. But, ah, this is the color pilot that we're going to be using today. So, um, some some lamp black lamps. Black, um, Payne's gray. This like purple lee pinkish color. Um, yellow grain. Follow turquoise. It's gonna be really pretty and really fun. So before you move on, why don't you mix together your colors and gather all the colors that you're going to use and let's keep practicing 4. Warm Up: The Wet-on-Wet Technique: Okay, next, let's practice watercolor techniques. So there are two basic watercolor techniques. There's the wet on wet technique on the wet on dry technique. The wet on dry technique is basically when you paint on paper that's already dry. So when we paint like, um, are seen on top of the northern lights with the trees, then that will be using the wet on dry technique. But for most of painting, the actual northern lights were going to be using the wet on wet technique, and, um, just to give you a basic demonstration. The what on what technique is, if you don't already know, is when you paint on a surface that's already wet, so that could be wet with water like I'm doing right now. I just grab some water and put it on this paper, or it could be wet with paint. But either way, the surface that you are painting on is already wet so that the water color kind of blooms out like that. And, um, the amount that it blooms often depends on how much water you have, which is something we're going to keep talking about in this video and the kind of pigment that you have. Different pigments react differently with water, so I'd always recommend testing out the colors that you're going to use before you actually start using them. Um and yeah, so that's there are a lot of factors that go into the wet on wet technique, and we're going to go over some of them in this video. So this is what happens when you the instead of like, being very defined. Um, the weather. Just as an example, what on dry technique is more like winning paint lines like that, right? And so the paint on Lee goes where your paintbrush goes because watercolor paint wants to move where there's water because it's activated with water. So by putting water or putting wetness on the paper, then it allows the pain to move freely around, depending on how much water is on the paper. And, um, how fluid your pigment is. So one thing to note is when using the word on what technique, we're definitely gonna want some watery pieces where the pigments going to move more freely . The more water you have, the more, um, the pigment kind of moves all over the place. on the water on the paper. But if you have too much water, if it's so wet that you can see a puddle on top of your paper, then let me show you what happens instead of the paint, like blooming or exploding onto the paper like it kind of did before. Like if I'm purposefully putting a puddle on my paper like that, Um, then instead of blooming on the paper, the pain just kind of sits there. Do you see how it just kind of here? We move up the papers so that you can see a little bit better? Um, so I have this puddle here, and instead of moving on the paper, the paint is moving in the water, and that is no good for painting. We have zero control, and it doesn't look like it's not. It's not really painting. It's just sitting there. And so we don't want puddles, Um, when we paint with watercolor, but sometimes they are inevitable. So if you do have a puddle on your paper or too much water, you notice that your paint isn't really going anywhere. That's why I recommend having Q tips on hand and as you can see. So I've mopped up the excess water on here, and almost all the pigment is gone. And that's another indication that I had too much water. Um, the pigment wasn't touching the paper. It was just in the water. So when I mopped up the water, all the pigments gone. Okay, so we don't want puddles. But with this Northern Lights peace, we are going to be working with varying amounts of wetness on our paper. So, um, one other thing I will note is that you might have different results on your student grade paper than on your professional grade paper, because student grade paper, based on what it's made of, tends to dry a lot faster than professional grade paper. So that's just something to keep in mind as we continue with this practice session. Um, OK, so keeping continuing on, we're going to vary between, like, really wet surfaces. Really? What? Meaning, um, the water's gonna move like freely on your paper. Um, without money, places to stop like this. Um, and this happened. You usually can Onley get this results where it's like moving basically anywhere. You just put water if you paint pretty much immediately after you went down your paper. Um and we want this to get some like, wide swatches and also to, um to help show the transparency of the water color that we're using. So by putting a lot of color in one place and having a really wet surface and even by adding more water to it, you see how I'm continuing As I'm speaking, I'm adding more water to this so that you can see more of the paper underneath it so that there are more of these, like white translucent spots underneath the paint that we just put down and making these translucent spots is how we're going to make our northern lights shine on the paper. Um, so practicing painting with, like a bunch of water on your paper is going to be really important. And so you want to practice, um, putting a lot of water on at first so that the paint kind of can move around and make its own, um, water calorie texture. But then you also wanna practice Brinson off your paintbrush and using clean water to kind of tap onto the surface onto whatever color you're using as a way to almost reveal the white paper underneath. So in this video are really just practicing the wet on wet technique. And in the next videos, we're going to practice these techniques with the actual northern lights colors, and I'll show you how to make them look like Northern Lights. But for now, just practice with the amount of wetness and also in, um, before we end this video, I want you to practice to what happens when you paint on a surface that is wet but not quite as wet as before. So usually if you know that you want, um, if you know that you want, like, a blurry subject, but you don't want it to be totally unrecognizable, you want to have some kind of control, then you want your paper to be damp, but not quite wet. So my, um, trick for that is to paint on the paper and then wait, like 30 seconds or maybe a minute and Weaver to dry a little bit and then start painting in that way, um, you can get more defined shapes that are just a little bit blurry, like see how on I paint thes lines on here. I still have that those blurry edges. So it's still blending in with, um, it's still blending in with my paper, so it's not a defined line like it would be up here. But it's also not like over here, where when I put the paint down and like, exploded everywhere, and now there's no like recognisable shape. It's just a big wash of color, right? So the difference between these two is how much water was on the paper, meaning this I painted on this swatch while they were still a lot of water before it dried . And I waited about 30 seconds before painting on this one so that I could have a little bit more definition in my blurry subjects. So, um, I want you to practice having different amounts of wetness on your paper and what happens and how defined. You can get your subjects to be in already wet paper and how you can get colors to blend together and reveal the white underneath of the paper, depending on how much water you put in. I wanted to practice all of that, and because the wet on wet technique is going to be very important for the rest of this class. So, um, with that, I will see you in the next video. 5. Practice: Method 1: now that we have practiced colors and mixing colors and also different variations off the wet on wet technique, let's go ahead and put those skills to use and practice the first method of painting northern lights. So this is the easiest one. Um ah. And that's why we're starting out with it. So first, um, I start out like how I paint basically every night sky. If you've taken any of my wilderness classes or my sky classes, I usually start out with, uh ah, wet, um, a piece of paper. So I went it with water first with clean water. And then, um, we're going to take some of that light green. Um, I'm using this Salo yellow green, and we want different. Ah, very. We want varying values for sure. So instead of just taking if you have a dried like on a pout like I dio, instead of taking it straight from the palate, I'm gonna put on a mixing pilot and mix some water and with it first And then while my paper is still wet, my paper kind of dried a little bit here. As you can see, that's the trouble with using student grade paper, so I'm gonna just wet it a little bit. Good thing this is only practice. Um, So I'm going to re wet this piece of paper around where I've painted, cause I don't want to get the whole thing green. Um, so just a little bit more. That's one trick that I wasn't intending. I'm talking about here. Don't mind if you hear my son in the background. Just kind of chatting away. Um is if you ever have an area on your paper that dried before you wanted it to, um But you want the paint that you already painted to stay where it is, like you don't want to Just put the paint everywhere. You start with the paper that's clean and dry first and start with your wet paint, and then you move the water to meet the wet paper. So that way you don't have any dried paint lines like I did up here. So I had paint here and stopped because the paper was dry. So I started where the paper was dry, and then I just kind of moved the water toward the paint so that that way the paint stays where it is, but also blends in with the paper. So I don't have any dried paint lines. So it's my little trick there. Okay, So back to our scheduled programming. So I'm taking, um and I'm using my number 10. Um, enough tune. Princeton Neptune brush here. So I'm taking this, like, lighter ish color value and starting from the bottom, I'm just kind of painting upward and kind of slicking it upward. So, um, I don't I want basically I want my northern lights to stay down here. And then, um, once I have the northern lights down, I'm going. Teoh put a little bit more. I'm going. Teoh, pick up some of my Payne's gray and just kind of put it right on top here. So the trick there, this is the first method we're using because it's pretty easy. You can do it all in one layer, though I will say, um, for light and things that you want tohave shine in watercolor. Sometimes it can be nice to do multiple layers. Um, but we'll talk about that anyway, So I'm just painting the night sky right on top and in between the northern lines in the night sky. I do want to have, like, a little bit of an in between watery kind of place. I don't because I want the northern lights to look like they're shining. I don't want them to just be, like stark against the sky. And so the way to make them look like they're shining is toe have a little bit of white space in between the northern lights and the sky, but because I don't want it to be just pure white, I'm going to use an in between color, which is this fallow turquoise right here. So I have a little bit of this celo turquoise on my pilot already, so I'm going to use a light color value, so I'm adding a lot of water to it. My son is wanting to join in our, um, activities. So if you can hear him, hope you don't mind listening to a six month old. Um, anyway, so I'm putting in this fallow turquoise just is kind of like a buffer in between the night sky and the northern lights. And then I'm going to take my brush in just a minute. I'm washing off all the pigments of my brush and also taking off much of the water. I don't want it to be a super wet brush because there's already plenty of water on hair. Well, I'm just gonna like manually using an up and down kind of motion like this. I'm going to manually blend the's layers together, and I'm using the up and down motion because that's usually the, um, the shape, uh, that the Northern Lights kind of takes in the sky. So now that I did that with three grain and the fallow torque boys, I'm gonna do the same with the blue and the fellow turquoise. And there we have it. So that is layer one. And if you really want the layers, if you really want the colors to be like, vibrant on, have a little bit more show through than I would let this dry and basically do it all over again on and then you have two layers of colors showing up, and, um, if you if you do two layers, it's always helpful to have, like, one, be a little bit lighter and then because that way you have more of the paper and transparency of one layer able to show through the next, Um, And when we do our final project using this method, I'll probably do multiple layers just to show you what that looks like. But for now, that's the basic practice. So what we did just to recap is we got this paper wet. We started with a light value of this green. It's from my son whining in the background a little bit. We started with this light, fallow yellow green, and then we put in the blue of the night sky. And then we blended those two together with the light fallow turquoise and then used, um, a clean brush to manually blend them together in this up and down motion. So Okay, so that is Method one of Northern Lights. Very simple, and it's totally doable. I bet you can do it. So go ahead and practice this and then we'll move on to Method number two 6. Practice: Method 2: Now we are onto practice method to So in the previous video, we practiced painting northern Lights in this really simple design. Basically, with just the nights going on top on the lights, coming out from the bottom. And then the idea is, once this is dry, then you paint whatever subjects in a silhouette along the bottom. Like a lot of the other classes that I have so like in My Nights guy class, um, is the 1st 1 that immediately comes to mind. That's how you finish the pieces. Just buy paintings and black trees along the bottom here. So that's method one. It's the most simple method and method to is just a little more, um, advanced in a little more tricky. So it's so doable. Still, I think for beginners, but it's just a little trickier. So let's practice. Um, first things first. Once again, we are getting our paper wet, so I'm practicing on student grade paper. Um, with I like to use honestly, like pieces of scrap paper, sometimes for practice. Um, so I'm just practicing on this little piece of paper. I'm getting the painting area wet, and first I'm gonna put in the night sky. Um, at the talk last time we we did the northern lights first and put in the night sky after And this time I'm gonna put in the night sky first. So and I'm doing that so that I can have a little bit more control over where the night sky goes. Um, and honestly, the order doesn't really matter that much on any of these. Um, the trick is to just make sure you know where your paint is going. So the reason that I want a little bit more control over where this Payne's gray for my nights guys going is because the northern lights that I'm gonna put in in just a second are , um we're gonna make a little design out of them. So as opposed to having them just kind of coming up out from the bottom this time, we're gonna put them kind of more out in a specific design in the sky. So what I'm doing with the, um, with the Paynes Grey right now is I am putting it along the bottom and along the top, and then we're gonna have the northern lights kind of being a wave like this. Okay, um, because that's often how you see them. So I'm gonna put in. I'm just re wetting my paper right now, because Citigroup, first of all, because student grade paper drives a lot faster than professional grade. So during practice, you might have to re wet a few times. And now I'm just putting in, um, a light layer of this Payne's gray along the bottom here. Okay, Now, I don't want, like we talked about before. I don't want the blue to be, like, so stark against the green and purple colors. We're going to use both colors in this one. Um and that's because allowing the white space to show underneath really helps with the illusion that the lights are shining in the sky. And we'll see that at the end here. So going to edit this part out because there's a vacuum going on in the background. And I don't want that to be part of video. Yeah, I don't want that to be part of the video. Don't know how long it's gonna last, but I am gonna re wet this so that it stays wet. Yeah, that's annoying. It's a little annoying okay. It sounds like they're mostly gone. OK, Continue playing again. Okay, so now that we've put the night sky on both the bottom and the top, we're going to paint. We're going to first. I'm gonna lists it for a little bit because, like, we practiced with different witnesses in the, um, warmup video for the wet. On what technique? We were on our paper to be not so what? That the that the paint blooms outward everywhere. We want it to be slightly less wet so that we can control at least a little bit where our northern lights, you're going to go. So wait for just, like 30 seconds. Wait for just like 30 seconds. If you're not sure, look at your paper from like it at an angle. If you can see that the light is still reflecting off it, then it's still wet. And if you can see that it's like very bright and you can see puddles or whatever. That's probably still a little too what you want. You want to put down our paint when the paper is, It's still reflects, but it's not quite so bright like it's on its way to being a little bit more dull when the light is reflecting off of it. So I think we're just about there and we're first going to use our light green. So once again, I'm gonna put some of this Salo yellow green on my pilot, my mixing pilot here and add some water. So it's nice and watery and a lighter color value and starting from the bottom, I'm going to just kind of make a wave like this because northern lights are often in kind of a wave like this. Okay, so I'm gonna make a wave like this and then from the bottom of the wave, push up the paint like this into the sky. You might have to rinse off your brush in between because you see how when I was just going in a line, some of the Paynes grey I pulled from the sky and it his painting into the lights. That's okay sometimes, but it's also good toe prints off your brush in between. So we are We want the bottom to be really defined or, like, pretty defined. And then we want the top to be the lights shining up into the sky just like that. So, um, now that we have painted the talk, just gonna blend in the lights a little bit. I just have clean water on here, but you can also like we did in the previous video. Take some of this. Follow turquoise like a light value of this fellow turquoise and use that color to blend the two colors the Paynes grey and the cell yellow, green and always going in like an up and down motion. Because, typically, that's how northern lights look when they represented and the night sky, they kind of have this vertical shape that's part of what makes them so unique is that they have vertical shape represented in light. And I just think that's really beautiful. So, um, so once you've done that, now along the bottom, we're going to take our, um, light Pincus purplish color. And along the bottom of that green, I was gonna It'll even more opera pink here on the bottom of that green while it's still wet. Gonna add a little bit more water to my brush so that my pink is pretty light. Um, we're just gonna trace along the bottom here, an outline the northern light we already have. So I still want my bottom of this, like path of northern lights that I've created to be defined. So I want It's almost kind of like a mountain peak when you look at it or like a mountain ridge that I've created a mountain shape. I still want that part to be defined. But just like before, I'm just going to kind of gently lift up washing my brush off in between because I do want that, um, like pink to show along the bottom. And I'm just gonna kind of lightly blend thes two colors together. You can continue using that pink, the purple pink mixture to blend and a really, really light value. Or you could just use water that would be OK to using just water. Um, would mostly would help the paper come through a lot more white space that the paper come through, and that would give the kind of like effect we're looking for also. So, um, that both of those methods would work, but mostly we want tohave. After this method of northern lights, we want there to be like a defined pattern, like a squiggle in the sky where the northern lights are moving and dancing up and down. And, um then we want there to be some kind of space, like buffer zone in between the lights and the sky so that it looks like they're shining in the sky. And so if you have too much water, like so much water that the sky isn't quite shining through anymore there we have two options here. Either we can let this dry and paint another layer with just the sky so that it kind of blends into the northern lights. And I'm going to demonstrate that more in our final project. Or you can while this is still wet very carefully. Um, just add more sky at the top, so we don't want to really to run into the lights, right? We don't want it to be super stark against the lights. We do want to have that light white space buffer zone in between to show that there is some , um, light going on in between. But we do also want the dark of the sky underneath, underneath and around to show through, because that is what helps provide contrast with the light and the light spaces in the sky , the contrast against the dark blue. And so I'm just going Teoh. Add in some of this dark blue, and this method is something we talked about briefly in a previous video where my the paper underneath my my northern lights dried and so I want to cut in the night sky underneath. But I don't want there to be any paint lines. And so I am starting from the bottom from the dried paper and using clean water on my brush to gently meat the wet lights so that I can re wet this part of the paper without having to completely mess up the shape and the design that I already created. That's a little trick that I have with re wedding paper. OK, so I know that it kind of looks like a big, you know, wet on wet mess. But you can still see some faint pink in here, and the the lights look like it's It has a designed to it, and so one last thing that you can do is with a clean brush. Just add in some vertical lines starting from, and you can do it with a clean brush. Or you can even do it with some, like value of the green or the pink that you have start in the lights and just move up vertically to manually create that up and down the vertical dancing pattern that the Aurora is known for. So I would only do like a few of these lines just in, um, some select places. It's a really subtle move. It's gonna add a really subtle texture, but it could be like, you know, one of those little small details that makes all the difference. So, moving from the light into the sky with either water or with a light color value of that green, you could even do pink moving up into the into the sky. But I'm just doing green for this one. To demonstrate will help to provide even more off that dancing vertical kind of shining texture in the sky. So this is our practice video to recap. We got our paper wet and we got we painted the top on the bottom with our night sky colors first, and then we took while the paper was still wet. We took our green a light color Salo yellow green and made like a squiggle of a design. So look like the lights were dancing in the sky. Right? And we started with that squiggle using the broad end of our brush and then, um, gently with more paint moved some more of the green into the top of the night sky, leaving the bottom squiggle defined. And then once we did that, we lined the bottom of that squiggle with the purple pink combination. And it's Emmanuel textures and manual blending. And here we are. Now we have a light. It's pretty light, but it's definitely looks like some northern lights dancing in the night sky. So the way to get this brighter and I've talked about this before, but the way to get this brighter is to do another layer. Do this all over again pretty much, um, and that will help to make the layer turnout even brighter. And I'm gonna demonstrate that to you as we do our final projects. But for now, this is the practice method to a little more detailed has definitely has a few more steps to it. Um, but this is I'm sure there are plenty more ways that you can create this, um, Mawr detailed almost more realistic version of the Northern Lights. I don't know how it's still loose watercolor, which is my style. But, um, like I said, I'm sure there are many methods for you to achieve this, but this is one that I found to work most often is manipulating the water but still leaning into the wet on wet technique to let watercolor do its thing. So okay, that is method to, And now we're going to move on to potential wilderness subjects that you can have to round out the northern lights. 7. Practice: Wilderness Elements #1: welcome back. So we have practiced our two methods for painting northern lights. One. Is this more simple? Ah, wet on wet wash and then the other. Was this a little bit more complex? Wet on wet wash with two different colors. And before we move on to our final projects, Uhm, I'm going to practice with you potential wilderness subjects that you can put on your skies to round out your northern lights piece. So first, let's look at, um well, practice the subjects on this method one piece, and I think, ah, pretty classic subject that I like to use. I really love to paint trees. And so I'm just going to paint some trees along the bottom of this line here of this painting here and show you what that looks like. So I'm using black lamp black. But one thing to note, you might be able to hear my son in the background. One thing to note is that you can also use um, Payne's gray in its most dense format. So, like mostly paint and not nearly a zoo, much water pains. Greg is also a good substitute for black. So that's one thing to note, but okay, so for my trees, I could just do a pretty simple tree line. So if I When I paint trees as a silhouette, I like to use black, and I like to do them in clumps. So, um, if you would like to know how I paint my trees specifically, I mean most lamb just putting some blobs on either side of this tree trunk. And, um, I will put this at an angle so you can see it a little bit better in just a second. But if you want to know how I paint my trees in a more detailed manner, I have other classes about this Ah, subject in my night sky class. And also, I have a misty forest class where I go through a few different kinds of trees on. Then I have a loose pine's class where I go through eight different kinds of loose trees. So if you're interested, okay, and now we're at a different, more side angle so that you can see these trees just a little bit better. So I'm going, Teoh, use my lamp black, and I like to paint my trees when I do silhouettes I like to paint them in clumps, so I'll do like a clump of maybe five trees here. And I like to do them in different sizes to show depth and complexity. So I'm gonna do a little tree here and then another little tree here. And then I think to round out this for Justo, add more complexity to this piece. I will add. Maybe you'll have the tall No, I lied all to do this. When I compose where my subjects were gonna go, I hardly ever think about it beforehand. I kind of just start plopping things down, and then I decide on the spot where I want to put them. So I'm gonna have another tree clump here, and I was initially gonna have, like, a really tall tree be in the middle. But I think I'm just going to do sometimes I even do just like dots to represent a tree line. That's like going down into a valley or something right down there. Um, I think I'm just going to have this clump here and call that good. So that is my one method for placing a subject in front of your lights. I really like doing silhouettes in front of the Northern lights because it shows a higher contrast against the lights. Um, so that's one method. And while we're still on trees, I'm going to demonstrate another method that I also have been become a fan of recently. So instead of painting a tree like it's really far away, you could also paint a tree like it's really up close like, almost as if it's framing the scene. So I'm gonna paint just like a single branch coming out of here. And this is one method of painting trees that I have called, like the dotted method which you confined in my my loose pine's class. So I am of painting that specific branch. So I'm just like, um, instead of painting a whole tree, I'm basically just like painting the side of it or like one branch that I can see that's going to act as a frame to the whole thing. So let's try that again on the other side. Over here on this time, Maybe all have the branch kind of. I'm going to use my smaller brush this time to make it maybe look a little more detailed Maybe I'll, um, were seeing a branch poking through down from this angle. And I'm just gonna like This is a technique that we learned in my holiday wreath class painting more detailed prying branches like this. So I'm just going to paint this little pine branch like it's dreading out from the top of the scene. I like my little pine branches tohave, um, arms or even a friend. So let's paint another little pine branch jutting out from the scene. So this is just a different method you can use instead of, like, that dotted more abstract effect. Over here, you can use this slightly more detailed but still kind of loose. It's not like it's a picture of my son's coughing in the background, Um, something like you're looking at a picture of the pine, the pine tree, right? Um, but the small, detailed lines do make it look a little more realistic than the dots and the blobs of that method over there, but I think they both look cool. So these are just some things that you could do with trees. One last thing that you can do. Um, that can't be kind of fun. is Teoh instead of as like, another way to frame and have a silhouette is toe have like a whole tree taking up the frame and without even being able to see the point needles. So almost we're just gonna paint honestly, the whole side of this painting. We're going to say that this is like a tree trunk that we can see because it's just in our field of vision. So all these together, I don't know that I would use all of these in one composition necessarily. But all of these separately can be really cool tricks to add a subject to your sky that will make the sky pop, especially with these northern lights that we have here. So just showing you that again, we have the clumps of trees as a silhouette, which is kind of a classic look, this is a look that I do a lot or we can have like branches or little um, French is hanging down pine needles hanging down, poking out from the side. Or you can even just paint like a long trunk that frames the scene as well. So all these can add complexity and are really fun to paint and pretty simple. So we're gonna have one more video where I'm going. Teoh, talk about other things that you can put Teoh in your scene. And after that last video, then we're going to move on to our final projects. 8. Practice: Wilderness Elements #2: okay, before we move on to our final projects. I just wanted to show you, um, a couple more things. We can add more subjects that we can add to our paintings to round out the landscape, painting on and also emphasize the lights from the northern lines we just painted in our skies. In the last video, we painted trees, a bunch of different kinds of trees. And now, um, I'm going to show you some mountains. So I have this close up kind of side angle view just so you can have a better look at what I'm doing. So, um, one thing we can dio is odd layered mountains, and the way that we do that is, if you add two or even three layers of mountains, the thing that you should that you need to remember is that the farther away the mountain layer is, the lighter it should be. So that has to do with color value. To make a color lighter, you add more water to it, right? So I'm going to take some indigo or some Payne's gray on with the light value on just broadly with the broad under my paintbrush. This kind of paint an outline off a mountain, and I'm going to paint that in. It's okay if some of the light shines through underneath it, because often times actually light and things in the sky like sunsets do reflect off of mountains. And I think that there's a really cool part, partly because it may be their snow reflecting off of it. Or just, you know, one of those things about nature and science that I can clearly explain in words. But they dio so sometimes lights do reflect off of mountains, so that's like a far away, distant mountain ridge. And we're gonna let that dry and OK, so our mountain layers dry, and now we're going to keep going with just a slightly darker mountain layer slightly underneath it, so it doesn't have to be the same. In fact, it should be a little different, and it doesn't have to only stay underneath the 1st 1 I'm having this one judge a little bit above, because I actually really like it. When foreground subjects jut above background subjects, I think that it adds similarly cool complexity. So there's that just painting in the mountains, and that is one really cool way that you can add one cool subject that you can add to your northern lights piece toe, help showcase the shine and showcase the cool lights of the sky and make it look like a real landscape ease. And these are all really simple techniques, right? It's all. None of this is wildly complicated. It's really just putting different layers of washes on top of each other. So those like misty, kind of ethereal mountains are really fun way. And you can combine the mountains but the trees or do one or the other, or come up with something entirely your own. That's unique. Either way, I think, um, these will equip you to make some really cool and deceivingly simple nights Guy Northern Lights, paintings. So now that we have painted the mountains, let's take our skills and move on to the final project 9. Final Project #1: Part One: all right. Now that we have practiced and learn some of the techniques, let's put them into practice with our first final project using method number one. So, just to remind you, Method Number one is the Northern lights method that we used that was only using that light . Ah, yellow green. And it was a pretty simple mixture. So let's, um, go along with that simple design and first wet down the area that you're going to be painting. So I am using my Blick art supply from from Blick Art Supply. This is a premier watercolor block. It's 100% cotton watercolor paper. I mentioned this in the materials video. I buy a lot of these blocks. These are the typical. This is size seven by 10. You don't have to do this size. Obviously, you could do whatever size you want. Um, but this is a very common sighs that I used to paint my projects on. So I'm just wetting down the whole paper and like we practiced, we're going to paint um, like a cloud of fallow yellow green coming up from the bottom and using a light value fellow turquoise as a buffer between that and a nice Payne's gray sky. So the nice thing about 100% cotton watercolor papers. I can usually stay wet a little longer than the student grade paper we were using. So that is one reason to invest in professional supplies. If you were interested in that, so like we did before, I'm just gonna go ahead and start with the green and using my ceramic mixing palette here, which I also bought from Blick Art Supply the store just online, Um, but Amazon also sells some pretty inexpensive ceramic mixing pallets if you are interested . One of the benefits of having a ceramic mixing palette is that it just provides a smoother surface for a blend. Sometimes when you get plastic mixing pellets, they are coated with some, you know, kind of material that makes the paint kind of dot and bubble instead of mix smoothly like this. So a lot of people like the ceramic ones better, but they both work. I think so, starting from the bottom, I am just going toe lightly. I'm holding my brush in this really like light position. I'm not holding my brush pretty, very firmly. I'm just moving my paint up in a vertical Ah, using a vertical movement. And then maybe I'll use some water on my brush. I didn't pick up more pigment. I just picked up water so that I can move some of the paint around using waters. Move the paint around instead of just adding more. Paint is one way to add movement and texture to your piece. And so I always recommend, especially when painting skies. I always recommend having clean water on hand so that you can have, um so that you can blend in whatever colors you're working within your sky very smoothly. OK, so I've laid down some of this fallow yellow green, and now I'm going to pick up some follow turquoise, and I am going to get like, a light color value like we talked about. So in order to get a light color value, need to add more water. And I'm just going to kind of in a look of vertical motion. I'm never going sideways for northern lights, mostly because northern lights move in this kind of vertical motion, Right? So I'm moving in like more of a vertical motion with my paintbrush still holding it pretty loosely still making sure that my paper is wet. And now I'm going to pick up some Payne's gray. And for the Paynes Grey, I'm gonna I can move in this like horizontal kind of motion and just kind of blend the blue down like that. And then in a second, I'm going to get some water and blend all of these layers together so that they are smooth and look like they're just kind of dancing with each other. So I want the top of my sky to be darker than the bottom part, but not super dark, because because Northern lights air in this guy, then it's a little bit brighter than I normally would be. So now I'm washing the pigment off of my paintbrush, and I'm just going to blend in and using a accord vertical motion, like we talked about, blend in the turquoise with the blue, and I'm gonna also leave some white, and you can see how, as I'm doing this without my even doing anything, the blue and the water and the water are blending into each other. The pain is gray and the water are blending into each other to make some vertical bleeding kind of motions anyway. So that's why I think watercolor is really fun to use to paint Northern lights because it kind of does a lot of the work for you. So now I'm gonna do the same thing. Punch. Blending the green in with the fallow turquoise. It's that I can still have some of this, like shining bleeding light coming down and into each other, and you'll notice that when you use the 100% cotton watercolor paper, also, the bleeds and the blends just looks so much more smooth. And you can usually make the paints do a little bit more of what you are hoping for in my experience. Um, but that said, it's always good to practice, hon. Cheaper paper, just in case you don't like what you've come up with. Um, so anyway, that's just There are pros and cons Teoh using all different kinds of materials in my experience. So as I'm chatting, I'm just kind of going back and forth between picking up more pigment, whether that's that yellow green pigment or some follow turquoise pigment and going and vertical motions up and down and up and down. And the key is that I never want there to be this like a really stark, um, concentrated place where there's lots of color because northern lights are. It's light right there, supposed to be light. So that doesn't mean that you can't can't be bright, but I don't want it to look like there's like a like a dot of really heavy pigment anywhere . Andi. That's why water and learning how to control water is really important. One painting Northern Lights because using the white space underneath, using the white space of the paper in conjunction with the patterns that we're making. Um, I don't even want to say patterns with the texture that we're making with these lights is rarely crucial to making them look like they're lights dancing in the sky as opposed to something a little more tangible. So I'm gonna add a little more turquoise here, And that's not to say that you can't use like, brighter pigment. Like I said, I'm adding a little bit more pigment here, and then I'm also gonna add a little bit more of the green underneath here. It can still be bright. You just don't want to be heavily concentrated. So, um that is going to require just a lot of experimentation, I think, with water control and what happens when you use different amounts of pigment versus different amounts of water. And, um, as much as I can, I mean, I feel like I can talk about my experiences till I'm blue in the face, but it's not really going to sink in until you experiment yourself. So hopefully watching me kind of go back and forth is helpful for you As you're painting your northern lights, it's really painting. Northern Light is really just like a practice in patients and ah, practice in patients. And I think Ah, practice and leaning into imperfection a little bit. So now I'm using ah, thes vertical strokes to just like all the way across my northern lights painting kind of what we practiced in method to, um which we're going to practice more when we do our second final project that incorporates method to. But just adding those little textures can make all the difference when it comes to painting the elusive northern lights. So okay, and at some point you're gonna have to be done so I think I'm gonna That's I'm gonna finish my sky. That's what my sky's gonna look like if you finish yours and you decide it's not quite bright enough. Then you can always do a second layer, and I will show you what that looks like in just a quick minute. I'm gonna let this dry and then I'll be back before you know it. Okay, so our second layer is dry, and after a second layer, we still have some nice muted colors, but they're just a little bit brighter. And now I want to talk about adding stars. So adding stars with Northern Lights paintings isn't just your typical splatter on some white stars like I talk about in some of my other classes. And that's because Northern lights are supposed to be like a light on top of the sky, right? And so when you look at pictures, the stars are actually look like they're underneath the lights as opposed to on top of them . So what that basically means in terms of what we're doing is that the stars are a little more adult. They're not super bright white, and so one way to mimic the look of stars underneath the lights is too splatter on stars that are a little bit more dull, which just means that they have a little bit more water to them. Oh, I like to use Ah, Doctor pH partners bleed proof white for stars. Um, if you don't have some of that than just plain old white Wash would work just as well. Um, so normally, when I paint on stars, I would get a pretty concentrated amount off this doctor Ph Martin Lee proof white. But when we're painting dollar stars like more diluted ones, then I'm gonna add a little bit more water than I normally would. Um, the tricky part about that is, if white quashes more wet than it should be, and sometimes it comes off in bigger globs. So you just want to make sure that you're still have, like, smaller gloves. So I'm just going to splatter on a few. And I'm not gonna splatter on as many as I normally would, because once again, the lights dilute the stars so you can't see them as well as you normally would be able to . So I'm just splattering on a few little stars here and being very generous with the amount of water that I'm using and making sure to put, especially if I'm gonna splatter stars that are going on top of the colors of the lights that I want to make sure those ones are especially diluted and not too many. Okay, so it's kind of just look at what that looks like up close so you can see I have a few stars here and a few of them are sitting on top of the lights, but they're pretty diluted and so you can't see them. Super Wilma's You're looking really closely, and that's actually exactly the effects that we're looking for. So there are stars. And now let's finish this final project piece by painting a scene along the bottom here 10. Final Project #1: Part Two: So like I mentioned before, I don't often have a specific composition in mind. So I'm just going to kind of paint what I feel like. But I'm going to use black lamp black mostly over here, and I think that what I'm going to do, actually, um, if you haven't taken my misty forest class, I would recommend it. It's one of my most popular classes, and misty forests are just pretty fun, too pretty fun to paint. But I'm gonna give you a little taste of that here because I think I'm gonna paint a little misty Ridgeline right here. And so first, I'm gonna get, ah, that the rich line well with water. And again for like, a more detailed look into how and why I paint misty forests this way, I would definitely recommend taking that class. I also have a YouTube video that's ah, little bit shorter of a tutorial on misty forest Ridgelines. If that is more interesting for you, so and then I'm going to use my zero brush and a lighter, so I'm not using fully pigmented black. I'm just going to use a lightly pigmented black to mimic trees that are kind of more in the distance I was going to do. Some of them kind of spy NDLEA, some of the more full I like toe. I always like to have a a variety of different tree formations when I do things like this, because that's how trees are in real life. There are hardly ever trees that all look the same in uniform. And, um, also it makes it a lot less pressure for you as you're painting, too, tried to paint the same kind of tree or to paint the quote unquote perfect tree every time , right? So when painting misty forests, always always be generous with the amount of water that you have, because water is probably the most important component to mist onto capturing missed in water color. That's one of the funnest techniques that I teach in that class and and a few other classes . I teach that as well I have. If you want. I have a bunch of classes that are on forests. One class is like on ah, winter Wonderland forests, so I'm we paint a blizzard during a snowstorm of forest, and I have another monochrome forest class. That's where we paint rows and rows and rows of trees, and that one's really fun. We talk a lot about color value in that class. And then I already talked about my misty forest class. And then, of course, I have my loose pine's class where we just paint a bunch of different pine trees. I say pine trees. But I really mean coniferous trees, meaning they have cones instead of, um, you know, whatever else leaves, I think, um, so I'm gonna pay. I think one more tree right here and then I'm going to stop that Misty Ridgeland. So it's kind of hovering in my there because I think that's a really cool effect. So, as you can see, this misty Forest Ridge line is pretty light color value, and I think it looks pretty cool. So but I'm granted. Probably biased because I painted it. So, um and then let's have that dry and do the next part. Okay, so now that we've painted one misty forest Ridgeline, I kind of wanna paint more. So that's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna paint. Um, normally, I would go from top to bottom, but because I'm during this on the fly, I deciding I wanted to pay more of these misty Ridgelines. Um, I'm gonna paint one up here, and, um, I'm gonna show that to you. I'm going to show the rest of these trees to you in a in a time lapse. But just to show you what I'm gonna do and talk about it beforehand, I'm gonna paint another Monsieur Ridgeline back here and it's gonna be even lighter than this one. And then I'm gonna paint one more tree line, but it's gonna be the full black down here, so I'm gonna have leg one Ridgeland appear one right here and then one coming down to meet at the bottom I liked. I liked to do things in threes, so or just odd numbers, But three stand generally I think, are a good way to go. So the reason I wanted to dio one up here instead of like the frame the judging of the branches coming out is because I wanted to fill up more of the space and I was just kind of feeling it more this time. But you should feel free to dio whatever you want and experiment a little bit. This class is meant to to to the techniques. And then, um, show you some potential ways that you can go so that you can come up with your own unique design. So Okay, so let's move on to painting the trees. Have fun watching this little time lapse. All right, there you have it. So I hope you enjoyed that little time lapse of all of these trees that I painted. I painted this light layer in the back and then a dark layer of bigger, larger trees just along the bottom here as a silhouette. And I think that this turned out really nice. Turned out really cool. So this was Method one of our northern lights painting where the lights come up from the bottom and just kind of blend into the top in a more texture kind of greedy int. And next, let's do our final project for the method to All right. See you then. 11. Final Project #2: Part One: okay, before we get started on this next video, um, for our second final project, make sure that you have enough of both kinds of paint mixed for the project. So we have this'll yellow, this fallow yellow green, and the color the I chose came in it's own tube. So I just like to use I have a dried on my power right here, and I just like to use a lighter value of it. But the pinkish purple color of the Aurora I don't have so once again, in case you haven't watched the color mixing video I like. This is some offer pink right here. I like to mix to make this like pinkish purple color. I like to mix opera pink, and it's a lot of opera pink, a lot more opera pink than anything else. So I like to make this offer pink with just a tiny, tiny bit of thala turquoise, and that is going to make the pinkish purple that we're looking for. So before we get started, make sure that you mix enough of that. Okay, now that we have mixed our colors, let's go ahead and get started. So just like with the method one we're going, Teoh, get our paper wet with some clean water. I'm using the same watercolor block. But this time I'm, um, orienting it in the landscape position. And I will that will become clear throughout these videos as we paint this final project. Um, so I'm getting my paper wet, but note I'm actually only going to get about 2/3 of it wet. And I'm making kind of a squiggle line with my water. Teoh create a boundary so that I My water doesn't go past that little squiggle line. And because I have something else in mind something in store for, um, that little squiggle line. Okay, so here is the night sky. We've gotten all wet, and now it's time to put in our let's start with the Northern Lights first. I think, like I said and other videos, you can start with the sky or Northern lights first. It doesn't really matter. Um, it just kind of depends on what you're more comfortable with. And clearly I like to switch back and forth. So I'm just getting some my green here and, um, like we did in the practice method to I am going. Teoh makes a little I'm starting down here my boundary. And I'm going to make what amounts Teoh a squiggle. Okay, so I have made a little squiggle starting from the bottom. And I am going to make with my, uh, green and I'm going to make two more while my painting is still dry. So I'm gonna make one That kind of goes a little bit more up like this squiggle like that. And then for my last one, I'm just gonna have it kind of be in the corner like that. Okay, so remember that for this method, we want the squiggles to maintain their definition along the bottom. Right. So, basically, we're gonna have this be coming out from the bottom right here. Um, we're going to be painting the night sky around the squiggles, so I have the green squiggle. And now what? Using a lighter value grain. And maybe I'm even going to add some Salo turquoise into that light value green. I'm just going to extend using the vertical, um, painting strokes we talked about extends that green upward to provide a little buffer when we add the night sky. So use a combination of water and pigment, and I like to use that fellow turquoise mixed with it because it provides a good like transition color between the fallow yellow green and the Paynes grey when we eventually have that color, which actually will be quite soon. So adding just a little bit more of the Stella turquoise. And if you find that your strokes are too watery like you can't maintain the definition that you want, then it's one method. The I use is when I wipe off the excess or when I wipe off the pigment that I don't want any more. I also use my paper towel here. I'll bring it over here to show you have a bunch of my paintbrushes on here. Also, when I rinse off the pigment before I go to paint, I also wipe off excess water on my paper towel. So I'm basically using like a semi dry brush to blend in the pigment here. Okay, so that is one method that usually works pretty well for me. So then, while this is still dry, we're going to add in along the bottom. Our think color are purposely pink color, just add even more depth and complexity to this Aurora piece because northern lights or the aurora borealis can be all of these colors. And that's kind of what we're going for today. So extending it upward, I put in the pink pigment and now using those vertical motions. So I'm maintaining the defined like bottoms squiggle that I initially made, and maintaining those and just using these vertical motions, painting from the bottom color upward to blend in these colors together. And basically, it's just going to be from here before we add in the night sky. It's just going to be a lot off, adding in mawr of one pigment that seems to have disappeared and then blending them together using the methods that we've already practiced. So I'm doing that here by adding in more subtle turquoise, adding in more fallow yellow green, and the order that I have done it anyway is turquoise is on top. The yellow green is on bottom, and there's gonna try blending these together one more time before we add in the Payne's gray Teoh complete this layer. So just because I complete the layer before I put in the paint, where I want to say when I do pieces that involve a lot of wet on wet like this one does it , and it's actually quite a bit of painting time. Teoh. Get the paint to go exactly where I wanted to go. It's not just okay. One and done. I'm just blending everything together, and now I'm done. It's a lot of patients and blending, Um, what different amounts of water control as I blend all the different colors together and still maintaining the shape that I want? So once again, if you find that your colors aren't I'm staying in the shape that you initially want. It could be because you have too much water on your brush. O r. My son has something to say about that on your brush or on the paper or in your pigment I. Any of those places could be culprits of oh water, and now I'm going. Teoh blend in using the same methods through this night sky. It's trickier to blend in the night sky when it's around the lights because, like we talked about before, you don't want the lights and you don't want this guy to overtake the lights right. You wanna have some kind of buffer? Which is why we have the fellow turquoise. But if you don't, if you can't have a fellow turquoise if it doesn't really mesh with whatever layer you're working on and water also works. So I'm just using, like, a brush with water to blend in the night sky here. And I want some of this guy to try and through, but not all of it. Um, but I'm but I want the Aurora to shine through even more. So once I've finished that, that I'm gonna add more Aurora. More pink Aurora right here. Continue with the vertical brushstrokes that we talked about. But you're So now I'm going to go and do the same thing. Maintaining these vertical brush strokes. Andi, blend in the sky down below the Aurora right here. And I think that even right here, I have Ah, little too much. So I'm just going to use some water to push away the pigment, and then I'm gonna add more of the pink in a minute. 12. Final Project #2: Part Two: Okay, So we did one layer of putting in our colors, and I put in the northern lights layers first, and then I put in some sky color around it. And now I'm gonna go back and put in even more northern lights colors. Okay, so I'm just gonna get this layer, this whole layer wet again, just like we did in the first final project. Um, this layer is completely dry, so I let it dry for a while. But then I also just for good measure, used my heat tool. Teoh, dry it again. And so I'm just gonna get this layer completely wet once more. And then we're going to add is even more of that defined layer of aurora borealis in the sky just in the places where we had it. So one trick. I think I may have talked about this. Um, but just in case I didn't I'm losing my mind. One trick. If you want to keep a more defined line in the wet on wet technique, it's important to wait a little bit for the water to, um, evaporate a little bit before you start painting. Because the treatment the key Teoh having like blurry subjects while using the what on what techniques, so that they're still recognizable but also still blurry, is not as much water, and it's tricky to put down just the right amount of water when you want something like that. So I find it. Fighters put down a regular amount that I would normally do for the wet on wet technique and then wait for, like, 30 seconds or one minute. Then it will have dried enough that when I start painting, it will be the right amount of wetness that I need, so for it to retain its shape. So let's once again start with the green underst making these little squiggles like I did before, and I wanted to be maybe just a little brighter, as I keep as I blend it in. It's definitely going to not be quite so bright because I use more water you use, the more diluted your pigment always becomes, so that's helpful information to know. So the more I blends the colors together, the more, um subtle, the blends and the color. The color pigmentation will be so because I'm doing that just adding the layers and then using the house, Those vertical brush strokes to blend the layers together into the sky, washing off my brush sometimes in between. But I want that nice, cool vertical texture in my blends here. Even if some of the colors blend into each other like that, I think that could be pretty cool sometimes. So I want, like, this nice vertical texture going on here with these two colors. You might see this on my brush ropes of gone off of the painting area. I'm just gonna, like, blend them as much as I can into the white. But honestly, I don't really care that much about that, so I just want to keep having these vertical. He was cool. Vertical blends just like that. This one had a bit have a bunch of water on here, so I'm gonna blended a little, and then I'm also gonna add I wouldn't I'm not gonna add much Payne's gray in general in this layer, but I am gonna add a little bit right here, and I'm using a very dry brush now to do my vertical brush strokes. The dry brush also helps to blend it in when it's really wet. down there anyway, so and now I'm gonna add some of my opera pink a mixture so I can have even more of that because that, I think, is the one that is losing some of its definition This opera pink down here. And once I've added more of that, I am using this dry brush vertical strokes method to just blend them together, right Like that. Blended right in with the layers, trying to maintain the movement and trying not to get rid of the defined like squiggle we have right here, right? So I want to keep the bottom of that pigment basically in the same spot. Unjust moved from, like the middle of the pigmentation upward just like that. Okay, it's looking pretty cool, I think I think it It's definitely looking like a loose conversion, but loose watercolor is pretty much my specialty. So that's basically what you're always going to get if you work with my first style of watercolor, unless I specify otherwise. So before we move on really quick, this is still kind of wet, which is good, because I do want to add in some subtle places a little bit more to the sky. So just like right here, I don't need to add any more in between the lights because the lights are so bright that they are going to make the sky look a lot more dull than it normally is anyway. But in the corners, like right here I am going to add a little bit more this blue, partly to make it could be the sky, but it could also be some like shadowy shapes in the background, which I think it's like a cool way to create texture and make it look like there some trees that you can't that you can't see that are like blocked by Do you know, the darkness of night or whatever, maybe blocking the trees, so I'm just gonna kind of subtly blend in a little bit of this blue. But then, as we have more of it, I'm going to, and I might need to wait until this is dried a little bit more so that I couldn't keep the definition like I talked about. If you have your your paper is a little bit drier, then usually that is better. But for now, I'll just put the general shape in another note to is when you use a brush like this one, this Princeton Neptune brush, which mimics a real stable hairbrush. Uh, those tend to hold a lot more water than other kinds of brushes. So, um, if you're looking to control your water a lot, I would recommend potentially using a different brush. But this is the one I'm using for now. Just just because So, um okay, so I have that kind of tree shadowy shape, and I'm just adding some highly pigmented along the bottom here. I don't want to extend it too far, really, Just along the bottom. And I know that this is a little different from Thebes potential, Like the mountains that I showed you. So you don't have to do for your final project. You can follow me, like to the tea if you want to, or you can do the other subjects that we practice. Like those layered mountains are pretty cool. Um, but I thought working with the, um, night sky a little bit like this would be kind of fun. So I'm moving over to this now. Less wet still, Definitely. What? But less so sky over here. unjust notice how I'm not really painting. I'm just like detailed trees. That's partly because it would be for not details would get lost. Um, but also partly because to show you that you don't have to paint super detailed things in order for it to look cool. So, um, as a side note, I checked over here, and some of the sky was creeping into the lights like watercolor tends to do, which is fine. So I'm just going to add a little bit of water as like a buffer, though between them. So it's not quite so much that you get those bleeding creeper watercolor lines, but instead you have a little bit more of this kind of misty, ethereal, watery buffer zone between these layers. So, like I said, working with the wet on what technique, especially when painting the Northern lights, is just a lot of working the paint and, um, dabbing the paint and also embracing imperfection and knowing that these air it's not meant to be perfect anyway, So why try so along the same lines, I'm going to use the dry brush technique over here to just kind of dab away. You see, how they're these, like tendrils right here. I just don't really want them. So I'm gonna take a dry, clean brush and just kind of give a little bit of shape Two thes background trees that we painted just a little bit of shape. Teoh, help get rid of that, too. Watery bleed. Kind of look that I didn't really want from this guy and help make thes look a little bit more like trees. So, yeah, basically what I'm doing. And now to finish up this layer, paint one more with some highly pigmented and notice how I switched brushes here because my Neptune brush, which was like a stable hairbrush, it just had too much water on it. It was too large control. So I decided to use this Princeton glacier Siri's brush, which is synthetic sable hair still, but it's a little stiffer, and so I'm better able to control my water output on the brush with it. So Okay, we're gonna call that good. Maybe will do. Just like, some little blurry things here just along the lines here. That even war depth to this piece. Okay. And I am going to call that good for the sky so we can still see. So the goal with this method was to be able to still see the squiggles right and toe have that kind of vertical up and down texture. And for the most part, I think we did achieved that. Um, so I'm going to call that a win for Whistler Here. Northern Lights are tricky, but I think you can definitely get some results that you're really happy with. And I'm really happy with this result. So I'm not done yet, though, Um, tune into the next video to see where I take this piece next. 13. Final Project #2: Part Three: All right, so and now that our this layer has dried, we're going to continue with our northern lights piece. And you may have surmised at this point that the reason I only painted the first part of the sky is because I want the bottom half to be snow. I want to paint some snow, and this is taking some techniques from my watercolor wilderness blizzard class. But basically, we're going to use the wet on dry technique to just paint in a few, um, snowbanks and shadows. Basically, that's a combination, really, of the word on what unwed on dry techniques. So first I'm going to along the top bridge here. I took a very light color gray, which I think in my palette. It's kind of like a mix of Payne's gray and black, actually, with a lot of water mixed into it, and I along I kind of just drew a little line, a little crackly line in the middle of the snow, and then I'm gonna take water and, um, kind of meet some of the paint that I just painted and bring it down. But also, I'm just I'm not like creating a big hole wash. I'm just creating some little textures with my wet brush that has a little bit of paint on it. So if you can't quite if you can't quite see that, See, I'm not painting the whole thing. I'm really just painting shadows on the snow, and I'm going to continue doing that. So I got some of this wet here, so I'm just gonna keep kind off. I only have a rhyme or reason, honestly, to where I'm putting the shadows. I knew that. I got some of this paper right here wet, and that partly was to create a little bit of texture and to help make it look like there's mounds of snow on here makes sense. So I'm gonna keep doing that. So I started with that side, and now I'm gonna move over here and kind of have a trail off into the distance like that and basically just do the same thing where I'm creating these little wet textures and then I'm going to go back and add in similar shadows along those lines and understand, of dotting like tapping my paintbrush and doing it that way. I'm not I don't really have like much of, Ah, much of an agenda with where I'm putting thes textures here. And honestly, that's partly for my own sanity. I was always really terrified to paint white things because I knew that in order to make them look realistic, I really was needing to be painting shadows and the idea of like having to figure out exactly where shadows were supposed to go. That just, like, terrified me. And so I would never try anything. And recently I have decided that, um, nature is supposed to be wild and crazy, and so I can be, too. And so that means I'm not really worrying where the shadows are. Quote unquote supposed to be. I'm just kind of letting my brush go where it's gonna go and know that as long as I'm using a very light color value anyway, it's not gonna mess it up too badly. And when you look at snow, it's hardly ever just white. You're never really looking at white. You're looking at, ah, a bunch of different values and Hughes together all in one place. But, um, put your mind in your mind because you know that snow is white. It's like you don't really register it that way when you look at it without seeing it from an artist perspective. But next time you see Snow, think about all of the different colors that you actually see when you look at it. And hopefully this technique will make a little more sense. Um, but so that is my snowy ground. And now, to finish this scene, I'm just going to paint a few foreground trees. Teoh provide one last layer of depth. So I'm gonna wait for this snowy ground to dry, and then I'm going to paint those trees, so I will see you soon. Okay, Welcome back. So our snow mountains have dried. And now for the final touch on this piece, I'm going to paint in some foreground trees. And the foreground trees are going to be wet on dry, for sure, very defined, and big and right in the middle, not the middle, but like they're going to be so that you can see them, and they're gonna contrast against these background tree. See how the diluted pigment that we used in the background here to make these kind of tree shapes now look like they're just these big tree shapes in the background. That's awesome. They're going to look even cooler once we paint our foreground tree. So I'm going to make it the biggest one, and I'm just gonna put it. I like putting my foreground trees off to the side, and I'm gonna have a go all the way down. So using the tree painting techniques that I teach in a bunch of other classes just putting a bunch of blobs down on this tree and I am going to give it some friends cause I like to paint things in threes one more. When I paint trees in threes, I always like to paint them different sizes. I don't know why, but I just dio so, um, going to call that good? And there is my northern lights seen. So one thing you could do after this is if you want to put snow on the trees, totally could, um, I like to use if you have your opaque paint from the stars. I often like to use that doctor Ph Martin's bleed proof white to put snow on trees. And if you're interested in seeing how I do that, my wilderness watercolor blizzard class is all about that. You could also paint trees using whitespace that look like they have snow on them. I talk a little bit about that. My my blistered classes Well, but I think for this scene, I kind of like it just having the trees be this black, that stark white against the snow and against the lights and having I think that having these trees be black against the lights and against the background trees, how you think the scene looks really cool And also, I think having this, um, the very defined trees be going like contrast ing and juxtaposed with these faint and kind of blurry but still like more defined squiggles of the northern lights makes him look super cool. So that is final Project number two. And I hope that you had a good time during this class. I think that Northern Lights could be such an intimidating subjects. They definitely were for me and they were painting. Doing this class is also intimidating for me because while I had painted northern lights pieces before, I really wanted to nail the techniques so that I could feel comfortable teaching them. That's often the case with me, even if I know how to paint something. I don't like to actually make a class about it until I feel comfortable describing the techniques. And northern lights, especially, is such lies like just go with the flow and use the word on what technique and generally do these strokes but also play with it because water is gonna do what it's gonna do. It's it's no, my most comfortable place to be to say, Just experiment and you'll figure out what it's supposed to be along the way. But that's kind of where I am, because Northern lights are a tricky beast with watercolor for sure. But I think that you can get some really, really cool pieces if you just kind of let go of the control and let the water color, do what it does best. And as you do that, you'll also learn. You'll also learn how watercolor works and how you can manipulate it and control it, And I want to say control how you can guide it in some ways to make it a little different, more a little more defined in the future. So with that, um, I hope you had a great time and I will see you in the recap video where I talk about, like, what's next? Other classes that you might like and where you can find me on social media. But in the meantime, if you don't make it to that video, I would encourage you to, if you really like to the class or you have anything you want to say about it, please lever of you because it really helps as a teacher to first of all, as a teacher for me to know what I can do better or what I did well this time, but also in terms of finding my classes. If you leave her of you, it's easier for other people to find my classes in the future. So, um, if you are looking for ways to help teachers of online classes out, that is the way his till heaver view. Um, but regardless of what you do, I'm so happy that you decide to take this class. I hope you had a great time and I will see you soon. 14. Recap: Thank you so much for joining me for my watercolor northern lights class today. I had so much fun making this class with you and experimenting with watercolor to come up with some of the techniques that I found to be helpful. And I hope that this class was hopeful for YouTube. You're experimenting not only with former northern lights, but also with all kinds of watercolor techniques and subjects. If you really liked this class, I have lots of other wilderness classes on skill share. I teach a lot about trees. I have a several forests and night sky on some night sky classes. So make sure to check my skill share page to see my full class list. And if you really loved the projects that you made just for reference, here are the ones that I made. So this is project number one from this is Project number two. If you really love the projects that you made, please feel free to post them on the Project gallery in skill share. Even if you even if you just post like work in progress trots in the project gallery I would love to see And the project gallery is also a good place to get feedback from me. I check all of the galleries for all of my classes toe. Make sure that I answer any questions that air there. If you have questions, you can also feel free to start a discussion in any of the classes. And I would love Teoh have open communication there as well. And finally, if you have, If you really loved this class, I would. I really appreciate it if you left her of you. Any honest feedback is not only helpful for me as a teacher, Justus. I continue to make more classes for you, but it's helpful for me because it helps. The more of user class has more skill shows, skill shares, algorithm notices my class. So if you wanna help me out, then that is one way that you could do that. The only problem is you can only poster view on skill share. Right now, that may change in the future, but right now you can't do it on the mobile version of skill share. I'm pretty sure you could only do it on the desktop version. So if you're confused like you're looking, work to lever of you on. It's not nowhere to be found. You have to go to the desktop version. So hopefully that answer some of your questions and finally, twice again, if you really, really loved your project, wanna share with the world? I would love to see anything posted on instagram. Just make sure to type my handle is this writing desk. And if you tag me and let me know that you took my class, I will most definitely like and leave a comment on your on your project. But there's also a very good chance that you could be featured in my stories. I do features for skill share a few times a month. So, uh, thanks again for joining my class, and I hope to see you next time.