Watercolor Wilderness Blizzard | Kolbie Blume | Skillshare

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Watercolor Wilderness Blizzard

teacher avatar Kolbie Blume, Artist

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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

11 Lessons (1h 32m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Pine Trees

    • 4. Snow: Part 1

    • 5. Snow: Part 2

    • 6. Color Value

    • 7. Final Project: Layer One

    • 8. Final Project: Layer Two

    • 9. Final Project: Layer Three

    • 10. Final Project: Layer Four

    • 11. Recap

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About This Class

Learn to paint a blizzarding wilderness in this step-by-step video tutorial! In this class, we'll break down all the different tricks and techniques to painting a snowy wilderness scene before painting the final project together. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Kolbie Blume


Top Teacher



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 Kolbie and I love watercolor. I especially love painting wilderness scenes with watercolor. That's why I'm so excited to join you today in our class, learning all about painting a blizzard in the forest just like this. If you've ever looked at paintings like this and thought to yourself, there is no way that I can make that. There's no way that with my experience I can paint something that looks realistic and beautiful. I want you to know that I don't believe you. When you think to yourself that there is no way because I have gone from feeling like I had zero artistic talent to using my artistic talent as my full-time job to support myself. If I can do it, if I can go from zero to artist, I fully believe that you can too. Today, I'm going to break down all the techniques that I use to create this painting and hopefully demystify all of the steps so that you too can create something like this that you can be proud of. If you go onto the next video, we're going to talk about all the materials and then dive right into exactly how to paint this blizzard forest. Can't wait to see you there. 2. Materials: All right, before we get started on learning how to paint some snowy pine tree scenes, let's go over really quickly all of the materials that you will need for this class. If you've taken any of my prior classes, a lot of these materials, videos are fairly similar though I do tailor them for each specific class. Particularly, I'm showing you all of the materials that I'm using in my final project. Just so that you know, everything I use to create the effects that are the results of these classes. First up, let's talk about the paint brushes I'm using. First, I always use round shaped paint brushes, and I almost always use synthetic sable hair, which means that this is not real animal hair on here, but it's synthetic sable hair. It's meant to mimic the professional, I mean, the real animal hair. All of these paint brushes are professional grade paint brushes. First up is around number 12. We do this for big washes mostly I'm going to use this to paint the sky in our final project, and this is the Princeton Heritage Series. You can always tell by the bright red handle and with the gold that's connecting the brush to the handle. Princeton Heritage Series is one of my all time favorites for paint brushes, there are synthetic sable hair. Next up is this round number 2, and this is synthetic sable hair Utrecht Series 228. You can tell these paint brushes by the black handle. I got these on Blick.com. Blick Art Materials is a big name art and craft store where I get a lot of my supplies, so again this is a round number 2 paintbrush series Utrecht Series 228 since that's synthetic sable. Then I finally have a round number zero paintbrush and this is a synthetic sable hair Princeton Neptune series. This is a recent purchase and I like this paint brush a lot. We're using three different paint brushes just to show you that honestly, whatever you have on hand is going to be great, but these are three of my all-time favorite brands to use for painting. Those are my paint brushes. Next step, let's talk about paint for this class, for my final project, I'm going to be using three different colors of watercolor. All of these are professional grade watercolors. Two different brands though. First we have Winsor Newton Professional Watercolor, and this is the neutral tint. It's like a dark gray that's on the cooler side. That's neutral tint that I'm going to be using for our stormy sky. Then I also have Daniel Smith extra fine watercolors in Payne's Gray. I love Payne's Gray and just about any watercolor brand paints, Daniel Smith, Payne's Gray is a little bit more on the gray side than on the blue side as opposed to like compared to Winsor and Newton Payne's Gray, which is probably more of a dark navy. This is still dark navy, but it adds a little bit more gray coloring to it. I'm going to be using both of these for this sky to create like a stormy night sky and then I'm also using Daniel Smith extra fine and Purlin green. This is the dark green I'm going to be using to create our trees. Next up for paint, I'm using Dr. Ph. Martin's bleed proof white for the snow. It's important for when you create snow that you have some opaque white paint. I really love this Dr. Ph. Martin's bleed proof white, but you could also get white gouache, that's spelled G-O-U-A-C-H-E gouache, if you're looking for an alternative, Winsor and Newton professional gouache is pretty good, so those are my suggestions for paint. Next step, let's talk quickly about paper. I always like to have a professional grade watercolor paper that I used for the final project. Then either scrap paper or student grade watercolor paper that I use for practice. My professional grade in this class is Blick Premier Watercolor Block. It is cold press and a 140 pounds. I love to use a watercolor block because the paper is glued on all four sides, which means that I don't need to tape it down in order to keep it taught. That's my preference, I'm going to be using this to create our final project. Always at least 140 pounds, and I always use cold press when I do these paintings. Then I have some scrap paper. Sometimes when I do paintings that I don't need or use, or they're just a mess. I cut them up and create scrap paper to use the back, so I have a few sheets of that. Then also this Canson XL Watercolor paper. Also cold press also a 140 pounds, but it's not 100 percent cotton. Student grade watercolor paper is mostly made from wood pulp, so it's not quite as absorbent. Doesn't stand up to water nearly as well as 100 percent cotton, but it's a lot cheaper. I use this for practice, and if student grade is all you have, don't worry, you can create beautiful things with student grade, I would recommend having some painters tape or washing tape or masking tape on hand just so you can tape it down and that will make the paper stand up to the water more effectively than if it were standing by itself. That's paper and I always have a mixing palette. Mine is pretty dirty as you can see, but we're going to be creating different values of colors to create for our final project, we're going to add just a little bit of depth in our forest. I always have a mixing palette on hand and then off to the side you can't always see, that I have two cups of water, one always stays clean. I have a paper towel to help wash off my brushes with and usually I also always have a few [BACKGROUND] Q tips on hand just in case I need to mop up any excess water. I think that about sums it up for the materials. Gather all of the materials that you think you're going to need. Again, I'm using some grayish, bluish, dark moody combos for the sky. I'm going to create, my trees are going to be this dark green color before the snow. But you can decide whatever colors you want, whenever brands you want, I'm sure whatever you create is going to be beautiful. Gather all your supplies, all your materials, and let's get going. 3. Pine Trees: Before we get started on painting the final scene, we're going to go over some of the elements and techniques that you'll need to use in order to create these scenes. The very first technique I want to go over is painting a pine tree. If you've taken any of my classes before, you know that I have several different ways to create a pine tree, methods for painting pine trees. This time, I'm debuting a slightly different new technique for creating a pine tree. Before I start on the new technique, I'm going to briefly review the four techniques that I've talked about in the past. The first technique just in case if you've taken my classes, this will be familiar. If you haven't, then this is a good starter. To learn most of these techniques, you'll take the misty forest class and that will teach you all of them. But we're just going to quickly go over them and then talk about the fifth technique that I am debuting in this class. First, I take my round number 0 paintbrush and the first technique that we talked about is called the lines technique which you create by painting a very thin trunk. Then using very thin lines, you go from one side of the trunk to the other all the way down in uneven wispy lines, and using this technique going all the way down to the bottom. Mostly when I paint pine trees, I paint them all the way down to the bottom, although I know that many pine trees in nature stop maybe like three-quarters of the way through. That is definitely something that you can do and achieve really cool looks with. But for the most part I like to do mine all the way down to the bottom. That's the lines technique. I created that by painting a very thin trunk. I'm barely touching my paintbrush to the paper when I'm painting the lines across. The second technique is called the swoopy technique, where I paint this very thin tree trunk and making white little swoops like a Nike swoop. I start from the middle of the trunk and I go down using these light little swoops. Now, when you paint trees, you can paint them to be really full. Or you can paint them so that the needles are really sparse. Both of them occur in nature. The really important thing with the swoopy technique is about two-thirds of the way down, when you want your tree to start getting thicker at the bottom, instead of creating giant swoops, we're just going to create a lot of little ones and paint almost like a skirt around the trunk. It's like some of the swoops are coming out at you and almost like a 3D effect. But we're going to paint this little skirt so that it looks more full. The trick is to continue using little swoops, just more of them and more concentrated as we get to the bottom of this tree. One thing about painting these pine trees is to remember that if they look messy, that is okay because nature is just as chaotic. It's not always perfect. That takes the burden off you a little bit. That's the swoopy technique. If you're thinking, go slower so I can learn all of these, I encourage you to take my misty forest class where each of these techniques gets its own video. I'm just doing a quick review in this video here. The lines technique, the swoopy technique. Then this next one is called the blobby technique, where I again start with a very thin trunk. I always like to have the top of my trunks thin and then start my tree slightly below so that the top of the trunk can have a tip top. But with the blobby technique, I'm taking my paintbrush and I'm just creating blobs on either side of the trunk with my paintbrush by applying pressure. The biggest difference here between the other two techniques is with the other two, I was using very little pressure to create the pine needles. But for this one, I'm going for a more abstract blobby effect. I want to use a lot of pressure on my paintbrush in order to achieve that. That's the blobby technique. It looks a little bit more abstract of a pine tree. Then the fourth technique is an extension of the blobby technique. It's like a combination of the swoopy on the blobby actually. I call it the extended blobby technique, where you do a blob and then you add onto it, creating more texture with the branches. I guess I'm going to increase. I went a little bit farther than I meant to with that trunk. I'm giving the trunk a little more height to even it out. I'm still making blobs, but I'm forming them more into branches. That is what I like to call the extended blobby technique, where I create these blobs, but with the other blobs, I turn them into branches. The extended blobby is most like this new technique that I'm going to be teaching you in just a second. Only slightly different, not that different. That's the extended blobby technique to create a blobby effect but with a more defined shape in the pine needles. Now, I haven't given this technique a name yet [LAUGHTER]. But basically, I'm going to go step-by-step through this technique to show you. Normally, I would start with a trunk. That's how I start almost all of my trees. But this time, I'm going to do a combination of the swoopy technique and the extended blobby technique, but I'm not going to start with the trunk. The motions I'm going to make are like the blobby technique, but in a more controlled manner. I'm starting at the top, I'm making like a swooping shape and I'm starting small at the top and then I'm pushing down on my brush and lifting up again. Let me show you that one more time. I'm starting at the top, starting thin, pushing down on my brush and lifting up again to create this wispy effect with the branches here. Where with the extended blobby, it was like I just put a bunch of blobs on here. This technique, maybe I'll call it the wispy technique, is more of controlling the blobs a little bit more. I call them blobs because you create these by using the flat off your brush and pushing outward. I'm have this number 0 brush and I'm putting all of my pressure on it so the whole brush is down, and I'm pushing outward like that. That's the motion that we're going to use. Using that motion on both sides, we are going to create a whole pine tree. Starting at the top, I'm going to start to go left and then right. I'm starting at the top with the tippy top because I still want a little tip to it. Then I'm going to push out. I'm going to do the same on the other side. Now, I'm going to start at the bottom of that section. I'm starting these wispy things a little smaller at first, but then I'm going to get bigger and adding onto it. You see how I don't necessarily need the trunk at first because I generally know the direction that my trees are going to go. I'm using this pressure to create these wispy motions. The branches on this tree are a little more curved. That's like why it's similar to the swoopy technique, I think. They're a little more curved up. But you got to make sure to have some leave whitespace and to leave the little wispies. It's even cooler if you have some parts of your brush is dry and creates texture like over here. Anyway. You just keep going doing this downward swoopy with a lot of pressure motion using all of my brush. It's almost like I'm creating a mustache on either side of the tree. Almost. [LAUGHTER] Then I just do that all the way down until I want to stop. Then because I like to go down to the bottom, I'm just going to make sure that the bottom of this tree looks like a bottom. Then from here, you can add a trunk or you can just keep it like that. But that is what I have just dubbed now creating this video. The wispy technique. I'm sure it's not new to some of you because a lot of people paint their trees like this, but it's a new-ish technique that I've been using as a hybrid of the blobby technique and the swoopy technique. It saves time sometimes if you can get it down to go fast because you don't always have to create the trunk. But yeah, there you go. That's the wispy technique. I'm going to be using mostly this technique as we continue on creating our snowy forest. If you move on to the next video, we're going to talk more about how to create a snow effect on the trees. Practice painting whatever tree you want to use, whether it's the lines or swoopy or blobby, extended blobby or wispy and then we're going to practice snow in the next video. See you you. 4. Snow: Part 1: The first thing you need to know about snow and painting it with watercolor is that there are two different ways to paint a tree and basically just like a snowy landscape with watercolor. The first is to use white paint that's opaque. It's really important that it's opaque so that it goes over any color that you might use and stay white. To use opaque white paint to create snow like you would paint any other subject and so that's what we're going to be focusing on in this video [NOISE] and it is actually pretty simple. We're going to go back to this wispy tree that I made and I cannot remember if there should be an H in there. There might be. I'm normally pretty good at spelling so I apologize for any of you watching this and are correcting me but I'm going to look it up later [LAUGHTER] maybe I got it right I don't know. Anyway, that's neither here nor there. What I'm doing right now is I'm taking my Dr. PH Martin's bleed-proof white and I like to use my cap as a palette, I suppose. I'm taking the Dr. PH Martin's bleed-proof white and I'm mixing it with just a little bit of water. Similar to gouache, Dr. PH Martin's bleed-proof white is a little bit thicker and actually similar to tubed watercolor when it's not. If you dry out your watercolor when it's not dried out or just when it's in a tube, it's this pasty consistency and we want it to be a little bit more paint-like not totally liquid because the more liquid it is, the more transparent it is, we still want it to be opaque. But I added just a tiny bit of water to this to make it a little bit more paint-like so again, this is my Number 0 brush. If you think painting snow is going to be hard, I did too [LAUGHTER] but the important thing to remember about any elements of nature is there's always an element of randomness and chaos to it. It's almost impossible, in my opinion, and I'm self-taught. I have not taken professional art classes or gone to art school to learn this. This is me looking at nature and figuring out how [LAUGHTER] to paint it. The important thing that really held me back from painting snow at first was me not knowing where to put it. I think if you let that responsibility go and just say, okay, well, when I look at a tree that has snow on it, honestly, it looks random, like there has to be some logic and not the snow is not sticking to the bottom of leaves it's laying on top of things. But when it comes to where it landed, it just is where it is. Knowing that a, snow is more likely to be on top of these leaves, and also b, it's not going be in any real pattern. I'm just going to go for it and I don't know this might not be what you want to hear when painting snow but hopefully watching me will help you because doing it myself without having limitations or without putting any real pressure on myself is really what helped me to learn to paint snow. I'm taking my white paint and I'm starting at the top and I'm just putting a little dot right there towards the middle. I had a big dot and then maybe a little one. I'm just going to paint, use this white paint to create snow patches on my tree. It's really important that there's not a really obvious pattern but that it still looks like a tree. It's also really important not to paint the whole thing white we have to have some green underneath to show that it's still a tree. For some of these places I'm starting in the middle and I'm going down similar to how I started painting it. I'm not just randomly dotting everywhere. I still wanted to have some semblance of this is snow that has landed on a branch [LAUGHTER] but it doesn't have to always stay right at the top because while it is 2D when we look at it if we can imagine that this tree is actually 3D then some of the branches would be intermixed right here like this middle part that we see is the middle could be branches sticking out at us. It's important to remember that too if that makes sense. But really I'm just dotting and putting pressure down and blobbing this white paint out in a semi-random, semi tree-like method and that's really all there is to it when it comes to using this paint to create snow on top of a tree. You just keep going until you think that what you have looks like it has snow on it and honestly that looks pretty good to me. I like to have a lot of contrast, so there's a lot of color underneath the snow and just enough snow to make it look like it had a decent covering. Again, just to recap, I started from the top and made my way down to the bottom and I blogged my paintbrush down in a tree-branch manner but I made sure not to have very specific patterns and sometimes I used big blobs and lines and other times I just did little dots to show that the snow doesn't always fall in large clumps, it doesn't always fall in tiny snowflakes, it does both. That is probably the easiest method of painting snow, I think because you can paint the tree and then paint the snow. That's going to be the end of this video. In the next video, we're going to talk about the other way to paint white using watercolor, which is [LAUGHTER] using no paint at all and utilizing whitespace and for whatever reason, whitespace has always been harder for me than actual paint so that's why I did this one first but the whitespace way can look really cool too. But practice this first and when you feel like you're ready to move on to painting a tree, a snowy tree using whitespace then head on over to the next video. See you there. 5. Snow: Part 2: Now that we have painted our snowy tree using white paint, we're going to talk about how to paint a snowy tree using whitespace. This is just a quick little sketch that I did a couple of days ago that has a snowy tree using whitespace and then I made some tensile around it to make it look like a traditional Christmas tree or a holiday tree. Christmas tree, just so you know, what it looks like and then I painted a little bit of a border around it just to accentuate the snow a little bit more. But you see, we're utilizing the whitespace in-between these branches to create the effect that there is snow in between these branches. Without further ado, let's give it a try. The important thing with creating snowy trees using whitespace is to remember that there has to be a certain amount of randomness to it. But also that there has to be whitespace. I think I definitely had to practice this a few times to feel like I got the whitespace where it was supposed to be. But if we look at this sketch again, there's always some white above the branches here and there's some white in between. These branches are a little bit more jagged, which leaves room for snow on top or on bottom. I always like to leave spaces in the middle of the tree that indicates where tufts of snow might have landed. Keeping this in mind, it's always good to have a reference photo too. Sometimes I'll pull up pictures of other watercolor photos of things that I'm trying to do or I'll pull up a real picture of a real tree with snow on it and that can help you to determine where to leave the whitespace. But for me, I'm always too afraid to do it unless I just go for it and painting something. Even if the first time you paint it is so crappy is the best way to get better at it. First, I'm going to paint the top of the tree and I'm going say like just the very top doesn't always have to have snow in places. Then because I'm going to purposefully leave space for where the snow should be, sometimes I'm not going to start my next branch right immediately under but leave a little bit of space. I'm using the wispy technique again but I'm just making sure to leave some space, some places. Doesn't have to be everywhere because there has to be some parts of the tree that exist, otherwise, it just looks weird. But I'm purposefully leaving some places where there is whitespace. Sometimes like up here, I didn't leave the whitespace, I made sure to bring the paint down and places like right here, I did leave more of a whitespace. I'm trying to make these branches a little bit more jagged. They looked a little more abstract that way, but also I think can give texture to where the snow is supposed to be. That's my method for doing that , in case you're wondering. Honestly experimenting with different style and brushstrokes, is how I created these techniques that I use in the first place. I'll see how a tree was created by somebody else and try to figure out if there's a specific way that I like it done and I'll just try different things out. That's a lot of how I created these different styles of trees that I did. Just making sure to leave plenty of whitespace, there could be a nice big snow bank right there. These branches are turning out to be more like wobbly lines, but I don't know, it's just turning out okay I think. The other important thing to remember about utilizing whitespace is it only looks like what it's supposed to look like if it's contrasted to something else. When you first paint these trees, that might be like it just looks like a whole bunch of lines. I have no idea of even if it looks like snow. [NOISE] But the way to make it really look like snow is to create the surroundings. That's why in this initial sketch, I painted the tensile in and out of the branches and I also painted a blue, it's like a Payne's gray sky around it. I'm going to do that same thing here. There are lots of different ways that, like if you had masking fluid, which is a more advanced technique, which is why I didn't really use it in this class. You could wait for the tree to dry, and then put masking fluid on top of the tree, including the whitespaces, and then paint the sky, just over top of the tree, on top of the masking fluid so that when you take it off, the snow will be more prominent. But this way, it just shows you what it looks like when you create this border around the tree and makes the snow just slightly more prominent, I think so. That is how you paint snow on a tree, using just whitespace. For the final project, I'm going to be using paint because like I said, either paint is a little bit easier and it was easier for me to learn how to create snow using the whitespace when I had first done it with paint to help myself visualize and help my hand remember where the whitespaces looked good. Because that's what I think beginner should do, I'm going to use the paint. But you go ahead and do what you think is best as we go along and do the layers of our final project. But before we get to our final project, there's just one more video talking about snow and trees for the final project. For the final, we're going to paint a misty snowy forest that has some trees in the distance and so really quickly I'm going to go over shadowing, using color value to create those contrasting and misty effects. One more video of instruction, and then we're going to start on the layers of our final project. Can't wait and see you in the next video. 6. Color Value: Before we get started on our final project, I am going to talk about using color value to create the different effects that we want for this snowy misty forest. First, a quick overview of color value. If you've taken any of my classes, we may have talked about this before about color value. The value of a color basically is how light or dark it is and in its purest pigments. Without changing the color by mixing black or white with it or anything, we want the pigment to be a different lightness or darkness, and the way that you'd get that with watercolor is by adding water to it. Just as a demonstration, this is my neutral tint, my Winsor Newton neutral tint, that coolish gray color. When I add a lot of water to it, I get this very light gray. I'm using this as an example because these are the different colors I am going to be using today to create contrast and depth in our painting. The neutral tint and also opaline green. That's watery down, this is really dark opaline green. We're using our trees, we're going to paint our trees using opaline green. Then to get a really light version, in my color palette, I'm adding a lot of water to just a little bit of the paint and you get this very light green. Almost like you can't even see it, it's transparent. A lot of colors have a vast range of how light and dark they can go and it's good to test that when you start. First, with the opaline green, we want different color values. If you've taken my monochrome forest with using color values forest where we created this for us with lots of layers and it looked super misty, we're not going to create all of those layers, mostly we're going to have one layer that's really light of trees and one layer that's really dark. The most important thing to remember with trees and nature is when something is farther away, it should be lighter. I mean, if it's lighter, then your eye naturally assumes that it's farther away and it creates depth. When we create our forests today, we're going to have clumps of trees that are this really light color in the background and that is going to indicate to the eye of people who look at this painting that those trees are really far away and they're shrouded in mist because there is this light color that you almost can't see. That is going to be one layer of our trees, and it's really important to remember again that if a tree is supposed to be far away, it's lighter, and if a tree is supposed to be up-close, that means it's darker. Our up-close trees, which we're going to have clumps of those two are going to be this the darkest, opaline green you can get. That's color value for the trees. Now color value with the natural tint of this gray we're going to be using the darker gray for the sky and everything like that. But in order to create a snowy landscape where you have a field of snow on it the only way to really indicate that there's some contrast in the snow, meaning you can tell that there's clumps or balls or something, is to create contrast with color. We're going to use this really, really light gray, this really light neutral tint, and I got this by adding one drop of this dark neutral tint and lots and lots of water to it. It's almost transparent. Similar to in our last video when we talked about using whitespace to create snow on trees, we're going to use whitespace to create a snowy bank where our trees are going to go and we're going to use this light, light gray to indicate that there are some differences in the snow and give it a more realistic look. Just to demonstrate what I'm talking about. If I were to paint a tree right here, I'm painting this tree. Really fast. I'm going to paint this little clump of three trees, and I want this clump of three trees to be surrounded by snow. Now I could leave it like that and say, okay, it's surrounded by snow there's the whitespace. But your mind is like just looks like it's floating in mid-air. You realize that you have to create some light contrasts in order to trick your mind into thinking that what you're looking at really is snow. With this light gray that I have, I'm going to start at the edge of this tree and just create a hill almost and little cracks with this really light gray. I'm just creating texture here under the trees to indicate that there's some motion happening with what the trees are sitting on. I'm doing some rolling motion, underneath curves almost like waves, but not nearly as extensive or not nearly as much as waves. I wish that I could explain it in a more efficient way or more understandable way, except just to say that you don't want to cover the whole thing in this light gray but you do want to create enough texture so that it seems there's a snowbank and the way that I know how to do that is to almost create little cracks in the snow. That looks like there's tufts of snow. That's how we're going to create our snowbank using this really light color. In our final project, we're going to have three different clumps in this big vast snowbank. I'm going to talk about it more when we do our final layers, but that is how I'm creating the illusion that these trees are sitting in the snow by creating this crunchy cracky feeling to it. I wish that I had better descriptors, other than to say we're trying to make the snow look like it's cracking. But that's really essentially what I'm trying to do and not too many cracks because too many cracks and their effect is going to be lost but enough so that it looks like there are some shadows in places where you can tell the snow is not quite even. That's that and without further ado, let us move on to our final project. The first layer is going to be easy-peasy. We're just going to paint the sky and then I'm going to talk you through layer by layer how to create a misty snowy forest landscape, so can't wait. 7. Final Project: Layer One: To give you an idea of the effect we're going for, I painted this a couple of days ago. This is very similar to the effect that I'm hoping to achieve with this painting. The only difference here is that my trees are going to be green instead of these trees, I believe are in the neutral tint and some of them might be in Payne's gray. But this snowy, blizzardy, moody storm look is the look that we're going for in this class. Here's your first look at it. Now we're going to work step-by-step to achieve a similar look. The first step is to paint the sky. If you'll see in this picture, there's definitely some texture in the sky and I haven't painted where exact clouds are necessarily, but I've put texture in places so that it looks like a roiling, stormy sky and I'll show you how I did that right now. First, I'm taking my number 12 brush and I'm painting with just water on the top. [NOISE] I'm going to start the sky off using my Daniel Smith Payne's gray. But as opposed to if you've ever painted gradient night skies with me, we're not creating a gradient here, we don't want the top to be really dark and on the bottom to be really light, we want to create texture so I'm putting the paint in some places and then watering it down with water in others so that there is a definite texture in this sky. I love doing this with watercolor because honestly, [NOISE] once you add water and let the wet-on-wet technique do its thing, then the paint will just go [LAUGHTER]. Unless it's egregious in places you don't have to do a whole lot so I'm painting water. It's probably about two-thirds down the page. I want the bottom to stay this where it's just water so that it dry so that there aren't any paint lines. But then I'm going to add some neutral tint in places and some water in places and more Payne's gray in places. I really just want to create a textured but moody sky. Some places I want to keep light, other places I want to stay dark. I want it to look natural so using water to do that is really helpful instead of putting the paint exactly where I want it. If I take water and dab it on here, then the paint is going to go where the water goes, but it's going to blend in a little bit more naturally. That's what I'm trying to do here, just to create an abstract stormy look. Sometimes if it looks like it's getting too puddly, if you notice any puddles, you can be sure to take your trusty Q-tip and mop up some of those puddles. Don't be afraid to do that because the more water you put on it, no matter the quality of your paper, and I'm using my professional 100 percent cotton watercolor block here, but no matter the quality of paper if you put way too much water on it, it's always going to make it worse, so definitely be careful of that. In general, we're just trying to create some texture and contrast throughout the painting so stop whenever you feel like you have a pretty good, moody, stormy night sky. If you feel like you want to keep going do that too, I'm going to demonstrate this water thing again to you. I'm going to put clean water right there and let it bloom out like that. Sometimes they can look like snowflakes. Not quite here but I can just create a nice natural blended texture in your sky. That looks pretty good to me. Just to make sure I don't have any paint lines and I'm going to bring this down with freshwater and I'm going to call that good. At this point, you can either wait for it to dry, it'll probably take an hour or so to dry or if you have an embossing Aragon heat tool like I have, you can dry it manually. I am going to dry this and then on our next video we will paint our background, misty trees. Let's wait for this layer to dry and I will see you soon. 8. Final Project: Layer Two: Welcome to layer 2. Our first layer, the sky, is now dry, and I am going to work on [NOISE] the second layer which is some clumps of misty trees. Like we talked about before with color values, to paint our misty trees, we want a really light green. This is where it's handy to have swatches of scratch paper, where I like to test out the lighter value that I've created on my palette, and that actually mostly looks pretty good. If you have a lighter value of a color that you think is great, then let's paint along. I'm going to create three clumps of trees. You can go all the way across if you want, but I'm going to create just three clumps of these background misty trees. Maybe I'll do four clumps of these misty trees. I like it better when they're sporadic or uneven. I'm thinking, some of them are going to be like higher, some of the are going to be craft toward the middle, and none None them are going to be down here, because this is where all of the four ground trees are going to be. But maybe if I have a clump here, and a clump here, and a clump here, and a clump up here, that's what I'm going for. I'm going to paint tiny trees. I'm using my round number 0 brush, and this very light shade of purlin green. I'm painting the tree, and then immediately after, I'm bringing water underneath it, and I'm bringing that color down so that I can't see the bottom of the tree. This is really important when painting misty trees. If you can't see the bottom of the tree, it creates a more ethereal effect, I think. Using the wet-on-wet technique to blend in the bottom to the paper, is one of my favorite ways to create a misty-depth effect. I talked about that a lot in my misty tree class, which is a lot of fun. People had a lot of fun with that class. This incorporates a lot of the same techniques. We're just adding snow to it. I'm going to bring this out a little bit more. To create this misty effect, you can either paint the trees first and then put the water down after, or you can paint the water first and then put the trees down after. It's totally up to you, and I did both. I'm just going to do one big tree over here in this misty green that I have. I don't want any paint lines. Sometimes you get paint lines and it's okay if it's the background layer because you can paint over it. But trying to bring this down enough so that it doesn't create any paint lines, but okay. That's our first little clump of misty trees. They're very light as you can see. You can barely even see that they're there. But that's really what you want for these background misty trees. You can do varying values for these backgrounds. Some of them can be so light like that one, you can barely see them. Others, you can add a little bit more color to them. Just essentially, creating contrasts in diversity in all aspects of the painting is important. I'm going to add just a tiny bit more color to my paint here, that might be a little bit too dark. It looks better. Here's just my scratch paper again. I'm adding just a little bit more color for this next clump of tree. I'm going to start that one maybe right here. I'm just painting some trees. In this darkish color, it's not dark, it's just darker than the other light color, but painting the trees, taking some water. One other thing you can do is paint clean water beneath it, and then bring the clean water up to meet the paint. That way it keeps the paint in place while still blending it together. I think I'm just going to make that a clump of three right there, and then I'm going to do another little clump right here, I think. I think a lot of people like to sketch what they paint beforehand, and I've never really been much of a sketcher, unless I have a very specific design in mind. When it comes to wilderness painting I just go for it unless I'm using a reference photo or something like that. You do you. You do what is going to work fast for you, and I'm sure that it's going to look beautiful. I'm painting just another little clump right here. Looks pretty good. This one maybe has a little bit more trees on it than the others. Then taking some water and making sure it's all blended in together. For my final clump, I'm going to be all the way up here. Another rule typically, is that the smaller the trees are, the further they are away as well. Sometimes if you go high and light and small, those trees look like they're really far away up on a distant peak or something, which can be fun. I'm just again, making sure to use the water to create that misty-blended effect. I'm starting from the bottom with the clean water and meeting it so that it don't get as many paint lines up here. I might do another tree just like that. Looks good to me. That is my second layer. This general layer of lighter, further away trees that are in the distance. Using some misty techniques, using a lighter color value. The next layer we're going to paint our real trees and snow banks at the same time. Looking forward to it. See you soon. 9. Final Project: Layer Three: For this layer, our first two layers, we're painting a sky and then painting some very, very light trees in the background and in a distance. Now we're going to paint our trees that are more in the foreground. I'm using my perylene green, and where before, I was using a lighter value of the green to create these very light trees. Now, I'm using not necessarily all the darkest value, but definitely a darker version of this. Similar to how I don't really have a rhyme or reason for painting these trees in the background, I don't have a whole lot of idea of exactly what I'm going to do, but I'm imagining similar to the painting I showed you before, I'm going to do a big clump of trees somewhere around here, and then two more, smaller ones elsewhere. I like to do things in odd numbers. So if I have four clumps here, I want to have three clumps of the big trees so that I have any odd number of trees all around. First, I definitely want to try to paint on top of these misty trees as much as possible because there are still small, almost imperceptible, but they're still there, paint lines. If I can paint my darker trees just so they're overlapping a little bit, then those paint lines won't be nearly as noticeable. That's my goal here. But I don't want to paint them exactly where these trees are, I want them to still to be random. For a small clump over here, I'm going to start my first tree right here. This time, instead of painting a misty bottom, I want the bottom to be pretty firm. Then as we paint our snowbank, we're going to use the lighter of the neutral tone to create the effect that these trees are like on a snowbank. I'm just using this wispy effect. I painted a trunk first this time, I don't always do that. But that's how I did it this time, and I'm just painting my trees. It's mostly what I'm doing. [LAUGHTER] You can use whatever techniques of the tree painting you decide is the best for you this time. Even if it's not one that I taught you, totally fine. Because again, I'm a self-taught artist, so I'm all about you discovering new ways to paint things. I like to have varying sizes when I do clumps of trees, and I like my trees to be close-ish together, but they don't always have to be. I don't want them to be the same distance apart, I want there to be some kind of randomness to it. That's my first clump of trees. Then I'm going to paint my second clump of trees, maybe, right here. Again, I'm still painting over the top of this first tree, and it's almost looks like it could be on the same plane, but not quite. No rhyme or reason, just going for it. Most of the time, that works for me. Sometimes I have to start over or make do with what I have, but for the most part, I feel like it's worked out pretty well when I do stuff like this. Stuff like this, meaning not sketching beforehand or anything like that. I'm just going to bring down these trees a little bit farther and continue onward. Pushing these trees out a little bit more so that they're right there, I think. That's going to have to be a tree trunk, I suppose. I like to create contrast when I paint these trees by sometimes dipping my paintbrush in water, again, to create color value differences almost within my strokes, or sometimes to grab the paint from a palette where the paint has been watered down, and then sometimes to grab it from a place where it's very concentrated with the paint and that just creates more texture, I think. So that's what I'm doing. I think I'm almost done with this clump. I still like this misty wispy technique. I'm just going to paint one more tree. It's like a smaller tree right here. We're going to call that good for those trees. I do like to have the bottom of the trees be jagged to indicate that there's still some kind of texture going on with the snow. Then for the last line of trees, it's going to be more along the bottom, and it'll start right here. It'll be a little taller. This is probably like the trees that are most in the foreground, and so they should probably be the darkest of all of the trees according to the rules that I've set for you, [LAUGHTER] meaning lightest in the back, darkest in the front. I like painting trees a lot, I think that it can be calming. I've heard that from a lot of my students as well. That just like sitting down and painting a whole bunch of trees is really relaxing, and I have to say I agree. That's why I really enjoy making these Skillshare classes because I get to sit here and just talk about how much I love painting these things, and hopefully help you guys figure out a way to make it equally as relaxing and important for you as you incorporate watercolor into your everyday life and activity. Surely, the day that I make this class, it's snowed where I live, which is so unusual for this time of year. It is early November, and I live in Northern Virginia by the DC area, and it never snows this early. I've been living here for five years, and it hasn't snowed. I don't think it's ever snowed before Christmas since I've been here. I love snow. I'm from Utah, which is a big part of the reason why I'm drawn so much to these wilderness elements, because I grew up by mountains and canyons, and so they're just very familiar to me and I guess bring some resemblance of home to my life in the big city surrounded by no mountains, but a lot of monuments. [LAUGHTER] Anyway, I love snow and I love winter. It's always a treat when it snows in DC because it snows a lot more in Utah than it does here, let me tell you that. Do you see how some of my trees are the same width apart? In my experience, your mind naturally does that, no matter how hard you try not to. Sometimes, I'll go in after and add more trees that are very close to each other, just to create contrast in size. I like to paint trees that are almost like right next to each other just to show that trees overlap and there's just not really a rhyme or reason often to where they go. That's how nature is, and that's why I think watercolor is such a great medium for painting nature because, if you're using watercolor the right way, I think you have to let it do its own thing too. To embrace, when to control, and when to just watch the chaos do its thing. It's one of my favorite things. I'm pushing this clump of trees a little bit farther out, and I think I might even do one overlap. Like one big tree that overlaps this clump right here. I always like it when trees overlap, I think it looks really cool and creates some cool depth. I'm going to go a little bit more. Then I think right here is where I'm going to do a big tree that goes all the way up to here, but it's part of this clump down here. Doing these, I think, helps to create even more contrast and depth. I like it. I'm almost done. I think we'll probably do both the snow on the tree and the snow is on the ground in the next video. I was planning to probably do it in this video, but I think we're going to do it in the next video. This was already getting pretty long. I'm almost done with these trees. I hope that hearing how I decided to do things helps because, honestly, I just decide split like when I'm already doing something. I think when I'm learning, that's the most helpful for me when I hear the artist knowing when or deciding when to make choices and why, and that's always what I strive for with. I know my classes sometimes they're a little bit more informal than others, but that's how I learned. I hope this is helpful for you. Yeah, I'm going to call that good. Those are my foreground trees. In the next video, we're going to add snow. We're going to add snow on the trees, some texture to create the look of snow on the ground, and for a final touch, we're going to add snow flurries in the sky. All in the next video. See you then. 10. Final Project: Layer Four: Here we are, the final layer, where we're going to be painting our snow in three different areas. First, we're going to paint snow on the trees, then we're going to paint using the light value natural tint to create the effective crunchy snow on the ground, and then we're going to paint snowflakes in the sky. I'm grabbing my Bleed Proof White. I remember I like to use my lid as a palette. I am just making sure that I have enough. It needs to be thick enough so that it's still opaque, but not so thick that it won't come off of my brush. I don't want it quite as thick as like when you're painting with acrylics or oil paint, but not quite as liquidy as with watercolor, either. Like we practiced in the snow, I'm going to just, using this white paint, paint some snow in random areas on the trees. I'm going to start with the trees that are most in the front. These foreground trees are what I'm starting with. Still going in branch-like motions, but definitely not with a pattern or anything. I'm just going to go one by one through these trees to get snow on these trees. Sometimes I'm creating a line where you can see the branch and sometimes I'm just putting dots in random places. I think it's really important to embrace randomness. I've talked about that a lot already. Not all trees have to have the same amount of snow on them, I think that's important to remember. But they all have to have some snow on them because if this is supposed to be a snowstorm, they should all have some snow on them. It's also important to remember, honestly, that as long as you leave some spaces green so you can still see the tree underneath it, nobody's going to look at these trees and be like, my gosh, your snow looks terrible. I really don't think that is true. That's why I think painting with white instead of using whitespace is easier. I think I'm going to do another class maybe next month only about using whitespace because I think it requires more study. But I'm glad that we talked about it at first in this class so that if anybody wants to practice it, they can. But I think doing it this way is a lot easier. Definitely, painting my biggest tree before painting the ones behind it so that I know where to put the paint. Again, I'm just going wherever in branch-like directions in some places and not in others. I don't want those to look like lines, so I'm going to paint around them. Grab more paint and continue painting these last ones. There's that one. Now I'm going to do this one behind it, being really careful not to paint over the branches of this tree. But honestly, it just all blends together at some point. I am not painting snow on the background. Misty trees, you'll notice because, honestly, I think when trees are that far away, it's really hard to see what's on them, so that adds to the whole mystery, misty-ethereal effect. There's that. These last ones over here. This is just my technique. May I remind you, nobody taught me this. I just looked at snowy trees other people painted and snowy trees that I saw in nature and photos, and I just went for it. If you have better ways to paint snowy trees, you should totally go for it and do that. But one of my favorite things to do is to try something and have it turn out decent like how I feel these trees have. That is how I paint snow on trees. Next, we're going to paint some cracks in the white space on here to show that there's snow on the ground. First, we're going to do the edges of the trees, is this very light value of this neutral color, and where the snow may have cracked or bunched by the trees, that's what I'm going for here. I'm painting a little mound right here by painting the cracks along the side of it and this very light gray, and doing the same over here. I got this technique honestly by trying to paint snow by myself. You notice that in snowbanks, there are banks of actual snow, and the only way to see where those banks end and where they start is the shadowing in the snow, like on a mountain. That's what I'm doing right here. I'm trying to show that these trees are surrounded by these snow banks by using light gray lines to give the snow some shape, and it doesn't have to look perfect, it won't. But this is art. It's not supposed to look perfect. It's just supposed to imitate what it's supposed to be. At least that's what I like to tell myself because I definitely don't always paint perfect things. Honestly, I'm going to call that good. Maybe I'll do a little bit more right here. But I've painted little cracks in the white with this very, very light gray in jagged lines that makes uneven piles of snow where these trees are, and especially where they are at the bottom. It looks like the trees have crunched onto the snow almost. That's the look I'm going for. If this is confusing and you don't even understand at all, that's because it's hard for me to explain and because I just tried something. That's just me. That's just the teacher and the artist I am, which is seeing how to create snow. You create snow by trying to create the contrast around it. It's not perfect, but there it is. There is the snow on the ground in little tufts. Now, for the fun part, this, we're going to create the snow in the sky. If you've ever painted with me, especially wilderness, I often do stars, and splattering snow is very similar to splattering stars, except the one thing I talk about with stars is if you have too much water, then your stars are going to look bigger and more like snow, or if you use too big of a brush, they're going to look more like snow and this time that's exactly what we're going for. I'm using a round number 2 brush and I want there to be enough water so that my paint will come off in drops. Not so much that it's transparent, but enough that it will come off in drops. Here, we're going to give it a try. There's a good amount of paint on there as you can see. Even if some of the splatters look small enough to be stars, that's okay, because this snowstorm is going to be all on the distance. I'm just going to go for it. The way that I hold my brush is I hold it with my non-dominant hand, and I just pound on it. If your splatters aren't big enough to look like snow, then I would add more water. When you splatter, the paint brush is going to splatter in a line, and so you want to make sure to hold your brush in different directions as you splatter on here. I'm just going to do this several times to create the look of a blizzard happening. You might have to go back and add more paint, get more paint here. Lid palette, and if you do that, you definitely need more water. See me see if I can get some big flurries. Some nice big droplets. This is the time when you want the huge drops. One If you get a line like I did right there, one way to make it look less like a line is to hold your paint brush the opposite direction and on top of it so that you have a higher concentration. Just add more splatters to that spot so it doesn't look quite so much like a line. I'm just about done. I'm going to add a little bit more over here because there's a lot of snowflakes right there. But mostly, I think that looks pretty cool. One thing you can also do is if you have a white gel pen, you can also take the time to add in some snowflakes where you want. If I have a really concentrated place over here, I can add in some myself where it's already random. I'm not worried about my additional snowflakes making it look too much like a pattern because I have so many random ones over here. I'm really just using the gel pen to fill in the places where my brush might not have cooperated quite the way I wanted it to, or to make some bigger flurries too was a good idea. Just like that. There you go. It's like a harsh snowstorm I guess, but that's my stormy snowy landscape of a forest. I cannot wait to see yours. If you decided to paint along with me, please post it to the project gallery, and if you post on Instagram, make sure to tag me. I'm going to do a quick recap video in the next slide, but thank you for joining me and I cannot wait to keep painting with you. 11. Recap: You did it, you're done. If you painted along with me, then you'll have a scene that looks something like this. Hopefully, you had a lot of fun painting and learned a lot, and can use these techniques to create your own original designs and further experiment with watercolor. But more importantly, I hope that you've come away from this class feeling empowered and capable and feeling like an artist because if you put your brush to a paper, that means you're a painter and I'm really proud of you. Thanks for following along with me and thanks for joining me for this class. If you had a lot of fun and you think that other people would get a lot out of this class or any other class, please feel free to tell your friends. Also, it would really help me a lot if you left a review. Leaving reviews helps so other Skillshare members can see my class and can get a real sense of maybe what they might get out of the class too, so if you have a minute, that would be really helpful. Also, if you are just really proud of the painting that you painted today, feel free to share it on Instagram and tag me. My handle is thiswritingdesk. I regularly feature some of the paintings from my classes in my stories, so you might be featured if you tag me on that. Also, please post your final product to the project gallery. I would love to see it and be your biggest cheerleader and tell you how great you did. Thank you again for joining me for this class, and see you next time.