Watercolor Winter : Magical Forests Made Easy | Francoise Blayac | Skillshare

Watercolor Winter : Magical Forests Made Easy

Francoise Blayac, Artist

Watercolor Winter : Magical Forests Made Easy

Francoise Blayac, Artist

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12 Lessons (56m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Projects

    • 3. Supplies

    • 4. Exercise 1 : Color Mixing Magic

    • 5. Exercise 2 : Painting the trees

    • 6. Magical Tree Canopy- Part 1 : Sky

    • 7. Magical Tree Canopy- Part 2 : Trees

    • 8. Magical Tree Canopy- Part 3 : Details

    • 9. Mysterious Woods - Part 1 : Background

    • 10. Mysterious Woods - Part 2 : Trees

    • 11. Mysterious Woods - Part 3 : Details

    • 12. Before You Go Make More Magic

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About This Class

In this watercolor winter class, you are going to learn key techniques to paint dramatic and magical forests. 

Can you remember these magical woodland scenes from your favorite fantasy movie or novel ? 

I see enchanting colors, a beautiful glow in a deep mysterious forest inhabited by magical creatures..

Together, we are going to create beautiful magical forests like these. To do this, we’ll explore :

  • Effective color mixing with only 3 basic colors, for a mystical color palette.
  • Transparency, for added depth.
  • The power of light and shadow, to highlight the impression of a beautiful glow.
  • Perspective, for more dramatic looking scenes.

Even though this class is best suited for intermediate learners who are eager to learn new techniques and ways to approach the painting process, we’re keeping the supplies, techniques and sketching to a minimum. So, if you are a beginner with a bit of watercolor practice or wanting to improve your watercolor landscape skills while embarking on an enchanting journey, you’re welcome to join as well !

We are going to practice with very simple tree shapes through two different paintings. This will help you implement these basic and useful skills easily and even use them again to infuse a little fantasy to your future creations ! 

And because we’re moving from a simple painting towards two slightly more elaborate ones using the same base and techniques, you will gain insight on how it is possible to improve on your own work with small but effective tweaks or additions.

So, are you ready to create your own magical paintings ?  

Grab your supplies and don’t forget to share your projects in the project gallery !

Meet Your Teacher

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Francoise Blayac




Hello, this is Françoise !


I'm a mom of two boys and two girls, and I'm from beautiful southern France. I went back to doing art with my third child, after a 20 year pause, which is proof it is never too late to get creating again :)

I enjoy using any art medium even though I mostly use watercolors. 

Some of my other favorites are colored pencils, graphites, and pastels :)


I love to create anything from landscapes to portraits, my reads and travels being my biggest inspiration. This is why I enjoy creating magical and dreamy pieces where I can lose myself.

It's amazing what you can do and how far you can travel with Art !

With my classes, I strive... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Just like writing or reading a book, art feels to me like some kind of an escape where we have the possibility to create a special atmosphere and make it come to life on paper. I paint anything from portraits to landscapes, but I have a thing for vivid forests and magical, mysterious, dreamy scenes. Hi, my name is [inaudible] , I'm a French artist, welcome to my first class. I was intimidated by watercolors for a long time until I traded my pencils for paint brushes, and I haven't stopped working on my skills ever since. I am a mom of four, but I love challenges. So after a year I spent learning and practicing watercolors, just like you now, I became more comfortable, I developed an ice doll and I became an ambassador for an established art brand. Through teaching and sharing my art, I want to help others feel more fulfilled and inspire them to keep learning and practicing, no matter the challenges. In this class, you'll learn how to paint two magical winter forest landscapes. I'll show you my supplies, then we'll create a color palette that fits our theme with only three colors. Next, we'll learn the techniques to paint beautiful trees that pop off the page. Last, we'll use this knowledge to easily create two gorgeous paintings. If you're a beginner with basic [inaudible] knowledge, you'll get to explore color mixing a bit more and practice key techniques that are always going to be relevant in watercolor painting. If you are intermediate or advanced, you'll get some useful insight in the way I approach the creative process and make a painting stand out. This class will teach you how to infuse a specific flavor and atmosphere, a little something extra into your paintings. We'll be looking up at a magical winter forest canopy with our first project, and taking a walk in mysterious woods on a snowy day with the second one. I can't wait to see your progress in the project, so let's get started. 2. Class Projects : There are two projects in this class. The first one is a simple tree canopy, and in the second project, we're going to be painting the same trees from a different perspective, and we're going to add a snow-covered ground. In the first project, we will focus on the trees, and this will help you move into the second project so we can learn how to add a ground and the snow, as well as a few more details. I crafted the class in this way because with landscape painting, I used to find it very hard to melt trees or anything else into the ground or the sky without getting a strong separation between the two. In this class, you'll learn how to solve this problem. I find that the winter theme is great to experiment a landscape painting. This is exactly how I got started, as you can see. In this class, for instance, we want you to add any foliage to our trees, and that's going to make it easier for you to truly focus on the techniques. We're going to be working in a specific order that works well with watercolors. First, we're going to paint the background, then we'll add trees, and finally, we'll add details and dimension to our artworks. I realized over time I didn't need all the supplies to create beautiful paintings. If you're in that phase where you're not sure about what you may need, both projects are going to help me demonstrate you really don't need much to create stunning art. In your projects, I'll be looking at your use of our key techniques, color, perspective, transparency, and light and shadow. Your paintings do not have to be perfect or exactly like mine, you can even take advantage of the trees and snow to have some fun and make your artwork more unique if you prefer. The downloadables that are attached to the class are going to be extra help. You'll find photos at the artworks, you can refer to at any time, as well as a guide to color mixing, and also a list of the supplies with alternatives. Feel free to reach out to me at any point. I also encourage you to share your progress and final projects in the project section of the class. Meet me in the next lesson and we'll take a look at the supplies we're going to need. 3. Supplies: The supplies we'll need are very basic. We're not going to need anything fancy. Let's take a look. Sketching is going to be minimal. I use a mechanical pencil like this one because you never need a sharpener. Regular pencils work fine too, if that's what you have. For landscape painting, I find that the best with how colors spread and look is cold pressed 100 percent cotton paper, and my favorite is Arches paper, 300 GSM. I know that 100 percent cotton can be pricey, but it makes a huge difference, so I can only recommend you to try it at least once. For instance, I have this huge pad, I like to cut five by seven sheets out of, and it lasts me for a long time. But if you don't have everything I'm using now, don't worry just check out the supplies list in the resources section of this class for cheaper alternatives. Today, I'm using Art philosophy, artist grade paints. I've tried the more affordable student grade paints and they're absolutely great to use as well, and the brand does not matter as much as paper. If you're using ready-made paints, it's fine too. I'll touch on that later in the color mixing exercise. For colors, you'll need lemon yellow, indigo, and burnt umber. I picked those three because they are common and you'll find them in most watercolor sets. But if you don't have these, the three primaries, yellow, blue and red will do. You can download my color mixing guide if you need guidance in how to mix the primaries to get the shades we'll be using. For the class, a large round paintbrush for backgrounds and a pointy one like this for details is enough if you don't have a lot of options. Otherwise, having a third one is ideal, since we'll fade parts of our work. I'll get to this in detail in the second exercise when I show you how to paint the trunks. White gouache will be great for highlights. If you have a white gel pen or a white poster pen, that will work fine as well. Very handy also the two glasses of water to wet the paintbrushes and rinse them, and a piece of paper towel or anything that will absorb an excess of water from your brush. Absolutely optional, but these are good tips that will make the painting process smoother; masking tape because it keeps the sheet from moving around, it helps reduce the buckling when the paper is wet, and it creates these sharp edges. Mine is very plain and simple and it work great. To speed up the drying time, I use a scrapbooking heat gun, a hairdryer on low is just as good. If you don't have either, you'll need to wait for the background to dry. Remember that done is much better than perfect, so if you don't have all the supplies, don't let it stop you, just get started and you also have alternatives that you can check out in the downloadable. For now, let's head on to our first exercise. We're going to explore how to mix colors effectively and I'm going to give you some tips for magical paintings. 4. Exercise 1 : Color Mixing Magic: When I got started with watercolors, I remember color mixing was overwhelming. I avoided mixing colors because it felt like one more thing to do. If you're in that phase, this exercise is really going to help you. We're going to be using only three very basic colors today. What we're going to do first is learn a system that you can use and replicate to mix colors. Then we'll be preparing our mixes, so you don't even have to worry about that when we paint. Let's grab these colors. Lemon yellow, indigo, and burnt umber. First of all, do not worry if you don't have these in tubes. If yours are in pans, it's not going to make a difference. Now you may be wondering, why use these shades in particular? A lot of the magical scenes in movies or photographs use very high contrast. Recurring colors are dark blues or greens opposed to light and bright blues, greens and yellows. Our three colors will get us this look. I picked lemon yellow for the glow, indigo will add depth and mystery, and burnt umber help make these even darker if we need it and it will add more of an earthy natural look to our paintings since we have trees. This is my personal interpretation for this class. Nothing is set in stone with art. Now let's find a scrap piece of whatever paper like this. We're going to mix these colors in a three-by-three grid like that. I fill each slot with my three colors on top on the left and where the same colors meet. Now with a wet brush, I pick up some of my lemon yellow and I'll add a little bit of indigo there. Roughly two-thirds of lemon yellow for one-third of indigo. Look, we're getting a nice vivid green. It's going to be gorgeous for a magical glow. Rinse your brush after each mix and repeat this process. Feel free to pause the video to complete this grid. Why don't we just use our yellow, indigo, and burnt umber as they are? We could, but since they're going to mix whether we want it or not when we add the water, I think it's interesting to see what that would look like. Also a painting where colors are mixed with purpose is going to look more harmonious than one with harsh transitions between our colors. This is what you'll be getting when you're done. Now let's step back and pick a palette. We need light-bright colors and dark ones for a dramatic look. We saw how this looks like in the fantasy photos I showed you earlier. For the bright parts in our paintings, we use lemon yellow, and lemon yellow mixed with a bit of indigo. For a transition towards darker tones, we'll keep indigo as it is. Same for burnt umber. For the darkest parts, we'll use indigo with lemon yellow, and indigo with burnt umber. I think that's more than enough for both projects. You'll see me mix the colors directly as I paint later on. If you're a beginner, pause as often as you need to mix the colors again. Or using mixing tray that will allow you to prepare a larger quantity of paint is what I used to do for a long time. Remember, you can get beautiful colors with a few basic shades. Mixing colors is helpful to figure out nice transitions between your base colors. You can use a small grid to mix them and decide on the best ones. Make sure to have some light, mid, and dark ones to add depth and contrast to your paintings. Have mixes ready before you start painting. Those are the five key elements you can use to spice up your paintings. Now let's move on to the next exercise where we're going to learn how to paint our trees. 5. Exercise 2 : Painting the trees: In this last exercise, we're going to learn how to paint majestic magical trees that pop off the page. This is really going to help you better enjoy the process later on. Let's get started. You can use a scrap piece of paper for this exercise, and we'll need two paintbrushes; one to paint, and a clean and damp one to fade the paint. You want to make sure that this brush is not too dry. If the bristles are separating like this, it probably is, and it will be hard to fade our paints. Now if it's too wet, as you can see here from all the water dripping, it will probably get you blooms and stains. I just dab my dripping brush, and now it's just freight. You can test it on your fingers like I just did, it really helps. I painted a quick background to show you better how the trees should look. I'm going to use a watery mix of indigo, to begin with. So I just dipped my brush in the water and I reactivate my mix like that. Then I'm bending my brush at an angle and I'm going to press as I start painting the trunk, since it should be larger towards the bottom. As I go up, I release the pressure and I end my trunk with the tip of the brush. You can add branches if you want to with the tip of the brush. As quickly as possible, grab a wet and damp brush and fade those edges before they dry. Look at how the harsh line on the branches is going away and how they're blending in the background now, with a simple action on our part. Make sure to let this dry or use your hairdryer before adding more dimension to that trunk because for now, it's looking a bit pale and flat. Don't forget to clean the brush we fade the paint with after you use it and get it ready for the next time we need it. If you don't clean it every time, you will stain your paper instead of fading fresh paint. I'm reactivating my dark mix of indigo and burnt umber since I'm going to use it to add contrast to the tree and make it more dimensional. We want something watery enough so it's easy to apply, but not too watery. Otherwise, it will be too light in color. The whole purpose of this mix is to create some dark parts on our tree. We want to make sure to keep light areas in a tree so we're only applying this dark mix at the base and along one side of the tree, that would be where the shadows are on this tree. See how I quickly grab by other brush to fade that dark paint before it dries. If you don't feel comfortable or quick enough, you can take it section after section like I'm doing here to make sure that the paint doesn't have any time to dry. We can already see how much more interesting this trunk is looking. Being detailed in this way while painting can seem tedious, but after a smooth base layer, like this background or like the base layer of tree we painted here, it's the detail that is going to finish everything off and make any painting look polished, and a bit more alive with realism. Watercolors are a great medium in the sense that you can achieve a loose look or a realistic look, or you can combine both. It's hard to achieve this with other mediums. I rinsed this paintbrush and now I pick up some of my lemon yellow to add a magical glow to the tree. You can add more or less water to it. It depends on how intense you want your glow to be. I am adding it on the lighter side of the tree, it's going to be more obvious there. It does look more or less of a yellow and sometimes more like a green trunk, depending on how strong our shade of indigo is underneath. I'm a adding a glow everywhere here but in the paintings, we'll do it randomly to avoid making all the trees look even and perfect. I'm switching to gouache now. I want it thick but not quite pure, so I mix a bit of water to it. The more water, the more translucent and light the gouache will be. We wanted to show, so try to remember not to make it too runny. To keep it logical, I apply it on that light side of my tree since we want to keep that dark to light gradient. I fade it with my clean and damp brush. For gouache, actually, even if it dries, it will always be very easy to fade. So don't worry about it too much. Look at how beautiful and magical, this trunk is looking. Now, we have a great foundation to get started on our first project that we're going to be painting the tree in the same way, just adding a little bit more detail. So now we're ready to get started on our magical winter forest canopy. 6. Magical Tree Canopy- Part 1 : Sky: In this lesson, we're going to start on our first project, the magical winter forest canopy. We're going to start painting the sky. Let's take a look. First, you can trace some lines that represent your main trees, the ones in front. Those lines are going to guide you when you paint a different layers of trees. My focal point is the tip of the red pencil because I want all my lines to merge there, but if you want, you can choose to place your focal point a bit higher or to the side. Try to press hard enough for the lines to remain visible after the sky is done, but be careful to not press too hard so you can erase if you need to. You can see I dipped my round brush in the water and I wet the paper generously. The key for watercolor backgrounds, is to add lots of water and make back-and-forth motion to the brush long enough to help that water sink into the fibers. As a beginner, I remember I used to wet the surface and think it was enough, but the colors weren't blending well, and the paper dried very fast. If you've had this issue, take more time wetting the paper. We'll use lemon yellow now, the lightest color with a lot of water. Think about leaving a white spot in the center, since that will be our brightest light. Next, apply the light greenish mix, the one we got mixed in yellow with a bit of indigo, and the same thing you want this mix to be watery enough. Later, we'll add more paints to make it more intense, but for backgrounds, it's important to start very light and slowly increase the amount of paint in your mixes. You'll see that doing this, also helps the paper stay wet longer and the colors blending to each other better. Now, we'll take our darker green mix. You see here, it's still very watery. We really want to wait till the base colors are there on paper and only then, add more pigment. The paper will still be very wet because we've added so much more water, and we'll have our base. If you add too much pigment right away, the paint won't spread as much and your background may end up looking too dark and take away from the trees. Let's add the last color, indigo. I suggest keeping it for the edges of the painting to create a gradient with a very bright white shine in the middle, and a darker tone towards the sides. Notice how I clean and dab my brush on the towel so it's not soaking wet. I take advantage, the colors are flowing easily on paper to smooth out any strong transitions and also pull darker paints into lighter ones, because it looks better, I think, when different colors don't look like they've been placed there one after another too perfectly. Now, let's repeat what we've done except that this time you can clearly see I'm adding more pigment. My yellow shade is a lot more intense because there is less water in the brush. If you're using paints from a pen, you just to get more paint and add it to your mix. I'm directly mixing colors on my pad and I do the same thing. I add pure paints to my mix and I adjust the amount of water on my brush, if it's too thick. At this stage, we want something creamy, because if you keep on working with watery mixes, it will be an endless process and at some point, the paper will dry and you'll get blimps. If you add so much paint that your mix is thick, the paint won't spread nicely and it will show on paper, and you'll give some patchy look. That's also a problem that a lot of us have faced as beginners. With watercolors, it's always a matter of water-to-paint ratio. It does get better with practice even if at times it gets pretty discouraging, believe me, I've been there. If this is something you are going through now, hang in there, and keep practicing. You can use the method I am showing you in this lesson because eventually, we start to better assess how much water or paint we're going to need. The fastest way to get there, is to practice those backgrounds. Let's end this background with indigo on the sides still, but not too evenly to keep it look natural. You can wet and dab your brush again to soften those transitions and pull some of the darker paints elsewhere in the background, and you have your magical backgrounds. Make sure to let a dry completely before moving onto the next step. Remember, wet your paper long enough, start with watery mixes, add more paints as you go. Steady practice goes a long way and it's especially true with watercolors. You did a great job. In part 2 of this lesson, we'll be adding our trees. 7. Magical Tree Canopy- Part 2 : Trees: Welcome to part 2 of our first project. We're going to be painting our trees now just like we did in our exercise. We'll use indigo for the trees. I'm adding water because we're going to do the trees that are located in the background and these should be lighter than the main ones in the front. Those lighter trees will look like they're further away from us, while the darker ones we'll look closer. This is a popular technique for forest painting is that involves transparency and layering. This and the effectual gets with perspective and colors is going to impact the atmosphere of the painting. With perspective, it conveys the idea that we're looking up towards the sky and that the immensity of this magical forest is a lot bigger than ourselves. For now, let's draw trunks randomly in between our pencil lines and remember to follow the direction of those lights. Think about fading harsh edges on branches and parts of the trunks that go through the light like we did in the second exercise. Don't forget to use a clean and damp brush for this. We'll keep using this process and because it's very repetitive, I suggest that you pause the video to relax, focus on your artwork, enjoy the moment and the process of painting and feeding those trunks into the light. You don't have to draw each tree exactly like mine. Just make sure to make them all different. Here some are larger, taller, some have branches, others don't, keep in mind a variety will make your painting look better, and also try not to space them out very evenly. When the first layer of trees is finished, make sure to let it dry and prepare more of your indigo mix to be watery still, but a bit creamier than it was before. This will get you darker trees and this time, we're painting over the lines we traced and we keep using the same technique of painting then fading the branches in those areas that go through the lights. Some areas of my painting are bare, so I use this little trick of adding branches that stick out from underneath or from the sides. This is also going to make the painting look more realistic and balanced. Remember, paint the background trees with a dark, but a watery mix of paint to make them pop in the background. Paint the front trees with a creamier version of this mix to make them darker. Make it interesting with trees of various sizes and shapes. Space those trees out and evenly, fade those parts that pass through the light, and add branches to balance the composition. It's really taking shape now, so let's add some final details in the last part. 8. Magical Tree Canopy- Part 3 : Details: This is the last part of our first project. We're almost there, and we're going to be adding some detail for our dramatic magical painting. Revive your dark mix of indigo with a bit of burnt umber if you need to. This one is going to help us shade the trees and make them look more real and interesting because right now, the painting looks a bit pale. If you think that your art looks a bit flat sometimes, you probably need to add more shadows and also more highlights, and we did that in the tree exercise. We're going to keep practicing on that. Good contrast is going to help make your painting look more eye-catching. Remember, when we shade the trees, we're targeting the bottom of the tree because here is closer to us further away from the light and so it should be darker. We'll also going to shade one side of the trees so that when we add our glow, the glow comes out stronger on the lighter side and let's not forget our branches too since they're a way to fill those gaps and add more harmony, more balance into our composition, and we want to make sure they show. You can see, I always have this movement of the hand when I fade paint, I wet that fade and you'll start getting those habits over time. I invite you to pause here and focus on the process once more. Remember to shade all your foreground trees first with the dark mix, and if you think your background trees need more shadows, you can add water to that, make some repeat. Just make sure to keep those at the back lighter than the ones that are in front. The trees must be dry, either not, make sure they are. We're going to use lemon yellow and apply that on most trees. The goal here is to add a magical glow to make those trees more beautiful with this additional color. You can use it with a lot of water or you can make it look more intense with less water. It really depends on what your preferences are and at this stage that detail is not going to affect the overall looks a lot so feel free to have fun with this. The only thing you might want to remember is to add that glow on either way. Sometimes you can have a lot of it, some not at all, and it can be on different parts of the trunks too. Those areas that are in the light should have that glow for sure though, that's why we made them so light. You can also highlight the tip of the branches that pass through the light with it. We're ready to add some gouache now, and I don't like to wait or take chances so I use my heat gun all the time to get everything to dry. Make sure to add just enough water that the gouache will be easy to apply. Please, heat on the lighter side of the trunk and take advantage of this to create an impression of texture on the trunk, it's very effective. If you fade some parts but not all of them, you've really reinforces that impression of texture while keeping it subtle. You can clearly see here at the bottom of this trunk how the gouache makes it look hollow in places. We're going to keep doing this for all the trees. Remember not to go too crazy with it though and cover all the shadows and all of the glow, we really want to use it as a way to highlight that set. We're getting closer to finishing this now, it's pretty exciting, and the last step here is to use a thicker mix of gouache now. We're going to add snow on the branches, a bit on the trunks, and we wanted to show because gouache always looks lighter when it dries. We wanted as thick as can be, but you should still be able to apply it fairly easily. I love to add highlights when I paint, it always brightens up my paintings. You can clearly see how much light this adds here, I find it gorgeous. It's time for the big reveal on our magical tree canopy. Look at this bright light in the middle. Don't forget to upload this project to the project gallery, I would love to see what you came up with. Before moving on to the next painting, remember; shade the front trees darker than the ones at the back, target the bottom of the trunks, branches as well as one side of each tree. Keep fading the paint to avoid harsh lines. Make sure to add a magical glow where those lighter areas are located. Highlight and create texture with gouache without covering everything up, add some snow for extra light. Congratulations for completing this first project, feel free to upload it to the Gallery, and ask me questions if you need extra guidance. For now, let's head on to the last projects. 9. Mysterious Woods - Part 1 : Background: This is the final project and we'll be walking in mysterious woods on a snowy day. Now we're going to start with the background. Let's take a look. The sketch is fairly simple here too. Two lines to suggest the snowy ground. One of the concepts that help me improve a lot with watercolor is that a simple sketch is best for landscape painting. Since then, I found that most times a horizontal line to separate sky from earth is enough as it is here. As we did in the previous painting, let's water our paper generously and for a good amount of time. I can take about a minute to do it on five by seven sheets like this here. I stopped wetting the paper above the line we just traced, so the paint won't bleed onto the other side. We can add color to this tiny gap between the line and where the water stops a bit later. Let's add some lemon yellow on our background. We're just going to dab our brush in places. This time our sky is going to remain very simple, since we'll work on it a bit more later. Try to keep some spots paper white as you paint. It will make this piece run luminous. I keep adding color, lemon yellow, then our light green max. You can see I'm still using a lot of water here. If you're a beginner, keep in mind, we do need some water on there to keep the colors flowing while avoiding big puddles of water. You can start adding indigo now. Notice I skipped our darker green mix of indigo and lemon yellow because with experience, it becomes easier to mix colors directly on paper without preparing them one by one. Look at how indigo turned into this darker green shade when you dab the brush in lighter spots. We're going to intensify our colors now just a bit with lemon yellow. As I'm painting the sky, I drop the paints very spontaneously. The only thing I have in mind is keeping the center of the painting light and the edges darker, as you can see here. Rinse your brush and let's move on to the snowy part. We're going to add this area first. When you do that, unless you enjoy more of a loose look, try not to touch the sky, otherwise, all the colors will bleed into the ground. There is no need to wet this area for as long as we did for the sky because snow is fairly simple to paint. All we need is a bit of indigo. Try to keep it very light and watery. Also, think about keeping most areas white. It doesn't really matter where you drop the paint. I tend to always target the sides and bottom, to keep it simple and keep that light facing us. If you're not sure about where to add paint when you work on a snow painting, it's helpful to go look at reference photo. I do it for pretty much every painting that I do. It really helps get things to look accurate. Now you can rinse your brush and drop some of our lemon yellow. I'm using a bit more paint here than I did with indigo because I want to emphasize the magical field on this painting. For now, lets add more indigo paint to our mix and have shadows here in the snow in a few places. It never hurts for contrast. Actually, if you do take a look at photos of snow, you'll notice that even though it appears to be white, it's likely that there will be some shadows in places. Let's make sure to let this dry before moving on to painting the trees. Remember, simple sketches are the most effective ones. Paper white areas help brighten up the painting. Mix colors directly on paper when you feel comfortable. Seemingly, white elements like snow, fur or clothing, do need color. Great job on this background. Now we are going to head on to the second part of this painting and paint our trees. 10. Mysterious Woods - Part 2 : Trees: Welcome to the second part of this last project. Now we're going to be adding the trees and give some life to this painting. Let's start reactivating our burnt umber with some water. Remember that for the trees that are farther away from us, we want a light shade of water color, which means there should be a good amount of water in your mix at this point. We're going to proceed in the same way we did before. Trees are evenly spaced out, various shapes and sizes and a few branches. Don't forget to fake press like the tip of the branches and the areas that meet those light spots and the background you just painted. Just like for the previous painting don't be afraid to get creative here. Pause the video if you like, and paint the trees as you would want them to look like. You can also replicate what I'm doing if it feels more comfortable. Now let's add a bit red pigment to our mix to paint more trees and what would be the middle ground of our painting. Make sure the previous trees are dry first. With the transparency technique on watercolor florists, you may have three layers of trees in the formula background, then a middle ground, then a foreground layer or just two layers like we had in the first painting. I wouldn't recommend more than three layers of trees. It will be harder getting a noticeable change of color between each layer. You can move on to our foreground layer. This is why I mix even more pigment in my mix to get a darker shade of burnt umber. What this tree and the next ones I want to show you how I melt at the base of the trunk and roots into the ground. I started drawing the first roots, quickly I grab my wet and damper brush and I fade those edges. Right now you can probably see the separation between sky and ground beneath the tree, and that's okay because we are going to make the base of this trunk darker later, and that will be enough to conceal this line. With the second tree I do the same, except there will be no roots here. You can see here there's a huge difference when I've hit the bottom of the trunk. A few seconds ago, this tree looked out of place in the painting and now you can see it's a full part of the scene with a few brush strokes. Add more paint at the base if the water alter the shape of the tree. Since it's wet in this area now, there won't be any harsh line there. This next tree is a bit easier since I'm using the ground line to paint it's base. Now let's draw and that's going to be really close to us. To make a painting more realistic I think it's nice to include elements. You can't see everything off just like this tree, all the branches we had added to our previous painting to fill in the gaps. Well, this last tree you can also fade the base of the trunk and it instantly looks much better. We're going to start shading those trees now. Last we activate our dark mix of indigo and burned umber. Make sure there's a bit more indigo in there for these trunks to be more interesting than just plain layers of burnt umber. Including indigo, there is also a way to tie things up between the trees and the sky and the snow. This is why working with a few colors is better to make sure that the painting looks harmonious. With this step, will do exactly what we did in our first project. Shape the base and roots one side of the tree and the branches. Remember to fade this darker paint at the base tree trunks or roots, otherwise you'll be back to square one with a harsh line. Observe now how with this layering approach of gradually going darker, we can choose to make some trees look closer and others farther. You can pretty much choose which ones of these latter trees you want to move forward by shading them. You can take advantage of this to add more balance to your painting. I added some water to my dark mix of indigo and burnt umber to make it dark but not as dark as the trees that are in the front. If you go too dark with the shadows on these middle ground and background trees, it will look odd because they're very light in color to begin with. Now you can see it's already looking a bit more pleasing to the eye when some of those lighter trunks are shaded. I decide which ones I want to work on as I go. If you're not sure which ones you should be shading, step back from your painting to spot noticeable gaps and add the shadows in that spot. Remember, 2-3 layers of trees are enough to create depth. Fade the trunk base to include them into the ground. Suggests more trees on the edges of the sheet. Use at least one color consistently throughout the painting. Shades some trees to add balance to the piece. I cannot wait to see what this painting is going to look like, so let's head on to the last part and add some detail. 11. Mysterious Woods - Part 3 : Details: We are almost there. In this lesson, we're going to paint the details on our trees. Let's do it. We're going to use lemon yellow again to make those trees look more magical. Layering a color on top of other ones like this is also called glazing in watercolors. You can use this technique to make a common painting look more interesting. It's pretty easy to do. I use this technique a lot when I paint portraits. I like to use pinks to give this skin a healthier glow. Now we're going to add sections on our background and work on that sky some more. You can apply your colors starting with the lightest one wherever you'd like to emphasize a mysterious light passing through the forest. It's a different approach than the one we took with the first painting since this time, our sky was less intense. But now, we're coming back and adding color after the trees were painted. You can use this trick when you don't know exactly how your painting would look like once most elements here on the trees are in place, or if you want to render a special effect like this magical haze if there's such a thing. In any case, a base layer like the sky we painted is a must in my opinion, even if it's very pale because once you have that base layer on the paper, it's going to be easier to add colors on top of it where you want them and make it look bit still. I am adding my darker colors towards the edges. With indigo, I'm creating that impression of a mysterious haze raising from the back of the forest. That's the kind of effect that is going to be easier to create after the trees were painted. Here are two ways you can add these effects. You can wet the paper where you want the effect to be and apply it there, or from our control, you can also apply the paint first and fade all the harsh edges right away. You've done most of the work with the class, and now it's time to have some fun with the splatters and the highlights. These are my favorite parts in the painting, the finishing touches. Make your indigo paint runny enough that it's easy to splatter here and there. We'll keep those splatters on the snow. If you notice, there are no splatters coming out in one of the paintbrush. If on the opposite the droplets are too big, squeeze some water out of the brush. Now we're going to highlight the trees with a thick mix of gouache. I'm doing it a bit differently than the previous painting here because in this painting, it's going to be snowing and I'm trying to make it look like there's plenty of snow. So if you run your paintbrush on the trunks with such a thick mix, the trees are going to look like they're covered with snow, unlike the previous painting where we used gouache more as a regular way to highlight the trunks. All this bright white snow is also going to soften the dark looks of the trees. For the final snow splatters, make sure the gouache is a bit runny. Try to vary the direction in which you make those splatters. We have a thicker mix now. Let's add a few flakes randomly. We're ready to reveal now. There we have it, our second magical winter landscape. Go ahead and share yours to the project gallery of this class. Remember, use the glazing technique to add more life to any painting. Finish the background in the final stages to create various effects. Use white gouache to spice up your paintings and vary the direction for splatters. Well done. I hope you enjoyed this class as much as I did. I have a few more things to tell you in the conclusion, so let's see you there. 12. Before You Go Make More Magic: Congratulations for completing this class. You are now ready to go make some magic of your own with what we learned. Color mixing, transparency, lights and shadows, and perspective. Before you go, there's one thing that I would love for you to remember is that even though quantity supplies are always a plus, you don't need a wide variety of them to make the paintings you've always wanted to create. Before you go, please upload your projects in the project gallery on this class page so me and other students can leave you feedback and even help you out if you need it. Feel free to leave a review and follow me on Skillshare. You can even find me on Instagram and YouTube for weekly inspiration and behind the scenes. Thank you very much for taking this class with me today. See you next time.