Winter Landscape Watercolour - Step by Step | Emily Curtis | Skillshare

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Winter Landscape Watercolour - Step by Step

teacher avatar Emily Curtis, Artist/Painter

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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

8 Lessons (22m)
    • 1. About the Class

    • 2. Art Supplies

    • 3. Choosing the Colours

    • 4. Painting the Sky

    • 5. Painting the Hills

    • 6. Adding the Trees

    • 7. Finishing the Foreground

    • 8. Class Project

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About This Class

The winter season is finally here, and what better way to celebrate than by painting a magical evening snowy landscape?

In this class you’ll learn an easy process for painting a cool, winter landscape using watercolours. I’ll guide you step-by-step from choosing the colours to producing the finished piece. By the end of this class you’ll have your very own snowy painting and all the techniques you’ll need to recreate the piece in any colours you like.

In this class you will learn:

  • How to mix the colours for this winter landscape
  • How to paint a smooth gradient sky
  • How to use blues to paint shadows on snow
  • The step-by-step process of this watercolour snowy landscape

I recommend you have a little bit of practice with watercolours before attempting this painting. However, I have marked the lass for ‘all levels’ because everything is laid out easily for you to follow along.

If you like this class, please leave a review to help me improve.

Happy Painting!

E xx

Meet Your Teacher

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Emily Curtis




Hi there! I'm Emily Curtis.

I'm a full-time artist who specialises in acrylic and watercolour painting. I produce work which portrays atmosphere and emotion, often inspired by moments in nature and urban life.

My love of painting began as a child when I was mesmerised by the colours in the fields surrounding my home. I spent hours watching sunsets and soon became obsessed with recreating the beauty of the world on paper. Now, I use my art to prolong the moments that often feel too fleeting to be observed in everyday life.

I followed my passion into adulthood and gained a Fine Art Foundation Diploma from the University of Arts London. My art has also been seen in magazines such as 'World of Int... See full profile

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1. About the Class: Hello, my name's Emily curtis. I'm a full-time artist based in the UK and a specialise in acrylic and watercolor painting. Today, I'm going to show you how to paint this lovely snowy landscape, ready for the winter season. I recommend you have a little prior knowledge of watercolors for this class. However, I still think this cost is suitable for all levels because I'll be walking you through all the techniques step-by-step. Firstly, I'll take you through all the art supplies will be using and any replacements you can use. Then I'll show you how to mix all the colors will be using in this class. In the main section of this class, I'll show you how to paint this snowy landscape. And I'll be talking you through all the techniques step-by-step until we reach the final product for your class project, or you have to do is follow along and produce your own painting. Let's begin. 2. Art Supplies: Before we start the class, I'll just take you through all of the art equipment will be using and any replacements you can use. First up, we have watercolors. You don't need this exact set, just use whatever you've got. We'll be using watercolor paper in this class. I'll be using 300 GSM paper and it can be bought in paths like this. You'll want to secure that paper to the table using tape. I recommend using scotch tape. Then we have and the usual water pot and tissue to wash and dry your brushes. We'll be using two brushes in this class. One is a big square brush and it's a centimeter wide. The second is appointed brush. And this is incised three. If you don't have these exact brushes, just used the closest you have. If you don't have a pointed brush, used the smallest brush you have to paint in details. I'll also be using a pencil to draw out a brief sketch of the landscape. 3. Choosing the Colours: Before we start the class, I am going to take you through all the colors will be using and how to mix them. First up, we have the colors in the sky. We'll be using two colors in the sky. The first is ultramarine blue. And we'll be using this quite saturated because we're going to water it down when blending it into the gradient. The second color we'll be using is permanent rose. And we're using this slightly watered down so it's not too vibrant because we want to make a soft pink evening sky will be painting the shadows on the snow using a blue mixed from ultramarine blue and Prussian blue. Keep this quite watered down so it doesn't get too intense. We'll be painting the trees in black, which we're going to mix using ultramarine blue and burnt umber. If you've completed a few of my classes, then you'll know I prefer to mix my own blacks rather than just using the ones that come in the palette. This is because pre-made black can often grey colors out. Whereas black you mix yourselves, are far more harmonious with your paintings. The tree in our foreground will be painted using a darker, more intense version of the blue we used on our snow, mixed from ultramarine blue and Prussian blue. This is for the snow on the tree. And then we'll be using are black for the actual tree branches. Once again, mixing this using ultramarine blue and burnt umber. This time, we might want to mix in just a little bit more burnt umber than ultramarine. This will give the black S light greenish tint to it to reflect the dark green tree. I recommend you keep this color chart close to you when following the class so that you can refer back to it. 4. Painting the Sky: We're going to start this piece by painting the sky. As this is a land dominant painting, I've drawn my horizon two-thirds up my paper. And I've also drawn in the curve of some hills and a few rough markings for areas where I want to put in the trees. You can draw as many or as few hills as you like, depending on how complicated you want to make the painting. I recommend doing at least two hills so that you have a foreground and a background. Then I've got one tree close up just off to the left here, which is going to be the main focal point of the foreground. Keep your pencil marks light when you're drawing things in at this stage, watercolor is a very transparent medium. And we don't want the pencil markings to show through the painting. Once we finished, we're starting on the sky by covering it in water. I'm using my square brush for this. You can use something like tape or masking fluid to create a barrier. If you're worried about the paint going over into the snow. However, we are using the wet and wet technique here, which means that the paint will only bleed into the area that is wet. So long as you make sure to paint the nine very neatly on your horizon, then the paint should remain within the area you want it to leave the paper for about ten seconds to let the water sink in. Then we're ready to go in with our first color, which is ultramarine blue. And we're going to put this at the top of our sky, then blend it down to about halfway down the sky. Next, I'm going in with our second color, permanent rose. I'm painting this on the bottom half of the sky and blending it into the blue. Don't worry if your colors look a bit faint at the moment, because this is just the first layer. We're going to build up the intensity over the next few layers. You'll notice I started with my pointed brush and then switched to using my square brush. This is because I realized that I was going to get a much smoother finish with my square brush. I'm just going over the sky again here with MySQL brush to get a more even finish, what I recommend that you just start with using the square brush. Now leave your painting to dry before starting on the next layer. I'm starting the second layer covering the whole of my sky in the pink. This is so that we can have a base color of pink for the blue to blend into to get a really smooth gradient. Then I'm going in with my blue again. Make sure you're starting at the top of the painting and blending it down so that the color gets lighter as it goes down the painting. Don't worry too much about blending everything perfectly. Just leave the wet and wet technique to do the job. Now leave your painting to dry before starting on the next layer. Now I'm pretty much happy with how my gradient looks. I just want the blue at the top of the painting to be a bit more intense. So I'm covering my sky with clean water and then going in with my blue once again. Once you're happy with your sky, leave the piece to dry before moving on to the next lesson. 5. Painting the Hills: Now we're ready to start painting the hills. I'm switching over to using My pointed brush for this. First, we're going to mix up our blue from the color chart. And this is the color we're using to put in the shadows on the snow. We're going to start by basically covering the whole of that back hill in a light wash of blue. Use a tissue to dab away some of the paint whenever you feel that an area is getting too dark or two blue, makes sure the tops of your Hills are lighter than the bottom, because the bottom of the hills are more in the shadow. Painting snow can be quite tricky because it's almost like painting in negative space. The paper is white and snow is white. So we actually leave the areas of snow blank. And what we paint are the shadows and the other features. The areas of snow will then become more defined as we build up the rest of the painting. If that didn't make much sense to you, don't let it scare you. I am going to guide you through it as we paint the rest of the piece. If you look at pictures of snowy landscapes and particularly evening pictures, you'll notice that the snow takes on a blue hue to it when it's in the shade. So what we want to do is Tinto us know so that it has that blue hue to it. Because this is a landscape that set in the evening only leave the very lightest areas like the tops of the hills where the light can still just about shine upon white so that we can get in some contrast. Sometimes in the foreground, I'll use my brush when it has very little water on it. Turn it on its side like here, and just skim the side of it over the paper, almost like dry brushing. And then just let the paint settle in uneven areas to put a bit of texture into the painting. I'm only using one color for my shadows. So the way we're going to get in contrast and deeper shadows is to keep going back over the same areas once they've dried and adding another layer. By doing this, we're gradually darkening it and building up depth in the shadows. Use curved motions with your brush when painting the shadows on the hills to help describe the curve of the hills. This way we can start to see the shape of the landscape, as opposed to just putting in flat areas of light and darkness. You'll notice that I put down a bit of color and then I use my tissue to dab away some of the paint. Or I use clean water on my brush to blend to the color out. This is so that we don't end up with heart 9's all over the painting. Instead, we paint in the main area of shadow and then diffuse it out at the edges. Though it should be said, you don't need to have perfect smooth blending for this. In fact, that's not the M at all. Shadows are uneven. And particularly if you study pictures of landscapes and snowing landscapes, you'll see that there are areas of darker and lighter shadows all over the place. The beauty of this painting is it's actually very free, as long as the tops of your Hills are lighter than the bottom of your hills, Then you can pretty much put the shadows wherever you want from that. There are some things to consider though. For example, you might want to put more shadows around the areas where you're going to paint in the trees. Because think treelines will cast a shadow. You also want to put some shadows underneath the area where you're going to paint in the tree at the front of the painting, because that will cast a shadow as well. Once you're happy with the way your hills look, let your painting dry before moving on to the next lesson. 6. Adding the Trees: Make sure your work is fully dry before starting on this lesson. If it isn't, the trees might stop bleeding into the snow when we paint them. And that will create a bit of a mess. If your work is fully dry, then we're ready to start painting in the trees in the background. I'm mixing up my black and then painting the trees in using small vertical, downward strokes with my pointed brush. Keep your brushstrokes really light so that you're using just the tip of your brush to get sharp, fine lines to create the silhouette of trees. Most of your brush strokes should be quite close together to show the type of thick tree line we often see on mountains. Then occasionally add just a few trees slightly further away from that tree line so that we break it up just a little. Generally speaking, these types of trees do have a harsh border where they stopped growing. And there's a very obvious break between areas where the trees growth and where they don't grow. So we don't need to bother with p tearing out the trees gradually. What we usually see with these trees is a FUN break where the majority of the trees stop growing with just one or two slightly separated from that. You can't be quite clever with the placement of your trees. You'll notice that I'm painting the trees along the lines of my Hills. This is so that they accentuate the form and shape of the landscape, which is really going to help create that sense of depth. We want to see. Although all of these trees are technically in the background, you don't want to paint them getting slightly bigger as they get closer to the foreground so that we can put some depth into a landscape. But don't make them too big because they are still quite far away from us. My trees do get a little bit more shape to them. As they get closer to the foreground. They're still only silhouettes. But you might notice that for the ones in the very background, I just use downward strokes of my brush as they get closer to the foreground. I'm also wiggling my brush slightly as I go down the tree to create that triangular Christmas tree shape. Once you've finished painting your trees, leave your work to dry before moving on to the next lesson. 7. Finishing the Foreground: Alright, now we're ready to finish off the foreground. To do this, we're going to paint an artery at the front of the picture. Firstly, I'm mixing up that same blue we used for the shadows on the snow. But this time just a little bit darker so that it stands out against the shadows we've already got on the snow. Makes sure the color is really watery so that you can apply it smoothly. Then I'm using the very tip of my pointed brush to paint whether snow has settled on the branches of the tree. Make sure you're only painting whether snow is for this step. We will be painting in the branches and the rest of the tree afterwards. Feel free to put in quite large areas of snow. Because often, if the snow is thick, like it is here, then it will settle in a large blob over several branches. If you're having trouble visualizing where the snow on the tree might go, you can either follow my brushstrokes exactly, or you can look up some images online to get a feel for the type of shape we're going for. Once you've finished painting the snow, leave that to dry completely before starting on painting the branches, make sure the snow is completely dry before painting in the branches. Or else the branch will bleed into the snow and then we won't get to see the form of the tree. Now, I'm mixing up my black from last lesson and I'm using the very tip of my brush to paint the tree branches in underneath the snow. I'm using where I painted this note as a general guideline for the shape of the tree. Used short spiky motions to paint the branches. Because the shape of these trees is made up of lots of small branches. You might be wondering why I'm using black instead of green to paint the tree. This is because in the low lighting of the evening, when this painting is set, it can be quite difficult to actually see all of the colors in the darkness. So things like dark greens on trees would actually appear more gray or black. You could paint a few blades of grass coming through the snow around the bottom of the tree. The snow is generally thinner underneath trees, so we often see a bit of grass or rocks coming through. This will also help to blend the bottom of the tree into the snow instead of just having a harsh line where the trunk of the tree sits on top of this node. Once you're happy with your painting, leave the painting to dry before peeling off the tape. 8. Class Project: Here is the finished piece, up-close feel class project. Try creating your own watercolor snow landscape by following along with my instructions. Don't forget to post your results down below as I'd love to see them. And if you post a results on Instagram, do tag me so I can feature you in my stories. Do leave a review as it helps me out a lot. And if there's anything you want me to do a class on, let me know. You can find more of my work on Instagram at art of Emily Curtis, and on my website, www dot mit curtis dot art. I hope you enjoyed this class and I'll see you in the next one.