painting white in watercolor | Erin Kate Archer | Skillshare

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painting white in watercolor

teacher avatar Erin Kate Archer, art & illustration

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (1h 17m)
    • 1. trailer

      0:25
    • 2. supplies

      2:34
    • 3. studies

      25:44
    • 4. swan walk through

      35:14
    • 5. white floral walk through

      12:52
    • 6. project

      0:29
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About This Class

painting whites in watercolor is one of the most difficult aspects of the medium as you're not able to layer white paint as you can in others like oil & acrylic. in this class, we'll cover a range from traditional fine art methods to modern mixed media techniques for creating white subjects in watercolor, and walk through two complete pieces step by step. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Erin Kate Archer

art & illustration

Top Teacher


erin kate archer is a new york-based artist & illustrator with an ethereal, magical style. her work aims to calm, comfort, and soothe the soul. from immersive knitted seascapes and pastel galaxies to charming children’s book illustrations –  erin makes what was once a static image a tranquil visual journey. 

 

erin is the illustrator of finbar & fiona; was selected for the sing for hope NYC piano painting project; is a skillshare top teacher, and has created work for a number of consumer brands. 

 

follow along with her on instagram, check out her portfolio for some finished projects, and... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. trailer: Painting white subjects in watercolor, is one of the most difficult aspects of the medium as you're not able to simply layer white paint as you can in other mediums like oil and acrylic. In this class, we'll cover a range from traditional finite methods to modern mixed media techniques for creating white subjects in watercolor, and walk through to complete pieces was shared reference photos step-by-step. If you'd like to learn how to paint whites and watercolor, let's get into it. 2. supplies: We're going to start out with supplies. I will link all of these in the class PDF so feel free to go and download that. But of course we will need paper. I either use Canson paper for quick studies and sketches, or just playing around, and I'll use Arches paper for more intense or finished pieces. Masking tape, paper towels, water, normal watercolor pieces. I have this size eight silver black velvet brush which is the most used in my collection. That will be the one I use the most here. Prima watercolors in the classics is what we're going to use the most, but I'm also going to recommend you get a buff titanium and a Payne's gray. These are from Daniel Smith, but you can find them in a lot of different palettes. These are just the ones I use. We will need a pencil for sketching. Designers go wash in white, white ink and a masking fluid pen. This one's really dirty. Sorry about that. I get very good use out of it, but let's get on to the studies. For our studies, we're going to go through a variety of different techniques. The first being the typical Fine Art technique where for watercolor you're technically not supposed to use any white ink or white paint. You're supposed to just use the white of the paper. I have an example of a piece. I did hear of some clouds, which by the way, if you're interested in learning how to paint clouds like these, I do have a whole class on that. I'll be sure to link it. We can see that there's no white paint, there's nothing here. There's just the white of the paper. There's a few different ways you can do that. We're going to look at masking fluid and pulling away paint, but this is the generally accepted define our method. Next, we have some white roses here. You can see even though I've used a tint to the paper, it's not technically a white paint. We have clearly what are supposed to be white roses. One of the reasons they look white even though they are different, darker color on the white paper is because we have this great contrast with the dark green of the leaves. It's sort of the concept of if everything's bold, nothing's bold. If everything's white, nothing really looks white. Especially when you're doing this kind of loose on just a little bit of a tent to show your white pieces. But sometimes you're not able to use a muted color or able to leave all of your white specs, for example, a bunch of stars. I really like to use this technique of using white paint or white ink, or even white pen in order to add a really bright white highlight to my pieces. I think even though this is not technically accepted as a watercolor technique, using this mixed media can create really beautiful results, and isn't that the end goal in most your pieces? 3. studies: Now we can move on to our studies. For the first one, we are going to use the classic fine art technique of just using our best judgment and keeping the white of whatever we're drawing, the negative space. For this one, I'm going to do a dark background with a white rose bud. I'm going to start by using my mechanical pencil here and just sketching out the basic shape of a rose bud. I'll leave all of my finished pieces in the class PDF. If you want to use that as a reference as we go along, you can most certainly do that. I'm just making a simple outline of the petals and the leaves that surround it. Then I'm going to take my kit and start by mixing up a dark color. Since this is still an earthy piece, I'm just going to take the greens and the blues and just have a blurry background, like if you had a good depth of field technique, if you are taking a picture. I'm going to add some black and some blue to my greens. Then being very careful to not paint within the row sketch, I am going to fill in the background. You can see that this one can be a little more time consuming because you have to be a little bit more precise, especially around those edges. Remember that you want to keep the background really dark in order for the whites to really pop. Especially in this case, because we will have also the greens of the stem and the leaves, so we'll need to have the contrast with that as well. I'm going to start with just a simple layer, and then I'm going to go back in and add some spots of darker. That's my first wash. I'm going to mix up some more paint and use that to just increase my contrast in some areas. This can be really effective too, if you're creating that depth of field, adding some little pieces. That's a bush back there or some other leaves, or if you added some spaces that were blotted out, it could be some more petals, but ends up looking very nice. Since this is just a study, I'm going to leave it as this. I might work it a little bit more if I were doing a completed piece. But next, I would say if you are worried about your flower bleeding into your background, then you would want to let this dry completely. But since I live on the edge, I'm just going to go ahead and go with the next bit. I'm just going to mix up a very pale blue color. It's going to be mostly water with just a bit of blue pigment. I'm going to use this light blue here. I'm going to use that to create my shadows within the rose. Since I have a petal just going around here, this where the shadow will go. A little bit curving this way, and a little bit on these edges. Then using a clean brush, I'll just point that out. This technique can be really easy to overwork, because it seems like most of this is the paper which it is, but you don't want to leave too much of the piece to being painted. You want to leave a lot of it white in order to really drive that home. I'll let that dry and then I might go into one more layer, but I'm going to try to contain myself and not do too much more, and then I will do the petals as well, first, excuse me, the greens. Darken the petals up, I'm just going to use the same exact color and just add another layer, darkening up these areas in particular where I have sketched out the beginnings of the curled petals. If you want to look at reference pictures, you can always do that, I highly recommend it. I'm just making sure that I use common sense for lighting and how things are folded to make mine. Now it's time for the petals. I'm actually going to stick with a very similar color because I'm imagining if this rose bud is in a jumble with all the background that's creating this piece. I'm going to use just less black and just create a really cool toned green and fill that in. Again, if you're worried about it bleeding, you want to have your paint dry completely before you move onto this next step. But I like the bleeds as well. It's the beauty watercolor that you get that effect. I'm not too upset if that happens. Then I am just going too with a clean brush, add in any final detailed bits. I'm just darkening up some of these shadows here. Then it gets quickly to the point where you can easily overwork it. Before I do, I am going to put my brush down. Now we've got a very nice rose bud. You can really tell that with the contrast, with the background makes it really effective. For our next piece here, we're going to use a very similar technique, but rather than having to be very careful and leave our main focus subject white, we're going to use our masking fluid pens. For this one, I'm just going to make a few simple bud-shaped pieces with my pen. Then once these dry, we can go over without worrying too much about keeping this clean. This technique is really helpful if you want to say, create a lot of texture into the background and you don't have to worry about it bleeding into the subject. If you wanted to say, add some salt texture or add drops of alcohol in, it can be really nice to be able to do that here. I'll let this dry, make sure you don't use a hairdryer with it because it can make it so that the paper will lift off with the masking fluid. I'll let this dry by itself, and then we'll come back to do the painting. Now that our masking fluid is dry, I'm just going to mix up a color for my sky here, I'm just going to mix that with the navy blue and the purple for a lilac sky. I'm going to first wet my brush and then with just a tiny bit of pigment fill this in, because I'm going to do a bit more of a wet on wet for the sky. But you could do whatever you like. Just to show how masking fluid makes it so easy, I can literally just make my brush go over here. If I wanted to say add some salt, be really easy to do at this point. I'm just going to take my brush and dab in pigment and I'm making sure to not leave any light spaces around each of the buds because then they will just fade away. Got to get that contrast. I'm just filling all this in, and I will probably will let this dry and then do one more coat. One more layer to make sure it's dark enough for our buds to really be at the center stage. I've chosen a blue and purple here, so it's like a dusk, like dams at dusk. It's not completely dry, but at this point I feel like I can still build up my layers of pigments. I'm just going to keep on working on adding a little bit more, and darkening up this background. One of the things I love about this prima marketing watercolor pellets is that a lot of the colors are really granulating, so it creates some great texture when you're working wet-on-wet. The next step in this study piece is to let the background completely dry before we peel off the masking fluid. While we're waiting for that we'll work on the next study. The next one is pretty simple. We will be pulling away pigment. If you took my watercolor clouds class, you've probably seen this already where you can use a paper towel or other pieces of absorbent materials to dab away the paint. But just a quick note that some pigments pull away differently than others, so if you have a big piece planed where you want a specific color for say, a sky, you might want to do some swatches and see how well it pulls away. I'm just going to quickly wet my page here and just have it go all the way. Then I'm going to take some blue mix with the tiniest bit of orange to doll it down a little bit, which makes the perfect color for sky, and I'm going to have a nice flat wash that gets maybe a little bit lighter towards the bottom. This is all old news if you've taken my watercolor clouds class. But it's a really helpful way to visualize how pulling away the pigment can work. I've got that here. I'm going to take my paper towel and just crumple it up until I've got an irregular tip and just rub away in an incident or regular manner for some easy clouds. At this point, if you can either leave it or I will usually just go in and add a little bit more darkness just for that extra bit of contrast. Some fun things you can do with this technique, you can experiment with different materials for pulling it away. Obviously, paper towels is a fan favorite, but you can also use Q-tips for very specialized pulling away. You can use a blink brush and then scrub away, it doesn't really work well for clouds, but it does work really well if you need to scrub away say, a highlight on a piece. You can also use a magic eraser, they're cleaning erasers, they actually pull wet paint really well, so if you have a stubborn pigment that you really want to use, I'd say to give that a shot. Next up, we're just going to wait a minute for both of these to dry, and then we'll peel away our masking fluid. Now we're ready for the fun part for this piece, you can see how this one has dried really nicely and you can really tell that these are supposed to be white clouds, and there's no doubt about that. You can see here where I rubbed it away with my brush, how it has a really different effect than the places where I just dab it away with my paper towel. But for this piece, we can now take off the masking fluid, and you can either use an eraser for this, but I usually just like to use my fingers. You can see how they are perfectly crisp lines, and you can either leave it like this, and it really depends on the [inaudible] that you are going for, or you can just go ahead and go in with just a little bit of shadow, so that's not so stark against your background, up to you. Our next technique is one of my favorites, and it's a little bit less fine art than the previous there, but we're going to do a relaxed floral. This modern floral is really popular right now. If you look on Instagram, you will definitely see it a lot, and it's similar to the white rose piece I showed you earlier. To start out, we're going to mix up our colors, and I've already prepped my palette here. It's just really important to have some clean workspace to work with. I've got grays in each of them, and then I have a cobalt blue here, a lemon yellow, and then a magenta color. If you know anything about graphic design or printing methods, you might recognize these colors from the CMYK spectrum. K stands for black, but the other three stand for these. I've got gray to dull them down, and I'm just going to mix these together with lots of water and make sure I clean my brush really well in between. Here we have three opalescent colors is how I really like to describe and it's really one of my favorite techniques because it's luminous and it's really nice for if you're doing clouds or flowers or anything where the light is shining through, but if you don't want to go through the hustle of mixing the three different colors, you can also use the buff titanium or [inaudible] Payne's gray, which is what I did for this piece rather than mixing up the three different colors, I just used buff titanium for the base of the flowers and then damped in the Payne's gray for the shadows. But for a little bit more advanced, we're going to go ahead and use this technique instead. I'm going to start out with my yellow mix and just do my basic, very relaxed floral. Just creating some strokes for the petals, and it might be hard for you to see on camera, but I swear there's pigment in this water. But the great thing about this is that when it dries, it'll get a bit, little bit lighter and so I can add in where I want to and just use it almost like a sketch at first. Then I will go in with the pink mixture and dab that in a little bit of different places where there might be a little bit more shadow, then going in with my blue mixture, dab that where it should be the darkest. I'm just using that in the bottom of the petals in the center where they're really folded onto each other, any areas like that. I am going to go in with just a little bit of gray, just darken it up as I see fit. Again, just like always, it's important to have some contrast here so I'm going to go back to my other palette. This one was just using for mixing, and I'm going to go in with a really nice deep green and just add in a stem. I'm going to add a new leaf as well. I just feel like the more contrast there is, the more striking the piece become. You can see how easy that was and you can use this in a lot of different techniques. Obviously, you don't need to make flowers each time, but if you are doing simple pieces or just relaxed types of illustrations, it can be really great for them. We'll let it dry and we'll go on to the next one which is another favorite for me, which is adding gouache or white ink onto black, so I'm going to pour onto dark, I suppose it doesn't need to be black. This technique is really good for adding more texture, so if you are making sea foam on top of other subjects, it's really good for that sort of. Okay. We're going to start over on that one. The next technique is adding gouache or white ink onto a dark surface. This is really great because it adds more texture and it's really good for things that need to appear very clearly on top of other things. For example, sea foam on top of really thin layers of water, if you're drawing seascapes. You can also mix in a little bit of color to get different variations. For example, if you're drawing stars, you can do white gouache with just a little bit of yellow or a little bit of blue mixed in for a little different warmth or coolness to your stars, and it can also be really great for using on top of watercolor and you can draw on it like you're using a tinted paper. But for this one, we're going to do just some simple stars because that's one of my favorite things to do. I'm just mixing up a blue-black and then going over this and I'm not worrying too much about where the paint goes because the granulation creates really nice space-like effect, and I'm going to dry this and do another layer to make sure it's nice and dark. You can see the way the paint spread. It has created a nice maybe misty cloud looking. I'm going to just do another layer here, that nice blue-black and just to know about using ink versus gouache, gouache generally is less and tense, so it's really good for that sea foam we were talking about earlier and I prefer ink when I'm doing stars. I'm going to use that here and while my paper is still a bit wet, I'm actually going to go in with my ink and a small brush, and just make a few dots so that they can spread out and create a glow on my paper and again here if you wanted to add some blue or some white here to the pigment, then you can have some different tinted stars. We'd get nice fuzzy bits of stars here and we'll let that completely dry before we do the rest of them. Going back to my small brush and maybe with just a little bit of water add it to my pigment, I am going to flush all my stars here, and if you want to learn more about painting starscapes and galaxies, I have class in that as well. I'm just creating little cross shapes and you can see how that really bright white makes a huge difference against the black background, and then I'm going to go ahead and just add a few dots here and there. You can also, for doing stars like this, take a flat brush or even a toothbrush and do some splatters, it creates really nice effect. If you need really skinny lines, you can also use a white pen, this is just a white gel pen and I'll just go through and create a few more stars and maybe help out the bigger stars with little more rays of light, and it's just really helpful to get a balanced view. You'll do something with a lot of precision what you can really get with a white pen. There we go, and then for the last one, it's a little bit different, not so much watercolor. This is more like ink and watercolor. If you're doing an illustration, which can be really helpful if you are doing something, let's say, is going to be on a white background, like if you have illustrating a book or a scene. For this one, you could do anything you want, but I'm just going to do work like a coffee cup. Make sure you use a waterproof pen, these are micron pens and I am just going to do a quick coffee cup, and truly you can do anything you want for these studies. Don't feel like you need to copy exactly what I did, but you most certainly can, if it makes you feel more comfortable. I'm just going over my pen, just to get nice thick black lines and so with this you don't have to worry about making sure that you have enough separation between your paper and your painting, and make sure it's really bright white. Now what I'm going to do is just take the same paint mixture that I did for the rose petal, for the first one. Just have a really pale, mostly water, light blue and just use that for my shadows, still leaving plenty of the paper for white but this one makes it a lot quicker. If you're just trying to get something down quickly in showing that it's white, this is a really good technique to use and I can just add more pigment where I need to and not worry about having really dark contrast because we have it already with the pen. I'm just going to fill up my cup, some coffee here, and there you go. You've got six different methods of creating white paintings in watercolor from most excepted fine art to cheating the system a bit. 4. swan walk through: Now that we've got some skills under our belt, we're going to go ahead and do a full piece. We're going to start out with using some of the more fine art techniques that we learned in our studies. I have included the reference image of the swan across sparkling water in the class notes so you can go ahead and follow along with me. I've already done my sketch here. I've kept it really light, and that's important for watercolors, especially if you're doing white so that the pencils doesn't show through it too much. I'm not sure if you're going to be able to see it on camera, but it is really important to have your sketch be as accurate as possible so that you don't have to worry so much about where you're painting around as you go, especially if you're doing water, which can be a lot of abstract shapes. To start out, we're going to be using our masking fluid and this is a super fine nib. You could also use a tiny brush and I'm going to start by adding that to all of the spots which are like that blinding highlight from the water. It's good to know if you get a big air bubble, you can take a q-tip and just dab it down a little bit. With these masking fluid pens, you have to be really gentle or you have to push really hard. It just depends on the type you have. I would do want to keep some of these blobs more circular than others. Some of them are going to merge together to create bigger highlights like this spot over here. I'm not going to worry about that, but some of them I do want to keep separate so it's a little more sparkly. It's good to have a big variation in size as well. You'll see in the reference image some of the spots are little tiny bits and other ones are larger, oblong shapes. When you're sketching your water too, it can be helpful to just draw those circles in their negative shape to make sure you have the right size and everything so that when you go in with the masking fluid you know where to put them. You want to try to make sure that they're not equally spaced out like it's a grid, nature doesn't do it like that. As I get closer to the viewer, I'm going to make sure that my sparkles get bigger. We also have a few that are around here, the ripples that the swan is making and some nice big highlights all by the swan's head. We'll let this dry and then we'll come back to start the painting. We're going to start out now that the masking fluid is dry with the water. We're going to start out with the lighter color for water so basically the parts that are around down these reflective drops. I'm going to mix a blue and a green together. It's three-quarters blue with a quarter green, and then just a dot of orange to dull the color down a little bit so it's not so bright. With a wet brush with no pigment on it, I'm going to go around all of these. It did have a little bit pigment. I'm just grabbing a paper towel and I'll just dab that up. So a clean brush with just water in it and then we're going to go around everywhere the water is being sure to stay away from where the feathers start. This isn't so much about learning how to paint white as it is learning how to paint light reflections, but I still think that it's pretty important when you're painting something white. Basically, what we're doing is keeping the masking fluid dots, those brightest highlights and then going around those bright highlights with the gradual darker colors until it fades into the shadows. That's what gives you that really bright shining look. So then we're going to go in with our paint and we just want to work quickly so that we have that wet on wet technique before the water dries, excuse me. We'll just let it all float around these dots. If you're nervous about not making it in time, you might want to mix up your paint ahead of actually painting it so that you have a big puddle to work with so you don't have to worry about mixing it up as you go, like I'm doing. Again, it looks a little harsh when I first put it on. But with the watercolors, things always double down and are less vibrant as they dry, so I'm not too concerned with that. Our paper's still pretty wet, but I'm going to go ahead and start painting some of these areas that are softer highlights. They are still a lighter color, but they're not like our blinding highlights of where the masking fluid is. If you look at your reference photo, you can see the slight waves on the upper right hand corner. I'm just going to add them now so that they can be a little softer and we can go flush them out later if we want. Doing the same down here. At this point, that just looks messy, but it'll come together. Again, trying to stay away from the actual swan. If you are uncomfortable with making sure that your brush just doesn't touch the swan, you can also outline him in your masking fluid, it's another option. But I hate waiting for it to dry, and the more you use the longer it seems to take to dry. Make sure you're always moving in the direction that the water is going. So here we have this kind of swoop around where the ripples are going to be, and then here it sweeps out to the right. As long as you can, you want to make sure you move in that direction. We're going to let this dry up just a little bit until it's not pulling at all. You should still be able to see a little bit of a reflection if you go at an angle, but you want to have a little bit more control when we go on with our next layer. I'm going to use a hair dryer. Great, so I'm going to work on flushing out a little bit more of the water here. I'm going to take my brush and I'm going to mix up that again, that three-quarters blue with a quarter green, but I'm going to add a little bit of red this time to add a darker shadow with my little dot of orange. This way we'll be able to have a darker color without using our black, so we can save that for our final touch-ups if we would want. When I do my sketch, I had tried to outline the, I can't even call them waves they're just tiny modulations in the water. I tried to outline them the best I can, but really it comes down to really abstract shapes. You just want to pay attention with how the photo looks, which is why it's helpful to have such a great reference picture. You can see how the paper is still letting my paint spread because it's still wet here, which is really nice for creating that soft technique. If it's not leaving a soft edge, I'll just take a wet brush and soften it up. Don't worry about having it be too dark because as we talked about before, watercolor always dries lighter. Then I go ahead and take my paper towel and dab away some of these areas for the highlights. Try to keep it delicate. They get a lot darker as we get down towards the viewer because the light source is coming from this direction. So we've got the shadow coming out from behind the swan, excuse me. I'm not going to be shy by adding a little bit of darker color right over here. I'm really taking my brush now and I'm just going through and darkening up this whole area, where we have our shadows. Then it bleeds into the top upper right. I'm going to take some of that dark color and move into where our highlights are because we need some of that contrast in order to make sure that the sparkles standout. Again, just keeping away from the swans feathers in the back. Now I'm going to mix with a little bit of a darker color. Just start adding more dimension. Remembering to move in the direction of the water. Just remember that the more water you use both on the paper and on the brush, the more it's going to spread. You can just experiment with how blurry of an effect do you want in the background. If you want it to be more sharp, you should wait for it to dry completely. But as we're having the swan in the foreground, we don't really need all the attention to be on the water in the background. But you can experiment until you get the kind of effect you like. We're going to let this dry and come back to do some more details in the water. Okay. I'm just going back in and just add some of the darker shadows. You can see how I have my nice strong lines now. I'm going to soften these later, but then you can be sure that where you put the paint is where it's going to stay. You can see before that spread out everywhere which makes it look nice and soft. But it went to some places where I don't want to go. Just take a clean brush with water in it and soften it out. Again, you can just experiment until you get the effect you like for your water. You can also go in with a dry brush on a dry painting and just scrub out some of the ways like we talked before. If you've got too much pigment, you always have that in your back pocket. Levering up is always good for water because there's a lot of dimension, so it helps a lot to have a few layers of color. I have some ripples over here, so I'm just going to add those using just the tip of my brush with a right hand. That's why these round brushes are so great because you can really get a variety of shapes using just this one brush. It just depends what angle you're holding it up, and how hard you're pressing. Understandings more whisker strokes here for those ripples. This is looking pretty good for the water. Once we have the swan painted, then we'll be able to come back and touch up to see how dark we wanna keep it because right now looking at this big whitespace, it looks pretty dark. But once we've painted in the shadows there, we'll be able to re-evaluate. I'm going to make myself, stop messing with the water, and we can move on to painting our swan. To start out, I'm going ahead and have a really clean brush and mix up the playlist yellow. So it's going to be basically dirty water is just a tiny bit of your water. Now I've got a scrap piece of paper, so I'll just show you if you can barely even see the color that should be around this level it's so light, and we're going to use that as our main shade for the body. We're going to leave the very tips of the wings that's over to the left because it's to the sparkles and the light source. I'm going to leave those completely blank as well as the back closest to the light source, and then the rest we're going to fill in with the yellow excluding the back of the head and in this little pocket in the neck as well, because it's catching the light. Those will be our brightest bright shop for highlights. I'm taking my clean brush and softening up that edge and I'm going to dab it away if any too much yellow pigment gets onto those white feathers. Now the mix part is optional, so you don't have to do it if you don't want to, but I'm going to also mix up a pale blue. Basically the same level as the yellow into pale pink and this opalescent trio gives a really nice light reflected quality to the feathers. But if you want to, you can just leave it with this yellow and put into shadows like we're going to do after this. I'm just adding my pale pink and my pale blue, and I'm just going to add those along the parts where the shadows are going to be. I'm starting with the pink and then moving into the blue. It's fun to do this too, if you are doing it on what technique because you can really see those colors take life on their own. Of course I'm staying away from the parts we left white before, adding a little bit of blue for a little more dimension. I'm not worried about leaving the beak color because since going to be dark color, we'll go over later. I'm just softening this out with a wet brush and we're going to let this dry before we come back to add some shadows in. Now we have these beautiful light colors, I don't know if you'll be able to see them on my video camera, but I'll try to get enclosed and show you them, but next we're going to go ahead and do our shadow. I'm actually going to pick up my payne's gray for our shadows. You can also mix together just a really light wash of like a dark blue or black if that's what you have. I'm using my payne's gray with lots of water and we're going to start building up our shadow. We're starting with a light wash and I can see the shadows are really strong to carve up with the head. The back of the head is the first one, so I'm going to start with those because I feel like those are really important for making it look realistic. I'm just adding in my shadows so when I get towards the ends of the feathers I'm just using the tip of my brush. Didn't make those a little more delicate. So this entire wing is basically clipped and shadow. I'm just taking that in mind as I create these and then we have this edge here which stays light, which is great because it adds that contrast between the dark of the water. Then we have around here, the whole neck area is quite dark. Leaving that space above of the neck and on the top of the head. You can already start to see it come together based on how the shadows create the shapes versus that big flat blob we have before. Adding my shadows over here. Just trying to think if the light is coming this way, where the shadows happen. I'm leaving this little dip on the back of the neck. We'll be darkening things up as we go along so if it looks up to right now, don't worry. Some feathers, shadows here you can still see the different pinks and blues that we added before underneath the shadow just really nice. I'm just plugging in this big shadow here, and I'm using a really light brush to add some texture to the feathers on the back here. Adding later strokes for the feathers, trying to keep them in groups so you can suggest that they are making those shadows based on the feathers, not just like pieces of dark right here. Four goes into the body. I'm going to keep darkening up these shadows on the same spots until I'm happy with the dimension that we have especially in these areas where it's far away from the light. Right by the neck I'll make sure that's extra dark. But keeping this little bit right here lighter, because that's actually pieces way. So we want that to match the shadows that we have over here. If you're having trouble seeing how the shadows are working you can also squint your eyes and that increases your contrast. So you can tell where you need to darken up or where you maybe need to lift something. I'm looking now and it looks like I could lift a little bit right here where the back comes in. I'm just going to rub that away to an interesting post. This ones are really interesting shapes. We've got this line right here that shows where he's bending. Okay, I'll let this layer dry, and then we can come back and add some more details. I am just taking the edge of my brush now. I'm going to add some hints of feathers on the top here. You want to keep them alternating not like right above each other, so they fit like rakes. Or they're layered one on top of another. We ensure to lose it as they goes into the shadow. I'm going in with a black now, just to darken up. The neck where it's so far away from the light, and let it blend into the shadows here. By keeping it clean on the other side, so you can tell where the neck happens. I'm going to add one more line. Right on the edge here. He would just be sitting on the water and just blend that out. Then I'm going to take my brush on the dry head here and just add in this fold. I'm going to add in the darkness of the beak as well. I'm just using the very tip of my brush to add this in. Then I'm going to mix up a red. Rather just a hint to that one unit, and a little bit brown as well, that will be for the beak. Leaving a space in between the black and the brown- red, so that they can stay separate. Great ball water has had quite of a long time to dry now, so we can go ahead and peel off our masking fluid. The benefit of having your subjects be in the middle. If you want to dry while the rest of your pieces being worked on. Be careful around any places that are still wet like my beak here is still wet. Really jacked when I go over there. We have all our sparkles here. They're really stuck at this point. I'm just going to take my brush with that same blue-green, color we did before and just lighten them up a little bit so that they're not so harsh. I will also sometimes take an older brush or a cheaper brush and just rub out the unseen around the edges. That can help soften up the pigment as well. But I don't like keeping them super bright because I do like that effect. Softening up the edges helps a little bit. Now that we've done that, we can take a step back a little bit and see where our water needs a little more detail. I think it needs to be way darker around this area. I'm going to mix up a darker version of that blue-green, and just add in a bunch of shadows. I'm starting here and am leaving my ripples where I can. I'm just going on within a basically, black, almost black color. Being careful not to completely erase the white highlights we've made. That's good doing. It doesn't look so stuck. I'm going to make sure I bring it around and when it blend up into these lighter parts of the lake or pond or whatever this is. You can see how it bends around this highlight here. Then around these guys too. Now we also have a darkened spot right here, as well as on this piece, where we have our highlights. There's little bits of darkness. I'm going to go ahead and soften this up around the corners. Make sure we have all of our waves in place. I'm just going to add a little bit of darkness here too, obviously you can mess with this forever. It feels like it can never be done. Especially with water, you really need to take a step back. I recommend you take your painting and put it on a bookshelf or something and take an actual literal step back. You can see exactly how that's actually coming out. I'm taking that same dark color and I'll add just some of the details of the shadows and the ripples over here. Keeping away from our little masking fluid ice. These dark ripples happen within these little circles. We're looking pretty good. I'm just going to darken up a little bit more on the places that are really important for creating the actual shape of this guy. He's got a bit of a reflection of a feather at there. I'm going to put that in as well. Darken up underneath this wing. It's amazing how much shadows you have to add to get an actual figure. Darkening up around his head too. This part's super white, but then it fades into darkness. There's a big middle section there. I'm going to make sure it stays true to it. Just softening up here, dabbing it away, and making it really stuck. I'm going to add another layer of black to the bill. Certain it's super black. If you want, you can use ink in this point. But we're trying to stay on a level of actual fine art watercolor. They would little bit frowned upon that, but I won't tell. We're looking really good. I think at this point I will peel off my tapes so we can get a good look at the piece of the whole. We're looking really good. I really like how this turned out. I'm going to go ahead and take my white ink. I'm just going to outline the edge of the sky. Make sure we have that nice contrast between the water and his feathers. Of course, this isn't the really strict fine watercolor technique. But at the end of the day you want to make a piece that you like. So you need to add a little ink and make it look how you want it to look. I don't think that should be a problem. Plus this works really well to add those really fine details. Sometimes watercolor does not permit you to do. I'm going to add just a little bit of fluff around the feathers here. Because that's something that's really difficult to get the masking fluid because it it just doesn't look like it's laying over the water, in my opinion. You can also make sure that all of your highlights are in order, you can just add a few here and there because you have such a small instrument. I'm just going to let this dry and then I'll sign it. There we have it. We have a white swan made in watercolors. 5. white floral walk through: For our next piece, we're going to be using more modern techniques in the last section of our studies. I've already squeezed out some of my buff titanium and my Payne's gray and a little bit of white goulash, and I've provided the reference picture I'm looking at in the class description, although I'm not going to stay completely true to it. I don't want to copy it, file from file, but for buds. I'm going to create my own piece, so I will also include the finished piece in the reference materials if you want to use that as your reference as well. To start out, I'm going to take that really pale pink color, and I'm going to use that to start the big rows in the center, and I'm just using small c strokes with the tip of my brush and then letting them overlap a little bit to create the petals, and then I'll increase their size as I go out. They're a little bit more thick and thin, and at this point you're keeping it really light, it's basically like the sketching portion, and if you prefer, you can always do pencil sketch first. Just make sure you basically completely erase it. When you go search the lightest of references signs for you to use. We're leaving a lot of white space for that modern floral technique that's really popular right now. Now I'm going to take a little bit of buff titanium, dip that into the flower. That's acting as our light yellow wash and then just a little bit of blue as well, or you can use your Payne's gray as well, it will act as our shadows, but make sure you want to keep it light. I'm just adding the darker colors on the insides of the petals where the shadows will go. We can do that for the other roses, but for this flower that's down here with the yellow centers, I'm going to use the titanium. You can see that it's a different breed of flower and right now I'm just going to start with the light petals and then I'm going to dip into a bright yellow, and just dab my brush in the center to see those little statements. If your colors laden together, you can develop, if you don't like it, but I love how those bleeds look, I think it adds a nice effect. We're going to go back in with our pale pink, create more roses. Just creating those c curved shapes and doing the same thing with creating a few buds here and there. I'm going to skip the purple flowers and just use the reference picture to pick up those white ones. I'm going to do one right here and there's some happening right here in the background, one right here as well. What's really important to remember for florals and white ones in particular is, they have that contrast we talked about. I'm just making sure that that is topping my priorities. We can gauge how everything else is going to look. I'm going to take a green and darken it up with a darker blue, and I am going to dab it in here, so you can have that bleed which makes really convincing bud effect. I'm also going to add a few buds over here, just like our reference picture has. There's a couple amount here as well, and then I'm going to add a few leaves. We can always come back and add more, but this helps gauge how dark everything else needs to go. To make the leaves, I'm just pressing the tip of my brush to the page and then pulling down and applying more pressure where the body of the leaf is and then doing the same on the other side, leaving a gap. I'm just going to do that all over, and overlapping; that's all fine, especially in these areas where there's a dead space between the flowers, I'm going to make sure to add those and I can even have them curl up into the flowers, if that is what you prefer. I'm going to leave a space here because I think I'm going to add a tiny row just like there is in the reference picture. You can also create different foliage, you can add a thin line and then have small leaves coming off of it, just for more interest. You can also change the colors if you prefer, I'm going to make this simple. Okay, I'm going to go in with my buff titanium now and with a little bit of greenstone on my brush. I don't mind that because I like to think of how white roses actually look when you get them, and usually they do have a little bit of a green tinge to them or some color at least. I'm going to darken up the centers here, and I'm also going to just use that buff titanium to darken up the shadows here. Then taking a wet brush and just blending these out, because I want them to get softer as they go away from the inner petals. We're going to take some buffet titanium and a lot of water and have some simple shadows. I'm going to add some of the blues to these guys out here because they're all looking pretty pink. We want to handle those down, add some yellow as well. I'm just going to add some more foliage here, making grass like shapes, then add another rose bud, like I said I was going to do over here. I don't worry if there's little bit green my brush just for that same reason, tinge green makes it look more realistic, I think. Taking your buff titanium and just darken up here, I feel like I need to, I feel like you might not be able to see some of these florals on camera. But in real life they're about the perfect shape. That can work for your sake. Got to keep them light for them to be realistically looking like white flowers, and since watercolor does dry, lighter than you apply it, it helps to apply it in layers. Just looking at the piece now and trying to find balance within everything. I'm just adding buds where I feel like they need to be, leaves where I feel like they need to be. Everything that creates a mass composition and if you want to copy your reference picture exactly because you're not so comfortable that, you are more than welcomed to. That's a great way to learn how to find balance in your pieces, and don't be afraid to add layers either. I'm just going to take my white goulash, and I am going to highlight a little bit of the edges of these flowers, the opposite parts that I added the shadows, this is optional, you don't have to do it. But I like the way it highlights everything, and just giving my piece once over before I call it, I'm going to add a little bit more and pink to this one, just to make sure each of these roses have the same color scheme and add a little bit of shadow to this, okay? I'm just going to flush out these buds here, just to give me one more shape. You can also create a goulash bleed and pick up your white paint with a wet brush and add that to the tips here, that can create earliness effect. We have work paint, and here we have a white bouquet. You can always add more colors if you like, but I thought for this class I might as well keep it simple. 6. project: Congrats on completing the class. For the class project, you can create a piece based on one or both of the reference pictures I've provided for you in the class, or just use the techniques we learned today to create your own piece based on something in your imagination or a reference picture you find yourself. I'd love to see what you create. You can tag me on social media at E kate archer or hashtag E kate archer Skillshare so I can check it out, and I'd love to see them in the project section as well. Happy painting.