Abstract Watercolor Landscapes - Part 1 | Jean Lurssen | Skillshare

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Abstract Watercolor Landscapes - Part 1

teacher avatar Jean Lurssen, Jean Lurssen Watercolors

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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

    • 1.

      Introduction to Abstract Watercolor Landscape


    • 2.

      Abstract Watercolor Landscape: Lesson 1


    • 3.

      Abstract Watercolor Landscape: Lesson 2


    • 4.

      Abstract Watercolor Landscape: Lesson 3


    • 5.

      Abstract Watercolor Landscape: Lesson 4


    • 6.

      Abstract Watercolor Landscape: Lesson 5


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About This Class

This is the first in a four-part series creating Abstract Watercolor Landscapes. This first course is all about helping you think outside the box and discovering ways to make your watercolor paintings unique. I've created an abstract watercolor painting using all neutral hues, creating a pleasing and calming abstract scene.

Meet Your Teacher

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Jean Lurssen

Jean Lurssen Watercolors


Welcome to my Skillshare channel. I hope this is where you will find inspiration to explore your inner creativity to create unique watercolor paintings.

I like to paint atmospheric watercolors and continually try to stretch the boundaries of watercolor, sometimes using other media to create interesting textures in my watercolors. I look forward to sharing my techniques with you here on Skillshare.

For more tutorials, tips and techniques visit me at:

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction to Abstract Watercolor Landscape: Hi, I'm Jane. Listen, I really enjoyed coming up with the lessons for this course, and I hope that you will enjoy them as much as I did creating them. It was easy to choose the subject for this course, since a number of my previous students emailed me and requested that I do a course on abstract watercolor landscapes. My style has evolved over the past 25 years, and today I love being creative and stretching the boundaries of watercolor. I really enjoy painting in neutral colors, and I wanted to show you how you could create a really pleasing, calming abstract landscapes in watercolors using all neutral colors. Now come and paint along with me and learn to think outside the box and create some interesting abstract landscapes. 2. Abstract Watercolor Landscape: Lesson 1: I'm going to show you how I created this painting with very thin layers off neutral colors , and I'm going to make a few alterations instead of using the India ink that I used here. And the reason I don't want to use that is the India ink. When it hits water, the water repels the India incon. It's flares, art like this, and I had to try and wipe it up, but it's very staining, so it created this sort of dark patch here, which I wasn't too happy about. Sepp. Instead of using India ink, I'm actually getting to use a black paint and I'm going to years lunar black. I did a number of tests, and I think you should do this if you have black paints and you can make your own black, by the way, by mixing French ultra marine and burnt Sienna and get a really nice black. And you could mix greens with Eliza in crimson of the sailor greens with Eliza in crimson to get a nice black. But if you have some blacks in your palate, I tried out a number of different dark colors, and none of them really worked This is like a graphite gray, and it was rather a dull colored and if you can see that and this was the lunar black, so I wanted to try it. And you have to be very careful with Luna Black because it does flare out and textures. And that's what that's the reason I'm going to use it because it also creates textures. And I hope you can see that in the small little test area here. So that's what I'm going to use for this painting. And the paints I'm going to use for this piece are very few. I'm going to use their old Windsor Newton, and I'm using burnt Sienna in Digger and Payne's gray. And for the black, I'm using the lunar black, as I mentioned and for the brushes, I've got a flat one inch brush, a number four script brush, and that's about all that I'm going to be using apart from the general pin. Or I may use the nib with some whitewash. We'll see how that works out later, and let's just talk a little bit of now about the composition. Now this painting the land area text up about 2/3 off the paper. And that, in my opinion, makes for a better abstract landscape here because all the interesting area is in the actual landscape itself that I left the sky rather bland because this was the focal area. So you need to decide where your focal area is going to be before you start. And so, um, for the bottom area here to have a lit just a teeny bit of texture, you don't want too much going on. If I had texture everywhere, you wouldn't know where to look in the painting, and that's very important to when you're starting out. You can tend to overdo the textures too much. I used a little bit of table salt here for these white lines. I used a thing called a general pin, and this is very fine liner jelly roll pin that you can use You can also, if you want to stick with water colors, use whitewash with a nip in. I might do that for this painting that I'm going to demonstrate. This was a rather big painting on Barton 11 by 16 sheet, but I'm going to do it on a smaller piece, and I'm sure, while you're practicing, I would suggest you use a smaller piece of paper so that you don't waste water colors if it doesn't work out. This is a much smaller piece. It's just a little bit less an eight by 11. And I did it in a more square shaped cause. I thought that might look nice to for this, So I'm going to start out by mixing a few of the neutral graze. Let's start with the indigo mixed with burnt sienna, and you want thes very, very watered down grays. And you just do this until you get it's a sort of greeny grey, you know, wanted Blue. You wanted greeny grey. Now, the interesting thing about this mixture is that it looked does look rather green when you put it on the paper and let it dry. Somehow, for some reason, goes gray er, um, the other color want to put down just puts um, mixing water with is the Paynes grey again? You can see how watery that is very, very watery mix, because we're going to do very thin layers. That's what's gonna make this more interesting to do very thin layers. I've just got my my Luna black need from the tube. Not going to thin that down because it's going to flare out quite a lot that we have to be careful to try and control how it flares out. So let's do this little painting and confess going to with the third of the top of the paper with a sky area that's just get really wet and and let's go into the But this this way. Let's go into the indigo mixed with the burnt sienna and do the initial hill see that could have even been watered down A. But more. I'm gonna add more water to that and leave a lot of white areas. Makes it more interesting. See, I like that. That's interesting. Different colors, and we're going to come down here now. I'm going to before I come down and you further, I'm going to take a narrow Number four script brush and you could take anything. Brush with just a little bit of water. Go into your Luna black and let's do that section now. You don't want it to go away does dry lighter, so you might want to just add a little more and maybe held it up a little, said that it runs down and tick and creates that interesting texture. So now we can go on. They're flat, one inch brush and leave. Leave a bunch of white area and we have to wait for it to drive it while it's drawing. I'm going to put some, um, Payne's gray into the sky. Just you don't want it every way, either. Remember we doing abstract and remember, paints dry, lighter quite a lot, about 20% lighter. You really want to make sure that you that you've got the right consistency and if you if you didn't, if you did a to light all the after do is go over it that the bottom part of that was a little light, so I just went over it. Now we have to wait for this to dry before we do our next layer. And the beauty of this painting is to do thin layers. And that's how you get the interesting effects. And look how already that has granulated. I just love the red did that. I don't know why I didn't use that instead of the India ink that I used I much prefer that we've got some nice light areas in the sky area, too. So let's let it dry and let let that do its thing, and then we'll put on the next layer. 3. Abstract Watercolor Landscape: Lesson 2: Now that this is dry, I'm going to do more Next layer with with Payne's gray. I like the way this has, um, granulated a little bit here. Sod. I don't want to miss with that. So I think what I'm gonna do, just get over this area. You see, after I have left little patches there that make the other colors shone through, and that gives it more interest to So be aware of that when you're, um, doing your your next layers and what I want to do here is, um this is where I'm going to introduce the salt. Andi, see, you just wonder create a few textures there. Now, I'm going to take the table salt and actually put it in my hands, and I can control it better. And I'm going to do it just a little bit down in this area here. You don't want to overdo it on, and maybe just a teeny bit on the side, and that has to dry in order to get the results you want. You don't want. You don't want to disturb that. But when I do want to do is to my little black area here and I want to wet inside cause I wanted to disperse a little bit inside this white area. Take my thin brush again. Just wait it, put it in the black balloon in the lunar black and just follow the lines of the landscape. And I've got the board propped up a little bit, by the way, so that for this lunar black too granulated and run and I just think it makes it more interesting. And I need a little bit of spray here just to make it run a little more, and you might have to get over it a few times just to get your the consistency that you want. I think I I think that's about as much as I want to do. But you see how that's already starting to granule it. I am Prime maybe should have made it a little darker here so that you could see it more. Okay, so we'll let that dry and then we'll to do some finishing touches 4. Abstract Watercolor Landscape: Lesson 3: So this is now dry and I am ready to put on my next layer, and I'm reevaluating everything as I go along. And I think this needs to be a little darker down here. And I need some more interest in the sky, sir. Going to do a little bit more interest there. Just make it more little more interesting. And I want to, um, do this bottom part. Add some darks. Not not totally. I'm not covering all the salt area. I'm just going to do a little more off the Paynes grey age just to liven up the painting A little. Basically, I might go back into the call it the indigo with me with burnt sienna and just add a little more of that. No, I think that improves it a little bit. Actually, I just do want to get rid of the lines here in the sky. We don't want the sky to be too prominent because, as I said, the interest is actually here. So another thing that I noticed with this painting and you know, when you're painting, you need to pay attention to composition. All the time. I ended up making the mistake of making this in deads almost dead center off the painting. So if I want to fix that, I'm gonna need to go in with some more off the indigo and burnt Sienna and try and get this gray mix here so you can never repeat what you did here. It's It's always going to come up a different color. Each time you mix the paint, it's a more water. It's kind of nice. Please take. Take this higher up like Are not good, gets a little more interest and and then maybe just so that the black is not dead center. Go in with a little bit of off the Luna black, too. Fix that. I see so you can always fix things when you do when you realize you've made a mistake and what I want to do is take a clean brush and just Dr Russian, just get rid of some of that water there so we don't create harsh lines. Hard lines. Now we'll let this dry and we'll do the final touches with the white lines 5. Abstract Watercolor Landscape: Lesson 4: now that everything's dry, I'm gonna test on a piece of paper using. See that? Seeing the difference between whitewash, this is permanent white wash, and you're gonna need to use it quite thickly to get good white lines. So let's start off with it's the jelly rope in and do a squiggly line. Mr is a darker color here, squiggly learned there now and then I'll try doing the same with some thick white wash. Attest to be is a sick as you can get it Now you're are going to have to put some water in it in order to get it on the nip in because it won't work otherwise. So it's like a very thick, creamy consistency. You want to put it on the back of the net pen, they say. Still, it doesn't enough water in it yet. This is why I like to use the jelly roll pin, but I'm going to give this a shot first. Just see how it works. So actually you can get some quite nice lines with the wash. So let's do that now. I'm looking at this. Where am I going to put these lines? I don't want to put it in the nice textured black area here. But I see a light area that's coming down here. So Penn emphasis to that by following that light area and go off the page quite like that. And then maybe joining these or let them cross each other there, like that. Um, with the gua sh you're gonna have to keep filling the nup in, okay, it's And you might have to go over it with the squash, so because we're not doing it on very dark, dark area, and I kind of like to continue the line over there, maybe, and the wash line is actually going to need some work. I just like to do random lines that, um actually, I'm gonna take a number one. I'm gonna try this also. I'm taking a number one script, Lina. Very, which is very, very thin. And see if I can use the white wash and do get better results. So I'm experimenting as I go along here. I hope you don't mind, but this is what I do all the time. I tried different things to see what works. It really doesn't matter where you put the lines because whatever you do, it's going to be interesting. Just don't overdo it. And I think gonna do one more coming up through the textured area, some using the white wash now and trying to get having to go over it several times to get the results that I want. Kind of like I use it to emphasize areas, I guess, And you can you can. As I said, wherever you put it, it's not gonna be wrong. And that's the beauty of it. Kind of like, even like the wits faded in some areas. And I don't want to do a lot more with this quash, but I just want to make sure I get over some of these areas where the cautious faded. So let's let that dry and see how it ends up. 6. Abstract Watercolor Landscape: Lesson 5: So I had to go over the, um lines quite a bit with the white wash because it tends to dry a little transparent and has Thea other color showing through. But I actually like the quash better than the jelly rope in because you can get some more textural lines, which you can't do with the pin. So I'm actually liking this better than using the pin, even though it's more work, because I have to keep going over these lines. Um, there we are now the paintings completed. I'm glad that you witnessed the problems I had with these lines. The dip in just kept fading into the background, and I think the reason for that is that the painting was still damp. So I ended up using my number one script brush, and I actually prefer these lines where they're broken here and the way just the way they look. And I just think it's created more texture and more interest in the painting. Let's put a mat you can around the painting, and you can see immediately how this makes the painting pop when you've got this lovely texture in the bottom here from using the salt. You've got the lines which create more interest in the nice paint at the top Here, This is actually a very quick painting to do. Try it again and you'll get the hang of it. Practice is what's going to make you better at doing this and just use your imagination. You don't have to do this exact same, um, here painting that I did, you could do your own design. It could just be shapes. I had a lot of fun doing this, and I hope you did, too.