Watercolor Forest Landscape Painting: Learn how to paint watercolor trees in mist and birds | Katrina Pete | Skillshare

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Watercolor Forest Landscape Painting: Learn how to paint watercolor trees in mist and birds

teacher avatar Katrina Pete, Watercolor Artist

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

Watch this class and thousands more

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

Lessons in This Class

17 Lessons (1h 4m)
    • 1. Intro Misty Forest

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. Value Chart Practice

    • 4. Special Brush Techniques

    • 5. Mini Mountain Landscape One

    • 6. Mini Mountain Part Two

    • 7. Starry sky mini mountain landscape

    • 8. Starry Sky Treeline

    • 9. Large Misty Forest Part One

    • 10. Large Misty Forest background trees 2

    • 11. Large Misty Forest Treeline

    • 12. Large Misty Forest Mid layer trees 2

    • 13. Large Misty Forest Foreground

    • 14. Large Misty Forest Foreground 2

    • 15. More trees 1

    • 16. Birds

    • 17. Closing thoughts misty forest

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About This Class

My latest watercolor class includes a full tutorial of painting trees in a misty forest. This class includes video with complete voice over in real time as I take you step by step to complete this watercolor landscape. The first few lessons of the class include supplies, understanding value, and brush techniques. And there are two practice lessons in creating a 'mini mountain landscape' that you can practice before starting on the larger forest painting.

Two 'Mini Landscapes' and One large landscape painting are demonstrated step by step in this class.


  • Round number 6 or 8 and a larger round like a 10. (I used Mozart brushes, but Princeton Neptune is my favorite by far. Silver Black Velvet pointed round brushes are great too, I use a size 6 for the birds and tree detail.
  • liner or rigger brush (mine is size 0)
  • a large mop or large flat brush (basically any large brush that can hold enough water to wet your paper thoroughly for the wet into wet technique.
  • a fine mist spray bottle is helpful but not necessary (mine is called Master's Touch and it's from Hobby Lobby)
  • Paint colors (Sap green, perylene green, indigo, payne's gray and in some areas yellow ochre or raw sienna sparingly) For the Starry Sky Mountain painting, I used pthalo turquoise and pthalo blue, but viridian and indigo or many other shades of blue would work too. The paint brands are mostly Holbein and Winsor&Newton.
  • Arches 140 lb cold pressed paper
  • I also used a 12x12 inch watercolor block of Arches paper for the mini landscapes
  • tape optional to create a white edge.
  • salt optional for abstract effects

Meet Your Teacher

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Katrina Pete

Watercolor Artist


All of my paintings and illustrations are dreamed up in my happy little home studio in Minnesota. My painting career began with my Etsy Shop, and soon turned into commissioned work and illustration for a large card company. I love teaching, and I love helping other artists improve their skills and techniques. Please contact me if you have any questions. I hope you enjoy my video tutorials!

I love the way the colors blend into one another, hard and soft lines on textured paper, the luminosity of the pigment and the meditative state that happens with good coffee, sunshine and a paint brush.

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1. Intro Misty Forest: Welcome to my class on how to paint a watercolor misty forest. This class is beginner friendly and we will go over a whole bunch of different watercolor techniques and put them all together to create atmosphere and depth in our watercolor painting, we'll cover all of the supplies I used, the paint colors, and some helpful tips along the way. There will be two class projects. We will first create smaller studies of trees, and then we will move on to a larger watercolor painting. By the end of this class, we will have developed some techniques to create some very beautiful, striking tree escapes. We will use layering techniques and move from lighter washes into darker washes. And we will also do wet into wet and dry brush. 2. Supplies: For this particular painting, I used a minimal color palette so that we could focus mostly on the values. I used. Indigo, perylene, green, sap green, and touches of Payne's gray. As far as colors go, the trees in the background are a little bit more blue. And as I move into the foreground, I add a bit more green. And then as we move into the trees at the very front, those are much darker in value. And that's a mixture of perylene green, indigo and some sap green. Throughout the painting, I'm mixed my blues and my greens so that it wasn't all just one row of blue trees or one row of green trees. I felt that this was a better way to showcase the natural variation of the colors in a forest. As we work through this painting, you'll be able to see much of my watercolor palette, which is a very messy butcher tray. But I think it gives you a sense of how I work and how I choose my colors. I like to mix them directly on the palette as I'm working because I'm often changing at the moment, deciding which color I'm going to put where depending on the layer behind it. Here are just a few more supplies that I think come in handy when you're working on a painting like this. I used a fine mist spray bottle like this one here. It just covers an even light mist across your page so that you can work wet into wet. You can also use tape like this artist's tape. It's acid free, it doesn't leave any residues. And although it's not as sticky as masking tape, it won't tear your paper apart. For this particular painting, I used a watercolor block, which is just several sheets of watercolor paper bound together on all four sides. And it's just another way to keep your paper flat while you're painting. You can remove each page with a palette knife. It does occasionally ripple when you work with really heavy wet into wet washes. So sometimes I do tape all the edges just as another layer of protection. 3. Value Chart Practice: In this lesson, we will talk about the importance of value in a landscape painting. We are going to create a quick value chart and you can use this as a reference. I'm just going to clean my palette here. Now, if you have a larger palette than this, like a butcher tray, that would be a better way to work. But if not, just make sure you have three areas. One for light, one for medium, and one for a dark puddle of paint. In watercolor painting, the term value is to describe how dark or light a paint color is. And it also means the concentration, the ratio of paint to water or the pigment. Right here, I'm using a very watery consistency. This will create a very transparent, very pale, very light wash. The value here is very light. I believe I used a mixture of indigo and maybe some Payne's gray. I'm going to add more paint to this mixture to create a darker value. You can see by adding more paint with the same amount of water produces a darker value. Now I'm going to do it one more time to create an even richer, darker value. You can practice this chart with different colors just to become familiar with what it means to move from lighter to darker values. Now this is just straight up paint pretty much from the tube. You can see how dark it is. It's almost black. It's a good thing to keep in mind that your watercolor paint has a different values naturally, there's some paint that has a wide range of value, like the particular indigo that I used. There's some paint that no matter how thick or how concentrated it is, it's always sort of a lighter color. Take for instance, lavender, which is usually a purple hue mixed with white. And that shade will never be as dark as the darkest value of indigo. If that makes sense. What I'm doing here is I'm practicing mixing my sap green with my perylene green. The sap green is a very bright green, a green, and I like to tone it down with shades of blue and perylene green. Perylene green is very dark, very rich, and that has a wide range in value. Also, the main colors I used for this piece where Indigo, perylene green, and sap green. And each of these colors has a wide value range, which means that at their most concentrated straight out of the tube, the paints are particularly dark, but they can be diluted with water to create very light pale washes. It's a good idea to practice mixing them together just so that you can see the variation in colors you can achieve with these blues and greens. 4. Special Brush Techniques: I'm going to show you a few different watercolor techniques that I think are very helpful for this type of painting. I'm also going to show you a mistake. What it means to have a thirsty brush. So let's get started. I'm going to make purple trees just because it's fun. So what I'm going to do is I am going to start painting a tree top on plane, dry paper. I haven't pre wet this paper at all. What I'm going to do is fade out the bottom using a thirsty brush. Now in this painting we will mostly be putting our trees on paper that's already damp, especially for the lower part of the trees. But in some instances you'll see that I use a thirsty brush for many of the trees just to achieve a slightly different effect. So I'm painting a few quick tree tops with very saturated paint. And next I'm going to take a different brush. Now, I'm using this flat brush and I'm going to put it in my clean water and then I'm going to remove the excess water and simply drag the paint down. You can see it's starting to create lines. This is tough to do. That's why I prefer working wet into wet. But in some instances, I use a wider brush. It works better if you have a wider brush, like a one-inch or even a mop brush. But if you work quickly, you can fade out those lines. You can tell right here. The key is not to have too much water on your brush because if you have too much water, it will push the pigment away. Now while that paper is still damp, I'm just going to do a quick wet into wet tree right here. The top remains dry, the bottom just bleeds. This next technique I like to call meeting in the middle. It's simply where your painting dry brush on paper, and then you take another brush with clean, clear water. You just paint an area directly below it that you plan on having that color fade into. I do this more often than the thirsty brush technique. It's just a bit of a cleaner look. Is that technique again called meeting in the middle, I'm going to paint a tree top and then I'm going to take a damp brush and create an area of water. I just want you to be able to see that my paper isn't totally saturated with water. That's why I'm moving it back and forth. Now there's a space of dry paper and I'm going to take my damp brush and just bring that wet area backup to the tree and fade it in. Now, I'm going to show you what happens if you have too much water on your brush and you're trying to do a thirsty brush. Watercolor is a balancing act. So if you have too much water on your brush and you dab it on wet paint on your paper. It will push that pigment out and it can lead to some really cool, exciting effects. And it might be something you enjoy. So it's just a way to manipulate the paint and water. Just a bit of a recap. A thirsty brush acts like a damp sponge using adhesion and cohesion to soak up some of the extra paint on the paper. Once again, watercolor is a balancing act. And since there is more water and paint on the paper than on my damp, thirsty brush. The brush will essentially soak up those pigments and that water and I can move it around on the page and even lift off some of that paint. I'm going to show another example of lifting using a thirsty brush. Now here I'm just going to create an area using the wet into wet technique where I just put down some clean, clear water and drop in some paint color. And then I'm going to take a clean brush, rinse it off, and make sure it's damp enough so that I can then soak up some of that paint. This is often referred to as the lifting technique because you can lift the pigment off the page to create beautiful highlights and soft edges. 5. Mini Mountain Landscape One: In this lesson, we will create a mini mountain landscape painting. This one will consist of three layers of watercolor paint. We will let it dry between each layer, starting with the background mountain, which will be the lightest and value, since it's the farthest away. As we move into the foreground, trees are values will grow darker and deeper. It's important to begin with clean, clear water. When I'm doing here is I'm just creating an area where I will drop in my paint color. And you can see I haven't wet the entire square, just a section where my background mountain will be. I'm going to use a mixture of Davies gray, which is a very light gray, mixed with a touches of perylene green. I'm using lots of water so that the value stays light. I'm going to drop in just a little bit darker color and value here and there, just to create some depth within the mountain range. As you'll notice, the tops of the mountains have a hard edge. And this is because I've kept the paper dry just above that wet area. Well, my goal is to keep these background mountains fairly lightened value, I am dropping in some darker value just to create some contrast. The bottom of this mountain range remains soft and misty because there's enough paper that's still damped for the paint to bleed into. Once your background layer of mountains has dried completely, then we can move on to the mid layer, which will consist of a medium value. Again, I'm going to use clean, clear water and just create an area on my paper where I'm going to paint my mid-range mountains. I made sure to create enough of an area so that when I drop in my paint color, the bottom we'll just fade and create a soft edge rather than a hard edge. Once the water has time to soak in and you can see the texture of the paper, then it's time to start dropping in your color. I'm going to make a darker mixture of my perylene green with my Davies gray. Because these mountains are in the middle, they're closer, they're darker in value. Just like the background mountains, I'm going to start dropping in color. And I'm going to keep the tops a hard edge as well. Now while there's no right or wrong way to hold a brush for this exercise, I like to hold my brush so that the top is pointing up towards the tops of this mountain range. Holding my brush like this just allows me to give the illusion of treetops poking out of this mountain range. You can see that my color is already darker in value than the distant mountain range behind it. Once this layer dries, then we will move on to the foreground trees, which will be even darker in color. One more thing that I like to do is to tilt my paper at an angle so that the paint runs down vertically. This helps to create a soft edge at the bottom of the mountains and a misty effect. 6. Mini Mountain Part Two: For this next section of class, we will be working on our third layer of watercolor, which is the foreground trees. Now we will be working on the painting that's to the right, since it's very similar to the one on the left. And for some reason I don't have footage of my foreground trees in a horizontal format. But it's essentially the same exact process. What I'm doing is I'm putting down a layer of clean, clear water similar to what we did before. I'm going to show this again quickly because this is an important step. I'm making sure that my clean, clear water is on the lower third of the page in a rough U-shape. This is because I'm going to keep the tops of my trees crisp. And as they move into that wet layer of water, they will fade out and create a misty effect. I'm using the darkest value of perylene green. I'm using a number eight pointed round brush. As you'll notice, when I'm painting my trees, the top half of the trees is done on dry paper. This is called dry brush technique. As I begin to paint the lower half of the treeline, I'm moving into that damp paper, that clear wash that I made. This part of the tree will just slowly fade and give a misty effect. Sometimes I enhance it using another brush like this. Round here, this is a number eight. It doesn't have a very fine point, but it's good for blending. I'm holding my brush upright so that the tip is pointing up. There's no right or wrong way to hold a brush. This is just how I prefer to do my trees. I'm using a silver black velvet round. These brushes come to a very fine point and they hold quite a bit of water. They are also synthetic. Now my tree tops remain crisp and that is because they were painted directly onto dry paper. This is a good example of creating a hard edge and the bottom of the trees has a wet into wet effect. This is called a soft edge. So even if I start to paint a tree trunk, it will slowly fade out. And that's the effect that I'm going for with this misty forest. You can see that my tree line bows down quite a bit. So it creates some contrast between those distant mountains and the foreground. I wanted to create some variation in this tree escape just to make it interesting. The color I'm using here, perylene green is a very rich green and when it's used at almost full strength, it looks almost black. When you incorporate these wet into wet techniques and these fading effects. It's a really beautiful variation in value. I'm just going to continue adding more trees, making sure to vary the height just to give the appearance of a natural forest. I'm making sure to concentrate most of my paint at the very tops of these trees. Just to further enhance that faded misty effect down below. Keep in mind that if there's an area of your background, mountains that you weren't really happy with. You can indeed cover it up with this foreground layer of trees. For instance, here I have a hard edge on my background mountains. And so I'm just going to disguise it and cover it up a bit by painting a few more darker trees right in front of it. 7. Starry sky mini mountain landscape: For this landscape painting, we are going to be doing a soft background sky that's rather dark with shades of greenish blue and deep indigo. I use to phthalo turquoise for my green and my blue. I did a mixture of indigo with phthalo blue. I'm also going to be using some white gouache. I'm going to start covering my paper with clean, clear water just to get it damp because we're going to start with the wet into wet technique. This is simply just where you drop in your color onto the wet paper. The key here is not to get your paper too wet. And you'll be able to tell when you'll see the water pooling on your paper. You want to try and stop up any excess water with your brush. Sorry for the out-of-focus thing there. You can also tilt your paper and as long as you can see the texture of your paper, then your paper is ready to start putting down your paint. This technique takes awhile to practice and to get it right. So you'll see me going over my paper again as I'm starting to notice, some of the sides are, the edges of my square are drying quicker than the rest of the square. And I really want to make sure I have an even coverage of water over my entire paper. This will just make sure that the paint doesn't have any hard edges are weird blooms. I really want to try and get a smooth application with, for this wet into wet technique. I'm starting with my green and I'm just putting down some paint in a V-shape. It doesn't have to be this way. I just think it'll add some visual interest. You'll see me tilt my paper up. And this is to help encourage the paint to flow in a direction that I want it to go. You can also prop your paper up with something. It's also important to remove any extra paint or water that you see pooling around the edges of your tape. Now it's time to start putting down your darker blue. When I work wet into wet like this, at first it looks like there's a lot of zigzags, but these will blend and bleed into your, your paper and your colors will flow and blend as long as you have your paper damp enough. And if you encourage it to flow by either tilting it or propping it up with something. I also like to leave a little bit of whitespace because I think that helps give some depth and atmosphere in the background. I'm just going to drop in some more darker color as I'm holding my paper at an angle. It'll just run down the page. I'm just going to drop in touches of green and you can see how the paint is really flowing nicely. It starting to pool at the bottom. So I'm just removing it with a dry tissue. While the background is still damp, I can add in more paint. You'll notice that I made an even darker mixture because this will dry lighter watercolor always does. I'm using a dark mixture of indigo and some of my phthalo blue and I'm just putting it in a few areas just to increase that depth in that atmosphere in the background. Next, I'm going to use some white gouache. And I'm going to just sprinkle it in there with a stiff brush. This will just give the illusion of stars in the background. 8. Starry Sky Treeline: While your background is still wet, you're going to take a brush and dip it in your white gouache, or you can use white watercolor paint. The key is to keep it pretty thick so that when you spatter on your white paint, it'll create these little white starry effects. Now you can decide to let your background dry and then spatter your stars for a more defined look. But sometimes I like to do it this way because you get more of a halo effect. It's important to let your background layer dry completely before starting this next step. What I'm doing is I'm applying a layer of clean, clear water with my flat brush. This is a one-inch brush. It just helps to apply water in broader strokes. What I plan on doing is painting trees into that dry paper so that they retain their crisp tops. And then as I move down into the base of the tree, the tree will just slowly fade into that wet area. I'm using a silver black velvet brush here. It's a pointed round. It holds quite a bit of water. And it also comes to a nice fine point. Now the key here is to work rather quickly because that wet paper will dry in about three to five minutes using a dark mixture of indigo and phthalo turquoise. I'm bringing that line of trees all the way across the top of that wet edge. And this will just make sure I don't have one hard straight line going across my page. I plan on making these trees within about five minutes so that I can blend them into that wet paper and that this will help me avoid any hard edges or unwanted blooms. I'm making sure to shape my trees in a V And so that their reflections forum the same upside down V in the water. So here's just a quick glimpse at how I did that in this little clip. Just bringing some blue down into the sides of the painting. To give the painting some perspective, I plan on keeping the trees larger on the sides of the painting. And as I move closer to the middle, the trees will get smaller and shorter. You'll notice that the first thing I did before I started painting the entire tree line is I brought in some color along that entire edge, along that wet paper. Since I knew it would dry pretty quickly. This will just help me avoid any hard lines or any sort of Bloom's. Another thing you'll notice is that the white gouache that I applied previously is pushing out the paint that I put directly on top of it. Now that was technically a mistake that I made and maybe I could have planned around it by just making sure I painted a tree around that white area. But I'm just trying to show you that I make mistakes all the time. And this is just something that happens when you try new things with watercolor. I'm really liking that lighter area in my background sky. And so I plan on bringing some of my tree tops into that area so that you can get a lot of contrast between the dark trees and that lighter, paler background sky. This creates a good focal point in a painting. You'll see me switch different brushes throughout this painting. Sometimes I use a really skinny number four. And then I go back to my number six and number eight, silver black velvet. It just keeps some variation within the tree tops. I'm going to finish this painting by just bringing that tree line up again as I get toward the right side of my paper. In the future before I apply my white gouache with the starry sky, what I plan on is deciding where I'm going to put my trees. When I first started the background, I wasn't exactly sure where my tree line would go. I thought it would be much lower. But as I continued painting, I just decided to switch gears and have it go in the middle. So you can control where the placement of your stars go by simply putting your hand over your paper and blocking off areas. Or you can try to disguise it by painting a bird right over it like I attempted here. 9. Large Misty Forest Part One: Let's begin painting. What I'm doing here is I'm covering most of my paper with clean, clear water. I'm using a soft round mop brush. The key is just to use any brush that won't leave scratches on your paper. It helps to hold your paper at an angle towards the light. Then you can see if you have an even coverage, you don't want your paper to be overly saturated with water. If you can see the texture of your paper, then you're ready to begin dropping in your paint color. Another helpful tip is to prop your paper up on something so that it's at an angle. This will allow the paint to run down and fade. We're starting with our background trees. And these will be very soft and hazy. There won't be any hard edges because we are working wet into wet. I'm using a number ten pointed round by Mozart supplies. But you can use any synthetic pointed round or even a natural haired brush would work. The key is just to dot vertical lines up and down and vary the height of each tree. This will create a more realistic forest. You can see in my butcher tray, I'm using a mixture of indigo and maybe touches of perylene green here and there. Just to create some variation. I'm keeping the value fairly light. So if you refer back to your value chart, you'll see that I'm dropping in very pale color in the background. It helps to lift your brush while you're painting a tree. This just creates some variation and texture. And it allows the paint to naturally flow out. Just keep in mind if you want your trees to appear fuller near the bottom, that you need to add more paint in those areas so that it can spread out. Keep in mind too, that depending on the climate, urine, your paper may dry slower or faster than mine right here. When I work wet into wet, I typically have maybe five minutes to put in my paint color before the paper starts to dry and then I get hard edges. But as it starts to dry, I am defining the tops of these trees. Because as the paper begins to dry, the paint will not spread out quite as far. So you can get a little bit more detail. I'm dropping in some more color here, some more perylene green, still trying to keep the value fairly light. Now on the far right, my paper is nearly dry and you can see this tree looks different. It's, it's almost got a hard edge to the top. And I'm going to soften that because they don't really want this to be a hard, crisp tree just yet. You can also use a fine mist spray bottle to further soften that edge and make that paint bleed. 10. Large Misty Forest background trees 2: For this next section of class, we're going to define just a few of the trees in this background row. I'm using a fine mist spray bottle. And while it's not the same as laying down a clean, clear wash of water with a brush. It adds a bit of texture so that you can work wet into wet with added texture in your tree branches. You'll be able to see this technique demonstrated here. In order to create some variation within the trees. I'm spraying and uneven coating of spray on my paper because I don't want it to be completely wet. I want to have some dry areas. This will help when I'm painting in my trees to create some hard edges and some soft edges. Depending on the type of spray bottle you use. If you're droplets are a little bit larger, you'll get a bit of a variation than what I'm having here. But this is just another tool to add to your watercolor toolkit to create enhanced texture within your paintings. I'm using a smaller pointed round. This is again another Mozart brush, a size six. But you can use any synthetic brush. Princeton are my favorite as far as synthetic brushes go. I am using Princeton Neptune most often these days. It also helps to have a fine liner brush, also called a rigor. This is simply a skinny brush that allows you to get some really fine lines and detail. While my paper is not completely dry because I did use my spray bottle, some of the paint will fade into the pre wet areas and some will be harder edged and more defined. I'm going in and softening some of these hard edges with this other brush. My goal here is just to create some variation within the tree and not create one solid tree from top to bottom. When you use a spray bottle, some parts of your paper might be more damped than others. In this particular spot, most of my paper is pretty damped, so I'm taking advantage of that and doing some wet into wet techniques. And then as they move up into this tree, the paper is dry or so it creates more of a defined tree top. Now, I'm not going to paint every single tree in this background road, just a few to keep the texture interesting. You'll notice that my paint is a little bit darker in value, and this just helps it stand out a bit more. 11. Large Misty Forest Treeline: Now for the middle row of trees, these are going to be a bit darker in value. So if you refer back to your value chart, it's about right in the middle between light and dark. We don't want it to be too dark, but we want it to be a step above the trees that are in the far background. I'm starting to just do some dry brush work right here with my number six pointed round. And instead of painting water on the lower third of my paper to let the trees fade. I'm just going to use my fine mist spray bottle. Now. I'm spraying a fairly even coating along the bottom third of my page. I want to be careful to make sure I leave enough dry paper so that when I paint the tree tops, they'll have a hard, crisp edge. Then as I move down each tree, it'll fade into that wet paper. Since this row of trees is just a step closer to the viewer, they are darker in value and they are going to have more variation in color. I'm using a mixture of sap green with, with perylene green. Perylene green is a very dark rich green. And it can be used to tone down other greens to create a more of a forest green. You'll see I often use my spray bottle to create soft edges and areas where the paper is still dry. I'm adding a bit more indigo and dropping it into my tree just to create some color variation. Another important thing to keep in mind is to leave white spaces between your tree branches. This adds more contrast to your painting and more interests also. It helps to prop your paper up a bit if your paint is starting to spread too far left and right. And you'd rather have it flow down, just prop it up at an angle. And this will help encourage that paint to flow into your wet area. It's important to keep in mind that you want your trees to look natural. So instead of being evenly spaced apart and all the same value, try and create some variation. Maybe make some trees a little bit closer together, a little higher, a little shorter. I also like to use different brushes. Sometimes I use my fine liner rigger brush to create some more delicate texture and some skinnier lines. I like to hold my brush near the end of the handle because this helps to create a little more of a wilder effect, a little more of a natural painterly look. I don't like to hold it so tight and pinched at the tip because I feel like that makes my painting too tight to composed. And I feel like this gives me more of a natural look to my branches and trees. I'm using a mixture of raw sienna with my sap green. This is just warming up my green into more of an olive tone. One thing to keep in mind to make your trees really pop is contrast. Now the second layer of trees, I'm making sure that the tree tops are placed in areas that have white paper or very light paper because I want them to stand out. Not every tree top has to be positioned in this way. But I'm just keeping an eye out and making sure that my painting has balance. And the way to make sure it has balance is to keep an eye out for contrast. 12. Large Misty Forest Mid layer trees 2: Let's continue working on this middle layer of trees. As you continue working, your paper will start to dry. So it's handy to keep your spray bottle nearby or a brush that's loaded with water? I'm using my spray bottle just to fade the bottom of this tree and a brush just to help direct the paint where to go. It's important to note here that the mop brush that I'm using is a damp brush. I'm using this thirsty brush technique, which is simply a brush that has a tiny bit of water on it, damp enough just to help pull your paint color down or pull the water on the page down. It won't add any more water to your painting. It'll, it'll help direct where you want your paint to flow. I'll be using this smaller number six pointed round brush and my detailing brush, which is my liner brush. Not every tree has to be straight up and down. Some of the trees might be a little bit tilted. As I'm working on this layer, I'm always looking for areas where I can amplify the contrast. This will help give the viewer a place to look and focus on in the painting. There are some areas in the background where there's a lot of whitespace. That's where I'm going to put some of my darkest tree tops. Another thing to keep in mind is that not every tree in this row has to have the same value. I think it creates more interest when you can vary the value. Some areas will be darker and some lighter. After this layer dries, we're going to move on to the foreground trees, which will be the darkest and value. 13. Large Misty Forest Foreground : We're going to get started on our third and final layer of trees. Since these trees are closest to us, these are the darkest and value. I'm mixing up a pretty dark mixture of blue and green. It's important to try not to get your colors too muddy. You can add little bits of brown or maybe touches of ocher to warm it up. But I'm using mostly indigo and some perylene green here. If you want to make it a bit more neutral, you can add some brown. I should mention that I did pre wet the lower quarter of this sheet of paper, but it started to dry. So I used a thirsty brush and I just pulled some of that paint down to fade the bottom of the tree. Spray bottle can also come in handy here to further fade out that paint. Now this is the layer that will have the most amount of detail compared to the layers behind it. Because these are closer to us, they are more vivid in appearance. There have richer values and there's more detail in the tree tops. As you're painting these trees, It's a nice effect to leave a bit of whitespace within the branches. Just helps that later paper in the background kind of pop. Always remember that watercolor will dry lighter, so I'm dropping in some more saturated tones, some indigo to darken up these trees a bit more. Another thing to keep in mind when we're adding in our third layer of trees is the other two layers are gradually starting near the upper left corner of the page. And they move down sort of at a diagonal toward the lower right-hand side of the page. With these trees, I'm going to do the same thing, but not exactly in a parallel line. I want to have some variation so that it doesn't look too geometric. I'm liking how the lower left corner of the page is wider and lighter in value. And I could leave it at that. But instead I did drop in some darker colors and I decided to create that whole bottom third of the page as a dark value. Since that bottom third of my paper is still damp and there's some dry paper just on top. You have that lovely effect of detailed tree tops merging into a soft, misty, hazy layer down below. If you feel like you're a tree tops are getting too detailed into crisp, you can change it up by fading some of them out with a damp or a thirsty brush. Or you can use your spray bottle and just spritz them a bit and get some interesting watery effects that way. Another thing you can do to add a bit of texture is to sprinkle some salt onto your damp paper. What it will do is it will push those pigments, those that paint color out a little bit and create a bunch of little tiny white, hazy dots. I'm just going to darken this tree up a bit. I think it'll help create that diagonal line from left to right. I'm just fading and softening the bottom of that tree so that the tree below it is still visible. 14. Large Misty Forest Foreground 2: Now because there was more detail in these foreground trees, I decided to divide it up into two stages. I worked on the lower left-hand side first. And you can see here the lovely salt effects that happened when I sprinkled that salt into my wet paint. And I think it looks really neat, really abstract. And you can choose to leave it this way. I did ultimately paint over it with darker paint, but that's an option. What I did was I sprayed the lower-right corner of my page with my fine mist spray bottle just so that I could fade in some of these foreground trees. Now it's essentially the same process that we did in the previous video. The only difference is I'm going to prop my paper up at an angle upright so that the trees will fade more dramatically into that wet paper. If you choose to hold your paper up, you can really decide where you want your paint to flow and you have a lot more control. So I'm often moving my paper up and down as I work, especially with these wet into wet techniques. Just keep dropping in darker color and it just fades down that page. And again, as some of your paper might start to dry like mine does here on the edge, I'm just taking a thirsty brush and fading it out. Since I think that might leave a hard edge, I'm using my spray bottle just to help it along. I'll just put one more tree in the middle here. We couldn't call this done, but I am going to add another row of trees in that lower-right area where there's a little bit of whitespace. I'm also just going to prop my paper up and let it dry like this. 15. More trees 1: I'm still working on these foreground trees. And you can see that the trees on the far right with that faded background, they just were a little bit too light for my liking. So I decided that I would have them be pushed back another layer and I'm going to make a tree line right in front of them. I really do like that effect where the paint faded down as I tilted my paper up. So I want to preserve that. And I'm planning on painting a few darker trees right in front of that area, but still leaving enough room so that you can see that beautiful faded effect. Now this last layer of trees, I am having them get cut off at the bottom of the page, so they still are very dark on the bottom. They're not quite as faded or light as the ones above. Now this is the area of the painting that I'm going to create quite a bit of contrast. I have a lovely light faded background and I think it'll really pop if I put in some highly detailed trees that are very dark in value right here. I wasn't planning on putting in this additional layer of trees, but I felt like it would really make the painting pop. Since I've got some really dark values in these trees on the bottom of the page. The final step of our painting will be to top it off with some nice light birds at the top. And they're just going to add a little bit of punch, a little bit of contrast to our peace within that nice light faded sky that we have. 16. Birds: It helps to practice first, what I'm doing is I'm using a number six pointed round, and it comes to a very fine detailed point. I'm using that to my advantage to create a skinny wing and then a boulder wing simply by lightly first putting down a simple line and then pushing my brush down into the paper to create a thicker, bolder wing. While it's still wet, you can dot in some more color. Let's use this same technique with our painting. Again, we're just making some light V shapes. One part of your v will be skinny and the other will be thicker as you push your brush into your paper. And you can make upside down Vz. Just keep in mind that the birds in the distance will be smaller and lighter in value. In general, I'm not making my birds too dark in value because I don't want to take away too much from this landscape painting. 17. Closing thoughts misty forest: Thank you all for taking my class. I really hope you've enjoyed it. Please share your final paintings with me. I would love to see your work. You can share it with me on Instagram or a Skillshare or just shoot me an email, anything works? Just keep in mind when we're learning new techniques. It takes time. It probably took me ten paintings until I got something that I was happy with. And it's a process. Watercolor is a lifelong journey for me, at least it's something I know I can do for years and years and always find something new and exciting and something I want to strive to achieve like a new technique or maybe even painting large. That is something that's on my list of goals. I think in the future, I will make a painting like this that's a little bit more abstracted because I really like to embrace some of those mistakes and watercolor, like water that kind of pushes out the pigment and creates these blooms. But it creates beautiful abstract things that you can't really achieve with any other medium. So anyway, that's, those are some of my goals as an artist is to incorporate some of those messy, the messy nature of watercolor into my work. Just to reminder, to please posterior final paintings in the project section of this class.