Intermediate Watercolor Techniques to Take your Art from Good to Great | Petals by Priya Watercolor | Skillshare
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Intermediate Watercolor Techniques to Take your Art from Good to Great

teacher avatar Petals by Priya Watercolor, Watercolor Artist & Teacher

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

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.

      Welcome to Class!

      3:00

    • 2.

      Class Project

      0:43

    • 3.

      Art Supplies

      1:16

    • 4.

      Tonal Values

      3:41

    • 5.

      Values: Berry Branch

      6:57

    • 6.

      Blending One Color

      5:25

    • 7.

      Blending Two Colors

      5:21

    • 8.

      Blending: Eucalyptus

      6:36

    • 9.

      Layering

      6:59

    • 10.

      Layering: Avocado Base

      7:03

    • 11.

      Layering: Avocado Seed

      3:08

    • 12.

      Layering: Avocado Second Half

      6:19

    • 13.

      Lifting Color

      3:28

    • 14.

      Lemon: Base Layer

      4:40

    • 15.

      Lemon: Leaves & Stem

      4:32

    • 16.

      Monstera Leaf: Base Layer

      6:00

    • 17.

      Monstera Leaf: Final Touches

      3:12

    • 18.

      Resources & Final Thoughts

      1:57

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About This Class

In this class, you’ll learn a few of the best intermediate watercolor techniques to help transform your good paintings into GREAT paintings!

In each of the lessons, we’ll complete practice drills and individual projects to put what we learn into action.

The techniques you’ll learn in this class include:

  • Tonal Values: How to create and utilize a range of tonal values to add depth and dynamic interest to your paintings.
  • Blending: How to blend individual and multiple colors to create smooth and seamless gradients.
  • Layering: How to masterfully apply layers to enhance glow and establish depth in your artwork.
  • Lifting: How to use your brush to lift pigment from the page to create eye-catching highlights.

At the end of class, we’ll work together on an advanced final project: the tropical monstera leaf. This project will utilize all of the skills you learn in the class. You’ll end up with a beautiful, detailed botanical painting that you can be proud of. You’ll also be well-equipped with all the skills and techniques you need to move forward in your watercolor journey with confidence and ease! Trust me, you’ll see a drastic difference in the outcome of your paintings when you apply these techniques to your own works of art.

Gather your supplies and get ready to improve your artwork one skill at a time!

About the Artist

Hello and welcome! My name is Priya and I’m the owner of Petals by Priya Watercolor Designs. I’m an artist, art teacher, and paper goods shop owner based in beautiful Honolulu, Hawaii. I’m passionate about teaching art in an approachable manner and helping artists at any level feel excited and empowered to create beautiful artwork that embraces their own unique style.

One of my absolute favorite parts about being an artist is connecting with other creatives and sharing our love for art, creativity, and entrepreneurship. Let’s connect!

Next Steps

Please don’t forget to upload your projects to the “Projects & Resources” section here on Skillshare. It’s a great way to receive feedback on your artwork and connect with fellow students and creatives. If you also share your project on social media, please tag me on Instagram @petals.by.priya so I can like and comment on your work and share it with my audience! 


Thanks again for joining this class. I can’t wait to see what you create! Have a question? Feel free to send me an email or DM me on Instagram!

Meet Your Teacher

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Petals by Priya Watercolor

Watercolor Artist & Teacher

Top Teacher

My name is Priya Hazari and I'm a watercolor artist and owner of Petals by Priya Watercolor Designs. I specialize in painting loose watercolor florals and botanicals and am deeply inspired by the vibrant colors and beautiful nature surrounding me in Honolulu, Hawaii!

My journey with watercolors started as a hobby in 2018 and is now my full-time career. Over the years, I've had the pleasure of teaching in-depth painting and creative business classes to 5,000 students online and in person. I've also been able to see my designs come to life on products through licensing projects, and have transformed my artwork into prints and stationery items that are sold in retail stores around the United States. It's been a dream come true!

Though there are many aspects to my crea... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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Transcripts

1. Welcome to Class!: Something truly magical about the world of watercolor. Watching the paint bleed together, experimenting with new techniques, learning to let go of control. It's all part of the joy of watercolor painting. It's what drew me in nearly five years ago, and I haven't been able to put down my brushes since then. My name is Pria from Petals by Pria Watercolor Designs. I'm a full time artist and I create floral and botanical designs for products and teach watercolor artists of all levels how to fall in love with their practice and build creative confidence. I've always loved the painting process, but about a year into my journey with watercolors, I hit a bit of a roadblock. I felt stuck in my progress and wasn't loving my final pieces of artwork, but I wasn't sure what I was missing or what I needed to do next. If that resonates with you, you're feeling confident in your basic abilities, but you're ready to breathe fresh life into your paintings and advance your skills as a watercolor artist, you're in the right place. In today's class, you'll learn a few of my favorite intermediate watercolor techniques to help transform your good paintings into great paintings. In each of the lessons, we'll be completing practice drills and individual projects to put what we learn into action. These techniques will include utilizing tonal values to add depth and interest to our paintings. Learning to blend individual and multiple colors to create smooth and seamless gradients, applying layers to enhance glow and establish depth and using our brush to lift pigment from the page to create eye catching highlights. At the end of class, we'll work together on a more advanced final project, the Tropical Monstera leaf. This project will utilize all of the skills we practice in the class and you'll end up with a beautiful, detailed botanical painting that you can be proud of. Not only that, you'll also be well equipped with all the skills and techniques you need to move forward in your watercolor journey with confidence and ease. Trust me, you'll see a drastic difference in the outcome of your paintings when you start to apply these techniques to your own works of art. Before we get started, if you'd like to learn more, you can find me on Instagram at Petals by Pria On my pealsp or on YouTube at Petals by Pria Watercolor. I also have more resources on my website, including my watercolor supply guide and color mixing guide that I linked down below in the class description. Now that we've covered all the basics, let's get right into it. I'll see you in the first lesson. 2. Class Project: As I mentioned in the introductory video, this class will include five projects in total. One small painting for each of the techniques we learn and one final project at the end where we can put all of our new skills to use. For these paintings, I've included sketches in the resources section. You can download and use those for your projects or feel free to paint loosely without sketching if you'd prefer. Now, I normally paint without sketching first, but I really want the focus of this class to be on getting the hang of each of the techniques and not worrying about shapes or compositions. That's why I'll be using sketches during the class, just to simplify things and really focus on the brushwork. Next up, we'll go over all the supplies you need for the class. 3. Art Supplies: Let's talk about supplies. I'll walk you through everything you need for class, and for your convenience, I also included a supply list with links in the resources section. You can download that as well. First up is watercolor paper. For this class, I highly recommend using 100% cotton paper. As the techniques we'll be learning require a high quality absorbent surface. Next is your brushes. Feel free to use any round brushes that you're comfortable with. I'll be using a variety of sizes ranging 2-10. My favorite brushes are the Princeton Neptune and Valve touch series. For the Monstera project at the end, I'll also be using some masking fluid to mark out the holes in the leaf. A quick note on that topic. If you also choose to use masking fluid for that section, make sure you get a cheap disposable brush because masking fluid can be super harsh on your bristles. You definitely don't want to use your favorite brush for that part. For watercolor paint, I'll review the colors that I'm using for the projects in each of the lessons. But I want you to remember, you're welcome to use whichever colors you have available to you. Other supplies you'll need include a jar or bowl of clean water, mixing palette, and a paper towel. Once you gather all your supplies, we'll start learning about tonal values in the next lesson. 4. Tonal Values: The first technique I'd like to share is how to understand and utilize color values to enhance your artwork. This is something I didn't fully grasp until much later on in my watercolor journey. But once I took the time to understand it, learn how to create value skills and intuitively incorporate a range of total values into my paintings, my artwork improved almost instantly. Take a look at this example of the simple berry branch we'll be painting in the next lesson. This one is what it looks like without caring about color values, and this is what it looks like when I'm being mindful of my values. You can see this one has much more depth than visual interest. As you can see both the leaves and the berries vary from light to dark instead of being one flat color. When I talk about color values or tonal values, what I'm referencing is the relative lightness or darkness of a color, and that's determined by how diluted or concentrated your mixture is. As you can probably assume, a mixture with more water in it will be lighter and a mixture with less water will be darker because it's a more concentrated mixture. I want to share a couple more examples here so you can really start to see the impact that total values has on real life paintings. These are the lemon and avocado paintings we'll be doing later on in class. You can see in both of these projects, I've utilized a range of values to help add shadows, highlights, and depth to the subjects. For example, in this lemon painting, I have a much lighter value of yellow here to demonstrate the highlights where the light is hitting it. I have some medium values here in the middle, and then the darkest values of yellow are around the edge for the shadows. Incorporating all these different values of yellow really helps to bring the lemon to life. Now that we've seen a couple of real life examples, let's start by creating a value scale because that's the best way to learn it is by actually doing it. You can use any color you'd like for this exercise. Start on the left side of your paper and load up your brush with a very concentrated mixture of pigment. I have barely any water in my mixture at this point, and my paint is very thick and opaque. Go ahead and lay down a small swatch of color on your paper. Now, gently rinse just a bit of that color off of your brush and add a second swatch right next to it. Notice how the value of the color is slightly lighter because the mixture is less concentrated. Let's do that again. Go ahead and rinse off even a bit more pigment and lay down another swatch of color next to our previous one. Now I want you to repeat this process all the way across your paper, gently rinsing off more and more pigment each time until your mixture is almost all water with just a touch of color. So now you've created a value scale going from the darkest value to the lightest value. And again, this is all the same color but different values based on the concentration of your mixture. So you can see we achieved a wide variety of tonal values and have tons of options to use these in our artwork. And that's just with one color. Imagine all the possibilities you'll have for your paintings when you get comfortable doing this with all the colors you have available in your palette. Go ahead and keep practicing your value scales, and when you're ready, we'll put it into practice in the next lesson. 5. Values: Berry Branch: Put this into practice, let's paint a simple branch with some berries and leaves. Making sure to change up the value of each berry and the leaves to make the painting more interesting. We'll want to have some berries be very light and watery, others to be dark and bold, and some of them we want to have somewhere in the middle. Remember, you're always welcome to download the sketch below, or you can paint freely for this one as well, especially since we're starting off pretty simple. I went ahead and sketched out the leaves and the stem, but I left some space empty for the berries, so I can paint them in wherever I'd like. The colors I'm using for this painting are a mixture of sap green, panes gray and indigo for the leaves, and this fox berry red from my Woodlands art philosophy palette. But remember, you can use any colors you have available. I'm going to start this off by using just the very tip of my round brush to paint in the stem. I'm making sure that I use a very light hand, which means I'm not applying much pressure onto my brush because I really want that stem to remain nice and dainty. Then I'll go ahead and add the little branches off for each of the leaves. Again, using just the very tip of my brush. Okay. Now for the leaves, I'll show you my painting in real time for the first few so you can see what our process will be like. Here, I'm starting with a light value of green for my base layer on each of the leaves. You want it to be nice and even without any pooling of water on the page. Then I load up my brush with a darker value of that same green color and just add it to the edge of the leaf like this. Now I'm going to rinse off my brush and just smooth out that darker color a bit. Now, don't worry, we'll be going much more in depth with layering and blending later on in the class. But for now, I'll just be adding these darker values on top of my base layer and then gently smoothing it out. I'm going to go back in with another layer here. Now I have an even darker value of my green, and I'm just going to gently add it to the edge, just like this. Again, I'll be going way more in depth than this technique later on in class. But for now, my one biggest piece of advice is just not to overload the layer. You don't want too much water or too much paint. Once again, I'll be rinsing off my brush and just smoothing out those edges a bit. There you can see that this one individual leaf looks really beautiful because we applied a variety of values, so you can see it shifting from a light to dark, giving this leaf a very dynamic, interesting look. Let's do this same process again and feel free to paint along with me. I'm starting with a very light value, which again, means I have plenty of water in my mixture. I'm just applying a nice even layer before I go back in with a slightly darker value and just tap it in along the edges. Finally, adding one more layer of darker value, which means I have a slightly more concentrated mixture of pigment, tapping it in along the edge to give it even more shadow and depth. Then rinsing off my brush, dabbing off the excess water and slightly just smoothing out that leaf. I don't have any of those harsh edges. Now that we've done a couple of these leaves in real time, I'm going to go ahead and speed up the rest, but don't worry, the process will be the exact same. Starting with a light base layer, adding in a medium value, smoothing it out, and adding in some darker values. Now, before I actually start painting the berries onto our final painting, I grabbed this practice sheet of paper just so I can show you the process that we'll be using when we paint our berries. I started with a very dark value of my red fox berry color, and you can paint along with me on scrap paper if you want to practice this too. Then I use a clean, damp brush to paint another berry right next to it, just gently grazing the outside of my first berry to grab some of that pigment. Let's try that again. Start with a dark value of your red color, paint in a simple berry and then rinse off all the color, dab off excess water and paint another berry right next to it, just using the color from the first berry to drag some in to our second. This is the process we'll be using when we paint our berries into our berry branch. This gives it the very dynamic value because you have those dark ones to start with and then super light clear berries next to it. Now we can start doing that same process on our berry branch. I'll be starting with a dark value painting in a simple berry and I leave a little bit of white space for the highlight of the berry. Then I rinse off almost all the color off my brush just so it's clean and damp and I paint another berry right next to it, using the tip of my brush to grab some of that color from the first one. This is how I'll be adding all of the berries. Now I'll start on the bigger group of berries. First, with a dark value of my red. Making sure I have enough pigment on there that when I add the additional berries, I have enough to pull from. If you start to light, then you won't have enough pigment to draw into your additional berries. I start nice and dark. That way when I rinse off my brush, add my second one like you can see I'm doing here. I have enough color to pull into that second berry. I'm going to add another small one here. I want to make sure I'm mixing up the size as well as the value of the berries. I'm just going to continue this process, adding in my berries, where I feel like it. You don't have to do the exact same areas that I'm doing. Just take a look at your branch and see how many you want to add, where you want to place them, and be sure to mix up the values that you're using and the sizes because we really want to make this painting interesting and dynamic. Now, take a look again at the example where I painted the same exact project without paying attention to color values. All the berries and leaves are the exact same shade. Look at how flat and dull it looks compared to the version we just created together. It's a small and simple change to your process that makes a huge difference in the outcome of your artwork. Feel free to keep practicing your values and start to think about how you can apply them to different subjects that you like to paint often. Whether it's landscapes, florals, portraits, animals, or anything else you like to paint, you can always level up your artwork by incorporating a variety of color values. 6. Blending One Color: Now we're moving on to color blending. If you've taken some of my other classes already, you might be familiar with this technique. But in this lesson, we'll go more in depth about how to create smooth and seamless transitions between a single color and between multiple colors, which can be useful for all types of artwork. A lot of times color blending and tonal values go hand in hand. Now that you're more comfortable with values from the previous lesson, we'll be incorporating that into this one as well. But first, let's take a look at a real life example. This is a watercolor wreath I painted a few years ago. While the painting itself is pretty simple and straightforward, you can see I've used a variety of values of this green shade and each leaf has a seamless blend between light and dark. Aren't any harsh lines between the two. All you pick up is a smooth gradient that looks natural and pleasing to the eye. The key to creating smooth blends like this is all about water control. You want to have enough water in your brush so you can blend out the color smoothly, but you don't want to have too much. Otherwise, the water will flood the surface and you'll end up with really harsh lines once it all dries. Let's start by drawing three rectangles on your paper. This is just a practice exercise, so it doesn't need to be perfect. Again, feel free to use any color you'd like. We're going to be practicing blending first with not enough water on our brush, then with too much water on our brush, and we'll finish with just the right amount. Now, it might feel a little strange to practice a new technique the wrong way first. But I really do think it helps you not only understand why water control is so important when you're blending, but it'll also help you identify issues if you run into problems with your blending in the future. So first, we'll be attempting to blend with not enough water on your brush, which you'll see is very difficult. So I'm going to start by just laying down a swatch of color on the left side of my rectangle, and then I'll be rinsing off all the pigment and really drying off my brush completely. Now, you'll see when you try to blend, it's coming out very streaky. And there's just not enough water on your brush to grab that color and smoothly blend it out to the rest of the rectangle. So that's why we're just seeing a lot of harsh edges, a lot of streakiness, and it's just not ideal to try to blend color smoothly with not enough water in your brush. Now, on the other hand, let's try blending with too much water on our brush, which you'll see has its own set of challenges that comes along with that. So start again by just laying down your dark value swatch on the left side. Now when you go to rinse off your brush, don't dab off the excess water onto your paper towel. Now when I try to blend, you can see it immediately floods the surface, it pulls all of the color instead of gradually pulling the color, and it just doesn't really blend. You're not getting the streakiness that we saw in the first method, but we're not getting the dark to light blend because we had so much water that all the pigment just pooled on the entire surface. When you see that pooling happening, that's how you can tell that you have too much water on your brush. Now we can do the example we've all been waiting for using just the right amount of water on our brush. I'm loading up my color, and I'm going to start the same way that we've done the other examples just by adding a swatch of color on the left side of my rectangle. Now I've rinsed off my color. I don't have too much water, but I have enough, and I'm going to just gently start pulling some of that pigment out to the right side of the rectangle. Now it's easy to tell that I'm not getting that streakiness like in the first example and it's not flooding, but it's just gradually spreading to the right side. Each time I do this, I'm rinsing off more pigment off my brush so that I can transition from a dark to light value. I'll just let this process continue rinsing off my brush as I go lighter and lighter, then you'll start to see that nice gradual blend, which is exactly what we're looking for. Now, let's try this again, but this time let's blend using vertical strokes. It'll be the same process, but just using short up and down strokes instead of horizontal like we did in the last exercise. I've added my first swatch on the left, ns off all the pigment, but I have a good amount of water in my brush. It's not dripping off the edge, but it's also not too dry. I'm just going to start gradually blending from left to right. Making sure to keep my strokes going up and down. I'll do another example here in a minute, but that's another important thing is you always want your blending strokes to be parallel to the initial swatch of color. Let's try this again, but we'll use perpendicular strokes and see how it looks. I'm starting with vertical strokes just like I did in the previous example. But now, when I try to blend, I'm going to use horizontal strokes. My brush is clean now and I'm going to try blending horizontally, and you can clearly see the difference between that initial swatch and the color that you're trying to blend. It looks messy. You're able to tell which way you're using your paint brush, and it just doesn't achieve that smooth gradient that we're going for. That's why it's super important to keep all of your blending strokes parallel so that it has a nice, seamless transition from dark to light and you don't see any of those individual strokes. I really encourage you to continue doing this last practice drill a few more times to really nail down your water control. And when you're feeling more confident, we'll move on to blending two colors together in the next lesson. 7. Blending Two Colors: Now we'll move on to blending two colors together. There are lots of ways that multicolor blends can enhance your artwork. Let's do a few more practice drills to really get the hang of it. Now, it's important to acknowledge that some colors are more suitable for blending together than others. Like this pink and yellow, meet together in the middle to create a beautiful orange. Whereas if you blend purple and yellow together, that makes a muddy brown color. You can still definitely blend those types of colors together beautifully and we'll practice that in a minute. But you'll need to go about it slightly more carefully to avoid the muddy middle. Let's start with the easier colors first, pink and yellow. I'm going to start by just adding a small swatch of pink at the top of my page, moving horizontally, just adding a little bit. Now I'm going to rinse off my brush, so I have clean water. It's nice and damp and starting at the bottom of that swatch, I'm just pulling some of that color down. Rinsing off my brush and continuing to pull it down. You get a nice soft blend from the dark value at the top to lighter down below. Now, I've rinsed off all the pink and I'm loading up that warm yellow color and doing the same thing at the bottom, starting with a deep value, but just a little swatch, rinsing off all the pigment and pulling some of that color up. It's going lighter and lighter because I'm rinsing off pigment and using clean water to blend. Then you can see it meets nicely in the middle to form a warm orange. Here I'm just using a clean damp brush and just softening out where it meets in the middle. Now you can see a soft gradient from pink into orange, soft in the middle and down into the warm yellow. Let's give it another try. Starting with a dark value, adding just a bit of color up there at the top, rinsing off my brush and pulling that color down. Rinsing off my brush again and continuing to pull down. You want to make sure your brush is clean so that you're not pulling too much pigment down. And just smoothing out that color a bit before loading up my brush with the yellow and doing the same, but just from the bottom up instead of the top down. Starting with my dark value of yellow, just a bit of a swatch there, rinsing off my brush and pulling that color up to meet softly in the middle with the light value of pink. I'll do this exercise one more time, sped And now, I'll show you the difference with blending purple and yellow and why we have to be more careful. So I'm starting with a really dark value of purple laying it down on the page, and now I'm going to add my really dark value of yellow. Right below it. I'm not giving much space to blend. This is an issue because when you try to blend it together, like I'm doing here, it just causes a muddy brown color in the middle, which is definitely not what we want. We have to go about it in a more careful way. Go ahead and load up your brush with your dark value of purple. Just that a little bit up at the top. Now we're going to do what we did with the pink and yellow, but we're going to soften it to an even lighter value of purple because we want those values to be super soft, super light at the point where they meet so that there's not enough pigment to cause that muddy middle. So you can see I'm blending it out to almost just clear water with just a touch of purple, so it's super light lavender at this point. I'll go ahead and do the same thing with the yellow. I'm starting pretty far down, adding in my dark value. Again, I'm going to blend up very gently to where it's super light value of yellow, meeting a super light value of purple. That way, it blends seamlessly without mixing too much to cause the brown. Blending up. You can see it's pretty much clear, but you have a little bit of color mixing there in the middle. And that's how we're going to create the nice soft blend. I'll do this process again slightly sped up. But that's the key that I want you to remember if you're having trouble blending two colors together and it's just causing a little bit too much muddiness in the middle, you'll just have to work a bit harder to blend into a super light value at the point that those two colors meet. As I'm doing here, I have very dark values of purple and yellow, but I'm getting plenty of space to blend to an almost clear color at the point where they meet. That way you have that nice soft gradient, but you're not getting any muddiness because the pigments not strong enough to mix. And now that we've mastered individual and multicolor blending, let's put it into practice in our next lesson. 8. Blending: Eucalyptus: For this project, let's paint a delicate stem of eucalyptus leaves, using our new blending technique to create these soft gradients in each of the petals. Go ahead and download my sketch or feel free to create your own. Now, I really love painting leaf stems like this one, especially when you're practicing a new technique because you get a lot of repetition and it allows you to really build up your muscle memory. Eucalyptus tends to have a cool, blue green color scheme. For this painting, I'll be using a mixture of indigo, hooker's green, and a touch of panes gray. We'll start each leaf by adding a dark value of our blue green mixture on the edge, and then we'll use a clean, damp brush to gently blend that color out into the rest of the petal, creating a nice soft gradient. I'm grabbing a pretty dark value of my green blue mixture. As I mentioned, I'm going to start on the top petal and just gently line the edge with a nice layer of the darkest value. Then just like we did in our practice exercises, I'm rinsing off the extra pigment, getting a good amount of water on my brush, and then I'll start gently blending it out into the rest of the petal. And I'm working from dark to light. I want to make sure I'm rinsing off pigment each time I go into blend so that I can keep a very light transparent value on the upper right edge of this petal. This is the process we'll do on each of the leaves. I'm going to finish blending this one out, and then I'll do one or two more in real time, so you can follow along. Starting on the next petal on the right side, I'll be doing the same process starting with a very dark value on the bottom edge of the petal. Then using my clean damp brush to start blending it out. And as I work my way up to the outer edge of the petal, I want to make sure that I'm rinsing off plenty of pigment so that I have just clean water, and that allows me to maintain the very light transparent value. Now you can tell that the second petal is slightly lighter than the first one we did. I want to keep it a bit more consistent. So I'm going in with an additional layer starting with my darkest value and just tapping a new layer along the bottom edge, and that'll help make the contrast a little more dramatic. From there, I'll use the same exact technique and start gently blending it out to the rest of the petal. Now I'm moving on to the little tiny petal in the middle. And the process will still be the same, but because it's so small, I'm making sure to just use the tip of my brush and really be mindful of my water control. Let's do one more petal together in real time. I've zoomed in a bit so you can really see what I'm doing clearly. So I'm starting with the darkest value, just like we did in all of our blending exercises and like we've done in the first three petals. Then using a clean damp brush with not too much water. I'm starting to blend out that color into the rest of the petal. As we mentioned in the last video, you want to make sure you have plenty of water to gently blend out that color, but you don't want too much to where it starts flooding the entire petal because then you start to lose that gradient and it all just becomes one color. You want to make sure you're being mindful of your water control and also making sure to rinse off pigment in between blending sessions so that you can maintain a lighter value in the areas that you want to be lighter. You can also do what I'm doing here where I tap in a bit of additional color around the edge of the petal. You'll just want to make sure that you go back in and blend it out. The process might start to feel a little bit tedious because it is so repetitive. But as I mentioned before, that is one of my favorite parts of painting stems like this because you get a lot of great practice, a lot of repetition, and then this whole blending technique will start to feel very natural and intuitive for you. I'll go ahead and speed up the rest of the leaves. And now that all of the leaves are done, we can go ahead and add the little veins in each of the leaf petals. So I'm using the very tip of my brush, not applying very much pressure down, and I'm using a dark value and just gently lining that in to the center of the petal. Let's do that again. Using the very tip of my small round brush, not applying too much pressure and just gently lining the center of the petal. And I'll just continue making my way down. You don't have to do this part if you'd prefer to leave the eucalyptus leaves just plain, but I think it adds a nice little finishing touch. Now, the very last step we'll need to take is using the same technique as we just did, but adding in the stem. So I'm using a very light hand, not applying too much pressure and just adding in that stem with a very dark value and I'm making sure to avoid the overlapping petals. So you can see I've left that part blank and then I'm continuing down. I hope you're feeling more confident with your blending skills at this point. Remember, the key to creating those smooth, soft gradients is water control. So if that's still a challenge for you, make sure to go back and practice some of those drills before moving on. 9. Layering: Next up on our list is layering. Learning how to apply layers will help add depth to our paintings. Turning a flat avocado like this one into an eye catching, realistic one like this, which we'll paint together in the next section. I'll be honest, when I first started painting with watercolors, I only thought that layering was going to be useful if you're doing highly detailed botanical illustrations. Since I was going more the route of loose floral watercolor, I didn't think I would need to know how to do it. But I've learned that using layers or even just applying a single base layer to my artwork can be extremely useful without interfering too much with the loose nature of my painting style. Applying a base layer can help add dimension and bring out warm or cool undertones in your paintings. This will come in handy when we paint our monstera leaf at the end of class. In that project, we'll paint a base layer of yellow and then paint our darker greens on top of that, you'll see the yellow provide a subtle glow in the leaf instead of just having the white of the paper show through. Layers are also used in landscape paintings to help convey depth in your artwork. For example, when I paint my forests like this one, I start with really light layers for the background in the distance, and then my layers get darker and darker as I paint into the foreground instead of having just one flat layer of trees without any of that depth perspective. On a similar note, with watercolors, you always have to layer from light to dark. In other mediums like acrylic or guash, it can be pretty easy to paint a dark layer first and then a light layer on top. But it's just not possible with watercolors. Keep in mind, we're always layering from light to dark. Let's do a couple of exercises to get the hang of working with layers. The first layering technique we'll be doing is called wet on wet. I'm going to go ahead and take a light value. You can use any color you'd like. I'm just going to paint a circle. You can do any shape you'd like. This is just a practice exercise. I just want to make sure that this layer is very even. I don't want it pooling up on the page, but I also want to make sure that it's wet enough that I can apply an additional layer on top of that wet layer. I don't want it to be too dry, but I don't want it to be too wet. Now, while it's still wet, I've grabbed a darker value, and I'm just going to start dabbing that color around the edge of the circle. Because we're applying wet paint on top of another layer of wet paint, you can start to see that pigment bleed and bloom out into the center of the circle. That's what happens when you use wet on wet technique. Now we'll move on to wet on dry. Just as the title suggests, we're going to be painting a layer of wet paint on top of a layer of paint that's already dried. So we'll start out the same way as we just did, paint a simple shape. I'm just going to go with a circle again and make sure it is a nice, light, even layer. This time, I'm going to let this layer dry completely before I add in the darker value. Once it's dry, you can go ahead and grab the darker value and start adding it in along the edge. And you'll notice the difference from what we just did. With the wet on wet technique, the pigment immediately started to bleed out into the center of the circle. Whereas with this wet on dry technique, it's maintaining its shape. So it's keeping those nice clean, sharp edges because it doesn't have any water to bleed into, like, with the wet on wet technique. So when you're working with layers in your artwork, if you're going for those finishing details and you want sharp, clean lines, you can use wet on dry. Whereas if you're going for the more loose effect or you're just adding in and blocking in your colors, I tend to go more for the wet on wet. Now, I know we already practice blending quite a bit earlier on in the class, but now I'm going to show you how to blend wet on wet versus wet on dry. So for wet on wet, I'm going to repeat the same process we did, starting with a nice even layer and just painting in a simple circle shape. Again, you want to make sure there's not too much water where it's pooling up, but you definitely want enough to where it stays wet before you add your second layer. Now, I've grabbed my darker value of the same color, and I'm just going to start lining the edge of the circle, adding in that additional layer and watching the pigment bleed and bloom out into the rest of the circle. Now I'm going to start blending this together, and I want to make sure I have a clean, damp brush with not too much water because both of these layers are already wet. I don't want to add too much water on top of that. So I'm keeping my water control in mind, and I'm just going to start gently softening this out. So we're getting more blending practice on top of what we've already done. Now I'm going to go back in with an additional layer. Again, this will be wet on wet. I'm just using a very deep pigmented value of my green blue mixture. Adding in some more rinsing off my brush, so I have a clean damp brush. I've said this many times, but that's really what you need for blending. Clean damp rush, a handle on your water control, and then just start blending it out so you get the nice soft gradient. Now we've got some practice layering wet on wet. We've also blended wet on wet. We've layered wet on dry. Now you guessed it, we'll go ahead and start blending wet on dry, which is a little bit different than blending wet on wet. I'm starting again by just laying down a light value circle. Okay. Making sure it's nice and even. But this time, I'm going to let it dry completely before adding on my second layer and blending it out. Now that that base layer is dry, I'm going to go ahead and apply that same second layer as I did on the left side. Applying it to the outer edge. Again, because that base layer is dry, it's not bleeding out or blooming out like the wet on wet technique. Now while that second layer is still wet, I'm working fairly quickly using a clean damp brush to start blending it out. You'll notice that this is very similar to what we did in our berry branch project where we had a very light value of the green first, and then we added more darker greens and blended it out just like we're doing in this practice drill. I'll just continue this process, softening out those edges until I'm happy with how that looks. Now that you're more comfortable working with layers, we'll move on to our avocado project in the next lesson, and we'll be utilizing values, blending and layering. 10. Layering: Avocado Base: Now that we have some solid practice under our belt, we can get started on our next project, where we'll be utilizing layers to help bring this avocado to life. The colors I'm using in this project include a lemon yellow from my art philosophy pastel palette. A mixture of green and blue from my art philosophy decadent pies palette, and a mixture of warm light brown, dark brown and black for the seed and the skin of the avocado. I know I'm using quite a variety of odd colors from different palettes, but you can really use any similar colors you have available, so don't worry too much about finding these exact ones. Once you have your avocado all sketched out, we're going to start by applying a base layer of a very subtle light yellow. This won't make a huge difference in the overall painting, but as I mentioned in the previous video, applying base layers like this can really help bring out warm or cool undertones. I want the underton of this vocado to be yellow. So it's not a very strong pigmented version, it's just a very light value. I'm just going to make sure that I'm applying it nice and evenly across the whole base layer of just the green vocado part. So I don't want to touch the seed yet. Once that's done and while it's still wet, we'll start building out our layers of green. We're going to do quite a few layers. One thing I want you to keep in mind is we want to start from light near the seed so the center and then get darker as we expand out towards the outer edge. I'm starting still with a fairly light value of green I'd say a medium value, and I'm just going to start applying that on top of our yellow base layer. Again, you want to make sure it's nice and even. This is the wet on wet technique. I want to keep my water control in mind. I don't want to flood the surface, but I'm just blocking in my color values at this point. We're really getting a chance to use all of our techniques so far because I'm adding these layers, I'm using different values, and as I'm layering, I'm really also utilizing my blending technique like I'm doing here. So that I get these nice soft edges. I really don't want there to be any harsh lines at this point. We will be having harsher lines when we add finishing details when we add the skin and the seed. But for now, I'm blocking in my color values and I really want them to be smooth and seamless. Now, from this point on, I'm going to be adding two more layers to the green part of the avocado. You can see that I've gone noticeably darker in my value of green. I'm just lining the outer edge because I really want to maintain the light value towards the center where the seed is. I'm being careful to just line the outer edge, and this is still wet on wet, so that's why you can see those color blooms. Once again, once all of that color has been applied, I'm just using my damp brush to blend it out and just smooth out some of those areas that have bloomed. We're getting a lot of good practice with blending. And now comes the final layer. I've added a little bit of blue to my green mixture. Again, I'm just lining that outer edge. This is still the wet on wet technique, so I'm going to need to soften those edges a little bit and just blend it out. But this will be my final layer of building up the green values. Now, once all of that has dried, I'm going to be using wet on dry to add this outer edge of green. This is still a green layer, but it is different because we're adding it on top of dry paint. We're not seeing the paint bleed and bloom anymore. It's maintaining its crisp edge. I still want to soften that a bit, so I'm just going to do one half at a time. Now that left side is done, I'm using just a small round brush with just a tad bit of water and just softening that out, so it doesn't look as sharp. I don't need to go full wet on wet and full blending technique. I'm just softening that out. Now I can do the same thing on the right side. Using just the very tip of my brush, a very dark value of green. I have a little bit of brown in the mixture, too, but it's mostly just dark green. I'm just lining the very outer edge using wet on dry. Okay. And once the paint supplied, just using a very small tip of my round brush to smooth it out a bit. Okay. Now, once everything is dry, I'm going to use my very dark brown black mixture to add the skin of the ovocdo. Again, you want to make sure those layers that we just worked on are completely dry because I don't want any of my brown black color to bleed into the green part of the ovocdo. I'm just going to gently use the tip of my brush and start painting that in. We're not layering at this point. We're adding a new block of color, and I'm just gently lining where I put that dark value of green because I want it to connect, but I don't want it to overlap, and I'll just gently make my way around towards the bottom of the ovocdo. Carefully lining it with the tip of my brush. Now I'm going to start taking a clean brush and just blending it out a little bit because I don't want the whole skin of the ovocdo to be one flat color. I want the edge of it to have a little bit of shadow and depth to make it look like it's an actual round ovocdo. I want there to be just a little bit of variation in color. I'm just using my clean brush and blending that out just a bit. You can start to see that nice light brown color form. Now I'll go ahead and add a little bit of that darker color around this edge for the shadow. This is what's going to help make it look more rounded and three D. A little bit of the wet on wet technique, we're changing up our value, we're blending it out, and just helping this vocato more realistic. I'll just use the very tip of my brush here to just soften that out. There we go. Once the left side is done, I'm going to use a super small brush. This is a round brush that size one, and I'm using that same deep brown color, and just very gently adding one final layer around the right side of the avocado. Because you want to still be able to see just a touch of that skin on both sides. Okay. If you don't have a round brush this small, you can still use any of the other brushes you have. Lots of times if I don't have my round size one readily available, I'll just use the very tip of a size four or five round brush, and that seems to work just fine. Just make sure it's pointed and you don't have too much water. Okay. 11. Layering: Avocado Seed: Now we can go ahead and get started with the seed. You can see we have a lot of different values ranging from light to dark. We also have a highlight, and we're going to be adding quite a bit of layers to add that depth and the shadows to it. So I've loaded up a very light mixture of my brown. This is a very warm brown color, and I'm starting very light because I want to have a strong highlight where the light is hitting the seed. So I can always get darker if I want to, but it's a lot harder to go from dark to light. My advice is to always start lighter than you think you need. And I'm going to leave just a little bit of that white space in the top right area for the highlight. Just applying a nice even layer here. Now I can start building out my layers. I'm going to, as I said, work from light to dark. Now I have a medium value, and I'm just going to start adding in those shadows. Now, you want to be fairly careful with your green layers. You want to keep it separate, but because the edge of the seed will be darker than the lightest part of the green. It is okay for a little bit of the brown to overlap the green because we'll be adding the final layer of brown, and that's when we'll really want that edge to be crisp. But at this point, it's okay if a little bit of the brown overlaps the green. You just don't want it to get too out of control. So now I'm starting to be more mindful of this crisp edge, like I said, so I have a slightly darker brown and I'm just going to start lining the edge of the seed. Building up those layers to establish depth and really make it look three D. This part is really up to you how three D and realistic you want to make it. You don't have to add the exact amount of layers that I'm doing. Just use your artistic intuition and start building it out as you see fit. I went ahead and sped up this section quite a bit just because it's a lot of the same. I'm adding layers, I'm smoothing it out, blending it out. And then we'll go ahead and work on the final layers together. But just make sure you're working at your own pace and feel free to add as many layers as you need. Just make sure you maintain that highlighted area. You don't want to add too many layers to where it overtakes the whole seed because then it won't look rounded in three D if you don't have that highlight where the light would be hitting it. As you add your layers and you blend it out, just make sure you maintain that light value for the highlight. And now we're back in real time, and I've got my darkest value of brown. This is almost as dark as I used for the skin. And I'm just gently and very carefully using the tip of my brush to outline the seed. It's still wet on wet, but I don't have it super wet to where it's bleeding too much because I want to maintain just that crisp edge. And this is what I mentioned before, because this dark brown is much darker than the light green that we're going on top of. It's okay if you have to overlap a little bit. All right, so our first avocado is looking good and now we can move on to the second. 12. Layering: Avocado Second Half: Now, the majority will be the same. We'll do the same yellow and green layers. We'll add the brown for the skin, but the difference will be the center. So let's look at my other example here. Instead of having the seed, we're going to have this concave hole where the seed would be, and we're going to need to use quite a bit of shading to achieve that. Now, because the brown of the seed was much darker, we didn't have to be too careful when we were applying our first layers. But because this green isn't much different than the green of the rest of the avocado, you want to make sure you're being very precise when you add those first few layers because we're not going to have the dark brown to go over the top of it. Just be a little bit more careful as you go. Because the first few steps will be the exact same as we just did, I'm going to go ahead and speed it up. But as a reminder, we're starting with a light yellow. To have that undertone. As you can see here, I'm being very careful to go around the circle where we're going to have that concave area. So starting with the yellow and then gradually building up our layers of green. We're utilizing wet on wet technique. We're going from light to dark and we're blending in between. All right. Now we'll go ahead and grab our dark brown black mixture, and we'll add the skin just like we did on the first part. This one's a little bit thinner. I'm not going to worry about shading and using the different values because it doesn't need to look too rounded at this point. We're just going to block in that color. Just using a very small size one round brush, adding in the color for the outer edge, and then making sure to line the other edge as well. So we just want a very thin edge all the way around the avocado. I'm not applying too much pressure, I just want it to be very light and thin. I also decided I wanted that outer edge just to be slightly thicker so it looks a little bit more three D. I'm just going to add another layer and just expand that skin just a little bit. Now we can go ahead and get started with the center of it. I'm going to start with a very light base layer. So my initial stroke was a little bit too dark, so I'm just going to water it down a bit. It has a very yellow undertones, so I added a little bit of yellow, and I'm just going to apply a nice even layer. It will be pretty similar to how we did the brown except we're going to be using the green. Because this is where the other half of the seed would be living if the avocado was not sliced in half. So I'm just being very careful with my breast strokes. I want it to just barely meet that outer edge of the rest of the green. And at this point, you do want to make sure that all of your green layers are dry so that it's not bleeding or blending. I'm just going to apply very carefully this first layer. And because I want to make it look concave, I'm going to add those shadows around the edge just on one side to make it look like it has a little bit of depth to it. I have a slightly darker value. It's a little less yellow. And I'm just going to add that in around the edge, using the wet on wet technique, and then I'll start blending it out and adding additional layers. Now those initial layers have dried, and I'm going to go ahead and add a fairly dark value around the outer edge because I want this to be the deepest part of the pit. So it's wet on dry at this point because that base layer is dry, so you're not seeing any other color bleed into the middle. And now I'm just going to gently blend it out using a clean damp brush. I'm really making sure to work with my values here because that's going to help us show the viewer of this piece of artwork that there's depth there. If it was all one flat color, you wouldn't know that it's a pit. But because we're adding these shadows on the end and softening it out, it really makes it look concave and it makes it look like that's where the rest of the seed would be. So I'm just going back and forth here, adding in some more color and blending it out. And I'll go ahead and speed the rest of this part up, but it'll just be a back and forth between adding more color, blending, adding more shadows, and this is just based on what my avocado needs. So again, you don't need to follow the exact same amount of layers and the exact same blending that I'm doing. Just take a look at yours, see what it needs, and try to use these new skills to your advantage to make it look nice in three D. Mm. And that's it. I love how this one turned out, especially when you compare it to this example where I only used one layer per color. The one we painted together looks so much better and so much more realistic, and we achieved that through applying layers. As I mentioned before, there are so many different ways you can utilize layers with your watercolor paintings to help bring them to life. So I want you to give it a try with another subject that you like to paint often. I promise you once you start getting more comfortable working with layers, the whole process will become more natural and intuitive. 13. Lifting Color: Now, we'll learn a technique called lifting, which is a great way to add highlights to your paintings and lighten the total values where needed. It's also a handy way to help fix mistakes in your artwork. It's all around a great tool to keep in your back pocket. I want to start by showing you a quick example of how I utilize the lifting technique in my own artwork. I typically use it when I'm creating highlights on a painting, when I want to make an object pop and look more three D, like in food illustrations. This is one of my art prints from my kitchen collection, where I painted a handful of fruits and veggies. You can see especially on the lemon lime, and blueberries, that there's a clear highlight where the light would be shining on the foods, which I created by lifting some of the color off the page. Let's start with a basic example of lifting to help demonstrate the technique. Go ahead and paint a swatch of color on your paper using any color you like and make sure it's a nice, even layer. Now, let's say you want to create a highlight or lighten the value in the middle of the swatch. All you have to do is rinse off all the remaining pigment on your brush, dab off the excess water on your paper towel, and then just gently press your brush onto the page and lift the color right off of the paper. You can do this several times if you'd like to keep lightening the area. Just make sure you rinse off your brush each time so you don't accidentally add the color back on. So now let's go ahead and try this technique in a different shape to help us repair for our lemon. I'm going to start by laying down my initial layer. But this time, I'm doing it in the shape of an oval. And again, you just want to make sure it's a nice even layer. And once the pigments rinsed off, I'm applying my brush down on the paper to lift that color right off the page. Now, if you want that to be a little smoother, you can use some of the blending techniques that we've been practicing throughout class. You can continue lifting color off and then using your clean damp brush to soften out those edges. This is exactly what we'll be doing in our lemon painting as well. As always, you'll just want to keep your water control in mind so that it's not pooling up on the page, but you have enough liquid in your brush to make those soft edges. This first example is a hard edge where we just show the example of lifting color off the page. But this oval shape that we're working on has a much smoother, softer effect to it. That's the highlight we want to create on our lemon. What we're also going to be doing in our lemon project up next is tapping in shadows along the edges to really make that lemon look three D. So I'm just giving a little bit of practice here on our oval shape, tapping in some darker value along the edges, smoothing it out, lifting more color where needed, so it just looks nice and soft and three D. Now, it's generally easiest to lift color off the paper while it's still wet like we just did. But you can still do it if your paint has dried. You'll just have to reactivate the pigment before lifting. This can be especially helpful if you want to fix mistakes like I mentioned earlier or erase splatters of paint after they've dried. I'll show you a nifty way to do that. First, you'll want to take a clean brush and gently wet the surface, which helps to reactivate the paint. Then clean off your brush again, tap it on your paper towel and start lifting just like we did earlier. With paint that's already dried, you might have to do this process a couple times to get your desired effect, but it still works. In the next section, we'll get more practice using the lifting technique as we paint our beautiful lemon branch. 14. Lemon: Base Layer: Now that we know how to lift color, let's put it into action by painting a lemon branch with some leaves, using the lifting technique to create the highlight on the lemon, which will give it more depth and help it look more realistic. We'll also utilize the layering technique we practiced in the previous lesson to add shadows to the sides of the lemon. We'll really start to build all of these skills. Just a quick reminder, the sketch is also available in the resources section, if you want to download that before we begin. The colors I'm using in this project include a mixture of lemon yellow, warm orange, and light brown for the lemon. Sap green and indigo for the leaves and a mixture of medium and dark brown for the stem. I'm going to begin by applying a very light value of yellow across the entire base layer of the lemon. I went ahead and diluted it a bit more because my initial stroke was a little bit darker than I would have liked. I'm making sure to leave the highlighted area very, very light. We'll also use the lifting technique to remove even more of that pigment. But for now, I'm just being a little more mindful to make sure I have a very light value in the area that the highlight will be. Now, our base layer is done, and I'm going to use the lifting technique to remove even more of that pigment in the highlighted area. And we'll be doing this as we continue to add more and more layers. But for now, I really want to start off that area very, very light. Now, before we add our darker layers, let's look at the example here. Around the stem is where you're going to want a lot of that shadow and then around the edges and the bottom as well to help give it that three D curved effect. I've grabbed a medium value of my yellow, and I'm just going to start slowly blocking in those values and building up my layers. So we'll do quite a few rounds of this to really establish depth. But here I'm just adding in those darker values around the edges, around the stem. And again, I'm just being very mindful to keep that highlighted area a very light value. So I'm not going to be adding my layers on top of it. But as I go, I'll continue using the lifting technique to make sure I'm maintaining the light value. Now, I've grabbed an even darker value of my yellow, and again, I'm just going to be building this up, applying the darker values where I really want to accentuate those shadows. I'm just keeping my water control in mind as we did with the avocado project as well. I don't want it flooding the surface, but I want enough that it can bleed and that I can blend it out because I don't want any harsh edges. I really want it to look smooth and soft. As you continue to work on your layers and really build it up, I just want to encourage you to not get discouraged with how your painting looks in this messy middle area. When I was first getting comfortable working with layers, I honestly would end up tossing out a lot of my paintings or I'd get super frustrated and just quit working on it. Because a lot of times when you're building up layers, it can look a little off in that kind of middle part of your process. But as you keep adding your shadows, blending things out, building up your layers, it really starts to come alive. So, for example, when I was working on my practice one here, I really like how it turned out. But in the middle of my process, I almost ripped it in half because I just wasn't liking how it was shaping out. But I reminded myself to keep going, keep adding my layers, build out the stem, build out the leaves, and then I really was happy with the final result. All that to say, I just encourage you to stick with it, enjoy the process, and see it through to the end. At the very least, even if it doesn't turn out how you like, it's a great practice. Now, as I'm adding my final layers, I've added quite a bit of orange to kind of warm up my yellow mixture, and I really want the warmer shadows to be around the edges and where the branch attaches to the lemon. I'm just going to be adding these final layers and making sure to smooth out all of my edges. And once I get to my final shadows, I'm making sure that my layers beneath it are a little bit more dry because I want these shadows to really stand out and I don't want them to bleed out too much. So keeping water control in mind and just using a bit less water for those few layers. 15. Lemon: Leaves & Stem: Now I'm going to go ahead and move on to the leaves of the lemon, and we'll be using a lot of these same techniques. So you can see I have light value on the bottom edge that slowly blends into the darker value. Once again, we'll start with light values, tap in some more and blend it all out. I've grabbed a very light value of my green mixture, and I'm just going to apply a nice even base layer to this first leaf. And now I'll start the process of building up my layers. I'm grabbing a medium value of that same green, and I'm just going to start adding that in around the edge, keeping water control in mind and softly blending them out, just like this. Remember, if you get too much water on your surface and it's starting to flood or poll up on the page, just use a dry brush. Just rinse all the water off your brush, dab it on your paper towel, and let your bristles soak up that excess water. Now, I've let that base layer dry quite a bit. Now I'm doing wet on dry and I'm really going dark with this value because I want the contrast to be very dramatic. I've loaded up a dark value. It's not very watery, it's pretty concentrated, and I'm just lining the edge of the leaf with that dark value. That way, when I blend it out with my clean brush, it creates a nice soft gradient, but there's still quite a bit of dynamic contrast. So I'm just really using that brush. To blend it out and create a soft gradient on that leaf. Now, we will be doing that same process on the rest of the leaves as well. But before we start on the right side leaf, I want to make sure that your lemon is completely dry because this leaf is going to bump up right along the edge of the lemon. If any of that pigment was still wet, you'd have the green from the leaf bleeding into the lemon, which we definitely don't want. Just make sure it's dry and then you can go ahead and do your base layer, add in your darker values and blend it out. I'm going to go ahead and speed up this part, but just remember, it's the same exact process. So now that the leaves are done, I've switched over to a very small size two round brush for the stem. I'm actually using the same brown mixture that I used for the avocado peel. And I want to start with a very light value to just apply a very light base layer to the entire stem, and I'll be tapping in some darker browns to add some texture. I want to make sure I'm working fairly quickly here. But I want that stem to still be pretty d. So be careful with your lines. Use a small brush if you have one or the very tip of another brush if you don't have one. And make sure you connect your leaves as well. Next comes my favorite part. This is such an easy way to add great texture to a wood branch or a stem like this. Just go ahead and grab a dark value of that same color. Again, it's a mixture of medium brown and black. While the base layer is still wet, just tap some of that in along the edge and you'll see that pigment bleed into the rest of the stem and create really great texture. Then I just go in between using a clean damp brush to soften the edges a little bit, and then going back in and tapping in darker. You just let it do its thing, let it bleed, and then soften any rough edges. Again, it's a simple step to remove some of that pigment and create our highlight, but it really does help make the lemon look more realistic and it makes the highlight pop. I painted the same lemon without using layers and without lifting color for the highlight. You can see again how dull and flat it looks compared to what we just painted together. I know I'm showing you a lot of examples in this class, but I really want you to understand how these new techniques can truly enhance your artwork, even if they seem like simple adjustments to make. At least for me, seeing side by side comparisons really helps put that into perspective. 16. Monstera Leaf: Base Layer: Tiers to making it to our final class project, the tropical Monstera leaf. We've learned a lot already, now's our chance to put all of our new techniques into practice. The colors I'm using for this painting include a light lemon yellow for the base layer and various values of my green, which is hookers green, pains gray and indigo. I'm painting this leaf on an eight by ten sheet of 100% cotton cold press paper, and I already have my monstera lightly outlined in pencil. As a reminder, you can download my sketch below or you can draw your own monstera leaf if you'd like. The first step we're going to take is applying the masking fluid to the holes in the leaf. If you don't have masking fluid, you can just paint carefully around them. But using masking fluid means you won't have to worry as much about painting over it as we go. I've started by pouring a little bit of masking fluid into this little palette, and I've got my specific brush that I use just for masking fluid. I'm going to start applying an even layer of this onto each of the holes that I've outlined in my sketch. I don't want it to be super thick where it's pooling up onto the paper, but I definitely want to make sure it's thick enough to cover the space, none of the paint gets into it once we start adding layers. As I mentioned, if you don't have masking fluid, you can still do this project totally fine. You'll just need to be more mindful of painting around the holes. And I'm just going to continue this process, adding my masking fluid to each of the designated areas and then I'll give it time to dry and you want to make sure it is completely dry before adding any paint on top of it. Once the masking fluid is completely dry, we can apply our underpainting or our base layer. For this, I'm going to use the super light value of yellow and just apply a very light wash across the entire leaf. This is a very subtle yellow. It's not going to make a huge difference. But in the highlighted areas of the leaf, I'd rather have a yellow undertone shine rather than just the white of the paper. And I'm just making sure to apply an even layer across the whole entire leaf. And since I have masking fluid over the holes, I don't have to worry at all about getting any pigment on those. Now comes the process of adding in our greens and building up layers using different tonal values to enhance the highlights and the shadows of the leaf. In general, we're going to have the lighter areas in the center of each side and darker values along the middle of the leaf and the outer edges. I'll be adding dark values of green in those areas and then blending them together to a lighter value in the middle. I'll just be careful to avoid the veins going through the leaf because I want those to remain the light yellow color. When I start blending these together, I'm making sure that I rinse off my brush often, so I'm not dragging too much pigment into the middle, where I want the highlight to be. This will be our process throughout the entire leaf, adding the dark values on either side, blending to a lighter value in the middle, and lifting any additional pigment in areas that need to be lighter. But don't worry, I'll do a few more sections if you can follow along at a slow pace. Something else I want to mention is that I'll be doing two layers on this in total. This first time around, I'm blocking in my colors and my values. Once the entire leaf is done, I'll go back in with another layer to darken the shadows and add final details. As you add your dark values, you want to make sure you're working fairly quickly, so those areas are still wet and easily blendable. If they dry out before you get the chance to blend, you'll just have to add more color and then blend it out so you can avoid any harsh edges. You can also start to see that some areas of my leaf are a bit more green while others are more blue. That's why I really like to use a mixture of indigo and Hooker's green because I can add a bit more of either color to get a varied look throughout the leaf, so it's not just all the exact same color of green. I'm going to go ahead and speed up the rest of this layer while you work on yours. But remember, it's going to be the exact same process we've been doing so far. Then once the whole layer is done, I'll show you what I'm doing on my final layer in real time. I know I it 17. Monstera Leaf: Final Touches: All right, so now my first layer is done, and I'm really happy with how it looks so far. But I want to add another layer to darken some of the shadows, sharpen my edges, and just make the color contrast a bit more dramatic. The process will pretty much be the same, but since I want these shadows to be even darker, I'm making sure to add more indigo to my mixture to darken those values, and then I'll just continue blending. As you work on yours, I really want you to make these choices based on what your painting needs. Don't just do what I'm doing just because I'm doing it. Trust your artistic intuition, which areas of your painting need more contrast, which areas could use some smoother blends or sharper edges and make those changes. Because even if we're following the exact same sketch and using the exact same color mixture, no two paintings are going to be the exact same. You have these new skills in your tool kit, and now's your chance to put them into use in the best way for you. Again, I'll speed this part up because it'll just be the same process all the way around the leaf. Now my second layer is done and completely dry. Now it's time to remove the masking fluid. It's super important to make sure the paint is fully dried, so you don't end up smudging any of it as you take off the masking fluid. To do this, I'm just going to use the tip of my finger and gently rub it off towards the center of the hole. Masking fluid can sometimes rip off some of the paper surface. If that happens, I'd rather be inside of the hole where it's supposed to be white than accidentally taking off any of my color. I'm just carefully doing that to expose the white space. I'll continue working my way around the leaf, carefully removing the masking fluid with my finger. All right. The masking fluid came off pretty well. There was one little spot here that tore off a bit of color, but it's not too bad. Overall, I'm really happy with how this project turned out and you'll notice that the initial layer of yellow that we put down isn't super noticeable. But there are a couple of areas where you can see the subtle yellow poking through the highlights, and I really like how that looks. Then the additional layers of green and the darker shadows help to bring it to life and make the leaf look a bit more three D. I really hope you enjoyed painting this monstera and you got some good practice using the new skills from class. In the next and final video, I'll share some additional resources and we'll wrap up the class. 18. Resources & Final Thoughts: Congratulations. You made it to the end, and I'm so happy you decided to join me today. We learned a ton of stuff in this class, so let's do a quick recap so we don't forget. We started with color values, learning what they are, creating value scales, and practicing, applying a variety of total values to our artwork. We then took a deep dive into color blending, learning how to create soft and smooth gradients between individual and multiple colors. We also learned all about layering and how to apply base layers to enhance the warmth and glow of our artwork. And we got plenty of practice with our avocado project. And last but not least, we learned how to create eye catching highlights using the lifting technique, and we practiced it on both wet and dry pigment. With all those new skills in our tool kit, we painted the beautiful tropical Monstera leaf in our final class project. Now, I really want to remind you that honing these skills does take quite a bit of time and practice. So be sure to give yourself grace, allow time to practice, and make mistakes, and try to track your progress so you can really see the difference between old and new paintings. One of my favorite things to do is look back on all of my old artwork to see how much I've grown and improved as an artist. It's not always easy to recognize progress in the day to day. But when I compare where I am now to where I was even six months or a year ago, the difference is truly inspiring. I want to thank you again for joining me in this. And if you enjoyed painting alongside me, be sure to check out some of my other classes as well. I have a wide variety of classes on watercolor florals, seasonal projects, digitizing your artwork, and even how to design and print your very own greeting cards. So thank you again and happy painting for me to you.