Paint a Spring Watercolor / Step By Step | Ron Mulvey✏️ | Skillshare

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Paint a Spring Watercolor / Step By Step

teacher avatar Ron Mulvey✏️, Artist / Art Teacher

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

Watch this class and thousands more

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

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Paint a Spring Watercolor / Beginner to Experienced


    • 2.

      Art Materials You Will Need


    • 3.

      Let's Get Started and Draw It


    • 4.

      Paint a Spring Watercolor Part One


    • 5.

      Paint a Spring Watercolor Part Two


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About This Class

Let's draw and paint a simple Spring, Mountain Landscape in watercolors and improve our brush skills as we do it.

I will show you how to draw the scene step by step or you can just make up your own Spring Mountain Landscape. ( your choice of pencil, permanent pen or brush, and ink.) I'll be guiding you but it's really a DIY project.

I'll then show you how to paint it with a vibrant Spring color scheme and some 'energetic' brushstrokes.

We will be learning how to use different  brushstrokes to interpret what we see in this lush Spring Landscape.

All  art materials needed will be outlined in the videos so let's get started with a great drawing and watercolor painting of Spring.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Ron Mulvey✏️

Artist / Art Teacher


I've been working as a full-time artist since 1980. I have had the pleasure of teaching art since 1983 and have taught thousands of classes on drawing and painting. I would consider it a privilege to assist you in achieving your artistic goals.

I have taught the basic and advanced mechanics and principles which give us the skill and confidence to express creatively, for the past 30 years. Sharing them is my passion! 

What Do I Like Teaching?

Watercolors and Acrylic are my specialty. I work with oils also but not as often as the water based mediums.

I love trees, mountains, rocks, water, flowers, and all that nature has to offer. Getting out into nature always gives me a creative boost. You get the real energy and feeling of space and belonging.See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Paint a Spring Watercolor / Beginner to Experienced: I'm Ron Mojave and welcome to the class. This class is about brush works, brush strokes, learning how to make your brush do some magic on that paper. If you've got a brush and you've got pencils and you've got pens and water and paint and paper, this class is for you. There's nothing better than being outside, the great outdoors, it's a place to be inspired. If you're stuck in the city, that's okay because you might say, "I'm stuck in the country". But I love the country because of, number 1, it's full of inspiration, but you can find inspiration anywhere you live, all you have to do is just get outside and get a couple of pictures, take a few photographs or do a few drawings, bring them home, and I'm going to show you how to simplify a drawing, how to take a few lines with your pen or pencil and then dramatically add some good brushwork, pitter-patter brushstrokes, and long sweeping brushstrokes and all kinds of things that will make your picture come alive. Join me in this class and let's see what we can do along the Slocan River today. It's going to be a great class and I think you're really going to get something out of this class that will help you when you go to paint. 2. Art Materials You Will Need: Paper is very important. We're going to take a look at a few of these papers. They all range from different whitenesses. The arches is the most ivory colored white, followed by different degrees, and this very, very bright white here is a Japanese watercolor paper and it's unsized, so it will absorb water and paint as soon as you touch it. Fingers are up. You don't have to do it like that, but it really does work with these brushes. I just push down the brush, and then lift my hand and I lift the brush, and I get a stroke. I'll be doing five strokes. This one, I'm going to fit in. See where the stroke is thin here, white here, thin here. I'm going to go thin. Notice how that, wow, it really sucks it up. I'm going to leave little white in between, just laying the brush set and then lift the brush. There's two. I'll notice last time see I'm practicing. Last time, it got a little close there. What I'm going to do is, I'm going to stay away from it more and go a little faster this time. Lift the brush and take off slower. There's three nice strokes. Smaller stroke there, and this way here. Small, now, I have five. The next one is an English watercolor paper. If you feel it, listen to it, it's very smooth and dry. Hundred and forty pound paper. Next one, an even smoother paper. This is a Saunders paper. Cold press, 140 pounds. Next one is thinner. This is 90 pound paper. This is a couple of sheets of cardstock paper, and cardstock paper is about 90 pounds and, of course, the last one is acid free matboard. An acid free matboard, this is a two ply board. You can tell if it's a good quality matboard, right in here, this part right here is very white. That means it's acid free. If this is dark, the matboard is not suitable for fine art. It won't last. Now, thinning the paint is probably the most important thing when you're painting with watercolors. The more water you add, of course, the lighter the paint. There's my medium light paint. It's fairly drippy. See the drippyness here. Get rid of that. This one will be a little thicker. Notice, it does not drip. Then I'm going to squeeze out some thalo blue right in the middle. Now, I have my yellow, my azo yellow, and I have my alizarin crimson. I have three paints. I'm choosing this, the smaller brush, it's a little sable brush, but you can use it synthetic brush. You could also use a small Asian brush, half inch or inch flat brush, and a really big brush. Any combination of small, medium, and large, this would work also. Small, medium, large. By the way, I use a big water jug as I don't like to waste my time going and cleaning and getting new jugs of water. The reason I used painter's tape is because it has a low tack, a low acid. A lot of tapes that people use are very acidic, like, masking tape. Not a good choice. If you leave masking tape on for a long time, it'll leave a nasty bit of acidy gluey stuff on your paper, which is not the best. 3. Let's Get Started and Draw It: Here we go. Let's do our little warm ups with a pencil, and then we'll get right down to drawing and painting the picture. First round and round, holding up the pencil, you can hold it up this way, that's why I like these little graphite sticks back and forth, these are the lines that you're going to use to draw with today. Up and down, maybe a few zigzags and some wiggles. Notice I'm holding my paper using my whole arm. Very good. Just a few more. Just warming it up. Just like an exercise class, we're doing our warm ups. Notice how much we've got done using strong pushing and pulling lines rather than little tiny lines like that. Excellent. I'll put those down as a reference right there, and I'm going to draw it and looking at my picture, I'm going to take that poll that was in there first as a line and then I'm going to take a line this way, that was the water, and I'm going to come across up here with a little wiggle, dots dots there, and then I'm going come over here, and I'm changing a few things, the little zigzag line there, bring a couple of wiggles up here. wiggles lines peeking through here for the cottonwood trees, maybe a few more up there, and I'm just using the lines from what we might call the six basic lines. Now I'm going to do my evergreen tree that was in there using what looks like a zig wiggle or a wiggle line, bringing that up a little. I'm going to put in a little bit of a oblique with a little bit of grass in there, change there, little grass. Thinking of spring textures, and the tail off the post I'm going to add a little top to it, and I'm going to put a smaller one down here, the road coming around with some bushes. There's the road. Curve a little, I remember there was a tree on an angle there, and there were some big trees here coming down, and the mountains coming down here, coming up through there, and what we call Early Mountain or Frog Peak. Got some nice ink on that one. We went over there, so we don't worry, just turn that into a tree too and a couple more wiggles, add some texture on the mountains, there, little dark spot right there with the ink and little reflection in here, that and that, and the [inaudible] Great. Let's take a look. 4. Paint a Spring Watercolor Part One: I'm going to take some yellow because it was spring. Once again, this is the big brush, get some color on the painting, and I'm just throwing on a little bit of color here and there. Here's my yellow coming right down inside here, and then I switched to a smaller brush, and I'll take a little bit of the cobalt or the thalo and just get a little section in here where the sky was and maybe pop a little bit behind the trees. I'm going to run that over in here because there was a cloud there, take a little bit of red, pop it through, a little more blue in the mountains here, something we call fraud peak, or we could call it airy mountains another name for it. Because the paper isn't sized, do you see how that mark shows up right away? Look that red. When you buy watercolor paper, it's sized. It can be sized with all things. Sized means that the absorbency is less, so when you put a paint on the sized paper, soon as you make a stroke, you can't get rid of it. Let me give you a demonstration here. Let's see, I've put a stroke on here. That's not going to go away, I'm going to have to keep that. Now I'm forgetting that it's actually a painting of mountains and trees, mainly because it's upside down, and now I'm into stroking this paper is similar to sumi paper, which is an Asian paper you can get, and as soon as you put a mark on the paper, it's stays, so let's just remember that the technique is always subject to the materials you're using. You can't use certain techniques with certain materials, let me take this dark paint now and now that I've just thrown a little color on, I'm going to use my knowledge or my expertise, I suppose you might call it limited expertise with these brushes, but I do know that they work nicely if you bring your wrist up, your cock, your wrist like this, and hold the pen. Traditionally that was probably held like this because of the long nails. You can use three fingers like this or I'm a traditional pencil holder but look, what you can do here, what these little sweeps here, we can brush, so this paper is wonderful, you can get a really good grade paper that is lightweight, 90 pounds, nothing wrong with it. This painting method is very suitable, watch me, see the arm moves, not the wrist, I'm going to do my sweep here. Let me add a little bit of some vibrant green, remember little pothole here, had some vibrant greens, now best way to make a good green is get a clean yellow and add fail low blue to it. See? The fail low blue makes the best spring greens. As summer comes, the green gets less acidic and turns a little more gray, but in the spring we get some dynamite greens here, so notice the paint's a little more opaque here and I'm adding in some little spring touches. I'm going to add a little bit of green up here, light green, I can always add some dark green later, there were, those strokes moving, and now I'm going to put in that beautiful dark green I remember being in here somewhere. I think it's coming right through here with my Asian brush.Then coming across here, I think here I'm going to do it a little differently. I'm going to skip a few areas, so get that reflection down, and then go with some dark lines through here that are going to spill in to the other shape, a tree reflected in there. All things you could do here, let me make a little darker green for the trees. Here's where I might mix three colors together or not. I might just go with this darker green, let me just see what it looks like. Yeah, that's nice. Good, and now I'm going to check that, not much red left, but I'm going to add red to that green, which will neutralize the green and give me a nice dark. There we go. 5. Paint a Spring Watercolor Part Two: Okay I've turned the picture, taken a look at it, and now I'm using rather than strokes, I'm adding some pure yellow into the bottom here. So I'm dropping in more color. There's a little white edge here, even though there's some marks passed, it still adds a nice touch. Put a little darker one here, just bring it right down. Create a little shadow area. Oh, and this was the mountain here. Give it a gray tone for now, and then add some vibrant greens into it. Here's the water reflecting. You know what I'd like here, is the word orange keeps coming to me. So I'll go over to my other pallet. Always got a few pounds going, all of them eventually get dirty or sullied, and then I take them into the utility room and give everything a good clean. But orange is a great color for spring. I just put orange somewhere, it doesn't have to be anywhere in particular. There's little white there, I might just leave it and just put a drop of orange there, see, and even stronger. Different plants in the spring, different cues. This very intense red here, 1,2,3, a little bit there. Don't be afraid of color, just use it. A little bit along the bottom here. What else? I don't know, that's pretty nice. Think a little more blue up here. Do we have any clean ultramarine here? That's not too bad. I think I'm going to go with a very clean little spot of fellow up here. Sometimes I'll even mix on my board, see. See some nice clean blue up there. Right here, probably a little more in here. Be really quick. See, just sucks right into the paper. A little bit of cobalt I'm rubbing in there. I don't know if you're aware of some of the french watercolors in the early 19th century, the impressionist, lots of watercolors just like that. Just bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, draw it, spot in the color.