Painting A Stunning Watercolor In Seven Easy Steps | Jean Lurssen | Skillshare

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Painting A Stunning Watercolor In Seven Easy Steps

teacher avatar Jean Lurssen, Jean Lurssen Watercolors

Watch this class and thousands more

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

Watch this class and thousands more

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

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Drawing and masking out the tree trunks


    • 4.

      The Background Wash


    • 5.

      Mixing your colors and adding the first stage of the leaf impressions


    • 6.

      Adding more leaf impressions to areas that need fixing


    • 7.

      Mixing and adding th dark values to your painting


    • 8.

      Mixing Greys and painting the aspen bark


    • 9.

      Painting th dark markings on the aspen bark


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About This Class

I will show you, in seven easy-to-follw steps, how to create this stunning Fall watercolor.

If you want to learn how to simplify your painting style in watercolors - whether a beginner or an experienced painter wishing to learn new techniques. In seven easy step-by-step lessons I will show you how to create a stunning fall landscape painting in watercolors. We won't be painting individual leaves - rather, I will show you an easy techniques to paint the impression of leaves that in my opinion, makes for a more interesting landscape that leaves things for the eye to interpret.

Be sure to also post your painting in the gallery to share with other students in order to get feedback. I love to see what students achieve and will help with any issues you may experience.

Meet Your Teacher

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Jean Lurssen

Jean Lurssen Watercolors


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

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

For more tutorials, tips and techniques visit me at:

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Gene, and I've been painting in watercolors for more than 20 years now. I love to stretch the boundaries of water colors, and I also like to use lots of texture in my paintings. In this course, we're going to paint this lovely fall. Seen It may look complicated, but really it isn't. I've broken it down into seven easy to follow steps that even if you're a beginner watercolors, she should be able to follow along. And for the more experienced watercolorist who just want to learn to loosen up or learn some new techniques. Some people think it's really difficult to paint in watercolors. But I'm going to show you some tips and tricks that will give you more confidence in using the medium. So come and join me and see how, with a few simple, easy to follow techniques, you can also paint a great looking watercolor 2. Materials: Now, I just want to go over the materials with you very quickly that you're going to need for this course. Now, remember, nothing is written in stone. You don't have to get this exactly the same brushes that I get. If you've got something similar, anything will work. This painting doesn't require exercise of brushes. You can just do something similar to what I have. If you don't have what I have and the same applies to the colors. I'm going to tell you what colors I'm using. But if you don't have all of them, you can substitute. And that's what's the beauty of this painting. So I have Ah, 1.5 inch wash brush just for putting down the first wash. And I said, If you don't have a flat wash brush, just any large brush will do. I've got to a round head brushes here. They sable brushes, but if you don't have saber of Russia's synthetic brushes will be fine. Mine. I have a number 10 and the number eight number eight is going to be used for painting in the bark on the tree trunks at a later stage, a number 10 I'm going to use for putting on the impression of leaves. This is a hog's hair brush that you can get at any hardware store for about 50 cents, and I use the such a lot in my watercolors. It's great for creating textures in watercolors, and I'm going to use it in this painting for the leaf impressions. Or so this is a rigger brush, and it has a lovely fine point. If you can see there, it's, um this is what I'll use for painting theme the branches and the markings on the bark in the one of the last stages. This is a cheap Children's paintbrush that I use with the for putting the masking fluid on the tree trunks. In the very beginning, we mask out the tree trunks while we do the impression of leaves. Now any brand of masking field will do. I use this one because it has a tint to it, and it helps me see where the tree trunks are. While I'm adding the impression of leaves, you're going to need a spray bottle that gives you Davia give you different sized droplets . It's hard to let to show you in the camera, but there around, they can see you want these different sized droplets. You don't want a stream spray. You want the spray that gives you a different sized droplets. I clamped my paper down to a board with four of these, but you can use tape to tape it down to the table or thing, and I cut up old towel so I don't have to use a lot of paper towel. And as you can see, I've washed this many times. It's now turning gray now for the paint's again. You can substitute anything that you have if you don't have what I have, because it all works as long as you use the yellows and the golden colors and mix it with some rids. I'm going to use aureole in lemon yellow, raw sienna, new gumbos, Indian yella, can me and Rid, which will be mixed with these air will not use this need to be mixed with the yellows to give the lovely rust colors in the painting. This is burnt Sienna and French. Ultra Marine is a document in the first lecture that you can download, which takes you through the whole course, including the materials. So if you look on the top right hand side of your lecture of Electoral one, kick the down arrow and you'll see, um, it gives you an option to either download the video, and it will also be a document called Painting Guide. And you can download that to get a A list of your materials and everything as we go through the state. Different stages so it might be helpful for you, and I would suggest you should probably download that. Oh, and don't forget. Also, you need to containers of water, one to wash your brushes out and one for mixing paint. And you also need good quality watercolor paper. I'm using £140 cold pressed paper living by 14. The important thing here is not to use student quality pains you won't get. You won't get the results you want because the student quality paints has a lot of fella in it, and you need artists, quality pains and artist quality watercolor paper. I do know one thing you don't want to stand on is your watercolor paper and you watercolor paints. That's extremely important if you want a good painting. So now that you have all your materials, let's get started 3. Drawing and masking out the tree trunks: the first thing we're going to do is draw in the tree trunks. There's just a few things I want to point out to you before we do that. Notice that all of my tree trunks are a different with. That's how they are in nature, and it just makes for a good composition. Notice also that I've but nothing. None of my subjects are in the center of the painting. Never put your subject in the centre off the painting. It's also important in any painting to have a different ratio off light, medium and dark values. It just makes a good composition in any painting and noticed that none of my tree trunks are straight. As in nature. No tree trunks are just not straight, and so it makes them easy to draw. We just draw them freehand, and it's very simple. In this painting, we're going to leave gaps at different levels in each tree trunk to create the impression of leaves so you will see leaves in front of the trees, leaves behind the trees, and it just gives the painting more dimension and makes for a bit of painting. So let's get started and draw in the tree trunks and mask than art Ready for the impression of leaves. I've already drawn in two of my tree trunks to save time and I'm going to show you I'm gonna do the 3rd 1 and show you how I do it. So remember, we don't want the gaps lining up with each other That would not make for a good composition . And, um, this one is going to be a little wider than this, but a little narrower than this. And, um, I'm actually drawing it darker than I would normally do it so that the camera will pick it up. But you want to do it as light as possible so that your pencil marks will disappear. Now we're ready to mask out the tree trunks. But remember that you want to use your cheap Children's brush and not ruin one of your good brushes and just start with thick lays off masking fluid filling in the tree trunks because we what we're going to do is mask these out and through the rest of the painting. We're going to do the impressions of leaves and the very end we're going to peel off this masking fluid. If you put it on nice and thick, it peels off really easily. And then we would will paint in the tree trunks, the aspen bark, the aspen markings and the branches, and you'll see how that works. Now, don't worry. If you go over the lines, it's all something that you can fix later on. We can always add more impressions of leaves, and so this is not an exact science realistic painting rig, but it's going to look great. It's going to look like a beautiful fall painting now for the final tree trunk, and then you really want to let this masking fluid dry for more than an hour. You don't want to use a hair dryer on it, either, because it will just stick to the paper and never come off and you'll just ruin your painting. No, be patient and let this dry completely. And when it's Dr, we will put on the first wash. So let us dry completely and then we'll be ready for the next step 4. The Background Wash: Now for the first wash, we're going to mix a very weak mixture off or Ireland yellow and lots of water. Remember, in water colors, you pain from light to dark, and you don't want your painting to be too dark. In the beginning, you can always add more colors later, and, um, you don't want to make a too dark. Otherwise, you will have no light in your pain in your painting. So let's test this honor taste paper, and I think maybe a just a teeny, but more or Ireland. Let's try that. Yes, I think that's about right to see. Just have the right of the paper shining through. But it's a good yeller. Now take your wash brush and see what I did. I started splashing it already, and you pick up lots of paint, get a lot of paint in your wash brush and just start crisscrossing filling in all over the paper. Now we are going to have a light source coming from this side. So you want to leave this'll a teeny bit lighter than that? I'm gonna have some lights there, too, but this ah right hand side will be just a little bit darker. And this left hand side you just cover any in a random fashion is nothing magical about it . Very easy. Just cover the paper. This Oriole in is a beautiful color because it really gives a beautiful light shining through. And it doesn't matter if it's an even. In fact, it's better if it's uneven, so leave it uneven. I'm gonna add a little bit more dark there and let that dry completely, and then in the next stage will put on the fist layer off the impression of leaves and you'll see the magic happen. 5. Mixing your colors and adding the first stage of the leaf impressions: to go over the colors that we're going to use in this first stage of putting on the leaf impressions, I have Oreo, Roland Lemon Yellow, New Game, Berge Indian yellow cadmium Rid Burnt Sienna. And these are mixes off. Those colors have aureole in with cadmium red lemon yellow with cadmium rid and New Game Berge with cadmium red. And that's lemon yellow with burnt sienna. And these are the colors we're going to use for the first stage. So let's get started. Now we're going to start putting um, paint. I didn't mean to mention to you that the paints should be mixed to a medium cream consistency. You don't want a too watery at the stage. We went a medium cream consistency now, but I'm using the Oriole and mixed with the cadmium red and you off Mrs my Number 10 brush and just getting to spatter all over. You get different size droplets, which is good, because that will give us different sized leads. Now that one I didn't like so much. But we can fix that later, and you want to do each color all over, sir, and make sure to wash your brush out between Well, between colors. Now I'm going to go into the, um, lemon yellow and cadmium red, Get a bit of rid, wash that off and going to try. Um, just some some Indian yellow for now and just, you know, mix, mix, whatever colors you want, you don't have to use the same colors that I do. But I've done this painting a number of times, and I always, um, try different colors each time I do it. And I've found that Discomfort Nation makes the nicest. Okay, the painting, sir. This is lemon yellow and buoyancy. And and I'm gonna do some new Gamboa on its own, and you don't want to do actually too much in the very first stage. But I just want to add a bit more of this rid because we've got too much yellows and breasts going on there. Now, by the way, I have this up in an angle for the camera. But when you work on yours, you really want to do it flat? Um, now I'm going now you need your spray bottle and very gently with half sprays. And only once in each place cough, spray, half spray, half spray being down the page. I see the magic. See the leaves coming alive there. Isn't that exciting. I love doing this. This is a little bit there. Yeah, there's net look good. That's the first stage off the impression of leaves and began to build. That absurd looks more three dimensional, and you want to leave it flat, let it dry completely, and then we'll get to the next stage. 6. Adding more leaf impressions to areas that need fixing: I can. Now that your paintings drive, you want to take a look at it and see where you need to add more leaves for you. It's going to be different than it is for me. But I see here for me I have to add leaves around the outside. This is kind of a boring blob here when you add leaves here, here and this area, which are spritz too much and dried to light. I'm not gonna cover this entirely because what you want to achieve is lighter leaves behind darker leaves, which will give the painting more depth. So we don't want to cover everything that we've already done. That's very important at this stage. You also don't want to add too many leaves because we rather do that in the final stage. If you add too many now, you could just end up Ah being too busy. Another thing that you is very important. We don't want to cover up things. Background wash the lovely yellow glow that is going to shine through the leaves and at the end of the painting is just going to look like light coming through the leaves. That's very important we don't want to lose the light. So another reason not to do too many leaves at the stage rather do too few than too many. So let's add more leaves. I'm going to use my hogs hairbrush, which will give me different size droplets. And as I said, we don't want to overdo it at the stage. So I'm going to do more of the golden colors because we've got a lot of red going on here. I'm going to start off with this lemon yellow that's mixed with burnt Sienna and just see how we go with that. I got to go around the outside of my painting first to fill in some gaps, Okay, a little bit here, but they're a little bit there washer from a brush. And I think I'm going to go into some of the burn see energy. I haven't used a lot of yet. Just when you do. A little bit of that is it said I have to. I got some really blank areas around the outside of my painting and get these boring areas here, which dried quiet night there. Oh, that was a big blob. I didn't like that too much. Okay? I don't As I said, we don't want to do to match, but I'm going to do a little bit of lemon yellow introducing lighter colors and Rosie ano, this is We haven't used this yet. I'm mixed up some some raw sienna, which is a nice color Now, I don't want to ever do it yet even though they are areas that I c could be probably improved. I'm going to let that girl and spritz what I have right now because we can always fix this in the next stage. If we still don't have enough, Be careful not to, however, spritz this time, which I did in one area last time. This half sprays really carefully do this otherwise, and And my, um, painting is on is raised at the moment, so you put so the camera can see. But I'm going to put it flat because the colors are starting to run down. And, um, I don't want that to happen. That's looking really good right now, I think, and, um just have a look. Yeah, that looks pretty good. I think that's going to be great for the next stage in which we're going to put in a few darks dark leaves by mixing the burnt sienna with French ultra Marines. You have to remember watercolors dry at least 20% lighter. So let's let that dry absolutely completely, and we'll do the last stage off adding more leaves before we take off the masking fluid and paint in the tree trunks. 7. Mixing and adding th dark values to your painting: now for putting in the dark leaves. You want a very thick, creamy consistency of burnt sienna mixed with French Ultra Marine. Don't put into match ultra marine in the beginning because you just wonder really nice golden brown color on put a teeny but more in See that I think I'm going to test it on my test paper just to see Yes, that's a lovely golden brown. Think I'm going to use it like that? This is where you're going to need your cling Phone about 1.5 feet of it and just scrunch it up into a ball like this and gently dip it into the mixture so that it looks like that you don't want big blobs on there, and we just go, um, I want to fix this area here. See, that was a an area that was a little bit too overbearing, and I haven't area down here that I want to fix. And here I want to break this break up this area here and now you don't want to put in too many docks. You just want to, um, do it randomly and very lightly. You don't want a lot of paint on this, as I said could do with a little bit up here and let's see, maybe some around here. I want to fix that little bit there. No, I think I don't want it anymore. Darks. That's that's looking good. Well, maybe there is a little boring patch there getting over this middle part there. I think I'm not going to do any more than that. But a point that I wanted to make here is you can use this process to add other colors. Like I have the top here area with which I think needs fixing. And I will probably add some other colors there. I don't want to put too many darks in, so I'm going to add some other colors there and, um, improve that and I've got on the bottom here. This area still can be fixed a little bit. So this is the final stage of the leaves where you can fix anything that you want to fix. It got a little area here which may be needs something. I like the way the docks all right now and don't want Teoh do anything more with that. It's just it just take a closer look. It looks good. I really like that a lot. Let this dry and it shouldn't take too long. And once it's dry, we're going to take off the masking fluid and paint in the tree trunks and you then you're going to have your finished painting. How exciting. 8. Mixing Greys and painting the aspen bark: Now I've removed all off the masking fluid except for this little bit, and I wanted to show you just how easy it is to take it off the paper. You can either do it with your finger or kneaded eraser. Don't use a regular eraser for this because it will damage the paper and you don't want to do that. We seek area comes up easily. Now we're going to paint in the tree trunks, and what you need to do is mix up a very thin, watery mix off a light gray using French ultra Marine and burnt sienna and just you start off with the blue and just add a little bit of burnt sienna until you get a nice pale grey and white. This is, you know, my number eight brush we're going to work with, and I'm going to try it on a piece of test paper. First, let's see how that if it's too dark or too light, I think I think that's gonna be good. So you gotta keep mixing this because the colors separates or just do that, then wipe it off. What I do is I am take my paper tone I mean, my tell and just weapon like now, remember, tree trunks are rounded, so we want to make them look rounded. And remember, we having a light source coming from that side. So we're going to leave a little less than 1/3 off the left hand side of the trunks white, So we're going to start from the side. Your brush should be horizontal to the paper, and you just very lightly didn't put enough on there. Very lightly brush to the left to the left, leaving most of the left hand side white. And that's going to give the, um, trunks around it. Look, see hearts in various places. You can go all the way just a little bit like that and did the same here. You see how quickly it goes and you can. You don't press on the paper. And what what gives this? The texture is the paper itself, which has a texture, the cold press paper. It creates this. If you just do very light rushes to the side, it's better to do to light in the beginning and get over thin, too. Have a too dark, and that's, um, starting to look nice. Just keep mixing this gray. Gosh, I can't believe how quickly it separates. Okay, See it because very quickly this is not difficult to do. Just you could practice on your on your test paper to start off with, just to get the motion and the feeling off how to do it. See, that's looking pretty good. Now what we need to do is let this dry, and then we're going to put in the little black markings that you get on Aspen trees. And then after that, we'll put in the branches and then you'll have your painting. 9. Painting th dark markings on the aspen bark: Now we're going to do the little markings that you see on the aspen trees. And to do that, we have to mix quite a thick mixture off, um, French Ultra Marine and burnt Sienna until you get an almost black color and will a black color. Basically, this, um, does create these two colors together. You can get a really nice black color has to be quite thick. I'm going to actually put a lot more on here because when we've done, the markings were going to border this down and do the branches with the same color. So for this, we're going to use the rigger brush, and what you want to do is put put your rigger brush in the paint, but then wipe quite a lot of it off, even dab it on the towel. And what you want to do is also hold the brush horizontal to the paper and just wiggle it. I didn't have enough painted wiggle it, and some of them will be in the middle and some will be the side they usually quite far apart. So So I don't don't overdo it, um, even haven't got this quite dark enough amount after dark in it. Later, do a little one there and maybe 1/2. And that and it and the markings of different sizes and different Do you know the one there ? Um, different shapes. So you want wanted to look, um, random? The shapes. See if you just if you put very little on your brush, you can get that nice mark like that. I don't want to do too much on that side. That one was, like, a little dark, I think. But, you know, goes this is fun on you just want to be careful not to overdo it. It's very easy to overdo it and do too many markings. Um, I don't think I need to do any more. I think that's enough. And, um, now we want to do the, um, the branches. I'm just gonna spritz a little more water in this. We don't too watery, but still like a thick, creamy consistency. No. And you want Teoh not have too much on your brush. Now you want to hold your brush at the very end here when you're doing the branches because it gives you the freedom of doing at wiggly branches basically, and it's much easier to draw Branch that way. Then if you hold it way down here and try to do it, um, in that way, So you want to take your rigger brush, wipe a little bit off, And if you want to do a branch that's coming out towards you, you start in the center, off the drunk, and you just do that, see how that works. And that's even a little little two lights. I'm just gonna gently get over it like that. Okay, so now, um, that's put a few more in to some of the Cy coming from the side. Awesome. The top there, Onda, we don't. And you probably also want to do to make it look more three dimensional. One going across the other one or two going across each tree trunk. See that, um, and where they meet the trunk. You want to do, like, a little notch. You can even add a little bit of water that just makes it blend into the tree trunk. Yeah, this make that one a little bit darker. Here we are. You don't do too many that you can ruin it by doing too many, sir. Just gonna do another one. Yeah, maybe one. Yeah, And I think I don't really do any more than that. Fix this little one because it's a little too thin. Weird meets the branch. Um, so for now, I think I'm going to leave it as it is. And that'll be my finished painting. All you need to do is put on a nice Matt and it's ready for framing. And don't forget to sign it. If you have any questions, please send me messages. I'd love to answer them. I'd also love to see what you've done. So please send me pictures of your paintings. Thanks very much for joining me in this course. And if you had fun and enjoy yourself, I'd also appreciate it if you'd leave a review on my page. Thanks again for joining me.