Palettes of Place: Connecting with Nature and Place with Watercolor | Kelly Johnson | Skillshare

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Palettes of Place: Connecting with Nature and Place with Watercolor

teacher avatar Kelly Johnson, Connecting humans and nature, creatively!

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.

      Palettes of place Welcome


    • 2.

      Palettes of place seeing


    • 3.

      Palettes of place - shape palettes


    • 4.

      Palettes of place - abstract landscape palettes


    • 5.

      Palettes of place Thank You


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About This Class

In Palettes of Place, we look at landscape as a field of colors and then create watercolor color field paintings from the colors that comprise specific places.

The world is filed with so much glorious color if we slow down to see all the subtle hues, tints, and shades, nature offers us at various times of day and in the different seasons and weather. 

In the videos, we'll create color palettes (some call them swatches) from natural settings, explore "seeing" color, and practice creating the colors you see in the natural world in paint. The result will be a deeper understanding of color in landscape and how to mix those colors, an exploration of the ways you connect to place through color, and the completion of a couple color field abstract landscape paintings.

This course will inspire you to consider the wonder of color and the joy of connecting with places near and far past and present, through the relaxing fun of color!

It's great for beginning watercolor painters and nature journalers to practice color mixing, swatching, and seeing, as well as makes a great warm up or seeing exercise for those with more painting experience.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Kelly Johnson

Connecting humans and nature, creatively!


I'm your guide into nature inspired drawing and painting, Kelly Johnson!

If you drop by my world on an average day you might find me gardening, making art, snowboarding, surfing, vegan baking, traveling, or helping humans build deep relationships with nature through art and organic gardening!

I have a BFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design, an MA in environmental studies from Goddard College, an AMS 6-9 teaching credential & 10 years in the classroom, + 20 years experience teaching art & 11 years teaching nature-study to children and adults in a wide variety of settings.

I've painted everything from huge murals in Mexico to tiny paintings in Virginia to tropical plants in Florida to veggies in Europe and I love how art builds community and connections in e... See full profile

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1. Palettes of place Welcome: way. Welcome to the world of wings, Worms and Wonder Kelly Johnson, your creative major connection guide. And I'm so happy you're here in pallets of place in this class, we're gonna take a fun exploration off your favorite places. I like to call this creating a palette of place because we're not just going to your favorite places in our minds or with your eyes through views were going there through a journey with color, which can be really exciting and really challenging and really fun, because color is like this wondrous, mysterious things always changing in relation to light in the weather and what's next to so it's really gonna be fun. So in this class we explore your connections to place through color so you can really get to know and really see ah, place all through all the colors that comprise that place. It's really wonderful way. Teoh. Take a practicing color theory. It's a little less theoretical, a little more experiential as well as a great way to get to know new and familiar landscapes in a different way. And great thing about getting to explore place through color and this way, creating a palette of place is that we can explore pate places from our past. We can use photographs from the past and create pallets from them. We can use photographs from vacations or adventures we've had in our lifetimes, or we can use the scene right outside our window and stay very present. So it's really, really wonderful way toe. Really understand how you relate to place how you relate to landscape, how you relate to nature and how you relate to color. So what you need for this class is water color paint any kind you like. That's what I will be using. Um, and you'll need watercolor paper pencil eraser ruler now, Pallets of place. Don't on Lee have to be explored through water color. If you go to the link on my blawg, I have another way to it to use color pencils and markers to make pallets of place. But for here we're talking paint, so, um, it's very flexible askew. Create more pallets of place out in the world or on your travels, you may discover, um, you maybe you want to use different supplies. You could even do collage. But so let's start with watercolor. This is a great way to practice paint, mixing Explorer color theory a little more deeply, but also if you're an advanced watercolor painter or experience nature journal, or this is a great warm up that you can do when working on a landscape painting or nature journal entry. So let's get started. Head to the videos below. Thank you so much for being here and pallets of place. I look forward to seeing your pallets of place in the projects, so gather your supplies, find a scene of you you love and head to the next video to get started with color, with seeing and with this pallets of places. 2. Palettes of place seeing: Hello. Welcome to wings, worms and wonders. Pallets of place video to in this video, we're going to talk about seeing a lot of times we look at things, but we may not always see them. So seeing your palate in place, the key to any sort, in my opinion of seeing, um, is to take in the parts and pieces to slow down your body and mind to not just look at objects. You want to relay artistically with realistically or abstractly on your paper. But to see them as compilations of parts and pieces, shapes and forms, lines and colors, and then to see how those things relate to each other and to the environment how you could express that in your art. So today we're gonna practice seeing color. So if I say grass, you probably think automatically green. But really, what colors does that green field of grass really hole a yellow deep greens, light greens, browns, tans, even perhaps a red or purple in the veins? And then what about grass flowers? In the unload grass, you could easily find white, light pink, straw yellow, so just imagining grass what we know about it from experience. We can take it from one color green to about 10. You could make a palette of 10 12 more colors just looking at grass. So taking a look at the pictures on the screen pause on one. How many colors do you see? Consider the various shades and tones in the highlights that shadows the mid tones. Consider the reflected colors bouncing from the environment and then looking to see what you might see in your own environment. Look out your window and see how many colors you confined just in the frame of your window . When you break down colors that I think it's really fun and it's really interesting. Sometimes it's very challenging, but color is absolutely fascinating to me. Kim. It can be so interesting when the light you might notice a wall in your house changes colors three times in one day. Because the light changes. There's so many variables that change and influence the ways that our eyes see and perceive color, whether it's a light, whether it's the colors next to it, whether it's the environment. So when I really want you to do is take a walk or take a if It's not nice weather. Take a stroll through your photo album of some vacations. You've been to our pictures. You've taken around your area and try this. Try picking out as many colors is You can actually find true colors in the shadows in the highlights. How maney pinks are there in one pink flower you can so you can do this from a photo. You can do it from your actual landscape and first notice quickly. How many colors do you see? Then take a deep breath. Close your eyes, open them back up, slowing down and count all the colors that are actually present and see what you discover. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. So give this a try and let us know in the comments. What do you think we'll see in the next video? 3. Palettes of place - shape palettes : Hello. Welcome to video three pallets of place painting your shape palette. So to prepare for painting your shape palette first you need to know the size of your paper . Um, maybe it's on the cover. It's from a pad paper of watercolor paper. If you just using a loose sheet of paper, be sure to measure it and know what size, because that matters for how many shapes you're gonna fit. And I'm hoping you organize your page so it's far shapes. It could be any shape you like. You could use a square, could trace something you could use a template of shape some circles, for example, or you trace a little cup or dish. You can use different size circles, or you can go totally free form and use like little globs. Little blobs you just make with your paintbrush now, knowing you size of your page, knowing what shape you want to use. Now look at your photo and and decide for you making nine, for example. Um, circles like I'm gonna do here, find nine colors out of your photo that you're gonna representing your palate. Then go ahead and make your shapes outlined. Them or if you're going free form, just sort of get an eyeball for where you wanna put your little loose organic blobs. Once you've got your shapes, then look at your photo and then decide where you want to start. So I'm gonna start with that primary bright red pop color I like when I'm making pallets. I like to do a lot of the mixing on the page so you can mix your color purely in your in your paint palette. Or you could do little mixing on the page so amusing, like over a 1,000,000 in that and added a little Eliza in crimson that I'm going with that pink in the snapdragons, that deep rose purple e color. It's mixing that on the page, adding a little purple in adding a little Scarlett and and then moving around, looking at my photo, going for that really bright, nice yellow. It's more golden yellow. It's not so much a lemon yellow mixing that working my way around the picture and also considering where I wanted to put colors in my palette of colors look really nice to each other next to each other, which will feed off of each other again. It's a breeze, those warm tens. There's always so many greens in nature, foot and in nature. Whether you're painting from a photo or from an actual landscape coming in with some oranges. You see that from the highlight there so even, and you could do a whole pallet just off that one Poppy, if you like. Which isn't a fun thing to dio. Deciding how many colors you want to explore from a landscape is tough in and of itself. It's hard to choose just enough to fit on your page, but you can fit much more than this could make them much closer together. Um, see, there's that almost like sort of straw color. So mixing a little poker and there with that, working your way around the picture, making out darks and highlights tints and shades for real darks in the photo. It's always nice to bring those into your palate, and I don't like to use straight black. So you see, I put underpinning of the green first and then added the black and on top of that, pulling out some more of those pinks from the snapdragons in the background. I think that this palate is very cheerful, bright form palette, using a lizard in crimson and then bringing in the dark's. It's almost a Marine that that warm so bringing a little bit of black, a little bit of purple, even a little bit of burn going back in if you need to feel like you needed a glaze, could go over top. You know, maybe the color dried a little more flat than you wanted it to glaze over top. Go ahead and complete any final glazes and washes to get your colors, just how you like them and how they match your photo or seen. And go ahead and start your project and you will have your own shape palette of place. 4. Palettes of place - abstract landscape palettes: Hello. Welcome to pallets of place. Video for painting Your palate is an abstract landscape, So using a photo of a landscape you like or an image out your window Great. A grid. Um, I'm gonna choose eight squares on my grid, but you could choose for many squares you like. Each square should be approximately the same size minor, about two by two here, measuring the mouth but depending on how many colors like to choose. Eight is kind of small for an abstract landscape, but it's totally doable. So whatever you like drawing out your squares, and it's important that to create sort of the feel of an abstract landscape that they're touching. So that's why I use the grid. So looking at your painting, deciding which eight colors you're gonna choose, starting with sky, it's going for that stormy blue. This is a picture of the Key Biscayne lighthouse. Keep skating Florida so adding a little black and over my the precious blue under painting . Get that feeling with sky. When you create your grid style palette, you're essentially creating a beautiful abstract representation of a landscaping color. So great itself, of course, is abstract. But the fact that you're maintaining the color fields of the scene versus the actual shapes in the scene like, for example, not flying, painting the sea and bushes and a in a lighthouse of painting the colors. First thistle allows you to focus on the palate of the place rather than worrying about the forms representations so you can really capture the feel of a place through color. So here I'm getting that deep pops of magenta maroon that comes from the sea, great bushes down low, this'll color and their leaves. And I feel like since this colors kind of isolated in the landscape, it's important. Since it is such a strong, popping color, it gives that warm field greens going in with greens have a couple of different greens, Of course, in the landscape green of the grass, there's the green of the sea dreams. You're doing your under gaming again, mixing your colors on paper, doing glazes. What on what? However, you feel that you could capture the richness of the colors beer landscape. Working around with this is gonna be the black from the lighthouse was lighthouse, so contrast. But coming in with straight black, it's just kind of dull that black is reflecting the blue of the sea and the sky. So coming in with blue first and adding the black over top as a death to your black working around, letting that dr Completely. Now you see how I went every other so they could get firm edges, they wouldn't bleed into each other. Um, if you want them to bleed, you can do it when they're wet. But I do not want them to bleed here. So you see him going right up to the edge, coming in with the dark green of the sea grapes here Got that light like green of the grass is earlier. It hasn't more. That's Troy Brown color scrub, they call it. See, I have no bleeding between the green and the red because that would turn to brown. They're being complementary colors, and all coming in their mother is gonna be the very dark, shadowy green. So coming on that dark green and again instead of just using a flat black in the shadows, putting the green first and then the dark black on top helps you mix that that very dark, shadowy green in the foreground we can come right up to the edge. It's interesting to do these in the same place. At different times of day and seasons. You could really fill an entire journals pages of the same view, the same place and capture all the moods of that place. Stormy days, Sunny days Morning, evening, sunset, sunrise, winter, summer, spring fall Could be really beautiful bringing in this golden color from that lantana flowers and the foreground here. So what you're gonna do is you'll make your own grid. Choose how many squares you want it to be from a photo or from a landscape right outside your back door and, um, make a palette of place. Abstract landscape of the color. So now bring in the white, those white in the clouds. There's also white that right white in the lighthouse. I could just leave my paper, but I think it looks a little more finished. I used White Wash here and now coming back in with any other glazes. Like I thought that read, um, the magenta dried a little to read, so I'm adding a little more of a magenta color to it, looking at your photo matching it up. And now you have, ah, palette of place abstract landscapes. So be sure to start your your project to be low. Share a photo, and I look forward to seeing it when you're done. 5. Palettes of place Thank You: Hello again. Help! You've had fun exploring place through color by making pellets and swatches and abstract landscapes and shape pallets in all different shapes and sizes. Thank you so much again for joining me here in pallets of place. Be sure to start your projects below now if you haven't already, because I really look forward to seeing the pallets that emerge from all your places around the world. If you had fun with this, be sure to check out my other skill. Share classes for more nature. Journaling in nature Painting Watercolor fund If you'd like to explore more pallets of place examples and pallets and color pencil or marker, check out my blawg at wings rooms and wonder dot com. And there's a link below in the community. I also have more end up nature, journaling and painting classes that you can link to from there as well, including a free watercolor basics for Nature Journal ER's class as well. A some month long, much more in depth on nature journaling classes and thank you again. So much for spending time with me here in this creative space, creatively connecting with place through color. I can't wait to see your projects to go ahead and start them below and thank you so much by