Watercolor and the wedge brush: An easy, gorgeous winter wreath | Jen Sweeney | Skillshare

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Watercolor and the wedge brush: An easy, gorgeous winter wreath

teacher avatar Jen Sweeney, Watercolor, Calligraphy, Cycling

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.

      Supplies & Class Project


    • 3.

      Practice strokes


    • 4.

      Wreath Outline


    • 5.

      Creating the wreath


    • 6.

      Adding holly berries & greenery


    • 7.

      Final Touch


    • 8.

      Thank you


    • 9.

      Outtakes -- oh my goodness!


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About This Class

  • Only 2 quick & simple wedge brush strokes, repeated in a pattern, are needed for you to create this gorgeous winter wreath in 30 minutes or less!
  • Trust me. It's easier than it may look, and the results are strikingly beautiful
  • I walk you through my step-by-step process, in real time, of painting, layout, and design.
  • I use black drawing paper, not watercolor paper (but you could, I just prefer the drawing paper.)
  • Minimal supplies are needed. Don't have the exact ones? No worries, substitutions can be made. 
  • See list of supplies in the Class Project section AND some options of where to purchase a wedge or triangle brush.
  • You can modify the colors of the wreath and the paper, to satisfy your creative desire. 
  • Once you learn the 2 brush strokes, the layout, the totally simple holly berries & greenery, and the simple bow accent, then your creative freedom will take over and you'll be whipping these wreaths out in no time!  

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jen Sweeney

Watercolor, Calligraphy, Cycling



Hello! I’m Jen, a watercolor artist and calligrapher living in Ohio with my husband. I was a Pediatric Nurse/Nurse Practitioner for 30 years but decided to "retire" in 2019 and start my business J Sweeney Designs. I'm completely smitten by the world of watercolor. Perhaps, like me, you didn’t go to art school, but you have a deep passion for creativity. My absolute favorite tool has been the wedge brush (or closely related, the triangle brush).  Maybe you have one, and know a few strokes, but eagerly desire to fully unleash the artist within. If so, allow me the privilege to walk alongside you and demonstrate, step b... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Intro: hello and welcome to class. I am so grateful and excited that you are here, and I can't wait to share more of my wedge brush designs with you. As the beautiful snow falls outside, I want to invite you to come on in from the cold, grab a hot chocolate or coffee, and let's paint this gorgeous winter wreath together. I'm so thrilled to share this class with you because the result is dramatic and detailed, but the process is not. We will first practice the two strokes. Yep, that's right. Just two strokes in a repeating pattern that are necessary to make this wreath will practice some totally simple accents. And then that's it. We move right into creating the design, and I'm confident that you will be pleasantly surprised as to how easy this actually is. No worries. The pace is easy and relaxed, and I take you through my whole process in real time so we can hang out and paint alongside each other. So let's meet up in the next lesson to chat about the supply she'll need and your class project. Hi there. I'm Jim Sweeney. Thank you for being here and welcome to my home today in Ohio, it is freezing quote outside and snowing like crazy. So the perfect day to just stay inside and pain. I really appreciate you taking the time to be in this class. So we're going to jump right in and head over to the first lesson and we'll talk about what supplies you're going to need to make this gorgeous went to wreath. 2. Supplies & Class Project: for your supplies, going to grab your brushes, your number eight wedge brush or a triangle brush and a very small round brush. I haven't double zero here. Whatever size you have will be fine just for some detail work. And then I use a charcoal white pencil just to outline the wreath. Nothing more than that. You could use a plain old pencil if you want Teoh and then the signal white unit ball pen I have. I'm just drawing one single line up from the reef, that's all the Doctor Ph Martin's bleed proof white, the star of the show, My favorite white and then a red and a green. Whatever you have in your palate is just fine. Quinacrine own red and undersea green. Two colors from Daniel Smith I'll be using and then an eraser if you need at a pair of scissors, just to cut a ribbon, some paper towels and your palate, of course. And then just whatever kind of ribbon you have. It's a small white ribbon I have, and then the tape. I'm just using as an outline for the wreath. I'm not actually using the tape. Grab your water jars a couple rulers. I have my T Square in a small six inch ruler, and then our paper says Skansen nine by 12 inch, £92. It is drawing paper, not watercolor paper. And then here is our class project. I cannot wait to get started on making this wreath with you guys. So if you don't have all of the supplies that I just mentioned, certainly you can make some adjustments. But I look forward to working with you and class, and I can't wait to see you guys upload your projects into the Project gallery. So let's head on over to the next lesson and get started. 3. Practice strokes: okay, As we get started, I just want to remind you this is not watercolor paper. So we have to be careful with how much water and pigment we use. So just it buckles very easily if it gets too wet. So let's grab our white. Just gonna get my brush in here, get some of the white out and get it on to my palette and start adding some water so we'll have to areas on your palate. One that's a more concentrated white and one that's less concentrated because our first layer is going to be a lighter, White said. Dab in the belly of the brush onto the paper towel. And then just do it. A couple of tests strokes here just to see what it feels like. So, like I said, the first layer is gonna be lighter to take your brush, pointing it down at the six oclock position right at your chest. You're gonna land it, swing out to the left and up gracefully. Same on the other side, out to the right and up gracefully. And that is it. You guys just two strokes in a repeating pattern out to the left and up out to the right and up, and we're gonna make four four of these things here keeping that brush right into the center. We do want that center to be more white, so it's OK to just overlap. Okay, so we're gonna let that dry just for a second. The strikes pretty quickly. So grab your more concentrated white. Trying a few tests strokes here, and that one's a little to what? You can see that puddle down at the bottom there. That's going to make my paper warp a few more because this layer is gonna be more concentrated. Gotta practice that, though. That's looking pretty good. Still a little bit more concentrated pigment. There we go. So now we're gonna go in between these form, same strokes, six o'clock out to the left and up, out to the right and up. And I love how the ending looks on on these. It just has that nice little flare all the way around in between those 1st 4 And it gets a little crazy with your eyeballs as you're doing the whole wreath here. So you want to stick with the same pattern all the way around? We're gonna let that dry just for a second here. The strikes pretty quickly. But then we're gonna add some super simple holly Berries. So grab your small round brush, and I just have concentrated pigment here. I didn't even water it down to right in the center. As simple as can be three little Berries keeping a little bit of space in between them all . And whatever red you have, whatever green you have will be just fine. Okay, so then a rinse off my brush and then go ahead and grab your green. When you start adding some greenery here, just roll that brush a little bit around. I did add some water to this green, so just roll that brush around and this can get kinda thick. So just grab your paper towel. And then we're just gonna make some wispy, wispy motion here adding that greenery a little bit at a time. Very light touch. You kind of flick. The brush doesn't need to be a perfectly straight line. We don't want that Just giving the appearance of greenery around these holly Berries. That red wasn't quite driver. That's okay. We're just practicing. And then add a little bit of filler green around those holly Berries. And this is really all there is to it. You guys just a little bit at a time, but the result is so beautiful. Take your time practicing this to takes a little bit a while to get the hang of it, but it is pretty simple. It's all see in the next lesson. 4. Wreath Outline: all right. So super simple way to outline our wreath thes air the supplies that you're gonna wanna graham. So I come down about 2/3 of the way on the paper, just kind of eyeballing it where my wreath is going to go and my white line. So with my t square, I'm gonna measure down seven inches just toe eyeball that again where I want the race to be Just a little tick mark here and then the width of the paper is nine inches, so halfway is gonna be 4.5. So get a little tick mark there, erase the other one so I don't get confused and then grab my tape, and then I just eyeball where the center of that is gonna be. And then I go ahead and just outline it with the charcoal pencil. And you can do this with just a a plain old pencil if you want to. But just I do this because it's easy enough to see when I'm doing the design. And I don't even bother erasing this, to be honest with you, because it really all gets covered up. That's no big deal. Get that out of there, and that is about it. You guys. So I will see you in the next lesson will get painting. 5. Creating the wreath: all right, we are ready to make this reef so we'll grab our supplies. And then I typically wear a shirt like this that or gloves so it doesn't get the oils from my hand onto the paper. So just like we practiced, get a little bit of white out from our jar onto the palette, having one area that's more concentrated in another area that's less concentrated with more water. And always have your practice page in a paper towel handy. I'm always going back and forth and doing some tests strokes before I actually lay the brush on the paper a little bit too wet there. Remember, First Layer is going to be the lightest layer. Okay, so the way I like to do this, so I keep it in order. I start at the 12 oclock position than 63 and nine. That way, it just keeps my eyes and order, and I don't lose my place. So just as we practiced, the tip is going to be at the six oclock position pointing right at your chest. You're gonna land the brush, swing it out to the left than out to the right. Then I'm gonna eyeball it and head down to the next the six oclock position. And this really comes together so quickly. Okay, that's pretty good. So head back to the three oclock position. Same thing, - one more Here. All right. Now, what we want to do is get in between those four spots. It's going to start to get a little crazy with your eyeballs getting a little out of focus here, so just concentrate on what you're doing. Then you definitely wanted to overlap. That's part of the beauty tip of the brush is right on that circle line. There, - they will get one more here for the base layer. - All right, so this is it for a bottom light layer. Now we're gonna head in and get some more brighter whites onto this, and it is just going to come together so beautifully. So in between, here is where we're going to go to get your concentrated white. This is where it starts to get a little tricky sometimes. So this is where you want to keep your eyes focused on the bright white layer. So for this layer, I'm going to start by just going around it. Not necessarily the 12 63 and nine position, but it's just sometimes a little bit easier to do it that way. But then you have to be careful so your hand doesn't get into the wet paint. That is not a good thing in the circle that we drew. You really can't even see that anymore. So don't worry about that. I can see that this layer is not as bright white as I want, but that's okay. I'm gonna finish it out, and then I'll just go back in and cover it up with a little bit more white. It just looks too similar. So it's getting more more white on their no big deal. Easy enough. The hardest part is not dragging your hands through the paint and keeping your eyes focused on where your next stroke needs to go. No, actually, start up on this side. Now we're getting there. I'm loving how this is looking. I hope you guys are too two more to go. C'mon, guys are already starting to play tricks on me. All right, there it is. Okay. All right. One more. We're almost there. All right, we got it. All right. We're gonna let this dry a little bit and then come back and add our accents 6. Adding holly berries & greenery: Okay. Welcome back. Hopefully, this is dried and your eyes have had a chance to refocus. And now we can get some of these accents on our wreath. So I am just gonna use this straight from the tube. I'm not even gonna put the red on my palette, so I'm just gonna dip it in there, but I'm gonna get my brush a little bit. What? It was totally dry. So ticking are small round brush. Just dip in it right in the paint, and we're going to get our three circles right in the center. There could not be any simpler than in this right in the centre, Three circles. And honestly, I even like this without the greenery. Once you see all the rent, it just has that nice little I appeal right in the center. Gives it that extra little pop. And if you don't want to add the green, you don't need Teoh. And just a few more words about the paper. I have used black watercolor paper in the past with this design, and I just was not as happy with it as I am with just this plain black drawing paper or black card stock. Whatever you want to use. I just couldn't achieve this. What I call this X ray. Look to this layer. Look here. It just was a little bit too harsh on the watercolor paper, but I'm gonna try it again and see if I can come up with it. But it's just the white goes on this paper so easily and so nicely that I just actually just prefer this and it's a lot cheaper to all right, So that's it for the red. I think it looks really nice just like that. Durkin and a few more here. But then I'll go ahead and at the greenery. All right, So getting my undersea green Daniel Smith paint get a little bit on the palate here and a little bit of water, and we're just gonna roll that brush around like we practiced and start adding, adding the strokes here, practice a few little wispy strokes before you put it onto the wreath just to make sure it's not too thick. I like to keep the green on the outer edges around the wreath. Not so much on the internal part. There gives it a more symmetrical look that way. - If you find that your green is too dark, you can always go back in and add a few wispy strokes of white right over it. Almost looks like snow over that. So don't worry about it. If you're green is starting to get too dark. Always pretty much always. You can correct watercolor. Um, but it just have done that before. I'm not doing it here today, but it does add a nice little effect to it. This brush is so tiny, so it does not hold a lot of pigments. So you're going to go back and forth quite a lot with this, - and I want to go back in and add a couple little areas of filler, filler, greenery. You don't have to do this if you prefer not to. - You could also use a brush marker with a very fine tip for this greenery to have done that in the past. The networks Justus. Well, okay, we're gonna let this dry, and then we just have a few more details, and then we will be done 7. Final Touch: all right, we made it. We have just a few simple touches here that adds just some really sweet character to this piece. So this is where I'm using my small ruler and a white jelly roll pan or this white signal pen, and all I'm going to dio is just draw one straight line from the bottom up here. This gives it that fund appearance, that it's a hanging wreath, really trying to get it straight. And do be careful. With this pan, it can get a little messy. Sometimes he might want to do it. A test run can adhere to your ruler, and then when you pull your ruler away, it could just really mess up your paper. I just go light and then go over that one more time. Gently move it out of the way and let that dry. That is wet for just a minute or two. And then if you wanted to draw a bow on here, feel free to do so. But I thought I'd be a fun, fun, different touch to go ahead and make a bow, not the best bow maker, but show you how we do it. And if you do decide to frame This certainly got a smushed that bow down pretty good to get it under the glass or they have some really cool frames that you don't need the glass piece in front of it, and it just kind of has a clip on it. That's really cool. I've used those before. Definitely recommend sharper scissors than what I have here. Not the best. The ends of that ribbon can get kind. Afraid if your scissors aren't sharp, just kind of play around with where you want that Bo to be. Get a little dot of glue on the back and you are good to go. Just decide where you want that higher lower, whichever you prefer. But that is it. I hope you enjoy this class. I really had fun making this for you. So please do upload your projects in the project gallery, and I hope to see you back here in class soon. 8. Thank you : I hope you've enjoyed this class As much as I enjoyed making it. I am so grateful that you were here. Thank you for spending your valuable time with me. Now, I know you worked hard on your project, so please go ahead and upload it into the project gallery or tag me on Instagram at Gen. Sweeney four. And you're gonna want to stick around for one more video. Sometimes we just have to laugh when we make these videos. And I couldn't help but uploading this one, so I hope you enjoy it. So take care, have a great day. And as always, please feel free to reach out to me with any concerns or questions. And I do look forward to seeing you in future classes. 9. Outtakes -- oh my goodness!: Hi. No. Ah, Hi, there. Thank you for no. Huh? No guys is not easy. One take we want to do in one. Take one. Take. Okay. It's not easy. Hi, there. Thanks for being here. No, this is really weird talking to yourself like nobody's here. Hi, I'm Jen's. Why? What? What? What? What? Oh, hello, Atlanta, Atlanta. Just take my class. Just take my class paint with me. It's gonna be fun. Okay? Okay. Oh, yeah. She can't do. How did people on TV do this? Really? This is not easy. This is not easy. So not easy. I'm gonna laugh. I can't laugh. Uh, okay. Okay. When you do this, we're going to There is a here, huh? Who? Oh, okay. Okay. Whom? Okay, now I'm gonna cry. See, I can't do this. I can laugh again. Who? Okay, okay. Okay. Because I'm gonna spill my coffee all over. This is not gonna be good. Okay? Why are you talking to yourself? This is not what I need to dio. I'm not on camera. I'm not a nun. Came person, but I like to paint. Well, I teach, but not on camera. How do you guys do this on TV? Seriously, Cut. I think that's it.