Watercolor Misty Forest | Kolbie Blume | Skillshare

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Watercolor Misty Forest

teacher avatar Kolbie Blume, Artist

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.

      Painting Pines: The “Straight Lines” Method


    • 4.

      Painting Pines: The “Swoopy” Method


    • 5.

      Painting Pines: The “Blobby” Method


    • 6.

      The Misty Effect


    • 7.

      The Depth Effect


    • 8.

      Final Project: Layer One


    • 9.

      Final Project: Layer Two


    • 10.

      Final Project: Layer Three


    • 11.

      Final Project: Last Layer


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About This Class

Ever wonder how watercolor artists achieve that abstract-like "misty" forest look? Are you obsessed with monochromatic forest scenes? This class is for you! Perfect for any level of watercolor artist, this class goes dives into tutorials for simple practices and methods to achieve a misty forest landscape before taking you step-by-step through your final masterpiece! 

Meet Your Teacher

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Kolbie Blume


Top Teacher



If you're pretty sure you're terrible at art...

...you're in the right place, my friend. 



Hi there! My name is Kolbie, and I'm a full-time artist, writer, and online educator -- but up until a few years ago, I was working a 9-5 desk job and thought my artistic ability maxed out at poorly-drawn stick figures. 

In my early 20s, I stumbled on mesmerizing Instagram videos with luminous watercolor paintings and flourishing calligraphy pieces, and ... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Intro : Hi there. My name is Colby and I love watercolor. I especially love painting beautiful landscapes and using easy methods and that's what this class is all about. You are going to learn how to paint a misty forest and are rarely easy method like this one. We are going to use different tips and tricks that I've discovered along my years of being an accidental watercolor artist to make really beautiful misty forest scapes. To give you a little look into the class we're going to talk about different methods for painting trees. We're going to talk about different effects that you can use using one special key ingredient. In the next video, I'll talk about all the materials you'll need. In the videos that we talk about, the techniques, it'll all lead up to a series of videos where we paint this beautiful watercolor misty forest bookmark together. If this sounds like the class for you, if you've always wanted to know how to paint those abstract serine-looking watercolor forests then let's dive in and explore the beauty of watercolor together. Thanks for joining in, and let's go. 2. Materials: Before we get started, I want to talk about all of the materials that you will need to really be successful and have a good time in this class. There are really not a lot of them. First and very important watercolor paper. You definitely need watercolor paper to do this class. It doesn't have to be professional but it should be thick watercolor paper and at least £140 or 300 grams. My favorite professional watercolor paper and I've talked about for is Arches watercolor paper. It is a little bit more expensive though. Specifically for painting landscape paintings, the tooth on Strathmore paper mimics professional watercolor paper a little bit better but you can use other student-grade watercolor paper that's cheaper if you want to, and you can get very similar effects. Those are the brands that I would suggest. Canson is also another good student-grade watercolor paper. But I would recommend having two sheets of watercolor paper specifically. One is so that you can practice the trees because we're going to practice different styles for trees and we're also going to practice different methods for achieving the misty effect and achieving the depth effects for this forest. Just know that the first of these videos, we're not going to dive right in to the final project right away. We're going to practice these things first. Get some practice paper. Especially if you have both professional and student-grade watercolor paper for the practice, I would probably go with student-grade first. Then for the final project, bust out your professional watercolor paper if that's what you want. Then like I talked about having a sheet of paper specifically for your final project. Actually, our final project looks like this. I did a bookmark and I know it looks really cool. If you want to do a bookmark with me then go ahead and cut a piece of paper of watercolor paper into a bookmark shape. But if you want your final project not to be a bookmark, that's okay too. All the techniques that we're using you can do on any shape of paper. That's paper. Next, brushes. I would recommend having round watercolor brushes. I'm using a size around Number 12 and then a very small round, 2 over 0. I'm [LAUGHTER] not a professional. I didn't go to art school. There might be another way to say this number but this is the size that I have for my small paintbrush. It is very small. Having a very small paintbrush to paint your trees, in my opinion, and with the techniques that I like to use is very important. Now I should note that with big water round brushes like this, you can also often use the very tip of your Size 12 or 16 or 10 if you have big round brushes like this but it is harder to control and it's a lot easier to put way more pressure than you need. That's why I would suggest, especially if you are just beginning and this is your first foray, intimacy watercolor forests to get a small paintbrush. I mentioned this a few times throughout the class. But the biggest mistake that I often see when people are painting their trees is when they use too much pressure or they're using the wrong size paintbrush because then their needles are very thick and they look clunky and not quite as realistic as maybe they're hoping. That critique describes you to a T then maybe think about getting a smaller paintbrush and using so much less pressure than you're using. We're going to talk more about this when we go into the techniques for painting different types of pine trees. Next up is paint. I'm using Winsor and Newton professional watercolor paint and Payne's gray for this. I love doing monochrome misty forests. I think they're really fun. Yours don't have to be monochrome but adding different colors can be really fun but it's just a little different. We're doing monochrome to keep it basic, I would recommend having professional watercolor but you definitely don't need to have professional watercolor to do these types of work. They're just more pigmented and get more color in the way that makes these misty forests really pop but I understand budgets and do not let yours preclude you from practicing this really cool technique. But if you're wondering what I'm using, Winsor and Newton professional watercolor, Payne's gray, which is probably my favorite color. Then as always, you can't see. I'll move them up here, make sure that you have two cups of water. One is going to stay clean forever and the other one is going to be your dirty cup of water and then have a paper towel or a rag or something on the side to wash off your paintbrushes. I think that about sums it up. Why don't you grab your practice sheet and let's move on to the different types of pine trees and the different methods I used to paint them. I'm really excited [LAUGHTER] for this. Grab all of your supplies and let's get going. 3. Painting Pines: The “Straight Lines” Method: In this segment, we're going to practice the first kind of misty forest tree or the first way to form a tree that I learned how to do. Like I mentioned before, in this class we're focusing on three different ways to form a tree. A pine tree, specifically. This method, like I mentioned in the materials video, I have my round 2 over 0 paintbrush by Princeton. I'm using Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolor and Payne's Gray for this time. The first kind of watercolor pine tree that I use and I used probably most often up until recently, is straight across lines. I know that sounds simple and you may have tried it and not been satisfied with the results. Also, like I mentioned before, I really think that was in part because of the size of your paintbrush, but also probably the amount of pressure that you are putting on the trees. What we're trying to achieve here is like really light lines. There's the trunk. For the straight across method, all we're going to do, we're going to leave the top of the line to be like the top of the tree. Then we're just going to go straight across the trunk like this. But you see how I'm barely touching the paintbrush to the paper, barely at all. As I'm going down, I am getting wider and wider so that it flares out like that. It is the typical triangle shape of a pine tree. Sometimes you can put more pressure in some places. That's the method. This is probably the easiest way. The thing to remember with any method of painting a pine tree though, is pine trees are not even. Sometimes you get a perfect Christmas tree like pine tree like that. But other times, with painting forests, specifically, I think they look more realistic when you paint lots of different kinds of trees. With using this same method, we can paint a pine tree. I'm going really light. I'm barely even touching my paintbrush to the paper. But we can do this straight across method, but only have it be a little more sparse. Honestly, a lot of pine trees look like this too. You don't always see a pine tree that's really full. Or even, even maybe this one goes all the way to the bottom. I'm not versed on the different [LAUGHTER] kinds of needle trees like this that you see in the forest. If you are, and I am calling all these pine trees, but if they're probably not all called pine trees. Just [LAUGHTER] for the record. This one is a little more sparse on the top. You could even not fill it out to the bottom. But we're still just using this straight across lines. What I mean by not filling it out to the bottom is going, maybe like stopping right there and having the biggest needles be poking out this way, towards the middle. The top is still really small needles and you're leaving the top as a point. Then you're just going like you're getting bigger and then you're getting smaller. I know that there are definitely trees and forests that looked like this where you can see a big part of the trunk at the bottom. The way to make your forest look real is if you have different kinds, so they should be different sizes. The needle should have different amounts of needles on the tree. They shouldn't necessarily be even on either side. In my experience, at least painting loose like forests like the ones that I do. Having that variety is what makes all the difference. All of these trees look pretty different, but we're using the same method. I'm just going to demonstrate. We're just making lines like this really lightly with our very small round brush. I'm not making a tree right now. I'm just showing you. This is a light line. This is if I pushed my brush down all the way. Do you see the difference here? These lines, I'm pushing down on my brush a little bit more. These lines are very thick and a lot darker. You can do your trees this way too. I've just found that the way to make trees look a little more realistic is if you make them more dainty like this, especially if you're trying to do like a larger misty forest scene. That is the first method, the straight across lines just we're not doing one side first. We're doing lines straight across and these are just a few different kinds. If you weren't practicing along with me, then go ahead and practice this right now. The most important thing for you to practice is not putting so much pressure on it. In fact, not putting hardly any pressure at all. Just barely touching the paintbrush to the paper and see if that makes a difference for you. Onto the next style. 4. Painting Pines: The “Swoopy” Method : Welcome to the video for the second type of pine tree that I use in my watercolor lettering. I like to actually call this style the swoopy pine tree. It maybe looks a little bit more traditional of how I think we have drawn pine trees in the past where as opposed to the first style that we talked about, we did line straight across. But for this style, we're going to do more swoopy lines and we're going to do half and half. It's not like all of the both sides at once. This pine tree is probably the one I've been using more often in the last few months. If you look at my night sky classes, I used this one most often. Which is not to say that it's the best, it's just the one that I've been using lately. I could switch it up anytime I want. Now let's dive into it. Again, if you want to do this along with me, I would recommend having all of your supplies ready. The way that I do pine trees, the trunks are almost always the same. I very lightly paint a line on the paper that acts like the trunk. Then for this swoopy style, I still leave the top very small. In fact, that top was a little thick for me. I still leave the top as a point and then I just do a little swoopy line like that. See, as opposed to straight across lines, I do each side individually. Sometimes I'll do one side first all the way down and other times I will do all just alternate sides and go at the same pace. But the key for this swoopy style, I'm just making little light swoops like this. I'll show you like that. They're so small, obviously if you're painting a bigger tree, this is a pretty small tree. All of these are pretty small examples, but if you're painting a bigger tree, they'd be bigger, but they're just very light little swoops like that. I alternate in pressure for some of them but I never go like that usually, unless I'm painting the bottom and I want it to look very full. At the bottom, again, this Christmas tree, perfect pine tree, I'm going to go back to this tree, you do just little swoops like that, jutting out. This pine tree to me looks slightly more realistic than others. That is one version of the swoopy pine tree, the fuller version like we did up here. Similarly to what I was saying in the other video, is pine trees hardly ever looked like this. If you were to go out into a forest to go hunting for a Christmas tree, I say that because my father-in-law takes my husband and his brothers out to go. They call it Christmas tree hunting where they get a license to go chop down their own Christmas tree. But if you're to go Christmas tree haunting, not all of the trees look like this. Mostly in my experience of being out in the forest, and I grew up in Utah so I've seen a lot of trees, most of the pine trees look like this. Like these ones up here. They're a little more sparse, especially if they're newer and they're not always even. Again, I use the same method of just little swoops, but it's not quite so full as that one. But I think they both look like pine trees. A way to expand on this swoopy method especially for bigger pine trees that you want to look like really full is to do the swoops on the side at the top. But then as you get toward the bottom, if you want it to be like really full at the bottom, then as opposed to just doing it on the side, it's like you're filling it out so the needles are also facing you, if that makes sense. You've point the swoops down a little bit as opposed to just to the side. I've found that's a way to make big full pine trees. Look. Again, just slightly more realistic. That is the swoopy method. I'm going to do one more tiny one just so you see, because we've been talking about the way to make forests really look real is to have them have diverse styles all in the same piece. That's just a really tiny pine tree and that could be one that's either just a really small baby one or it's in the distance. I've talked in another class about how when you paint smaller things next to larger things, one of two effects happen. Sometimes they can just look at a tiny pine tree, but especially if you paint it lighter than the other piece, it can look like it's just farther away. But I painted this using that same swoopy method. Now it is your turn. If you haven't been practicing along with me, grab your tiny round brush and get practicing that method. Next up we're going to look at the very last method that I have for you, for the trees. 5. Painting Pines: The “Blobby” Method: If you are watching this video, this is the first of the three videos that you watched. Note that the first two we talked about, were this method of painting pine trees where you go straight across and lines all the way across the trunks at the same time using very light pressure. The second method, I call the swoopy method, where you make little swoops like this on either side. The third method, I professionally like to call the blobby method. Now look, if you've read anything about me, you know that I didn't go to art school. I am slowly learning the names of different art techniques, but I love watercolor painting. I've just picked it up in the last couple of years. If there is a better name for this method, I'm all ears, but for now we're calling it the blobby method. Basically, both the straight across line method and the swoopy method, it's pretty easy to get to make it look uniform and to make it look real. The blobby method is going on a different track where instead of making it look symmetrical uneven which, again, you don't really want to do all the time. You want to make them look diverse and like they're real and in nature things are chaotic. But for the blobby method, I would draw the trunks the same way, but essentially instead of a nice uniform swoop or a nice uniform line, you just take your brush and blob it out. [LAUGHTER] I did that blob a little bit too big, which is why I raise the trunk a little bit so that the top is still nice and pointy. For this method, you can use more pressure. You can use pressure more often and still achieve the look that you want. I'm just making random blobs. By blobs, I mean, I'm taking my paintbrush as you can see and I'm pushing down and then just moving it back and forth to back to the trunk. This method looks really awesome. If you alternate between putting pressure and not putting pressure and having it still be some thin lines. I've seen a lot of artists do it this way. It's definitely a more abstract way to paint a pine tree, but it looks really cool, especially if you do misty forests. Like what we're talking about in this class. I do misty forests using all different kinds of methods. I've used all of these methods of trees before. That's maybe more less like a more full blobby pine tree you could also do. I'll do an example of a sparse, blobby pine tree where it's really doesn't even really have much on it. Just like that. It doesn't look necessarily as realistic, but that's why it looks really cool with misty forests. Because the whole trick with painting a misty forest painting is that you can't quite see the pine tree. Using the abstract is a lot more beneficial for these paintings. In my mind, it's because they evoke more emotion. I'm going to do one more of these blobby paintings and just again, to reiterate, I don't really have a specific technique to get my blobs the way that they are. I just let my hand and my paintbrush do their thing and alternating pressure, that's like probably the biggest tip I can say. It's just put pressure down on some places and not on others. That's how you can achieve these blobby pine trees. This blobby pine tree look. I'll do a little one because I like showing you how to do little ones. Little ones probably just barely even have anything. There you go. There are the three different kinds of pine tree styles. I'm sure there are many different, a multitude of styles for you to paint pine trees, but these are the three that I use most often and that I have found to be really fun and can result in beautiful emotion evoking paintings. Now, if you are practicing these styles, and you were just not happy with the way they're turning out. I've said it a few times, but to reiterate, either I think you are using the wrong size brush or you are putting too much pressure on it. Most of the pine trees that I've seen are people just showing me their work unhappy with the result. It's because you're putting too much pressure on it. That goes back to this example over here where with these lines similar to what I did over here, I barely put any pressure on them, but these ones are bigger strokes and when you do bigger strokes, it makes the pine trees look just a little more chunky and not quite so realistic. If that's what you like, totally up to you, and this might not be your problem, but that is the number one thing that I see. Those are the three styles. Now, let's move on. If you haven't been practicing along with me again, be sure to practice these and the next classes will be so much better for you. Thanks a lot. 6. The Misty Effect: Now that we have learned about the three different styles of pine tree that I use in my watercolor misty forests, I want to focus on probably one [LAUGHTER] of the most important aspects of these paintings, which is the misty effect. How do you get things to look misty and look foggy? It must be so hard? Well, it's not. I'm going to tell you the most important ingredient to get the misty effect with watercolor is water. [LAUGHTER] You want to utilize water to make your paint do really cool things. Then, in the next video, we're going to go more into the depth effect. But really it's utilizing water and utilizing layers. For this video, we're just talking about the misty effect, and I'm going to show you what I mean. When you paint a pine tree and you just paint it wet-on-dry, which means the paint is dry. There are lots of different methods for watercolor. The two most common I think are wet-on-dry and wet-on-wet. Wet-on-dry means that the paper is dry and obviously your paint is wet because otherwise it wouldn't do anything. Wet-on-dry, your trees look like this. I'm doing a little bit of a blobby pine tree. If you don't know what I'm talking about, watch the previous video. That's the blobby pine tree. But with wet-on-dry, the way to get that misty effect is to paint the pine tree, and then get some water and just put it underneath the pine tree and rub it a little bit like that. You can even get a little bit farther up on the trunk and just spread out the paint like this. The thing about when you do this method is you're going to get some dried paint lines, which I actually think can look really cool. Right now, if it looks like this one does, it looks foggy. It's almost like this tree is sitting on a cloud. But there's not so much color right here. Sometimes I like to put a little bit more color at the bottom, physically add some and then swirl it around like this. This is the wet-on-dry method, and then adding in the misty effect after. That is one way to make it look misty. This way though, as opposed to the mist going far into the background, like I said, it's almost like this tree is either sitting on a cloud or sitting on a lake. Just to show you an example, again, I can draw another tree while this is still wet. I can draw another tree and have it go into the misty part and it could potentially look like this is a forest of trees sitting on a lake. If you did it farther out like that, I think it could easily look like that. That is one way to get the misty effect using water. Another way to get a misty effect using water, if you want less defined trees, is to use the wet-on-wet technique. For that method, you really need to focus on water control. I'm using my big Princeton Heritage round number 12, this is much bigger than my other one obviously, to just paint a wash of water on this piece of paper. What we're going to do is we're going to paint a pine tree on this wash of water. But because it's a wash, It's going to be a little bit blurry. My water has evaporated a little bit. You don't want so much water that the paint just blobs onto it, you want enough so that it bleeds but it still maintains a shape. This has a little bit more shape than I was anticipating. I'm going to do another example just to show you the difference and what I mean. I'm doing a little wash of water, but not so much that it pools [NOISE] because if it pools, then it doesn't look quite what I want it to look. This is a little bit better. I am painting a pine tree, and because I'm doing wet-on-wet, which means my paint is wet and my paper is wet, it juts out. It bleeds into the water. When you're looking into a misty forest for real, like there's mist in a forest, the mist obscures the tree. That's what we want the water to do. We want the water to obscure what's happening with the tree. This method is perfect for background trees. If you use this wet-on-wet technique, I would use it as my first layer. We're going to talk a lot more about that, again, in the depth effect video next. But these kinds of trees would be the first layer. One more method to get the misty effect, and it goes along with this, but as opposed to having the wet-on-wet be a tree, we want the wet-on-wet method and the washer method to mimic the mist. To show you what I mean, I did that wash of water. I'm just going to paint, not like a tree necessarily, but I'm going to paint. The bottom of this wash that I have is darker and the top is lighter, but there's still color in this little mini painting that I'm doing right now. I'm going to dry it real quick. Just be aware there might be some noise, but I'll keep talking. [NOISE] I'm going to dry it real quick because we're going to do a little sneak peek into layering and how layering can make it look misty. That looks dry. Professional watercolor papers, it takes longer to dry. [LAUGHTER] [NOISE] But I'm going to dry it a little bit longer, in the back too. The reason I dried this is because the way to achieve this misty effect is to utilize layers here. Because this is not quite so light and I don't want to put on another layer of that mist, I'm going to make sure that the color that I put on for the tree is lighter. In this method, we're using both wet-on-dry and wet-on-wet. wet-on-wet was to get the mist first. Now I'm going to use wet-on-dry to paint the trees. You can do them along the bottom, but you don't necessarily have to. Sometimes misty forests look a lot cooler if you do them more in the middle. I'm painting using some really light pain, but it's the same color. That was a little bit too much, but that's okay. Then, similar to what we did over here, once I put the wet-on-dry pine tree down, I take the bottom and push it out with water. Do you see how because we have this light layering of color in the background and we're using the same color. You don't necessarily have to do monochrome, but it looks really cool. We're using the same color, just a little bit darker on top of it. It obscures the trees so they look like they're in the mist. Using different values of color, which is like diluting the watercolor with water so that you get different shades of the same pigment, of the same color, is the coolest, and best, and easiest, honestly, way to get this misty effect. Next up, we're going to dive into how to make it look both misty and get that depth. We've already touched on that here, but I'm going to go more in depth in the next video. If you weren't doing this along with me, why don't you go ahead and practice the misty effect, these three different kinds. Initially, we did wet-on-dry and then used water to push out the bottom and make it potentially look like it's on water, or there's just missed along the bottom of the trees, or wet-on-wet, where we got the paper wet first and then we put trees. We made the shape of trees and because the paper was wet, they bled out onto the paper and made them obscure like they were in mist. Or utilizing both, where we put a layer of fog, if you will, on the first layer and then let it dry, and then did the wet-on-dry technique to put some pine trees in front of it. Those were the three different kinds of misty effects that I use most often. Again, probably multiple different methods, but these are the three I utilize the most. Often I use all three in big paintings that I do. Get practicing and let's move along to the depth effect. 7. The Depth Effect: In this video, we're going to do a quick [LAUGHTER] deep dive. I don't know if those two things contradict each other, but we're going to do a quick deep dive into how to make your forests look more in depth. So you are looking and it's not just this one layer, but it looks like you're looking into a mountain range of forests. I already mentioned one of the key ingredients and that is utilizing layers in your watercolor, which honestly is the most important thing to remember. The most important aspect about landscape watercolor painting in general is to think about paintings in layers. We're looking at layers to get a depth effect, but we are also looking at the value of your watercolor, so we're looking at different shading techniques. I've been using the same watercolor pigment during this class, and that is Winsor and Newton professional watercolor in Payne's gray, but you can get lots of different shades depending on how much water you put on. The one thing that I want you to remember in terms of achieving the depth effect is, the lighter the shade of tree, or the lighter the shade you use to paint a layer, the further away it's supposed to be. I'm putting water in my Payne's gray so I can get it really light. I'm going to paint. It's not quite as light as I was hoping, but I'm going to put a little more water in here. I'm going to paint just a lightish pine tree and these pine trees are going to be my background, so they're really light. You can get them even lighter so that sometimes I use even like four and five layers in my watercolor forests. I use about two or three, but sometimes I do even more than that. My background layer, the paint is barely even there. We're using this, if you remember what it's called, I'll give you a minute to remember the type of paint method where the paper is dry. Yep, it is wet on dry where the paint is wet but the paper is dry. We're using that method. I've just painted a little forest back here. These are background trees. That is our first layer. In order to make the painting really like this little strip of trees really look deep, we have to make sure this is all the way dry first, as the first layer so I'm going to dry this really quick. [NOISE] It shouldn't take too long, probably already dry. Then I'm just going to go ahead and paint over these trees for my second layer using a little bit darker paint. I'm going to add just a little bit more pigment into my paint and let's see what happens. Now I feel this should be obvious, but in order to achieve the depth effects, you don't want to paint the same trees. They're supposed to be different trees, so you should definitely alternate using this slightly darker pigment. For this example, I'm going to do three layers. This is not as dark as it's going to be, but it is slightly darker and you don't have to put the trees so that they fill in every gap and you don't have to have the same amount of trees on each layer. Sometimes I think having it be different and having the trees look different makes the forest look slightly more real. I've said that before, diversity in nature and not uniformity is really what makes it look the most real in my opinion, but it's totally up to you if you want to paint a forest that has uniformity that's up to you, that one was a little bit darker. I'm just going to dry this layer really quick [NOISE] that's one for you might be a little harder than it looks darker paint that might be the [NOISE] beginning of our next layer [NOISE]. That looks pretty dry. We have three layers so far. I mean two layers. We have this faded in the background and then some slightly darker trees on top and then for the last layer, I'm going to make my pigment pretty diluted. I mean not diluted, pretty concentrated, it doesn't have to be the most concentrated, but I'm going to make it pretty concentrated because having this contrast is really what makes the depth effect happen. You can do the trees all the way across if you want or you can just have a few of them be concentrated up here to maybe show that the forest is coming to a point. It's up to you. Again, do you see how I'm using a mix of the blob effect and the straight across lines effect for these trees. I'm going to do a little bit more out here, but leave a space, so it's not quite so uniform. Then maybe just one right here. I honestly what usually when I do these paintings, I'm sure some people plan them out, but I paint my trees where I feel they should go at the time and they don't always turn out the way that I want, but that's usually what I do. This wet on dry using layers effect is one way to achieve the depth effect to get what you want. Just to hit this home combining the misty effect with the depth effect if you use these methods with the depth effect for example, I'm going to go up here to this misty effect tree. If we did this wet on wet method to get this misty tree and then you used dry on wet again to paint over the tree with darker tones. You want your pigment to be darker. I'm just painting some trees. That was a little bit more blobby. See, even when you have the smaller paintbrush, if you put too much water on it, you won't get the fine points that you want, so you should be aware of that. I'm just painting wet on dry trees in front of this big misty tree that we had. To me, it looks like the beginnings of a misty forest. It looks like the front trees are more defined and the back trees are obscured. You can leave these lines or you can do what we did over here and spread them out, so it all looks it's a little misty. The foreground is not quite so concrete. The depth effect, the most important things are? I'm going to give you a second to see if you can remember. [LAUGHTER] I'll tell you the most important things are to utilize different values of watercolor. We use a lighter shade and then we add a little more pigment to get a slightly darker shade. That one's a lot darker, but I'm going to use water to show you and then we get a really concentrated shade depending on how many layers you want, the darker you can get. Then I just said the next most important thing is to utilize layers. When you look at a misty forest, you visualize what goes in what layer and what makes the most sense. The lighter is the first layer and then you get progressively darker as you go on. That is the depth effect and then later in the class, probably next I think, we're going to go step by step through how to paint a misty forest painting. We've learned all of the methods, I've shown you the tools and now we're going to get going so you can create your own masterpiece. Practice the misty effect and the depth effect. Practice getting these ranges on your pigment and let's get started. Let's see if we can create a misty forest. 8. Final Project: Layer One: We have learned all of the techniques or the ones that I use the most to create a misty forest and now we're going to use those techniques to create our very own misty forest piece. In case you couldn't tell by the size and shape of my paper here, which is Arches professional watercolor paper, we're going to create a misty forest bookmark. [LAUGHTER] We're going to utilize the layering and depth and misty techniques that we've used and I'm going to use all the different kinds of tree forming methods that we've used in the past as well. This is layer one and if you want to make a bookmark with me, this is what the class project is. Go ahead and get a piece of paper, cut it into look like a bookmark. The reason I did this is because I usually buy my Arches paper in giant sheets and this was coming off of the end of one and looked like a perfect use for an otherwise scrap like paper. Grab your supplies and let's get started with layer one. First, I'm going to use, for my first layer, like we talked about with the misty effect , for the bottom, I'm going to utilize creating the mist with some lighter tones and I'm going to use my big, round number 12 paintbrush and put a wash of water along the bottom Here. You see I haven't taped this down. You can tape it down if that makes you feel more comfortable. If you don't tape it down, it requires a lot more holding onto the paper, but that's how I'm going to do it this time. I've put down a wash of water here and I've angled it so it's like there's a hill or a mountain right here. Then I'm going to get some of my amusing Payne's gray, Winsor and Newton professional watercolor Payne's gray. I'm not painting my trees for this layer or this part of the layer, I probably will up there. But I am just putting down, and oh, maybe actually I won't put it down right there. For this layer, I am doing my initial mist. I'm just going to make this the whole sky. The trick with drawing or painting the mist is that it accumulates more at the bottom. We're going to use this method more as the layers go on. But for now, I'm having the bottom, now that I've gotten it light, so while it's still wet, I'm going to make this bottom look really pigmented, but not necessarily uniform so it's not like here's a square that's pigmented. I want it to look still randomized so you're not really sure what's happening [LAUGHTER] because sometimes I think that's what happens in nature, that's why it's so beautiful, is you're not really sure how something came to be. Then at the top, we don't want it to still be white. We want it to be this really light shade of whatever pigment we have at the top. This is our first layer and if you're wondering where I'm going with this, just keep on keeping with me. We're going to make something really cool. Layer one. Now, I'm going to do the drying in between the video so that you don't have to see it. But just know that when I do these paintings, I don't usually wait for this to dry on its own. I use this Darice embossing tool. It's a heat tool used for embossing, but it blows out really hot air so that it dries these things, but it's really loud. That is it for layer one. let's move on to layer two. 9. Final Project: Layer Two: Welcome to Layer 2 of our misty mountain bookmark, where we are painting a misty mountain scene to make a nice, beautiful bookmark for ourselves. With Layer 1, we put down the first layer of mist using the wet-on-wet technique. Now I'm going to start building the different layers, like this as a mountainside. I'm going to use both the wet-on-wet technique and the wet-on-dry technique. Up here, we have this sky going on, but I want to create the first side of our little mountain. In order to do these kinds of paintings, and especially misty forest paintings like I talked about, it's utilizing layers. This wash is going to represent this first layer of the mountainside that I have right here. I'm going to paint some really light trees. If you're doing exactly the thing that I'm doing, then I just put a wash of water at the top of this bookmark at an angle. I'm going to make some really light trees to go on top of the wash. Just some really light trees to go on top of the wash and some really small trees. For these trees, I'm using the straight across method. These trees are far away in the distance. You can see the wash of water underneath makes him look a little misty like we've been doing. I'm going to push out some of the mistiness, [LAUGHTER] so it's not quite so concentrated exactly right there. But the trick with these grand misty forest paintings is again, to not make it look quite so uniform and to use layers. I like to have these washes of water jet out from the side and not necessarily go all the way to the other side. That is our first layer. I'm going to dry it really quickly. I know I said I probably wasn't going to, but this is our first layer. [NOISE] I'm just going to dry it real quickly. By our first layer, I mean, I'm going to do this all the way down. I'm going to put a wash of water right here. This might still be a little wet, which is fine because we're just doing initial layers right now. When we do wet-on-wet trees and get those blurry-looking trees, those look pretty good too. We'll just have to see. Yeah, it's a little bit wet, but that's okay. Because this is the bottom layer, we're going to paint more trees on top of all of these layers. If you do that, if you do what I did and have this wash of water still be a little bit wet while you paint the next trees down here, while you still want them to be light, then you get that really cool background of just like of some blurry trees in the background. We're going to paint over these in the next layer, but for right now, some of them just look blobby and blurry and I think that's going to look really cool. The end result of this bookmark is the cover photo for this class. If you haven't looked at the cover photo and you're just like, what is going to happen with this? You want to go and take a look at what the end result is going to be, you can go ahead and do that. But if you are up for a surprise, then that is cool too. [LAUGHTER] For this layer, we're going to do one last wet-on-dry/wet-on-wet layer of this mountain. I have said before that I often think art is more pleasing when it comes in odd numbers, and so for the big main layering, I'm going to do just three hills like this. We're doing the same thing that we did up there, up on these two, where I put a wash down where there was already paint. Since the bottom layer is supposed to be closer to us, these trees are a little bit bigger. I'm still trying to make them not quite as diluted or not quite as concentrated, so I've diluted them with water a lot. But I'm just going down the line with this angled wash of water that I made. Again, having it not be uniform and having them not be all the same size, so it's just like, oh, it's all going down, is what makes it look more real to me, but we're still going to paint over these in an upcoming layer. This is still just Layer 2, our first layer of trees. That one was a little more pigmented than I wanted, and the water has gone away, so I am making my own water. Sometimes that happens. The wash dries before you can get there. That's okay. This is abstractish wonder-like painting anyway, so you can just add more water. If there are dry lines, that is totally fine. Sometimes I like to add trees in between. That is Layer 2. Let's move on to Layer 3. I'm going to dry this part with my drier a little bit but I'm not going to do it on this video. If you're doing this along with me, I'm excited to move on to Layer 3. It's starting to shape into something really cool. 10. Final Project: Layer Three: If you have been working along with me, we did our first layer already, which was just a wash of water with some pigment down here. Then we did our second layer, which was the background trees of our misty forest and now, we are working on the third layer. If you'll notice my paper is a little warped. I often get questions of like, how do you not warp your paper? There are multiple methods, but honestly, unless you stretch your paper out first or you buy really thick watercolor paper, it's going to warp. That's just the way that it is and I still like it. If you make pieces that go in frames, that solves that problem, I'll probably laminate this and that might help. But, for our third layer, we want to put some darker trees on top of here. Now just looking at how this one has turned out. The bottom section is already a lot darker than this top hilly section. Up here, I might want to put a couple more layers than down here. Let's see where we're going to go with that. I'm going to do, no, I'm not going to do that. [LAUGHTER] You have now discovered my secret that usually when I paint, I don't always have a plan. I just look at what has happened and then do what I want. I instead of doing another wash of water down here, because that might mess up these trees over here, I'm going to do some wet on dry and have it be a little bit darker. I might may do a little bit lighter than that. We still want to be able to see the trees behind it because otherwise, what's the point of painting them? I'm painting some tiny trees that are a little bit darker than they were up here. That creates a depth effect up here on this very top level of our hillside. I'm also going to utilize that technique that we talked about [NOISE] of using my brush to push out the wet paint and have it be a little more misty. It's okay if you get some dry lines. The way to minimize that is to have the paint. I'm going to put a little bit more misty effect up here, which is something that I talked about in the past. Sometimes when you do this you have to manually add your own paint. But the way to minimize the dry lines is if you just get gradually lighter. The way that I do that is I start at the bottom with clean water where there's not paint already and then I go up to meet where the paint is. That is the first hilltop. Now we're going to move on to the next hilltop and do the same thing. This time I'm going to use more blobby trees. I've been using straight across trees, mostly. Like I talked about before, these are blurry trees. I might want to have it to be a little bit lighter than I have it here. But you don't want to cover up all of the trees because otherwise, why did you do that? You can cover up most of them or some of them but if you cover up all of them then, I got a little bit too much water on there, then what's the point of drawing those blurry trees because you can't see them. I'm doing some blobby trees, and then as I'm going along before the paint dries completely, I want to just push some water underneath it so that you can see some of that mistiness going on. I'm not necessarily doing it all the way across, and actually, I might do another layer on this specific hilltop. I think I'm done layering on that one, but on this one, I might do another layer. Now that I've pushed some water out, we already have some going on there. Don't mind my muttering, watch what I'm doing and I'll keep explaining. I didn't do a blobby tree there. I did straight across one. But do you see how this tree right here is really light and they're blurry in the background? Then with the more defined trees out front, you have that depth effect that we were talking about. As I'm looking at this, I think I might add a few little tree islands, if you will, a couple, so that I have five main subjects, not only four. I'm going to add a wash of water down here while I'm still on this layer, I'm not going to do work on this bottom part for this layer. I'm going to save that for our next layer, which will probably be the last. But I'm going to do just a couple of trees using this wet on dry/wet on wet technique. Because I think having a few just out in the middle and not connected to a side sometimes looks really cool. Like how all of the other islands I have here are connected to a side of the hilltop, having some just floating in the middle I think looks really cool. This is still on Layer 3, I just added. Actually I might make that one a little bigger. I'm just adding a few more little tree islands right in the middle here using this blobby tree technique. You can go ahead and do that too, if you so desire, if you liked how it looked before, totally fine, but if you want to copy exactly what I'm doing so that we're working on the same project together, that's great too. It doesn't have to be like, "Oh, it's all on the line." No, mine is just not super uniform. That is Layer 3. Now onto Layer 4, stay with me folks, we're almost done. 11. Final Project: Last Layer: We are almost done with our misty forest bookmark. We have done layers 1, 2, 3 and now I'm going to call layer 4 our last layer. You can have as many layers as you want. Sometimes I do three or four or five it depends on how you feel and how many times you need to dry in-between. But we're going to call layer 4 our last layer. To start, I'm going to put in a last layer of trees right up here. I'm going make this layer not quite as dark as they're going to be down here, but still dark enough so that they're darker than the trees that are already up there. I'm not necessarily going to do it all the way across, I'm doing a blobby method like I did before. I'm alternated between doing a blobby method and doing the straight across method for this piece. I'm not sure if I'm going to utilize the swoopy method or not, maybe down there, but for now I'm digging the blobby. I am painting these trees and in just a second, I'm going to do what we have done before and put a wash of water underneath it to ensure its mistiness. I grab some water and I'm going to go underneath here it looks like these have dried so it doesn't automatically bleed out so I have to manually do some work here and I might just have to add my some of my own paint down here. The things that make it misty is when a lot of the color is accumulated in one place. It looks misty at the bottom of those trees. Here I have a blob of water that I don't want. I'm going to mop it up with a Q-tip. Awesome. The great thing about when you use professional watercolor as you can see my paint lines have stopped, are starting to dry down here and I don't really want that. I'm just going to go ahead and lightly paint with water. Not too much water, but lightly paint with water so this jets down over these trees. The good thing about professional watercolor is it holds a lot easier when it's dry as opposed to student grade. You see how even though I put water over here, over top of this layer, this tree held its shape pretty well. But now I know that this has water on it, so I know that if I start painting the next layer of this little island, then it's going to be a little bit blurry, so I'm going to move on to this one first. But let's marvel at the work that we've done here. In the background you can see some blurry trees and then some defined but lighter trees and then this darker pigmented line of trees and that looks like a pretty deep forest to me. Next, I'm going to just do one last layer of this little island doing that same method. Maybe I'll show you just swoopy trees right here we can do lots of different kinds [LAUGHTER] because I said that we would all three. I did one swoopy tree right there and I'm going to do a mix of a blob and swoopy tree right here and put a little tree in right there and put some water down on here. That looks good to me. Really quick we just make sure this is dry enough. I'm just going to put my dryer on it [NOISE] really fast. I think that's good enough. I don't want to populate this one too much so I might just do one or two small trees because if you populate something like all of these things too much, then it's a lot. I think that when you have, again, diversity and difference in numbers, and forests aren't always completely full. I'm just going to put two like that on this little island and use my brush to make it misty out exactly like that. Now, the last part of our layer. I'm going to, instead of putting a wash of water down here, so we're going to focus on this area right here and we're going to paint some trees, not necessarily on this tree line, but like in the middle of this hill. Instead of doing a big wash of water, I want this to be darker, so I'm taking some pigment and I'm just painting right on it with the paint first. Then I'm going to take my wash of water and move the pigment out like that. There's a little bit too much water right there. I don't want to get too much of the pigment. That is now my wash of water that I'm going to utilize to make these trees I'm going to paint right now misty. I'm going to paint a tree right there but instead of having it go with this layer in the background, it's planted right there. I think this looks really cool. If you're looking for a specific like, here's the pattern that you need to use to make misty forest good every time, I don't have that. What I have is a basic knowledge of how forests are laid out because I grew up in Utah where there are a lot of mountains and a lot of trees and what I know is there's really not a whole lot of pattern to it. Sometimes there is, but mostly trees just are where they are, so with this last layer I'm not going to make it go all the way across. I'm just going to have a few trees and I'm probably going to have this one be the biggest one. I just look to see where there are openings in the painting and where it might be good to have a subject there, fill in some white-space and I just go for it. This kind of painting really is super experimental, not experimental in the way that nobody has done it because a lot of people do paintings this way. But you need to experiment to figure out what is the best method for you and what method you like the very most. There's no secret. I always say that in art, there's really no secret to making it look perfect. The secret is practicing and trying things out and figuring out what you like the best. I thought that I might do some more trees on this layer, but I'm done. I really like the way that looks and there you go. The next step that I would do is dry this last thing but if you have done this along with me, you have completed your misty forest bookmark and these same techniques you can use in any painting it doesn't have to be a bookmark [LAUGHTER]. It can be bigger or smaller. I do many misty forests paintings a lot I really like those. But we have combined all of our techniques to make this really cool, abstract, misty forest painting and I hope you loved it. I hope that you can use these tools and these methods, and experiment on your own and figure out your own methods and figure out what works best for you and put your own tweak on this method of abstract landscape painting. I had so much fun doing this with you and happy painting. Make sure to tag me. If you post this on Instagram, my handle is as this writing desk and make sure to post your final projects on the discussion board. I would love to see them. I would love to give you all some love on the hard work that you're doing and I'd love to feature you on my own platform. Thank you for listening. It was a pleasure to paint with you and see you next time.