This forest painting is very easy and you’ll learn several watercolor techniques along the way! Download a convenient pdf of the project in my Etsy shop here. Great for personal use or for teaching a watercolor workshop! For best results when painting with watercolor use watercolor paper. I used Arches 140 lb. cold pressed for this project. See a complete list of the supplies you’ll need at the end of the post.
**Note – My paper is still attached to a pad so I took a shortcut. When painting in watercolor on a loose sheet it is best to tape it to a larger piece of cardboard. Tape all four sides of the paper. This prevents the paper from buckling when it gets wet.
Step 1 – Use painter’s tape to mask the trees. I cut the tape for the smaller branches. Notice some of my tape strips don’t go all the way to the bottom of the paper.
Step 2 – Using a very wet brush and the color of your choice paint parts of the area not covered by the tape – except the bottom of the paper. No need to be too careful, the tape will protect the tree areas.
Step 3 – Use a different color and paint around the first color, touching the first color so the colors bleed into each other. Leave the bottom area.
Step 4 – Use a brush that is less wet (less water) and more saturated paint and dip it in several areas. You can splash it too.
Step 5 – Paint the bottom area with grey – using a dry brush for a textured uneven look.
Step 6 – Sprinkle salt in parts of the wet areas. Wait for paint to dry.
Step 7 – When paint is dry, brush salt off the painting.
Step 8 – Peel up the tape slowly, being careful not to rip the paper.
Step 9 – Using black or grey, add detail strokes to the trees. A flat brush works best. If the stroke is too defined go over with a wet brush (water no paint) to soften.
Step 10 – Once the painting is completely dry use a thin black marker or pen – I use a Uniball signo gel pen – to outline the trees. I made my lines wobbly to look more natural.
Watercolor techniques used:
- Masking areas with tape
- Wet on wet painting
- Dry on dry
- Using salt
- Softening lines with water
Supplies you’ll need:
- Watercolor paper. I used Arches 140 lb. cold pressed
- Painter’s tape
- Watercolor paint. Suggestions: purple, grey or black, blue
- Paintbrushes – round and flat
- Salt (table salt)
- Uniball signo gel pen
I’d love to see your forest! Tag me on Instagram @eileenmckenna.
Prints of my watercolor seascapes are now for sale at shop.eileenmckenna.com. Take a peek!
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