This watercolor painting project is a new spin on a my original birch forest painting tutorial. The woodland creatures – an owl, a fox and a bunny – make this new beginner project fun for all ages!
It’s easier than it looks! The final painting may look complex but the instructions – with photos – walk you through the entire project step by step. It’s a great project for home schooling, for a group, or even painting on your own.
Watercolor techniques used:
Masking areas with tape
Wet on wet painting
Dry on dry painting
Supplies you’ll need:
Watercolor paper. I use 9” x 12” Arches 140 lb. cold pressed paper.
Watercolor paint. Colors: orange, yellow, cobalt blue, black
I wanted to swap out the two canvases above the couch for something new and had been thinking of painting simple birch trees. I painted the blue background and white tree trunks but it needed more. I looked on Pinterest at successful birch paintings and thought of ways to improve mine. Once I had a few ideas, I hit the ground running and it was easy. It’s great when you have a plan!
Paint a medium blue background. I used a mixture of white and blue with a little red mixed in. (My goal was to coordinate with the blues in my living room.)
Paint vertical white areas for the trees. You don’t want perfect stripes because trees don’t have straight edges. They aren’t the same size and don’t grow perfectly up and down.
Add thin branches going at an upward angle from the tree trunks. (Be consistent – I had to cover up some of my branches with blue because I had too many in one area and none in another. In the end I painted just a few on each side of the trunks.)
Add depth and details:
Paint a dark edge (black) on each side of the trees and then brushed it horizontally into the trunk to create that birch look.
Paint off white (buff white) on the trunks – the white alone is too flat. Cover part of the black edge and stroke horizontally.
Add white strokes to the trees here and there for highlights – with a dry brush (not too much paint).
Add white streaks vertically. Paint a few streaks and then with a dry brush, spread them out and blend them, so the blue shows through. This gives the background depth and makes it look more wintery.
I was really happy with how it came out and happy to hang it over the couch. I’m already planning another acrylic painting. Let me know if you give it a try!