Today, let’s look at how to paint spontaneous winter watercolor landscape. We’ll use the fluidity of watercolor to create a beautiful atmospheric piece that captures the serene beauty of the winter season. Join me as we delve into each step of this painting process, letting the magic of wet into wet painting unfold.
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This classic winter scene was painted in less that ten minutes. Most of the work was done by simply allowing the color to do what it wanted and exerting a little bit of control through tilting the paper
Total Time: 10 minutes
Step 1: Wetting the paper
To start, we’ll establish our composition using the timeless rule of thirds. Allocate the top two-thirds of the paper to the expansive sky and intricate tree formations, leaving the lower third for the snowy landscape. This classic arrangement guides the viewer’s gaze and sets the stage for our winter wonderland.
Take a 1” flat brush and wet the top two-thirds of the paper with clean water. Keep it generously wet to allow the paint to bloom, creating soft and ethereal shapes.
Step 2: Painting the sky
With the surface still wet, introduce the lightest sky colors using Burnt Sienna and Cerulean Blue. These nearly complementary colors will blend beautifully, but the key is to minimize brushing to preserve brightness and vibrancy. Tilt the paper, letting the colors blend naturally, bringing the sky to life. Tilt the paper to control the paint’s flow, it will stop at the dry border to form a distinct horizon line.
Step 3: Adding Trees
Transition seamlessly to the tree line by mixing Payne’s Gray, Ultramarine, and Dioxazine Purple. I used a bamboo calligraphy brush to paint from the dry part, allowing the color to gracefully flow into the wet sky. Experiment with tilting the painting to control the flow, enjoy the unpredictable beauty of the process.
Step 4: Controlling the flow
When you have decided that the color has spread far enough you can halt the flow of the indigo color by tilting the painting right up
Step 5: Creating Depth with Reflections
Move to the lower third, imagining a frozen lake. Apply clean water and introduce Cerulean Blue, shaping the icy surface. Note how I created a visual lead in which points to one of the painting’s main focal points. Dab in an Indigo mixture to suggest reflections of the trees. Enhance the scene with Burnt Sienna for warmth and continuity with the sky’s colors.
Step 7: Drying and Detailing
With the majority of the painting complete, use a nearly dry brush on dry areas to add texture. Consider incorporating a few more tree reflections to further enrich the scene. Take your time and enjoy the creative process.
Use a hairdryer, or allow the painting to completely dry naturally before adding details.
Prepare for the final details by gently drying the entire painting. Switch to a rigger brush to add crisp trees, branches, and intricate details. This step elevates your winter wonderland, providing depth and definition to the overall composition.