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Painting a simple landscape, but with a different approach

August 20, 2011

hi everybody! Hope you are doing well and have been enjoying watercolor. I have seen that most of the visitors of my blog are looking for a simple landscape painting. A few days ago I posted one article on that. Today we are going to paint another one but the approach will be different. If you can remember in the last post I have discussed how you can create a spontaneous landscape with just a few brush strokes. But what will happen if you want to paint live ( I mean an outdoor painting)? Here in this discussion I would like to share how to build a proper sketch and how to put colors layer by layer. This tutorial needs your patience and detailed sketch of the location. Since the name of the topic is how to paint a simple landscape, we shall restrict our ‘experiments’ within a certain limit. At the initial stage we shall not think of the mood and atmosphere of the location, though a true painting always demands these. We shall discuss it later in coming posts. The last word: the style I am going to demonstrate here is not my favorite style. I never concentrate on detail painting rather I prefer fast and bold brush stokes to capture the essence.

The Sketch: A sketch is the skeleton of a painting. If you could do it proportionately and setup the composition, your would finish 50% of your task. Here I could have taken my native composition but you might not find any connection with them. So take a reference photograph with which you are familiar. It is a farm house, though I have not visited any farm house or traveled US I my life, I got ‘secondary’ experience through photograph and films. The image below has been taken from the internet and copyrighted to the person/organization. Please excuse me as I have forgot the name of the site from which it was taken.

copyrighted to the owner

Think you are not only a painter but a creator. Do not compose whatever you see rather try to construct whatever you feel. In this photograph I did not like the position of the horizon and the proportion of the farm house. So I have arranged according to my need.


It is a bright sunny day. Paint the sky with a blue tint up to the horizon. Leave the farm house but cover up the rows of trees. Let it DRY. Also remember, I have suggest earlier, fix your art-board in a tilted position but now the inclination would be very less. The color I used for the first wash are Cerulean Blue, and Cobalt Blue.

After that I painted the whole background tree rows with a light mixture of Cobalt Blue, Viridian Green, Sap/ Hookers Green and a little touch of Lamp Black (see the image with red dot). Let it dry.

First Layer

You may find your sketch is not visible after the first layer. Detail out the shape of the bushes and trees. Start painting with a little thicker mixture of the same colors the next level of the bush which is supposed to be in front of the previous layer (see the image with red dot). From this point start giving shapes and leave the lighter part of the trees. Let it dry.

Second Layer

Mix Lemon Yellow, Light Green and Sap/Hookers Green and start painting the trees which are at the front row. Give some touches of darker tone over it whenever you feel it is necessary. This is wet on wet. Let it DRY (see the image with red dot).

Third Layer

Next step is to paint the darkest ares of the bushes. Please keep it mind we are painting only the background tree rows and not any other parts of the drawing (see the image with red dot).

Fourth Layer

The above mentioned technique will be followed through out the end. Unfortunately I am working alone here and there is none who can take snaps of the gradual steps. I also don’t like to leave my painting before ending. So I could not document it properly. But I would expect that the process I have shared may be understood. Here is the completed painting. Notice I have added a fence in the mid-ground. This is just for a break.

Completed Painting

Now look the same painting in black and white mode. Is the depth visible? If you want I can make a very simple demonstration showing the layer by layer process. I shall try to capture a video this time.

In Black & White


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