Paint A Delicate Cherry Tree
Cherry trees are stunning, with their vibrant red and sweet pink foliage. If you've been wanting to paint one but don't know how, I'll share some tips and tricks to painting a realistic cherry tree with watercolors.
What You´ll Need
I start my painting process by mixing different kinds of reds. I'm using a color called ”rose” from Aquafine, which is a bright pink color with a light shade of lilac. To make this color redder, I mix it with sinoper red and crimson red from my Windsor and Newton palette.
Start With Clouds
When you start painting the tree, first paint a cloud-shape using round paintbrushes in a light shade of the color you wish to use.
Tip: When you are painting with watercolors, have a separate jar of water for each color. By doing this, your colors wont get muddled.
Paint The Grass
After the first color dries, paint another smaller cloud shape underneath it. This is the grass where the tree is growing. You can add details to the grass with a smaller paintbrush. When you are painting with watercolors, the intention is to move from lighter shades to darker shades. Between adding each layer, let the paint to dry. Otherwise, the colors will get mixed.
Paint The Trunk And Mix A Black Color
When the green has dried, it is time to paint the trunk. I like to mix my own black. To do this, I use the darkest shade of blue, darkest shade of red, and darkest shade of yellow from my color palette. I recommend using ¼ yellow, ¼ red, and 2/4 blue. Paint some branches peeking through the foliage.
When the black paint has dried, take a flat watercolor pencil and dip it into the bright pink paint. Start painting the foliage and with strokes from a brush that is little bit dry to create a mixture of interesting patterns for an impression of cherry tree leaves.
The cherry tree is done! I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and have a great time painting them.
Lets create salt patterns
Watercolor is a wonderful media and there are many textures you can create with it using simple ingredients and materials that can be found from home.
For this technique I'v used A4 (8x 10) sized 350gsm/150lb Seawhite watercolor paper. For all the projects where you are creating textures on watercolor paper I would recommend using paper which thickness is at least 300gsm. Any thinner paper than that easily tends to wrap itself.
Since you will be painting large areas I would recommend using large watercolor brushes. Most of mine are Windsor & Newton series sizes from 8 to 11. Depending what kind of textures you wish to create you can use smaller sized paint brushes to create small detailed patterns.
For this project regular chunky sea salt is perfect!
Jar of water for each color
If you paint with more than one color I'd recommend having jar of water for each color. This way your colors don't get smudged when you are painting.
For this project I've used Daler & Rowney's aqua fine paints. These colors have very rich pigments so you only need little bit of each color. Colors that I am using are warm yellow and purple that I am going to mix from bright pink and ultramarine blue. You can of course choose your own color combination.
Let´s Get Started
Start with a watercolor wash. Go through the whole paper with a wet brush. Try to keep your strokes steady and even. More larger your brush is the easier and faster this step will be. You can tape your paper to the painting surface (which in my case is my studio table). I often use masking tape or washi tape. They don't contain lots of glue and when they are teared off they wont rip off the paper.
Add Some Yellow
When you paint with watercolors you should start with the lighter colors and then move towards the darker colors. Watercolor technique is total opposite to oil painting and acrylics where you start to paint with darker colors and move on the lighter ones. With watercolors it is recommended to start with lighter colors because unlike with acrylics and oils it is more difficult to fix the painting if you are unhappy with the colors.
I painted the right upper corner of paper with yellow and left the rest for the purple color.
Time For Purple
Apply the purple color while the paper is still wet and let the colors blend to each others little bit. While the paper is still wet you have the control over the colors and you can create swirls and patterns with your paint brush.
I dropped some purple paint from the tip of my paint brush to the yellow paint where these drops spread and created patterns. You can also drop lighter colors into the dark areas.
If water starts to gather into one specific spot too much like to the edges of paper. You can gently remove it with tissue paper. Dip the edge of the tissue paper to the watercolor and let the paper absorb the extra water to itself.
Pour salt to all the places where you wish the textures to appear. If you wish to highlight the salt textures you can dip drops of water from your paint brush to the salt chunks. Salt absorbs water to itself creating snowflake-type of patterns.
Let your paper dry for and hour or two. Then gently scrub the salt chunks off with the palm of your hand or you can brush them off with dry paint brushes. The more time you play with this technique the better you will get.
If you wish to create strong salt patterns I'd recommend using darker colors. If you wish to create distinctive patterns with brighter colors try combining several bright colors together like yellow and orange.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and get some wonderful results with this technique!
In this video tutorial I teach how to mix secondary colors + black and brown with watercolors.
300 g watercolor paper
Windsor & Newton watercolors
Jars of water
I was born in northern Finland, so I've had the privilege of seeing the northern lights several times in my life. They never fail to impress me. In this tutorial, I will show you how I paint the northern lights with watercolors and how you can paint them as well.
What You´ll Need
The Wet-On-Wet Technique
The wet-on-wet technique I used involves wet paint on a wet surface. It's important that the paper stays in place, so I'd recommend taping it onto the table underneath. I often use masking tape or washi-tape to do this because they don't contain too much glue. This makes them easy to peel off without ripping the paper.
1. Add a Wash
Wet your paintbrush and go over the whole paper. Don't use any color at this point.
2. Drip the Paint
You can't see it from the pictures, but I'm using an easel to paint. This allows the paint to drop and create interesting effects. Start by applying the colors. I started with a mixture of green and blue and then moved on to purple. The colors mix in the paper. At this point, only your imagination is the limit for the colors you use.
3. Add Another Layer
After the first layer has dried, apply another layer and use brighter colors this time. Let the colors spread and mix with each other.
4. Paint the Northern Lights
If you've ever seen the lights, you'll notice that they have this ”curtain” type of look to them. You can easily create this effect with a sponge.
5. Add Snowflakes
Now, it's time to add some snowflakes! I used the toothbrush technique.
6. Paint the Trees
Add tall spruce trees to finish the landscape. For this, I used black acrylic paint. I wanted to create it from the perspective of a viewer looking up to the sky. The trees that are ”closer” are bigger, and the ones that are farther away are smaller. It's all about perspective
I´m a big fan of ABC's series Once Upon A Time, and I especially loved their re-take on Frozen. I enjoyed it so much it inspired me to make this watercolor portrait of Anna! I hope you enjoy this tutorial!
What you will need:
1. Sketch the Drawing
First, I did a pencil sketch of Anna using a photo from the show for reference.
2. Start With the Background
Paint the background with turquoise blue and hints of viridian green. I dropped chunks of sea salt into the wet paint to create salt effects.
3. Add Background Texture
After the background is dry, brush the salt chunks away and make watercolor splashes with your paintbrushes. This is a very easy technique where you cover your brush with very wet paint and tap it with another brush over the paper. Doing this results in splashes spreading on the paper. If you accidentally drop paint into areas you want kept clear, dab the paper with a paper towel while the paint is still wet.
4. Add Color to the Skin
When starting to paint her skin, I started with one base layer. For the Caucasian skin tone, I mixed yellow and red to some white paint and applied it to the paper.
5. Paint the Hair
Anna has blue eyes, so I painted them sky blue. I also painted the first layer of the eyebrows the same color I used to paint her hair. Anna has red-brownish hair, which I translated on the paper with a burnt-sienna color.
6. Color in the Eyes
When you color the eyes, be careful not to add paint to the white parts. It's much harder to remove afterwards than to keep them clean while you're painting.
7. Build the Skin Tone
Mix a darker skin shade and use it for the shadows on Anna's face.
8. Continue Adding Details
When you paint with watercolors, it is important to give time for the paint to dry. Since I was working with quite a large scale piece, I painted one part first and then moved to the next while the previous area was still drying. I continued with the hair and the face by adding more details. I also started working on her dress.
9. Add Hair Details
I wanted her hair to look very vivid and as lovely as in the show, so I create shadows with several shades of brown. Braids are not easiest to paint, but you can make them look more realistic by playing with shadows and understanding where the light comes from. For the last layer of the hair, I used brown mixed into black to make the dark pigment richer.
10. Add Finishing Touches
The painting is almost finished! I left the darkest part for the last, which in this case was Anna's black top.
11. Let It Snow
The final touch is the snowflakes! To create a snow effect, use diluted white acrylic paint to drip all over the painting with your brushes. With this so-called ”toothbrush” technique, you scratch your paintbrush (or an old toothbrush) with another brush. This method can be very difficult to adjust to in the beginning, but the more often you do it, the better you'll get at it. I must warn you: this can be very messy for your hands! The closer you keep your brush to the paper, the easier it is to control where all the splashes and drops are flying.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and are ready to let go of all your fears towards watercolors!
Artist and Illustrator. Mythology and Folklore enthusiastic. Keen traveler. Comes from Finland. Likes cats, tea, and such.