In today's tutorial, I'm thrilled to share some valuable insights on how to create a charming rural watercolor landscape. So, grab your brushes and join me as we embark on this creative journey together.
Essential Tips for Painting a Simple Rural Landscape with Watercolors
The first crucial step is to ensure you have the right materials at your disposal. Opt for artist-grade paints, high-quality paper, and reliable brushes. However, you don't have to break the bank to acquire these supplies. Instead, consider investing in a selection of limited hues, buy paper in bulk, and utilize synthetic brushes. Be mindful, though, brushes can be quite pricey. Here's a list of my go-to watercolor materials:
- Fabriano Artistico cold press paper, measuring 15 x 11 inches
- Holbein Paints: Yellow ochre, cadmium yellow lemon, alizarin crimson, cadmium red light, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue, burnt sienna, neutral tint, and white gouache matte acrylic
- Silver Brush Quill #12
- Princeton Neptune Dagger 1/2"
Moving on to step two, it's time to start laying in the drawing, beginning with the largest shape or line. For landscapes, the horizon line usually takes precedence. Continue adding shapes from large to small, remembering to avoid unnecessary details that might clutter the paper and lead to a tightly rendered artwork. A common mistake for beginners watercolorists is they add way too many details in their layout drawing and become very rigid as they paint.
Step three involves starting with thin, tea-like mixtures of local hues. The initial wash should have a light value, following the same system I use. However, be cautious not to make it too thin, as it may appear weak. It takes practice to strike the right balance, as watercolors tend to dry approximately 30% lighter in value. A great exercise is to de a series of swatches that go from very thin, or watered down, to very thick, little to no water. Observe each hue as it's applied and then go back and study them once it dries.
In step four, allow your painting to dry naturally or expedite the process with a hairdryer. This grants you greater control over the subsequent stages. Now, you can begin adding darker hues, which often serve as the shadows in my compositions. At this point, your artwork will gradually come to life.
Step five invites you to incorporate selective details. These could range from windows and figures to background trees and more. You'll be pleasantly surprised by how few details you actually need. Take it slow and observe the scene in front of you, rather than relying solely on a photo reference.
Finally, step six involves introducing highlights to enhance certain areas. White gouache is an excellent choice, or you can opt for matte heavy body acrylics.
For a visual reference, I've included both the reference photos and images of the finished artwork below.
With these valuable tips and techniques in your artistic arsenal, you're well-equipped to embark on your own watercolor journey through the picturesque rural landscapes. So, grab your brushes, let your creativity flow, and enjoy the process of bringing your watercolor landscapes to life. Happy painting!