Ombre Watercolour Landscape | In The Studio with Steven Sabados | CBC Life
Ombre Watercolour Landscape | In The Studio with Steven Sabados | CBC Life

When I’m painting by myself generally I
have headphones on really, loud music and a vodka soda. Today I wanted to create sort of
landscape but something more contemporary a little bit modern almost
with an ombre effect and it’s really really simple. So the first thing we’re
gonna start with is our large canvas now this canvas is a 2 by 3 foot I’m you get
them pre-stretched at any art supply store you can go as large or as small as you
want for this project. Then we’re ready to draw on our landscape and again with
this you got to think of rolling hills and we don’t want to be perfect, you
don’t want to be exact. With your pencil we’re gonna just start to very roughly
figure out where our trees are gonna go and you can see here these don’t look
like trees they don’t look like anything they’re just giving us a rough idea of
where maybe that hill might be and I think the less precise you were the
better it’s gonna be. Be really, really jagged about it and here would just keep
some hills going in there maybe and they’re gonna be lightened out and then
maybe here in the foreground there’ll be some tolerance. And again this is only a
suggestion that we’re doing we’re not actually maybe even gonna follow this we
could do something completely different but at least it’s gonna sort of set the
tone for where we want to go. So now we need to mix our ink. We’re
gonna be using a series of inks to create almost like a dark dark green we want like almost an indigo green and the reason we
want to use the ink is because we’re gonna apply a lot of water and we’re
gonna be doing a lot of ombre effects and we want to build up layers instead
of like acrylic paint where you paint it and it’s opaque. We want things to be
really, really translucent and add layers and you’ll see as we kind of go along
how we’re gonna add layers and take layers back. So I’m mixing a green, a
turquoise, I’m putting a few shots of burnt umber in and maybe a few hits
of black. And what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna create our master jar if you will
of the darkest colour and then we can work back from there. So I would say
probably we’re gonna need but a third of a cup or so, so that we’re gonna have
enough and then again we want to keep testing it for the right colour. Visualize sort of misty mountains
although that’s not a colour we just sort of made that up. Yeah see there’s sort of a
lot of blue in there I think we might be good to go. So I’m here, we’re gonna need
some rags, some water bottles. So what we’re gonna do first is up here we’re
just gonna apply a really light light light light green, we’re almost going to
activate the canvas so it looks like the hills on the furthest, the furthest
distance. So we don’t really want anything too dark and if it gets too
dark then by all means we can just start brushing it off. So the background, the
the furthest sort of sky in the distance, as you can see it’s just literally
scrubbing in the ink and then scrubbing it off with a towel. We almost don’t want
any colour in the back but we don’t want just sort of a blank white canvas so and
it’s this part here you don’t have to be by any means perfect about it. Cool okay now we can get into our um
into our first sort of I guess tree line sort of alley here so from this we’re
gonna get a thinner brush when you go by your brushes make sure that your brushes
are are stiff enough and they’re not too soft
cuz the softer the brush is just gonna sort of give us muted trees we still
want to have a nice crisp line so get these different ones again they’re
really inexpensive like two bucks for a good brush like that so what we want to
do is just we just want to get a little bit of dimension here again you got to
think cuz it’s we’re gonna do the ombre right so it’s gonna be sort of the tones
of one color so this is our lightest color and then we’re gonna slowly start
to add depth this being sort of the darkest color down here so this we want
to be really really light and again we sort of want trees so our trees aren’t
there sort of evergreen trees so they have little Peaks that kind of go up and
little zigzag things and again we really don’t have to be perfect about it and again you can you can hear it on the
canvas it’s it’s a really stiff brush and you want to almost scrub it in and
then we’re the were the hills sort of coming what we’re gonna do is we’re
gonna then just take it and we’re going to soften that and bring it down now
with this we can always activate it with water and because the ink will never
fully stay in the canvas you can see here if there’s a portion you don’t like
you can literally just erase it so as the ink is still wet and active we can
really push it around a lot so again this whole thing’s supposed to be like
misty and moody so it doesn’t have to be perfect off the top again this like a
modern interpretation of of this so don’t think something’s right or wrong
because at this point I don’t know what’s right or wrong with it you just
keep it moving I like this kind of painting because to
be honest with you the nice thing is that there’s no real end result it’s
just sort of what happens happens and again this is gonna be your
interpretation of it right so it doesn’t have people don’t have to say oh hey
that looks like a flower pot or hey that looks like a building you know this is
sort of our interpretation of of a landscape so I think if we just kind of
get the idea of rolling hills it’s it’s going to come across and if it looks
like something else and tell everyone it’s something else with this kind of
thing – you might want to even have as reference picture of say rolling hills
or something so you can kind of get the feeling of where you want to go in
different levels and valleys that might be helpful when I was a little kid my room was
always the worst anytime company came over my mom had to
always run up and close my door because my floor was full of paint spills and
glue and she would just leave it because she’d try and clean it up and I would
just come back the next day and just bill another tin of paint so I really
had a horrible disgusting broom but I absolutely loved it because it was like
it was a total free for all and even washing my brushes on clothes
I find it quicker when you’re painting instead of trying to look for a rag just
make sure you’re just wearing dirty clothes so that you can just clean your
brushes it’s a lot quicker I find than reaching for a rag and don’t
worry about it your hands are going to get dirty but that’s part of the passion with this process here this is sort of
where you are going to kind of keep going back and forth the back and forth
and build up those intricate layers I kind of find this therapeutic because it
just it’s just sort of it’s really soft and you’re just kind of almost doing
same repetitive motions and you don’t really have to think about anything I love painting at night I think it’s kind
of cool when you’re painting at night everyone else is asleep and you’re kind
of doing your thing it’s almost therapeutic in a sense just trying to
find out now where the next level is gonna come from possibly in here so what
I could even do is maybe I can just with a quick little line maybe come into here
so maybe I’ll do it sort of a tree-lined little Hill coming in here you can see everything almost has the
same tone right now which is cool but at least we’re kind of getting levels of
valleys of things and then we can go back into it and darken the foreground
and give it some sort of dimension this the this is the kind of painting as well
because we’re just using one color ink and we’re just on a rock canvas you can
leave this for a day or you know it’s not something that you have to commit
yourself to once you started you can sort of go away leave it if you get
frustrated and then two days later come back or you know if you’re cooking
dinner and you’re in the middle of something just activate it again with
water and then scrub it out and even if you really don’t like something just
spray it down and get a rag or get a stiff brush like one of these just paint
or brushes and then just scrub it out so don’t feel like you’ve ever sort of you
got to stop or you ruin something or you can’t go backwards because like I said
we’re on that prime canvas we can always go back into it a lot of times for me
the paintings there they’re kind of never done and that’s the cool thing you
keep going back into it yeah as you get towards the bottom you kind of sort of
find your last your your foreground I should say and I kind of feel now that
it’s time to maybe bringing some some of the depth of color and what I’ve done is
I’ve gone back to my original jar of ink the really intense one and then go back
into it again you can see how little ink we’ve used on this because you you don’t
need a lot the cool thing that this is when you’re
because we’re painting a landscape and we’re talking about horizon so when
you’re spraying at the natural gravity of the water pulling it down kind of
gives you this feeling of like trees so that kind of that vertical pull is kind
of nice the stuff that using the foreground here this will primarily be
the darkest color because you kind of want all the darker colors to sort of
advance it’s slowly going back into like this white of mist and we want
everything to be kind of misty that’s where you got to kind of take your time
and just kind of go back and forth and use the spray bottle to kind of diffuse
things because we don’t really we want all blurred edges and blurred lines
nothing too obvious because again it’s sort of a modern version of our
contemporary version of landscape as opposed to traditional landscapes with
details and trees and clouds and babbling brooks the thing with this
painting is once you sort of have your landscape sort of figured it you really
want to kind of keep going back into it back into it back for the back forth we
want to sort of build up slowly if we went right into this with a dark color
it’s harder to go back it’s easier to sort of build so that’s what we’re gonna
do for this is layer the like the color on top of each other this painting kind
of reminds me of when I was in the Golden Triangle in Thailand in Chiang
Mai there was sort of these ruling hills in every single morning it was thick
thick jungle and you just sort of had these misty sort of shapes and it kind
of had this kind of feeling and it was just sort of these greens and blues and
grays and it was really quite quite haunting it was fantastic and it was
just basically the steam of the forest coming off as the Sun was rising so
that’s the kind of the feeling that we want I could never really pick out
hey that’s a tree or that so that it was just sort of these shapes and these
interpretations of hills and I think that’s sort of where we want to go with
this just kind of feeling now that it’s feeling a bit flat but I think maybe I
want a deeper or a different shade of this same color so I may be mixing up
some colors I’m not sure yeah and that’s the whole thing when you’re painting is
just you’re exploring it with it you kind of see it’s really cool you can
kind of create um awesome texture with just a rag by spraying water on it and
then it kind of just does its own thing as you’re sort of painting and working
it if you add something in and now to affecting everything else was like a
domino effect it’s like cooking right it’s like a recipe oh look added too
much salt so in an owwie to adjust and add potatoes to take away the salt so
this is same kind of thing so this was you maybe add a layer and it’s feeling a
little dark now I’ve got a darken this or I’ve got a light in that or lighten
that again don’t sort of think in your head that once it’s done it’s done
because it’s not it’s a it’s gonna keep moving that’s why I keep going all over
the place because certain things are reacting in different ways and sort of
pushing me in different directions that’s why I like doing this on on
canvas as opposed to trying to do this on paper we need to do in watercolor on
paper or doing it using inks inks on paper it’s a lot more permanent because
the paper that using is a rag paper and it’s soaked in the ink immediately and
it’s harder to sort of go back where is because this is a gesso canvas the ink
is still kind of just floating on the top it never released soaks in to the
canvas so you’re sort of allowed to sort of go back and forth a lot more you
could certainly try this on paper it would be I just think mi is a little
different journey a lot more difficult with this type of painting you can
choose any color you could do this and blues and grays and me purples and Mo’s
or whatever because um again this sort of like rolling landscape on different
weather conditions and light conditions could be virtually any color so don’t
feel that you have to go into these greens the one thing you don’t want to
do is you don’t want to match your colors to your sofa so I’m not gonna buy
a green sofa to pick up on these colors art should complement your space and
tell a story but it doesn’t necessarily and I don’t really feel that it needs to
match your space that’s why you have fabrics in wall color that’s what they
do their job is to tie the room together art is to sort of stand out and
complement a space you can use these them big brushes here which are great
it’s almost dry really really lightly damp to sort of scrub and blend a lot of
times when you use the mist bottle you start to get a lot of job so we don’t
want to soak the canvas but then there are just some areas that look a bit
scrubby and we want to just sort of soften the mouth people always get intimidated by um by
painting and sort of never once seen the white canvas and with the type of
brushes and you know and you don’t need to never once spend a lot of money
canvases pre-stretch canvases are quite affordable and the brushes in the
materials are using the ink is just a few dollars a bottle and these are just
regular house paint brushes and these small ones that I get from the art
supply store are just synthetic stiff brushes by the end by no means you know
expensive squirrel hair and things like that I mean I’ve got them specialty
brushes like this one here which is a badger hair brush which is quite
expensive but it’s used for blending and softening which we certainly don’t need
on this because we’re just using water but these are more for faux finishes
that creating marble so I mean if you are gonna invest in great brushes you
take care of them any use them for the purpose that they’re intended to I also
have some really expensive soft brushes like these ones which are all real fur
so I’m certainly not going to scrub into a painting I’m just gonna damage and
crack all the bristles so for this sort of scrubby work that I call it I’m just
gonna use synthetic brushes and they’re gonna wear down they’re gonna break down
and when they do you toss them and you get new and so you don’t have to be
intimidated by getting really expensive materials so at the bottom here this is
going to be probably the deepest of color and you can kind of see when the
inks would have builds up it almost goes to a black which is good so again you
can see I’ve only used this one color but the layers of the color
get sort of these different depths here so you can go as light as white right
down to almost pure black so that’s why we don’t want to go too dark too fast
it’s the layering up that’s gonna give us dimension and depth don’t ever think
anything second do you think anything’s too precious it’s ruined because it
should be always evolving and don’t think oh that’s perfect I shouldn’t
touch it and if you touch it then you think oh I destroyed it you didn’t you
can always do it again so never look at a piece of work that
you’re creating and think it’s lack of better terms I just call it precious
because it should never be precious it should be it’s like a journey I would
say if you’re starting out and doing this this type of project it is probably
a great way to go because it’s so forgiving and you can sort of layer it
up if you’re working in acrylics it’s there opaque and thick and you sort of
have to have sort of more of a more of a direction of where you’re going to go
it’s harder so to go back with acrylics but this kind of thing the building up
and taking off or building up and taking off again should be it shouldn’t be a
thought-out thing it should be a therapeutic thing to me this is one of
those things you get to shut your brain off and just kind of go like I said
having the stimulation of music you know having in your headphones can sort of
put you in a certain low mood and and you shouldn’t really be thinking about
it I should be thinking about it’s like hills and trees and hills and trees
don’t think about work and what you have to do don’t think about you got to pick
up the kids or you haven’t made dinner you just kind of get lost in it if
they’re so happy with the depth like in here there’s sort of a nice sort of
depth and sort of layering in here that’s what I’m just going to go back
into it now with some really dark with the with the ink and that’s some the the
full dilution of the ink so it’s uh that’s going to be our deepest color and
then it’s kind of let that sit for a minute I kind of think some of these the
hills in the background here cantenna top out a little bit so we can just
really lightly kind of go back in and scrub out some of these trees so now what I think I’m gonna do is some
there’s some areas that I’m happy with and some that I’m not I find this Ridge
to be a bit uncomfortable but towards the bottom here and liking the depth so
we’re gonna go back in with some of the darkest here and then maybe lighten up
some of these areas here or kind of tidy them up or fade them out even I’m kind
of thinking in here it’s feeling a bit my sort of monotone and sort of muddy so
maybe if we go in with a bit of dark ink it’ll kind of just push it a bit and
kind of give it a little bit more depth like there’s something happening back
there and again it’s just sort of the the expression of something so a few
little scrubs of dark paint we’ll just all of a sudden push that into the into
the background so the whole idea and where we’re trying to go with this is
that we’re trying to create that ombre kind of feel where the background here
is almost white and then as we slowly go into the foreground here it’s literally
almost black so that’s gonna kind of give us some depth and even within some
of these little spots we can add some darker tones and that’s going to kind of
give us some sort of sense of dimension to the to the piece okay so there we go
I think I’m kind of happy with Brothers’s now I think we have the
levels and the layers which is kind of nice with the ombre to me it kind of
looks like some misty kind of Hills we can then get a small brush and in the
corner you can sign it perfect okay let’s hang it up so there we go
I hope inspired you to get up and start painting again you should never really
be intimidated it’s just canvas and ink and your own imagination you

12 thoughts on “Ombre Watercolour Landscape | In The Studio with Steven Sabados | CBC Life”

  1. sam odyssa says:

    Steven if your reading this I love you I'm a huge fan of you since 15 I'm 24 now.

  2. Bill Neill says:

    looks more like 3'x4' I'm getting hooked on your non traditional stuff too

  3. Dawn Simmons says:

    Hi Steven – so good to see you back with your creativity juices flowing. Love your color choices and the softness of using inks.

  4. Deborah King says:

    I love your work and attitude. I'm hooked. Love from the UK. Xxx

  5. Kim Pitcher says:

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this painting. I use acrylics and have recently purchased some inks to play with. Will definitely be giving this a try. This subject and colours are among my favs. At first I wondered if you added an absorbent or watercolour ground before painting, but I heard you say it's just a gesso'd canvas. I hope to see more videos like this. Thank you!

  6. Becki Griffin says:

    I am so pleased to have stumbled upon your channel. You are like the Male version of me. 😂 My passion is abstract and abstract is what it is without a reason for its existence. Happy painting my friend! I can learn alot from you, so thank you for your time.

  7. Prisilla Cope says:


  8. FOR ALL says:

    can you give me your email because i have many arts to share………thanks

  9. Abby Stevens says:

    Never use Watercolor on a canvas!There are some special watercolor special canvasses but beside those you can never make a watercolor on a gesso canvas!!!!Very wrong surface for watercolors!!

  10. Ëfrayím Ben YisraËl says:

    Your imagination????…is poor!!!!!

  11. Inika T says:

    thats it?

  12. b cr8tive says:

    I appreciate the piece but this shouldn't be called "watercolor" – when it is not.

    You can't paint watercolor on canvas – nor have the canvas straight up and down on an H frame.

    Watercolor is an entire study and process in itself – from stretching your paper to working with the medium.

    THIS is not THAT.

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