Watercolor Exercise Three: Painting A Landscape, Part One
Watercolor Exercise Three: Painting A Landscape, Part One

(Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ plays to :20) Hi, my name is Christine Oliver. I’ve been
painting watercolors for 19 years, and today I’m going to demonstrate a very
simple landscape. With a landscape I would like to emphasize that you can use your artist prerogative. You do not have to put everything in the
landscape that you see in front of you. And this is where doing a value sketch and working out your composition first is
very important. So you’ll notice in this landscape there’s a red barn or structure right back here. I want to add
some of that same red color other places in the landscape, and I don’t really see much. I see a little tiny bit of red here and a little red here under this tree. But I am going to try to do “color weaving” and make the vegetation be…carry a little bit more of that red. I’m going to leave out this wooden structure that
is to the left of the tree because it doesn’t really give us any information (ie add to the composition). So the first thing I’m going to do, is I’m going to create my value sketch. My value sketch tells me, helps me to work out the composition, and to show what it
is that I am going to paint. So the first thing I’m going to do is, I’m going to
put in my horizon line. Now this horizon line is kind of boring to me–it’s very
flat and straight. So I’m going to make it more of a hillside horizon line. That does a couple of things:
number one, it adds visual interest. Number two:
it gives you diagonal lines
to get your viewer into the picture. This large tree here, I’m going to put that in. OK. And I do like the fence that goes in the foreground, so i’m going to
put that in. And I’m going to make it look like it’s a little more… shape than it is,
it’s a little more curvy, like it’s on more of a hill then it really is. Alright so there’s my horizon or I
mean my fence in the foreground. Here is my building. And I don’t have to do an awful lot with the building because it’s pretty small, and it’s way back there. But I just want to make sure I have the roof lines in correctly. So I see it going
something like that, and then there is a little chimney here. And the rest of this
is… behind vegetation, behind trees. OK, so I’m going to put my trees in. And there’s a mid, sort of a mid-range tree that’s a little bit ahead of all these others. And then there’s vegetation that goes over here. And I’m going to put this
one larger tree in, that’s this one.OK. There’s that tree, and then there’s a
gentle slope, very gentle slope here and make sure I get that in. This tree actually could be over to the side a little bit more. Alright and then there’s vegetation
that’s halfway back. Now I want to make sure I put that vegetation that’s halfway back, in. And this tree is going to be really like the primary tree, that is in the foreground. So I’m going to make this darker, because … as vegetation and structures recede, they get lighter. And the things that are closer to us, they become….darker. Alright, so then here’s my fence. (draws to 5:06) I want to make sure I get these… weeds or bushes along there. My fence is pretty simple…you know. OK so it has a couple of lines. I’ll get a little more detailed on the drawing when I transfer it to my block. But right now, all I’m trying to do is just work out where my darks are, where my lights are. Now I’ve drawn this in so far, and I have not put in… this, the tree branches in front. So I don’t know quite yet if I want to include those. And this is again where your artist prerogative comes in. You do not have to put
everything into a landscape if you don’t want to. You can move things around, you
can move buildings, you can do any number of things. But I do want to show this
structure because that little hint of red is going to be important. And there
is a tree, there’s a bunch of trees here. And there is a tree that kind of blocks…
the left-hand side of it. And that’s kind of mid-range. OK. And then I want this range of trees… it goes like that. Now there’s my … Oh, and what’s really important is the shadow in the foreground. OK, you’ll see that right here on this
hill, that’s the shadow. OK. I am also going to
make the, and I’ll show you how to do this, I’m going to make the sky a little
brighter and prettier, and I’m going to put big fluffy white clouds in. But I’m going to leave that tree in the corner, I’m going to leave that off, because it
doesn’t really add anything to this, this drawing, OK. So that’s basically the drawing that
I’m going to transfer to my block, my color block. So here are the hills in the background, and
I’ll just have them overlap. OK….. Here is the big tree that is kind of
the hero of our painting, say. And I like that one branch, that kind of goes out, reaches out. OK. There, I’m going to put a ridge line of other trees back here. Then here is my, here’s my…little house
or barn structure. And the thing with structures is, you want to make sure that they’re believable, that you
have good perspective on them, OK. Because that’s the first thing that
somebody’s going to notice: oh my gosh, that barn is leaning or it is,
you know, not correctly drawn or whatever. So that is something where… you want to
learn perspective, and you want to use it when
you’re putting buildings in to your paintings. Because that’s the first thing
somebody’s going to say is, oh my gosh that doesn’t look right. Or if they don’t say it, they’ll just, you know, have a sense
something’s wrong there. All right now, here’s that tree that is kind of…. blocking all of it. So I put that there. And I love these two kind of tall trees. One thing that you never want to do is, you never want to have a tree
that stops right at your horizon line. It … it sets up a… a stress point, where
somebody says well that’s kind of goofy, it ends right at the horizon line. You don’t
want that. You want always to break your horizon line, have it go way above or way
below, but not break right at the horizon line. The other thing that you want to do…
is you want to make sure that you’re using odd numbers, rather than even numbers. Even numbers for some reason feel to… oh what’s the… they’re too symmetrical. And it sets up a sense that it’s boring, you kind of know what is going to go on there. And so, you know, it’s kinda like ‘ho hum’. why are we even bothering with this
because it really is a…. It’s too predictable. I guess that’s what I’m trying to say,
too predictable. Alright so here’s my ..this is my… tree, line of trees behind the big one here. You know, I think I’m even going to make that big tree more prominently and down in the foreground more. And this is, this is good. This is the way… I mean, you should be thinking about this and moving things around, and working out your composition at this stage. This is OK. You know it’s not an error, not a mistake, it’s just perfectly good planning. Alright the other thing I’m going to
bring in my fence. The fence is going to go like this. OK… and you’ll notice honestly that I am
not putting a lot of detail in this. This, this is all pretty simple stuff OK… it’s actually even one more… (draws to 12:17) OK and then we have… and you’ll notice
that these fence posts are not all exactly aligned.They’re not straight up and down.They’re a little bit “whoppa-jawed” [set at different angles] . So it’s OK to make it look like it’s a real fence and not something that an engineer has just laid out. OK now I definitely want to put in my shadows in front. This is where the shadow is. And I love all this vegetation… on the other side of a little hill. It looks like it goes down a bit, so that’s going to be in my foreground. Alright, so there we have it… pretty simple. (Continues in Part 2)

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