Welcome to my channel for a new watercolor
painting for beginners. Today were going to learn how to paint a watercolor light effect
with this beautiful lamp in snow and we’ll be using basic supplies and techniques.I took
less than one hour to paint this without rushing through it and I love how it turned out and
how relaxing it was to paint so I hope you enjoy the step by step process as much as
I did ! If you’ re new here, my name is Françoise
and I make beginner level watercolor videos every week, so don’t forget to subscribe and
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Let’s get started with the tutorial ! You first need to get a 5 by 7 piece of watercolor
paper and if you have it, some masking tape or anything similar.I use the tape to hold
the paper in place and create crisp edges, but that’s completely optional, it’s just
personal preference. For the paper, I’ll list what I’m using in
the description below, with all the other supplies, but overall I recommend cold pressed
paper and 100% cotton because this specific type of paper handles water really good and
will give you much better results than a very smooth finish like hot pressed if you’re not
used to watercolor. Of course, if you don’t have this type of paper or if you prefer to
work with something else, it’s completely fine too.
I used this picture that I found on Unsplash, and I put the link in the description as well
in case you want to use it, I didn’t copy everything exactly but I got really inspired
by the background color, the lamp and the tree branches so I kept that part and tweaked
a few things to make it more suitable for winter.
I got into the habit of freehanding my sketches on regular printing paper first, and then
use transfer paper to get them on my watercolor paper. Not only will this keep your watercolor
paper intact and clean from rubber strokes, but if you want to practice the painting several
times it will be faster to just have the sketch on hand.
When my graphite strokes are a bit strong on my watercolor paper, I like to fade them
with a kneaded eraser, just so they don’t show through my watercolors, even though here
most of it will get covered by a really dark paint.
Now everything is ready, let’s start painting ! So today I’ll be using Prima watercolors for
the first time. I really like the color combos they have in their tins and so I got myself
the Prima Essence palette. Whatever you have will do, I’d just recommend to keep to very
light tones for your background and a very dark and saturated one for the branches and
the lamp. I’m using around 6 or 7 colors here and before
I paint I’m going to mix them up so I’m ready to go.
For the background we want to use the wet on wet technique. For that, first you wet
your paper first, generously but not too much either. To do that you can use a big brush
if you have one,and go back and forth to make sure you get into all the nooks and crannies.
When your paper is really wet and shiny you’re ready to start. If you spot a puddle it’s
better soak it up just so the paint spreads everywhere evenly.
I’m careful to avoid this part of the lamp post that’s shiny with light, so this needs
to stay dry and your background colors won’t be able to bleed into that part.
The second step of the wet on wet technique is to drop some paint colors on the wet paper.
The golden rules for that are to do it immediately, way before your paper starts drying, and this
is why we prepped the paints before, and also try to drop paints that you have diluted with
enough water, at least here for the very first layer, and that will help maintain the humidity
on your paper and allow you to work on it longer before it actually dries.
I was faithful to the reference picture here and used for the top blue, blue mixed in with
a little bit of grey to make it darker, then I used yellow but I added a lot of water to
it because you’ll notice it’s a very light yellow. That and also, I don’t want it to
be too dark and compete with the light in the lamp post.
Finally I used some pink towards the bottom. You can see I’m careful to layer those colors
on top of each other where they meet, and I do it very unevenly. And I do this because
I am trying to get this sky’s natural look, I want to avoid having some sort of stripes
of blue, yellow and pink so these colors really need to melt into each other in a more subtle
way. To achieve this a tip is also to have fun
and even though you know the top will be mostly blue, the middle mostly yellow, and the bottom
mostly pink, drop bits of each color here and there in a carefree way. You can also
leave some areas white if you like. Like I said earlier, the background is pretty
light but we’ll get contrast here when we paint the rest of the elements of this painting
so that’s okay. Now you’re done with this first layer, you
need to let it completely dry, naturally or by using a hair drier or a heat gun like I’m
doing. Then you can or cannot, it’s up to you, decide to make a second layer of the
background using the same colors and the same technique, wet the paper first, apply your
colors and let dry. I love to do layers because it adds depth
when you work in layers and also, if you want to improve something, layers are really helpful
to do so. For instance here, on my second layer, I emphasized the light around the lamp
with some saturated yellow paint, because I thought it wasn’t very visible in the first
layer. I also darkened my blues and pinks a bit.
If you feel your background needs more work, feel free to layer for as many times as you
like. Now I’m painting the light in the lamp post.
I’m using a very light tone of yellow first and I leave an area completey white, then
I drop some more yellow, only more saturated and some kind of a dark brown orange in places,
towards the edges of the lamp since we’ll consider the whitest part is located towards
the middle. When this is dry, feel free to repeat the
process and adjust colors since here, contrast is important. You really need a spectrum of
shades to make a beautiful lighting effect, mine goes from white to a dark brownish orange
for instance. The light in the reference was a lot lighter, almost white unlike what you
would usually see on similar pictures, but since the tutorial is about lighting too,
I tweaked this to show you a way it could be achieved.
We have the light, so now on to the lamp itself. I used a saturated shade of brownish red but
really anything dark will work wonders here, even a dark green or blue or whatever you
feel like. I’d just paint the branches with the same color you’ll be using here to make
a nice and balanced color scheme. I had to use one of my smallest paintbrush
here, the link is in the description. This type of work is done wet on dry, meaning you’re
using your wet paint on dry paper and the main skills you need here are precision and
patience.Try not to rush through this to get nice clean strokes. If you mess up somewhere,
no biggie either because we’ll be painting snow later on and can use it to hide any mistake
you might be making. If you find you’re having a hard time depositing
your saturated wash of paint on the paper, it’s probably because you need more water
in the paint. This will allow you to work for longer periods of time. When I need saturated
paint, the texture of my wash looks like cream, only a bit more runny. That’s a good indicator
to help you find the right ratio for how much water and paint to put in there.
There are areas in the lamp for which I used more water in my brownish red shade to mimic
the parts when the light is hitting whichever material the lamp post is made of. You can
clearly see this color variation on the reference picture as well if you take a look.
Done with the lamp post, so for the branches, we’ll use the same color, same thin brush
to get thin strokes, and same runny cream type wash of paint.
It’s important to draw the branches with a light hand to make them look more gracious.
You can easily practice this on a separate sheet of paper.
It’s my favorite part to draw the branches, it’s very relaxing and it really adds to the
entire painting. I press on my brush, starting on where the
masking tape is, to create the beginning of my branch, and then I keep going wherever
my hand takes me and finish the branch with the tip of the brush, without pressing at
all. I do the same with all the surrounding twigs.
I try to make the branches different, different thickness, length, direction…I also drew
them in specific spots here, trying to see how best I could balance the whole painting
as I painted them. Usually I draw the first branches without overthinking their location,
and as I go I see where to add more branches to make my painting look good.
The difficulty here is it’s hard to stop, so when you feel satisfied, it’s probably
best to stop without adding a bunch of branches everywhere.
The last step in this painting is painting the snow. You can mix up the gouache with
some water to get something watery enough that some drops will easily land on the paper
when you flick your brush at it. If the drops are huge, there’s too much water,
if they come out really tiny or if it’s difficult, there is not enough.
If you wish, you can add some snow flakes directly with the brush.
Optional but great to complete the painting is to add snow on the branches and lamp post.
For the branches, I simply apply the gouache on top of each horizontal branch, sometimes
I add a bit more to make it look like snow that has accumulated. And I do the same on
the lamp, and that’s where you can fix some mistakes if there were any.
And that’s it for this easy beautiful lamp in snow painting for beginners ! If you enjoyed
it, please let me know in the comments below, give this video a thumbs up and share it with
your friends. And also, don’t forget to subscribe and hit the notification bell for more watercolor
techniques and ideas. See you in the next video!