It’s fall again, time to marvel at those magnificent trees! Today I want to share a really fun and quick way to paint a fall watercolor tree easily!
Even if you never painted before, this step by step tutorial will show you how to paint a beautiful fall watercolor tree in just 10 minutes!
I remember one of the first paintings I made in art school : I walked by these trees with such magnificent fall colors, and ran to the classroom to tell my teacher that I simply can’t stay inside to paint the model for now! ( that now turned into ever) I had very open and supportive teachers.
I was very lucky! 🙂
By the way, if you love trees in all seasons, these spring trees are just as easy, using a totally different technique! Materials and tools to paint a watercolor tree:
- watercolor paper : there are many kinds of watercolor papers, some have a warm ivory tone to them, others are more white, you can compare the first and last image to see the difference. If you just want to play and practice, even this inexpensive paper will work!
- brushes: these brushes are great for all kinds of painting . I like using those with a nice pointed tip for watercolors, they are great for washes, and for finer details
- a tooth brush : this is a lot of fun to use, you will see!
- watercolor paint : they often come with a lid that can be used to mix colors. A white plastic plate is also great for mixing colors
- a dish to hold water for wetting and rinsing brushes
Step 1: Paint the watercolor tree canopy with a very thin wash of orange or yellow.
Let the brush soak up a lot of water, then touch the tip with a little bit of color, now place your brush on the mixing surface, you will have a very diluted wash.
Imagine the watercolor tree canopy as clusters of clouds, and don’t worry if you “mess up”, every tree is different, and these shapes will guide us in the next step.
Step 2: Add deeper color washes in the canopy
While the first thin watercolor washes are still wet, add more watercolor to your paint brush, and paint on top of the first layer. Have a second brush handy, dip it in water and wet the paper a bit more if it feels too dry.
This watercolor painting technique is called wet on wet. It creates a nice colored area with soft edges.
I used some yellow, orange, and olive green. You can see all these colors flow into each other because they all have soft edges.
Tips: How to mix watercolors to create a natural green
A lot of times the ready made green are too saturated, as you can see that neon green up here.
By mixing it with a touch of yellow and red (opposite of green), it becomes a natural olive green on the left. There are infinite variations of green, and that’s the beauty of it – you don’t need to mix the same shade of green every time!
Step 3: Paint the watercolor tree trunk and branches
Mix a little brown and black to get a grey-brown color, start with a pale wash( like in step 1) of the trunk form and a few branches in the canopy,then paint a deeper color over it, like in step 2.
If you are unsure, always stay with the lighter washes, it’s easy to go darker later.
Now the really fun part starts: splatters! Continue to next page –