Painting a complex scene like a forest scene with watercolor can seem like a daunting task.
With a bit of planning and a lot of patience, you can easily do it too
Here are pictures of the step I took, there is also a video at the end of the post where you can see the whole process in a time lapse video.
You can see a more detailed post about mounting watercolor paper on board here: Mounting watercolor paper on board
Some artists will paint their painting on paper before mounting it, I prefer mounting the paper before painting as it will stretch the paper at the same time.
Here is the palette I am using on the foliage, various mixes of :Cadmium Yellow, Yellow Green, Russian Blue, Cadmium Orange, Raw Umber (not on the picture).
Start by painting all the foliage with the various mixes of green, letting the colors mix wet into wet and painting around the tree trunks.
When you are done painting the leaves, you can start working on the trunks, using the same colors with the addition of Permanent Red violet and Burnt Umber.
Let the colors mix on the paper instead of mixing them on your palette, you will get nice variations of color on your painting.
You can also layer a few colors for nice effects, like I did here on some of the bigger trees.
I recommend you paint the trunks moving through the picture from left to right, that way you won’t smudge an area you just painted with your arm.
Once the paint had time to dry on the tree trunks, you can paint additional layers to add texture, here I added some textures with a darker tone of Burnt umber.
If you want to add a few highlights here and there, you could use white gouache.
If you like a bit of a “messier” look, you can add drips and splatters by adding random drips of water, diluted watercolor paint and diluted gouache paint, over the finished painting
If you don’t like some of the splatters, you can always take them off with a tissue paper.
If you like a more natural look, you can try applying a layer of wax, instead of varnishing the painting.
The finished painting:Seeing the Forest through the Trees
Watercolor and Mixed media on paper mounted on board
wax finish, 30 x 30 inches