Hey there, this is Françoise, welcome back to my channel ! I’m here with a new christmas watercolor cards tutorial and today we’re
painting a snowy winter landscape that is going to be perfect wether you’re a beginner
at watercolor or a bit more advanced, because we’re not going to use lots of colors and
I’m also going to show you how to paint this type of watercolor snow scene as easily as
possible depending on your level of watercolor practice.
For this tutorial, you’re going to need a 5×7 piece of watercolor paper and some masking
tape or anything similar to create those sharp edges and hold the paper firmly in place while
painting. You can check out the list of the supplies in the description if you want to
see exactly what I’m using to paint my christmas watercolor cards.
The sketch is a pretty simple one here, just a line to see where the sky ends and the snow
starts and a few more lines to draw the cabin. The first thing I’m doing to paint this watercolor
cabin in the woods is to paint the sky. I’m using mostly Sepia and a little bit of yellow,
orange and gold ochre. There are two ways of painting this background.
Option one is to paint it directly wet on dry and then keep working on the wet surface.
This is an option you can pick if you want to skip the masking fluid step or if you don’t
have any masking fluid to mask off the elements that are not part of the background. The downside
of this technique is that you have to work really fast and keep adding color or water
to your background before the first strokes you’re making start drying.
To prevent these to dry super fast, I’m contouring the cabin with a really wet brush to make
my strokes really wet as well, so they take much longer to dry. As soon as I’m done, I
keep loading my brush with water and I extend the painted areas before the edges dry. I
hardly ever do this on my paintings because you really have to work fast, but here I thought
it would be a good way to show you a different way to proceed because here, except for the
cabin and the snow limit, there’s nothing else to exclude from the sky. Now if you’re still pretty new at watercolor,
or you’re not too confident about your control of water, I think it’s best to go with option
two and use masking fluid to mask off the snow and cabin first. It’s one more step but
at least, you know you have time to work on your background. In this case, after the areas
you want to preserve are masked, you can go ahead and wet the background with a clean
wet brush and start adding color without worrying this much about harsh lines forming since
the whole sky is already prewet. In both cases, now your background is wet,
you need to add some color gradually and build up contrast and layers.
Here too you can take more or less steps depending on your confidence level.
Option 1 for beginners is to paint a first layer, wait for it to dry, wet the paper again,
adding a new layer and so on until you are satisfied.
Or, if the background still is wet enough and you’re more comfortable with water control,
you can build up contrast the same way, little by little without letting those layers dry
in between, the difference here is that you need to be aware of how wet your brush is
when you add color to avoid any blooms. What’s important here is adding colors that are going
to be more and more saturated as you paint since the background is slowly drying, which
means the paint you’ll be adding will be more and more saturated and there will be less
water in it with each new layer. What I did here was a mix of both methods
since I saw my paper drying faster than I wished twice and prefered to wait for it to
dry to keep adding color. This may seem complicated if you’re just starting
out, but with practice you will be able to paint beautiful backgrounds easily and control
water really well. At the beginning, it’s better to take your time and use the tools
I just gave you, masking fluid and letting layers dry before adding color. These are
really going to help you build confidence and get results you like.
If you can’t quite picture how to control the amount of water on your paper and brush,
check out the video I’m linking right up here and in the description where I’m demonstrating
water control and I explain the whys and hows. As soon as I myseld started to understand
how things work with water control in watercolor, my skills really improved and I believe this
is the skill than can help anyone get much better faster.
Now we’re done with the sky, we’re going to use Sepia again to paint the snow. To give
texture and dimension to the snow, I used highly saturated paint in a few places, to
suggest hollow areas and I blended these strokes slightly into the rest of the snow to add
color. If you take a close look, you can see there’s a wide range of sepia values here,
some dark, some lighter, some really light. It all depends of how much water you mix in
with the paint. Having a bunch of these values placed unevenly will make the snow look more
dimensional than just one value. To balance this landscape, i decided to add
two pine trees behind the cabin with a very saturated mix of sepia, to make sure they’d
be visible against the sky. For the cabin, I used the same colors I did
for the sky and I also painted snow the same way I did before. Because there are a lot
of wood and snowy areas touching on the cabin, it’s best to wait for one area to dry before
painting the next, otherwise for instance if the wooden part is still wet and you start
painting the snowy roof, there will be a lot of bleeding of that sepia shade onto the snow.To
dry things off fast so i can keep painting without interruption, I like to use a heat
gun, but a hair drier works too ! The last step for this painting is to add
splatters on the sky to suggest either stars or falling snow or both ! I like to use white
gouache for this and I mix it with enough water that when I rub my brush to make the
splatters, they do fly out of there easily enough. Be careful though not to have too
much water there or the splatters will be huge !
We’re done with this snowy winter landscape painting tutorial so if you liked this type
of watercolor christmas card, let me know in the comments below, give it a thumbs up
and share it with your friends. Also, don’t forget to subscribe and hit the notification
bell to learn more watercolor techniques and get ideas for additional watercolor christmas
cards, so see you in the next video!