Painting The Summer Landscape In Watercolor
Series of Four Online Classes With Outside Class Work
Tuesdays, August 4 – 25, 2020 – 6 to 8 pm Eastern Time
Improve your watercolor landscape paintings in this class.
The course combines outside class work with online group work.
The class covers important skills and techniques for landscape paintings along with practice on specfic landscape elements.
How Does This Online Class Work?
We use a simple combination of pre-class and in-class work to get the most out of each lesson. The pre-class work introduces a technique or skill for the upcoming class. During the online portion class we review the pre-work and then apply our new skill or technique to our in class painting.
The online portion of classes are held by Zoom video conference services. Complete info for connecting to the class through Zoom will be sent with pre-class assignments.
August 25, 2020 – Buildings and Willows
For our last in-class session you have the option of working on a summer scene of your own or follow along with a class project. Class will start out with a discussion and sharing of pre-class work and a quick summer willow tree exercise.
The four lessons found here will show how to make buildings look right and to sit well in the landscape and to practice painting willow trees.
In class, we’ll go over the pre-class work and then work on our individual paintings.
August 18, 2020 – Trees – We’ll focus on trees this week. If you paint landscapes you are sure to encounter trees. It’s important to know how to paint them close up and at a distance. At a distance, they are usually seen as a group, rather than individuals. Up close, you are likely to only see a portion of the whole tree.
This page has four video lessons to watch and follow along. There are drawing layouts to download as well. You’ll find those links on the the page with the lessons.
Do those four lessons and draw this layout for our in class project.
We’ll review the pre-class work, answer questions and then do the class project.
August 11, 2020 – Skies
This class focuses on skies and the simple methods for getting them just right. For pre-class work there are several sky and cloud painting exercises.
The sky is usually the backdrop for the rest of your landscape painting. You will want to keep it light, airy, soft and interesting. The best way to accomplish all of those goals is to use lots of wet-in-wet along with some dry-in-wet work. The light, glowing effect that we find so attractive in watercolor paintings is unique to this medium. Watercolor paints and pigments are produced to be so – but they are transparent only when allowed to disburse well and evenly, as in the wet-in-wet technique.
Work through the lessons in the videos linked below in order. The list starts with practicing wet-in-wet and dry-in-wet techniques. Then there are four lessons on painting skies and clouds. The sky/cloud lessons become gradually a bit more difficult but with a more sophisticated look at the same time.
1) Practice wet-in-wet technique – this is THE fundamental watercolor technique. The most difficult thing about this technique is in learning to get enough color in those wet, fluid washes.
2) Practice the dry-in-wet technique – in this lesson, you’ll use dry-in-wet for landscape elements – good practice! But, in further lessons, you’ll use it in the sky to form soft-edged clouds. The ‘dry’ paint is not really dry, but moist and usually right out of the well or right out of the tube. This is the best way to create shapes with firm but soft edges in watercolor.
3) Paint an easy evening sky – this lesson uses the wet-in-wet technique to create an evening sky with warm colors. The goal is to create soft, gradual transitions between colors in the sky. There is also an evening landscape scene with muted, gray colors.
4) Paint an evening sky with clouds – This lesson uses wet-in-wet technique twice, once with the first layer of sky color and then when adding the long flat clouds. The result are clouds with harder edges. This can look right with certain kinds of clouds and certain kinds of light.
5) Paint a sky with more clouds than sky – The sky in this lesson is more like the sky in our class project, although a bit simpler. Do this lesson more than once if need be, to get a good handle on the techniques.
6) Paint a soft summer sky – This lesson will be a challenge but uses the combination of wet-in-wet and dry-in-wet to their best effect. One of the most important lessons to learn is the balance between water and color – unfortunately, it is one that can’t be taught. Instead, it has to be learned from experience. This lesson will give you lots of experience! Try it more than once, especially if your result is not what you wanted.
7) I’ll be doing this project in class. If you’d like to follow along, download the drawing layout, transfer to a piece of watercolor paper and bring it to class. You can also download the finished painting as a reference.
We’ll look over the pre-class sky work and then do this painting which will give us practice in sky and clouds and let us work with greens again.
For the in class painting, I’ll work through the sky first as a demo, having everyone just watch. Once done, everyone can paint the sky and then continue to work through the painting. I will be recording the class demos and will post them for reference after class.
August 4, 2020 – One of the most challenging aspects of painting a summer scene is in managing all that green! Green obviously dominates any summer scene, often with little variation.
Two keys to success when painting a summer scene are to create visual interest with a variety of greens, and to balance them with harmonizing color.
This week, the pre-class work consists of lots of color mixing!
1 – Create a color mixing chart on watercolor paper. You will likely need several sheets of these for all the mixing. Use the charts to mix every blue from your palette with every yellow. For each mixture you’ll want five color blocks – at one end the pure blue, at the other end pure yellow. In between the two ends you’ll want to mix a blue-green, a ‘true’ green, and a yellow green. This mixed greens color chart is an example of what a completed chart will look like.
2 – Take a look at all the mixtures. You will likely have a wide variety of greens – some way too bright and un-natural looking, some perhaps too dull, and others that would make good natural looking greens for a landscape.
3 – Find a landscape scene to paint – perhaps from an earlier sketch or less successful attempt. Chose two combinations from the color mixing exercise and re-paint the scene. Make an effort to include the full range of greens from the mixes; that is use blue-green, green, and yellow green from both combinations. Bring the painting to the online class.
During class we’ll review the pre-class work and then paint this very green landscape.
We’ll review the color mixing exercise and share the pre-class painting project. We’ll also do another painting.
There’ll be a quick demo on getting smooth, gradual transitions in the greens and in using techniques to create edges that separate all that greenery into individual trees, and individual layers of foliage.
You have the choice of doing another version of your pre-class painting, working along on the painting below, or working on a different painting of your choice.
Download the drawing layout for the painting below.
August 25, 2020 – Artists Choice
For our last class, you’ll get to do a painting of a summer scene of your choice.
Pre-class work will focus on creating a pleasing composition with the scene you have chosen. There may be other, individual, pre-class work as well.
In class, we’ll go over the pre-class work and then work on our individual paintings.
Download a comprehensive suggested watercolor materials list. Use it as a guide – no need to purchase everything on the list. Working with what you are used to will help your learning. I’ll make suggestions for good supplementary materials during class.
Questions About the Class?
About The Instructor
Tony Conner is an accomplished watercolorist and and experienced instructor. His energetic approach to teaching and enthusiasm for the watercolor medium are combined to create classes that are both fun and informative. He excels at providing information and insights to individual students – meeting them where they are and helping them get to where they want to go.
- Signature Member - New England Watercolor Society
- Signature Member - Vermont Watercolor Societies
- Artist Member - Salmagundi Club
- Artist Member - North Shore Arts Association
Tony works from his studio in Bennington, Vermont.