The painting above is a watercolor of an old barn we discovered by accident when we turned down a road in Townsend, TN trying to locate a trailhead for a hike. I always have my phone camera with me which helps me capture all sorts of photos for painting. Once back in the studio, I can sketch my painting and confirm colors by looking at the photo.
This painting takes place in late summer/early fall and shows just the start of leaves changing color. The bright colors of fall along with some still green trees make for a great contrast of the old wood of the barn. The rusty roof pulls in the orange in the few trees that have changed color.
Let’s get started on this painting.
140# Watercolor paper – I use Arches
Masking fluid#12 round brush
Watercolor Paint:Payne’s Gray
Van Dyke Brown
Sketch the scene on your paper which has been taped to a board. We will be executing this painting, as with most watercolors, by starting with the background and working forward and lighter building into darker – wet on wet. I painted this watercolor in this order:
· Background foliage and sky
· Tree trunks/branches
· Foreground grass and dirt road
I masked off the tree trucks and a few of the limbs with masking fluid. I wanted to be able to make these stand out in the background among the foliage.
Note: I did not feel it necessary to mask off the barn or roof. Watercolor will only flow into areas where it is wet. I simply did not wet that area when I applied my water to the background.
Painting the sky and background foliage:After the masking fluid has dried, wet the top portion of your paper down to the horizon (working around the barn). Using a pale wash of Windsor blue, paint in your sky using a flat brush and painting all the way down to the horizon. While this is still wet create areas of tree shapes with lighter colors in the background building into darker shades in the foreground using a round brush and all the colors you would like for trees and mountains. Let the colors blend and merge together to create some great colors and shapes. Allow to dry.
Painting the tree trunks and branches:Remove the masking from the tree trunks and branches. Wet the spaces with clean water and while still wet, drop in a mixture of Payne's Gray and VanDyke Brown with just a touch of Ultramarine in darker areas. Allow to dry. Using the same colors used for the tree trunks, add a few darker branches and small trunks in the tree area.
Painting the Barn:I painted the barn in stages starting with the roof first. I love painting rusty roofs and watercolor paints are perfect for this. Watercolors almost paint rust for you! Wet the roof area and drop in Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine. Let these colors blend, leaving some areas only Burnt Sienna. Allow to dry.
Painting the Wood sides of the barn:
Wet the sides of the barn with clean water and drop in a wash of Payne's Gray and yellow ochre allowing the colors to mingle. Deepen the gray in the shadow of the roof. Allow to dry. Paint the open door and window areas with a wash of Vandyke Brown mixed with Payne's Gray. Allow to dry. Using a liner brush, paint in some lines to indicate the boards. Allow to dry and dry brush in additional lines to indicate the grain in the wood. Do not make this too detailed.
Painting the foreground grass and dirt road:Using the same colors used in the trees, paint a light wash – wet on wet in the grassy areas. While the grass is still wet, drop in VanDyke brown at the base of the barn and pull up the color onto the barn sides for tall dried grasses.
The road is painted wet on wet with a wash of Payne's Gray and Van Dyke brown. When the wash dries, spatter some of the same color paint on the road. Leave some of the areas lighter for tire tracks.
Allow the road and the grassy areas to dry.
Painting the fencing:Paint the fence posts, wet on wet, and drop in VanDyke brown, Payne's Gray and Ultramarine in random places on the fence posts. Allow to dry. Using a liner brush and a mix of Payne's Gray and Ultramarine, paint the barbed wire of the fence. Do not paint straight lines. Allow to dry.
Congratulations! Don’t forget to sign your name!