Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Appalachian Bald

Appalachian Bald

Appalachian Bald
5" x 7"

The painting above is a bald which was painted from a photo taken during a hike in the spring.  This would have been a fun one to have painted plein air; however, I did not have my painting equipment with me.....so a camera had to capture the moment for me to paint later.
Balds are mountain meadows covered by native grasses or shrubs occurring in areas where heavy forest growth would ordinarily be expected.  These mountain meadows are called balds in the Appalachian mountains as the one above in the Great Smoky Mountains.
The watercolor above is a 5" x 7" done on Arches 140 lb cold press paper. 
Supplies Needed:
Watercolor paper
Masking Tape
Watercolor board
Brushes:  flat and round (size of your choice based on the size of your paper)
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Windsor Blue
  • Yellow ocher
  • Sap Green
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Medium Yellow
  • Sepia
  • Burnt Umber
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Crimson

Painting Instructions:
Sketching:  Yes or No?
This painting can be painted without sketching at all.  However, if you feel more comfortable with a sketch on your paper, make a very basic sketch of the mountains/horizon.  The tallest mountain on the right is about one third of the way down the paper and the distant mountain on the left is only slightly shorter. 

Note:  The mountain on the left side of the paper is in the distance and is lighter in color.  The mountain on the right is in the near distance and is darker in color. 

Do not sketch in the trees as they will be done after the sky and mountains have been painted.

Using a flat brush, wet the sky area first with clean water and painting wet on wet, use Cerulean Blue to paint in the sky allowing the color to be darker at the top and become lighter as you paint down towards the mountains.  On the left side of the painting where the sky touches the mountain, drop in yellow ocher and allow the colors to blend.  While the paint is still wet, use a tissue to remove some of the paint to create clouds.  Allow to dry.

Using a flat brush, wet the mountain area on the left side.  Using a wash of Windsor Blue paint the mountain varying the wash from dark at the bottom of the mountain to lighter at the top.  While still wet, drop in a light wash of Crimson to mix with the blue to create purple.  At the very top, a small amount of yellow ocher can be  added as well.  Allow to dry. 

Wet the mountain on the right side.  Using Sap Green paint, the mountain from top down to the start of the meadow.  While still wet, drop in Ultramarine and Burnt Umber in various locations to add some texture to the mountains.    Allow to dry.

The bald is painted using bands of Yellow Ocher, Medium Yellow, Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber.  As well as bands of green grasses painted in Sap Green, Burnt Umber and Ultramarine.

Using a round brush, lay in the yellow areas first using a wet wash of Yellow Ocher and dropping in touches of Medium Yellow, Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber.  Refer to the painting above for placement.

Then paint in the areas of green grasses using predominately Sap Green and dropping in touches of Burnt Umber and Ultramarine.

Notice a dry area of dirt is located on the lower left side at the bottom of the painting.  Using a pale wash of Burnt Umber, paint this in with a round brush leaving areas unpainted.    Allow to dry.

Note:  Leave some area unpainted in the bald for highlights.   

When the bald area grasses are dry, use the flat brush with the bristles fanned out  pull in some individual pieces of grass.  You can also use the tip of your round brush to pull in the grasses.  Allow to dry.

Decide on placement for your evergreen trees.   Using the edge of your flat brush, paint a narrow line from the top of the trees down to the bottom with Burnt Umber.  Using a mix of the following colors, use the flat brush to randomly dab in the branches of the trees. 

Tree washes:
Sap Green
Sap Green and Ultramarine to made a dark evergreen color
Sap Green and Medium Yellow
Sap Green and Yellow Ocher

Paint each tree using the directions above varying the heights of all of the trees. 

Allow to dry.

Check your painting for any details you would like to add.

Sign your painting!  Congratulations!

Happy Painting!


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