Sunset And Trees Watercolor Lesson

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impressionistic watercolors landscape with trees
These three landscapes look quite similar yet they all have their own story.
The first one was painted from the photograph that my friend gave me one day. She took this picture while traveling with her husband long time ago. I loved the bright sunset and black monotone trees on the foreground. Half year ago, the same dear friend lost her beloved husband of 51 years. When recently we were talking on a phone I asked her if she might be interested in watercolor lesson to try something new in her life. I offered her to paint the same bright landscape that you see on the left. She listened to my offer in disbelieve: How can she paint if she only held a brush once in her life. When she visited my studio, I performed the lesson to her, explaining step by step how to paint this bright sunset landscape. She did a great job. We had so much fun. And she left with completed artwork and a happy feeling that she learned something new that possibly might become a new hobby. 
The third painting I created when I was teaching last weekend a retired couple. The husband was looking forward to rejuvenate his love to watercolor that he developed long time ago when he was 15 years old. But the business life kept him away from this hobby; yet, now he was trying to grab the brush again. His wife never painted in her life, but she also was curious to try it. We painted together and both of them ended up with a finished artwork to bring home. 

And now, I want to explain step by step how to paint this bright, yet quite simply executed beautiful landscape in 10 easy steps.

Materials:
Paper (better 300lb Arches Watecolor Paper)
Flat Brush (any brush is good approximately 1 inch wide)
Round Brush #8 or #9 (approximately 1/4 inch in diameter)
Round Brush #4 or #6 (approximately 1/8 in diameter)
Sponge (either natural or just torn kitchen sponge)
Container for water and couple of paper towels.
Watercolor paints (better in tubes)
Red
Yellow
Purple
Black
(yes, only four colors with make this painting shine!)

Step 1:
Water the paper with flat brush
Step 2:
Paint two horizontal strips of yellow in the middle leaving a white 1 inch stripe in between (using same flat brush)
Step 3:
Next to the yellow (while it is still wet) paint the red color in diagonal streaks above the second yellow line and horizontal streaks below (using the round brush #8 or #9) . Because paint is hitting the wet yellow color, it will melt and create a nice soft clouds like feathers.
Step 4:
Next to the red, add some purple diagonal streaks on the top (the sky area) and horizontal on the bottom (using the same round brush). Make sure that purple doesn’t touch yellow as it might create unwanted gray messy color. You can also add black color above purple to make the sky more dramatic. 
Step 5:
While paper is still wet, in the space that you left white (from the step 2) you can place a little uneven purple line that would indicate a forest line in the far background.
Step 6:
Relax and have a cup of tea as you need the wet painting to dry completely.
Step 7:
When painting is completely dry, take the round brush #4 or #6 and dip it generously in the black paint. Paint uneven vertical lines indicating the trees, and horizontal smaller lines indicating branches. 
Step 8:
With the black paint paint the waves underneath of each tree. These waves will be reflections of the trees.
Step 9:
Grab a sponge, deep it in the wet black paint and start applying with gentle dabbing motion around the tree branches. 
Step 10:
Enjoy completed artwork! 
🙂

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