Friday, February 27, 2015

Stages of a Watercolor Painting

A few months ago my daughter Jessie, posted pictures of a hike she and her boyfriend had taken atop of Caesars Head mountain in South Carolina. The view is looking out at Table Rock mountain in North Carolina.  I loved the photograph, and asked her to send me a print that I could paint ..

Caesars Head mountain, South Carolina

 Because the composition was busy, I started by sketching in all the shapes first. This was done using a 2H pencil, which is just dark enough to see and won't smear when the watercolor is applied.
 The next step was to lay down a light watercolor wash and then pen in some of the bark details.


I later darkened the foreground colors of the composition, leaving the lighter shades to recede into the background. After that dried I began layering all the bright warm colors of the leaves to the trees. Next I made sure to lower the intensity of the colors in the middle ground of the composition.  creating that illusion of depth which is so important when painting landscapes. 

The last step was adding more detail to the leaves and tree branches in the foreground with my Micron pen. 
Hope you enjoy....
Have a great weekend.
~ karen


  1. Wow , thank you for showing us the steps, really really helpful ! Your painting is absolutely gorgeous!!!

  2. Beautiful! Bet it is covered with snow today. Happy PPF

  3. You did a wonderful job - love the colors and really appreciate the tutorial.

  4. Just magical. The lavender in the shadows is quite lovely. Thanks for sharing your technique and the beautiful results.

  5. I like to see your work in progress.Saludos

  6. I can tell you're a teacher by the way you condensed this lesson down to specifics. I think I like your painting even more than the photo. Have a great weekend.

  7. Good work on isolating the shapes. I quite like the first "simple" painting but the finished painting is delightful with the details and depth added. It's good to see all three stages (including the photo).

  8. This is just gorgeous Karen, and a lovely inspiration photo too.

  9. I love it to see how your process of painting went on. I also love the earlier step of your wonderful purple landscape. It turned out wonderful!

  10. Your work is amazing, Karen. Always inspiring to each of us. Thank you for sharing a part of your personal world along with your art projects. :)

  11. It looks gorgeous there Karen and you certainly did justice to that beautiful view with your watercolour painting of it. lovely!

  12. I really love the different have such a beautiful style!

    Hugs Giggles

  13. Karen,
    Thank you for your comment on my blog about the symbolism regarding the tissue paper. I love how that interpretation came through.

    Thank you for showing us your process with this beautiful woods portrait. How I love trees and the mountains and you bring out the beauty of them so well.



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