Geometric Landscape Watercolor Tutorial with Sarah Cray

hi everybody its Sara crane with let's make card and we like to do watercolor projects every single week a new one a week sounds like a lot but it's not it's roughly an hour looat us this if it's really bad it's actually perfect timing is perverted this is the project we are doing today there we go geometric landscape this project is super fun to paint list and I just like introducing you to different ways that you can approach the same thing we're using strong geometric elements this is kind of a sense of I don't know it kind of is a modern twist to it I think because of those geometric shapes and it's like a modern landscape almost so just be cool even if you want to pay on landscape you don't have to do it in the traditional sense you can mix it up something like this pause could we please clean that mug out it is filthy no leaving it leave it okay let's leave it you can leave it now I'll ask Chris to leave this whole thing okay they need to know the truth I know that's do you right this is who we know no I'm not gonna say if I drink out of it or not like that they have to decide okay so we're using three colors for this project we are using space blue we are using pine green and we are using orchid that's it just those three colors our paintbrushes are around six and round two they're our go-to guys there are worker bees we love round brushes we have five steps with this project so the very first step we are gonna kind of like I say outline but it's like there's no outline with this project it's basically just taping areas off step number two I'll start over I was like she's doing a different spicing it up weird word change it allows we'd like to keep things fresh right when you get used to something guess what modern painting modern rules that explain in a painting so our steps are very first steps I'm gonna call them outline but essentially we're just going to create the circle shape and then tape this area off step number two we are going to paint our moon slash plant it planet you can make this color moon or planet whatever you want because it's your painting just so you know step number three we're going to put in the color on our land step number four we are going to do our trees and the very last step we are going to do our Birds so five steps not too shabby a lot of fun I mean I cover that dirty mug again let's get started so I'm going to do a circle shape and you can use anything for your circle I'm actually just going to use this painters tape and I'm going to put it on the right hand side and I'm just gonna take a pencil and draw my circle okay and now what I'm going to do is I'm gonna put it in the line for our landscape so I'm actually going to take a piece of tape painters tape and I'm gonna cut off like the bottom third of my circle and it's actually your cannon you're gonna have to tell me if that looks straight sounds like the lift set is high does it look me can I disagree with you yes okay actually what I'm going to do is you can measure it so you can take like the pencil okay actually that looks pretty even I think no it's up a little bit on the left is that what you told me cuz I don't know why when you said left I heard right oh that's a problem I have a common misspeak problem me no yes they left but I am hurt is right it's rare it's it's rare but it happens okay I think little does that look better is it now it's too low it's a little too well listen it doesn't have to be perfect you're right you're right guys it doesn't have to be perfect I'm just gonna like place it and be like whatever this is my land in my painting that's still high okay one more time means water will run off one go away from the trees one more time is that better yes are you just telling me that so I'll move on no okay great so when yes I'm just gonna leave let's just get let's just get painting so I have my circle I have my line so I'm gonna have a clean edge on here so you kind of want to make sure you press down in this area and I'm just using blue painters tape or you can use washi tape which is really wonderful voici wha C W a sh i oK we've mentioned it before yeah I'm just I'm just not listening you said wha see I heard right I get it it happens everybody okay so I'm gonna grab a little bit of the orchid and a little bit of the space blue okay and when you do this plan it I want you to really play with the wet-on-wet technique so I'm gonna take some water kind of start filling in my circle grab some paint start dropping it in and then mix in some blue in there too so you get different colors of purple like so and just kind of start filling this in but lift up your paintbrush so there's also some white spaces and then if you want to do stronger areas of blue you can just drop in straight of that space blue the fun thing about this project is it's like we're just we're just going for it if you want to look at a moon or a planet for a reference you absolutely can I didn't because sometimes it's fun just to be like I want to paint whatever I want I don't care if it's looks exactly like it you know Keenan gets it I hundred percent get it but I love dropping in just like strong color so we have different values going on now this one is running a little bit more pink that's okay I like pink yeah pink is nice and if you got to reshape your circle cuz you go outside of it it's not a big deal pink is Brock's favorite color it is kena what's your favorite color I don't have a specific favorite but lately I've been loving on like the sunset orange mm-hmm that's a good color yeah but I I do tend to enjoy blue things more often do you think that you look really good in a specific color I have been told lately that a green looks really good with my skin tone it does so now that's my favorite color to wear okay so I'm just you can see I have some white spaces there I'm dropping in color you can also just drop in water and this is how you're gonna get some really cool textures I am gonna make sure that I even though I'm leaving in white spaces the bottom where it's meeting the tape I want that actually to be solid I don't want any spaces there because I want to get a really clean line and if like this maybe we really should clean that out now I'm insecure about it what if I do this ooh that's nice so for the black paint on the bottom of it am I allowed are we allowed to show that I don't know I don't know so upside down they can't read it who can rethink this like that I have no idea nobody it's incredible so if I had a white spaces here then my line wouldn't be a clean line it would look like a little chunk and it would might be distracting so make sure it's solid in color at the bottom there I just want some lighter color so I'm gonna put some water there and then we wait for it to dry perfect okay so while that is drying we can kind of start the process for a step number two which is we basically have to tape off on the opposite line to get a straight edge and paint this side because if we leave this tape here and then paint our landscape we would have a big white chunk in the middle right so take your painters tape and then right on top of that blue tape you're gonna meet there because you want the lines to meet up and then I'm actually going to rip because you don't want to paint especially while it's wet you don't want to put the tape over the painted circle so I'm kind of just like working around it maybe I should move that over a bit also maybe you're like I'm not interested in that paint tape life I'm just gonna eyeball it that's totally cool like go for it okay and then the same thing on the other side would it have benefited to tape after you draw the circle yep Kenan good idea I was just trying to think of how to make it easier for you right now but I couldn't and so then I was like well how could we admit it easy okay I was trying to think of you Sara I believe you and I appreciate that I see you thank you for seeing me no no that's a great suggestion that was a good idea except in the tutorial we're gonna give this to him too late they would have already painted this that's true it's very true don't worry I do that all the time so it seems like we give them advice after the fact a lot every time okay so now that I taped off the top I'm going to remove the bottom tape slowly and whenever you're removing tape you want to pull away from where that line is okay so if you can put a piece that cuz we're gonna have to basically just paint that line and try to be really careful to keep it like straight I when I made this project the first one I did I did put painters tape over this to see if like it would work and it did rip a little bit so that's why I'm avoiding it completely just to be safe but maybe you have better painters tape I don't know you can try it but I just avoided it to be safe and then I did one more edge which if you're looking at our reference photo here this right side is a nice clean edge and this left side is not which I thought was kind of fun so I'm going to do a one more piece of tape right there to make that really clean edge okay so now we're going to do step two we're gonna do our landscape or a land part so I'm gonna take my round six I'm gonna grab a lot of this space blue and I'm just gonna start filling it in now when I get to my planet I'm gonna try and be really careful to like get that line to match up that's why I stopped talking cuz I was focusing okay and then just keep on going so I want the top part of this land to be darker which is why I'm using more paint on my brush than water and you've got to work quick on this if you don't want a lot of blooms now blooms are those really hard lines that you get as the watercolor dries and so to avoid that you try and work quick if you do this slow and have to like keep on rewetting it and keep on like doing different text like layers then you'll get a lot of blooms which I don't think is a problem I think blooms are beautiful but if it's bothering you that's what's going on and then I'm adding water as I go down to lighten it up so I just keep on adding water adding water and then when I get if I want like this drippy effect that I get on my left-hand side I'm going to just put a lot of water here and then to get it to drip I stand my paper up so you see where the you have that close-up do you see where those dots are forming you can and then while it if it's still not going drop more like get it get it nice and heavy so it will drop down there we go and you can do that as much as oh look what happened there okay I'm gonna leave that that wasn't part of the project I'm gonna leave it though cuz I think it's really cool that happened because my planet wasn't dry yet so if you don't want that to happen just wait but I think that effect is really wonderful so I'm gonna leave that a happy accident you know now if you want to kind of like make these drips and not go through the process of standing it up you can so basically I would make like a thin line and then just have it kind of thicker on the top you would basically mimic this shape yeah and then I'm actually going to there seem to be there seems to be a pretty hard edge right there I'm just going to add another layer of color just to like I don't know soften that line a little bit I'm gonna avoid that because I like that and of course because I'm adding a layer that's wet on top of an area that's mostly already dry I'm gonna get some blooms I'm okay with that though I've acknowledged that I know that that is going to happen and I'm still gonna do it anyway and this is where I love doing these types of projects because if you get little accidents like this or if you get hard lines in these really cool textures it's okay it's supposed to like look that way you have that freedom when you are creating a painting that's not super realistic and that's where like learning how to paint something like exactly how it is in real life is a real talent and a real skill but it you have so much more freedom when you're the creator and so don't feel bound to only do it the way that you think it has to be because that's how it's in nature feel free to explore with different textures and colors and techniques because that's also art and that's how we show that we're the ones making it and it's not just a photograph so well said thank you okay okay I feel good about that now wait for it to dry and then we'll remove the tape so just give it a few minutes okay I'm gonna like just go for it okay I'm gonna start moving the tape you want to do it slowly and a good thing of doing it slowly is if you do see your papers start to rip you can stop if you do it really fast and just rip it off then if it does snag there's a literally nothing like it's gone the paper is gone so that's why I like to do it slowly and pull away don't this reminds me of Toy Story isn't there like a I feel like that happens with woody or something where he's trying to get the sticker off of him and it won't the strap on the back of the truck in Toy Story flapping in the wind can you need to find that clip where he's and it's trying to get it off and then put it please add two hours to the year work time hopefully is you in Toy Story that's my current salary but if you're like it's not as a toy sorry I'm like must be in the second one all the toys okay so here it is and then I just want to show you that even when you use painters tape sometimes it does bleed through a little bit I don't let things like that bother me if you want you can try and go in and like re edge the line but these little fuzzies right here on the top they're not enough for me to like read try and do that entire line you know what I'm saying so I'm fine with it I'm gonna leave it all so we don't know how far out we are from this landscape that could be a small hill you're right came in it can be whatever we're a camp of people it could be people or little like animals what if it's a little herd of dogs pugs even okay anyways the other thing that I want to acknowledge right now is we did a lot of layers of water especially in this landscape so our paper is going to start to warp a little bit now you can see a soft bump that's not enough for me to be able to not work on it but that's what's going on with your paper so if you see your paper start to warp totally normal that's what's happening ways that you can avoid that is by using a different heavier weight paper so this is a hundred and forty pound cold press paper from Canson that I like to work in use however it's not a hundred percent cotton which is why it's not as like heavy and doesn't absorb as much water so go for like 145 140 pound cold press 100% cotton paper and that will help with the warping you can also tape down the edges if you want but okay interesting so the same weight of paper but 100% cotton mm-hmm because this isn't a hundred percent cotton it's a mixture of cotton and I think like wood like a wood here comes effect I don't want to say wood chips that's not right wood slivers that's it I you know what maybe don't put this part in because I don't know what the other part is and this is this is another brands product and I don't want to get wrung what if the people from cans were like that's not right at all they do not have wood slivers our paper okay you guys let's focus here and let's paint this picture Keenen can you calm down please I like to apologize to them okay we're moving on to step four we're almost done with this painting we're gonna do our trees now if you look at our trees you will notice that we have some very light trees and some light and some medium light and some dark so you want that range and the reason why we want that range is because this is how we're communicating what trees are right in front and the ones that are in the back so I want you to grab your brush grab some of this pine green I'm gonna add a little bit of this purple to it just to like tone down the green and a little bit of the blue it's still gonna be a really cool color cool as in temperature not as I'm like awesome but like cool so and then I'm gonna add a lot of water to it to lighten it up a lot a lot of water we want a barely-there color and I'm going to start putting in my tree so I moved over to my round two brush it's smaller and when you do trees I'm going to do my trunk first is this on the close-up maybe okay great would it be better if I held up the paper too or no let's get real close here because trees are hard hardwood okay I think that's good okay so I'm going to do larger trees so they're gonna be nice and long I'm doing my trunk okay to do a thin line vertical hold going straight up like so it's light pressure and then I start at the top and just do tiny little dashes and then as I go down my dashes go out a little bit more like so and like really nice and wet also pick up your brush when you're doing these dashes you want white space in between them because these are like leaves and branches and it's not a solid thing so air actually is in between them and light and all those things and make sure they have a triangle shape okay so there's one and you just kind of keep on going now one thing that's going to be really hard is our brains when we're painting or making something our brains really like patterns and so your brain without it without you knowing it is gonna want to make it so all of your trees are the exact same height and all of your trees are evenly spaced from one another and you're not doing anything wrong it's your brains fault your brain is telling you to do that and you need to tell your brain to like take a break say I appreciate you but I'm not going to listen to you right now and you are going to purposely make your trees different sizes in height and you will purposely make them not evenly spaced they're going to overlap at some spaces it's not going to be like you know what I'm saying so just keep that in mind now this first batch that we're doing this first layer with this really light value that that like even this is going to matter more as we add the layers in the front so in the background it's not going to matter as much so don't like don't stress this is it's good practice but then you'll see as we start to put in more trees how to look for that I'm gonna do a couple more light ones over here and oh look I even told you not to make them all the same height then look what I'm doing they're almost all the same height well let's mix it up I'll make this one really tall so when I'm doing my dashes I'm kind of also using the side of my brush so I'm not pointing I'm not doing dots I'm using the side and doing dashes okay and then I'm going to do a smaller one in between here and smaller one here now pay attention to the lightness of it we want these really really light and if you're not used to watercolor but you are used to painting with acrylics or oil you might see that tree I just put in there and be like that's too light nobody is gonna see this but they will and that's the wonderful thing about watercolor okay now we are going to do like a medium value tree so I'm going to grab a little bit more paint that's going to be our dark value trees here so to get your super dark value I'm going to grab a big swoop of the space and a big spoofs big smooth is that what I said what am I trying to say well I'm not slope swoop a big swoop sorry okay okay so then I'm gonna go if these are dry that one's still wet so I'm not going to paint on that one but where it's dry I can start painting on top now the reason why I don't want to paint on top while it's wet is I won't get these sharp lines the color will blend and bleed out in the water and it won't be a it will just like fizz out a little bit so just see if they're dry so little at the top start using the side of your brush leave white spaces triangular shape okay and just keep on and remember you can make some nice and short – oh my trunk is a little crooked that's okay trees grow crooked sometimes maybe there's a tiny little person there pushing the tree or cutting it down we can't see we don't okay I'm gonna go I'm gonna still avoid that area so I'm gonna go over here again mix up your height there's also a ton of different kinds of trees out here so if you like want to do a different kind of tree do it like there's so many different ways that you can paint trees also so don't if you feel success doing it a different way then do it that way you don't have to follow exactly what I'm doing all the time okay now I'm looking at this and the thing that I want you and I I'm just going to explain my thought process here so you guys can understand where I'm coming from is when you're doing different values like this you don't want to do strong value jumps and what what I'm trying to say is if I'm looking at this tree value and I'm looking at this tree value they're pretty extreme this is really dark and this is really light so much so that they don't feel connected I know that I'm trying to communicate spatial depth but also I don't want it to be so obvious like you need to have all of the in betweens you need to have the really lights and the kind of lights and then the mediums and then they're really darks and I feel like I have the really lights but I don't know if I have the kind of lights at least on the left-hand side the right-hand side I think that's okay this left hand side that dark is too dark compared to this really light so what I can do is I can do another tree like even in between here or over here or next to this or I can darken this first tree here it's up to you there's a bunch of different options but basically I need to introduce a value that's in between this one and this one so let's do that I'm gonna do it right to the left of it and I'll do it a little bit shorter and for me that makes so much more sense that feels so much better where I'm like okay I we got that super far when we have a one that's a little bit closer and then we have this one that's obviously closest and then I'll put in my my really dark ones in now so pay attention to that where when you're trying to communicate space and doing different values make sure you don't have super strong value jumps in this kind of setting because that will throw off the eye now in our Wildtree tutorial that we did a while ago there was a huge value jump between the tree lines and then that big tree up front but that's because there was a huge jump in space and that was obvious by our the size of the tree that we did up front and then the size of the ones far away were these they're not different enough to allow for that huge value jump I communicate that okay perfectly wonderful alright let's do some really dark ones so and if you're wondering about like do the really dark ones need to be smaller and the really light ones need to be tall nope mix it up because trees all there's different sizes of them depending on when they started to grow in the front and in the back so it would be mixed up anyway I also like to just drop in color when I'm doing really dark ones to give that added sense of dark value and then I'm going to do one that goes over the planet it has to be a darker value or else it won't show if I try and do a light value on top of this purple that's pretty dark you wouldn't see it Sarah yeah that bloom could be turned into a waterfall oh yeah that would be so neat Keenan what a good eye I just when you put that tree there I pictured it at the ledge of a giant ravine and then how cool would it just be having a waterfall that is cool I'm not going to put the second smaller tree next to it because of that I'm going to do a smaller tree in between here cuz I need a little bit more variation in my tray sizes okay I'd seen that one bigger why not well I'm right a minute mistake that's okay I'm still gonna go with it no such thing as mistakes in your own world that's true this is my painting my life yeah so what there's a big huge strong tree right in the middle there it's my painting yeah that's what you say to anybody okay yeah then I'll do another tiny little guy okay and now you kind of look and be like is there anything that any spaces that feel a little off maybe what I what I actually like to do too is sometimes I'll just add a few trunks to give the illusion that there's more trees there were they harvested trees yep and then you can if you need to add some wider trees to like adjust your tree line or if there's spaces that are feeling bare feel free to do it like that's a good time so like for me I'm like you know these are really really short on this side and I just want a lighter tree kind of that's coming in between so I'm just gonna add oh and it's kind of blue I like that I'm just gonna add that in there now if you just did that you're like oh that's a little bit darker than I want it I wanted to communicate a lighter tree just take your paper towel and while it's wet pick up the extra color and then I feel like I need to have something else here maybe or maybe I need to make this one bigger there we go that's better I just darkened that one that was there and of course you can do as many or as little trees as you want if you want to put some on this side feel free to you can you can really customize this and there's no wrong also let's take a pause and look at these textures how they drive mazing so cool okay now we're gonna do the very last step which are the birds so the thing with birds that you have to keep in mind is we always are like forever you are going to want to just like do this shape over and over okay and I understand you wanting to do that I I get it however birds have wings they also have bodies well that kind of looks like a butterfly but like they're when they're flapping their wings they're in different perspectives and angles than just this so sometimes you're getting a bird where both of the wings line up and so you can't see it sometimes you're getting a bird where you see more of one wing and only a little bit of the other sometimes you do have a V sometimes the wings are down like really play with the different ways that you can get bird shapes okay so I'm gonna make a really really dark color I'm gonna actually mix all three of my colors and have a lot of color in there just to get a really dark value it's not going to come up as black but just how dark it is compared to everything else it will seem black and because it's tiny so still using my round 2 I'm gonna start doing my little bird shapes here's a wing and then there's like a body here's one that's kind of flying in between and make sure that the birds overlap from the sky and the planet I don't know why that's important but I feel it is and then if you want the birds to assume like the birds to feel like they're farther away like there's a depth there are some birds flying farther away and then some that are closer you're going to lighten up your values and make them smaller it's to here I'm just going crazy with birds over here but I can't help it yeah okay that's it that's this really fun project and I and I just want to stress again this is all about experimentation this is all about playing with textures and colors and values and trying to make it as unique and as much yours as possible the reason why I switch it up from doing something that's a little bit more realistic is because when we are faced with a picture with that's like a barn landscape with the tree and the grass and all of this we recognize those shapes so much that were mad at ourselves if we mess them up by doing something like this you give yourself permission to not make it how it has to be and it gives you that little more of freedom to be creative which is so important in art so just play with this even if this style is not your cup of tea that's totally ok but just try it because maybe you'll you'll realize that it's okay to mix things up and do things that you want to do it doesn't have to be totally true to nature all the time and I just love how that bled so bad I keep on staring at it so cool so if you painted this I would love to see it this project is gonna be so fun to see how everybody tackles the same one so tag us in it Instagram we are let's go make art or hashtag let's make art we have a Facebook where you can tag us in it and we also have a Facebook group it's separate from our business page and that is for the intent of only sharing the artwork that you are making and that's because it's really important for other people to see how they do things that's how you will learn you just you just look so you're wonderful can't wait to see what you come up with that's all I need to say oh if you want to get this kit sorry if you don't have any of these supplies you can get them on our website let's make art calm we have a kit just this kit is 15 bucks we have a subscription box or we have the full bottles of paint and brushes so whatever you want we got that's it okay bye

22 Replies to “Geometric Landscape Watercolor Tutorial with Sarah Cray”

  1. The colors used in that wet-on-wet planet really made this visually striking and unique. Beautiful project!

  2. Helpful tip for removing tape so it doesn’t rip is use a heat tool or hairdryer. It heats up the adhesive a little bit and makes it easier to remove!

  3. I’m excited for this one. I haven’t gotten my kit yet because of the holiday. I always watch you first anyway, then I do it with you. you are super fun and encouraging. I appreciate that!

    As a realistic colored pencil artist I have recently discovered the freedom of watercolor and watching heaps of videos to learn and I love yours sooo much. You are soooo happy, obviously doing what you love every day and it shows through in your vid's!! Even if I've had a bad day you seem to be able to cheer me up and make me smiling, laughing and art, what more could you want…I know art supply shopping!!! You should do a video of you going shopping for art supplies!!! LOL But I do have a real question, is your camera man your husband?? You guys seem sooo connected and work so well together?? It's a compliment, even if you are not married, you have a great connection and it shows. Keep those excellent videos coming see ya mate!! 🙂

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