Painting a sunset sky with watercolors – Paint with watercolor

Painting a sunset sky with watercolors. Hi Artist, how are you doing? From today we start the lessons entirely dedicated to the watercolor technique. In each class, we will have the opportunity to address different methods specifically, and together we will create fantastic boards. Today we will tell you how to paint a sunset sky using watercolors. If you are a beginner and have always wanted to experiment with this technique, you are in the right place, but if you already paint with watercolor, you can practice with us. Are you also a lover of sunset skies that are colored with a thousand surprising shades?

The objectives of this lesson:

  • Paint the sky with successive layers of color
  • Use wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry technique
  • Create transparent blends
  • Apply wet-on-dry details
  • Mix the colors

For this lesson, I used two different types of colors. In addition to the classic godets, which I have already told you about previously, this time, we will use some colors in tubes also by Winsor & Newton. Unlike tablets, the color of the lines must be dosed as needed and pressed directly from the box onto a unique base, preferably in white ceramic, where the paint can be diluted and mixed with water. However, the procedure and the final result are very similar to the godets and cool drawing ideas.

What are the differences between watercolors in godets or tubes? The godets are a concentrate of colors, specially designed for their mini size (about one cm), extremely comfortable to carry on the go thanks to the case that contains them. On the other hand, the tube allows us to have a more significant amount of color available, which can be helpful, especially if we want to paint larger tables. I leave the choice to you!

How to paint a sunset with watercolors

The preparatory pencil drawing for our evening is essential indeed. To start, divide the sheet into two horizontal bands. Then, with the help of a ruler or freehand, draw a horizontal pencil line (see figure). Next, select the horizon line so that the upper band is slightly wider by a few centimeters than the lower one, in which we will paint the sky and the sea, respectively.

Today we will paint the upper part making our very colorful sunset. The most crucial element in a composition depicting sunset is the sky with its beautiful shades and reflections on the water that create unlimited colors. So, first, draw a circle in a central point of the sky, that is, the sun, about 3 cm large, not far from the horizon line.

Step 1: we prepare the Yellow for the sun

Now that the drawing is ready prepare a mixture of Lemon Yellow diluted with water. Make sure that the color is not excessively diluted and with the brush, begin to paint the circle’s outline, slightly blending the color as you move away from the sun’s edge. In this very first step, we proceed with the wet paint on dry paper. Please note “How to avoid the WAVE effect”: thanks to the Canson album with the sheets glued on the side, there is no need to block the sheet with adhesive tape. However, suppose you already have some watercolor paper available. In that case, it is preferable to stop the sides of the sheet with sticky paper on a plane to keep the sheet well pulled since it could start and found “the force wave” in connection with liquid. If you want to know more, read this article on how to make watercolor paper!

At this point, continue to paint a horizontal stripe on the sides of the sun with lemon yellow, creating light shades of color with the brush. Spread the color horizontally to overlap some strips of color to create the base on which we will blend the subsequent layers of the sky. Now prepare a mixture with lemon yellow, cadmium yellow, and orange, obtaining an orange tone diluted with water. Paint the lower band in the sun with light glazes, overlapping the area previously painted in Yellow only partially with glazes. With the brush, try to paint by creating distinctive touches of color that will give movement. With the same mixture, make horizontal shades also on the upper part of the central yellow stripe (technique of successive layers of color).

Step 2: The blue of the sky

Let’s move on to the use of Cerulean Blue, which will be the base of the upper band of the sky on which we will return later. For now, it is sufficient to create a veiled shade: dilute the color with water and apply a wide band with the brush by painting the upper part of the sheet, overlaying a light layer of shaded Cerulean Blue on the upper side of the orange bar, to create continuity between colors. You can build original shades by painting on the still wet color (wet-on-dry and wet-on-wet technique).

Step 3: The shades of the sunset

Once we have made the sunset base, we can begin to paint some sections of the sky with a more intense color that will stand out in the background. Let the brush rotate freely on the paper. In this way, you will give movement to your sky. Prepare four distinct color mixtures on a unique palette and dilute the following colors with water: Lemon Yellow, Orange, Cadmium Red, and Dioxazine Violet.

Step 4: Let’s add some red

With red, draw areas with a stronger color, defining the features of the sky that you want to highlight and create different color contrasts. Always follow a horizontal pattern, just like the natural movement of clouds in the sky (apply wet-on-dry detail).

Step 5: Shades of purple

Define the orange clouds with the Violet you have available, draw light veils on the Cerulean Blue band, blending where possible with the other colors. The secret to obtaining a combined effect between colors can dose a suitable component of water and shade. However, the colors should not be excessively diluted. Otherwise, there is a risk that the background layer will also mix with the clouds.

Step 6: We complete the purple clouds

Paint some shaded purple clouds of different sizes. The feature of this work also lies in the fact that you can customize your sunset. The heaviest color defines the individual shadows, blending the paint to create shaded areas that bring out the volumes.

Step 7: Let’s complete the sky

Complete the purple clouds, dilute the Ultramarine Blue and paint thin lines with the tip of the brush between the clouds and the horizon, creating a continuity between the warmer tones of the background and the colder ones of the shadows.

Also Read: DIY project


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