People are often surprised that you can produce some really amazing paintings only using the three primary colours. The brilliant Matthew Palmer is here to show you how to create your very own sunset painting using just five things!
What you need to create this watercolour sunset project:
Using the three primary colours: red, yellow and blue, you can mix any colour (apart from black and white). Black is not needed for a sunset as it’s far too dark. Instead, mix a dark grey from the three primaries – this is mainly blue, followed by a touch of red, and dashes of yellow – you will find this works much better. Your dark grey colour will recede and fall back into the painting, just like the mountains do in this sunset scene. As white is the colour of the paper, when you add more water to the mix, you will get a lighter colour.
Begin with placing a strip of masking tape across the horizon, about a third up. I would also recommend removing the stickiness by feeding the tape through your fingers – this will stop the tape affecting the paper so you can still paint on it when you take it off later. The sky is wet-on-wet (this is a technique where you apply wet paint to wet paper), so start by wetting the top half of your paper twice with your brush. Then, using the 10 brush, paint the bottom half of the sky with a strong yellow paint.
Mix an orange from yellow and red, and paint the centre area above the yellow, painting into the yellow to show a natural blend of colour in the sky.
Then, add blue to this mix to make a grey and paint from the top down.
For the sun, use a round coin wrapped in kitchen paper to ‘stamp out’ on wet paint. The secret to the clouds is to work with a dry brush, this is removing the excess first on kitchen paper and gently twisting the tip of the brush on the still damp sky. The paint will slightly bleed. The mountains were added the same way!
The landscape is painted after removing the tape. Once you have done this, mix a pale watery blue and dash of red. Using the large brush, paint the bottom left corner and use a clean damp brush to blend upwards, two taps on the kitchen paper will remove the right amount of water. Add a touch of pale orange to the top right area, blending it into the landscape.
Now, have a go at painting the winter foliage in the foreground. I used a strong brown, yellow, red and a dash of blue. Using the tip of the smaller size 6 brush works here. Try to stipple some leaf in the area too.
Notice the dry scratch marks in the landscape? This is a dry brush again, removing the excess paint and splaying the hairs in a fan shape to drag across the paper surface. Add some of this in the mountains and then you’re finished!
There you have it! For a more in-depth look, check out the full video tutorial below to see Matthew paint the whole scene.
Looking for additional watercolour tutorial for beginners? Click here to learn more.