Sunlight streaming through trees. Such an emotive and beautiful scene and a much-anticipated subject in the school!
Even if not specifically a bluebell wood, I couldn’t even begin to count how many students have brought along a scene similar to this to paint in workshops and courses.
It’s easy to see why and I think because of its "prettiness" people assume it is an easy subject, but it can be littered with potential pitfalls, particularly in watercolour.
In our favour is the fact the scene is backlit, which means we can focus on painting dark over light. This makes things significantly easier as watercolourists; but the biggest potential pitfall is due to it being a very complex scene - it can quickly become much too busy and extremely overworked. So simplification is absolutely key here and at the heart of this particular tutorial.
We kick off with flowing washes of lighter tones using lots of lovely strong colours. We then build in a few deeper tones wet in wet.
Then the tricky but fun part is using those shadows to make the scene appear, keeping the tonal values extremely simple so that the painting has the illusion of complexity and depth, and so that the painting “holds together” (i.e doesn’t become too fussy and overworked)
There’s huge scope for lots of fun wet-in-wet work in the shadows here, as well as plenty of opportunity to play with the paint and brush. Focus on simple tonal values and this one will be a blast. With a nice dramatic result too!
This tutorial is available to watch in full with our monthly and annual paid memberships.