DIY

Easy Watercolor Painting Tree (with Fall Colors!)

It’s fall again, time to marvel at those magnificent trees!  Today I want to share a really fun and easy watercolor painting: a tree with glorious fall colors!

Even if you never painted before, this step by step easy watercolor painting tutorial will show you how to paint a beautiful fall watercolor tree in just 10 minutes!

I remember one of the first paintings I made in art school : I walked by these trees with such magnificent fall colors, and ran to the classroom to tell my teacher that I simply can’t stay inside to paint the model for now! ( that now turned into ever) Luckily, I had very open and supportive teachers! ?

Materials and tools for easy watercolor painting tree:

  • watercolor paper : Strathmore watercolor papers are my favorite to use. I like the cold press 300 or 400 series.
  • brushes: I like using soft watercolor brushes with a nice pointed tip like these , They are great for watercolor washes, and for finer details.
  • a tooth brush : this is a lot of fun to use, you will see!
  • watercolor paints: this is a good basic set, and this is a fabulous artist grade set, and a palette that can be used to mix colors. A white plastic or enamel plate is also great for mixing colors
  • a dish to hold water for wetting and rinsing brushes

Step 1: Paint the watercolor tree canopy with a very thin wash of orange or yellow.

Let the brush soak up a lot of water, then touch the tip with a little bit of color, now place your brush on the mixing surface, you will have a very diluted wash.

Imagine the watercolor tree canopy as clusters of clouds, and don’t worry if you “mess up”, every tree is different, and these shapes will guide us in the next step.

Step 2: Add deeper watercolor washes in the canopy

While the first thin watercolor washes are still wet, add more watercolor to your paint brush, and paint on top of the first layer. Have a second brush handy, dip it in water and wet the paper a bit more if it feels too dry.

This easy watercolor painting technique is called wet on wet. It creates a nice colored area with soft edges.

I used some yellow, orange, and olive green. You can see all these colors flow into each other because they all have soft edges.

Tips: How to mix watercolors to create a natural green

A lot of times the ready made green are too saturated, as you can see that neon green up here.

By mixing it with a touch of yellow and red (opposite of green), it becomes a natural olive green on the left. There are infinite variations of green, and that’s the beauty of it – you don’t need to mix the same shade of green every time!

Step 3: Paint the watercolor tree trunk and branches

Mix a little brown and black to get a grey-brown color, start with a pale wash( like in step 1) of the trunk form and a few branches in the canopy,then paint a deeper color over it, like in step 2.

If you are unsure, always stay with the lighter washes, it’s easy to go darker later.

Now the really fun part starts: splatters! 

Step 4: Create watercolor splatters using a toothbrush

This is such a fun and easy watercolor painting technique! Wet the toothbrush, then dip it in a color, I started with yellow here, then run your finger on the toothbrush so the splatters end up in the area you want. After the yellow splatters, repeat with orange, and the olive green we made in step 2.

Step 4: Create watercolor splatters using a toothbrush

This is such a fun and easy watercolor painting technique! Wet the toothbrush, then dip it in a color, I started with yellow here, then run your finger on the toothbrush so the splatters end up in the area you want. After the yellow splatters, repeat with orange, and the olive green we made in step 2.

Step 5: Watercolor paint brush splatters

The toothbrush splatters give us some fine watercolor leaves and misty effects, In this step, we will make some slightly bigger watercolor splatters using two paint\t brushes.

Let one brush soak up some watercolor paint, then tap it on a stick, or use the end of another brush. repeat with different colors for a richer effect.

Final touches to complete your watercolor tree painting:

You can create a ground area with a little bit of thin watercolor washes of olive green, and some splatters. Darken some of the branches if they need to pop a bit more. Now our watercolor tree is finished!

If you always wanted to paint watercolor tree or flowers, don’t let fear holding you back.

Try this simple tip: start with lighter colors and thin washes, build it up gradually, and always have handy a wet brush with no paint, just water, use it to lift off paint or to soften edges!3

A couple of other fun paintings projects below, no art experience needed! 

Enjoy your beautiful fall days and happy creating!

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