Enhance Your Watercolor Landscape Paintings with These Proven Tips

One of the best ways to improve your watercolor landscape paintings is studying design and composition. It’s probably not the first thing that comes to mind when starting your journey but it is crucial for beginner watercolor artists as it lays the foundation for creating visually appealing and impactful artwork.

In this tutorial, my main focus is to guide you in envisioning the flow of the painting. By creating a seamless and inviting scene, viewers can easily immerse themselves and explore the captivating scenery. I will provide step-by-step instructions on how to achieve this desired flow and engage the viewer with the landscape.

However, I have included other tips in the list that will most likely have an impact on the outcome. Be sure to read through the list below once you have watched the video.

Learning design and composition transformed my artistic approach, providing me with the freedom to create captivating artworks from ordinary photos by rearranging elements and creating workable compositions.

Source: Robert Joyner

Seven watercolor landscape tips that will instantly improve your paintings

Understanding the principles of design, such as balance, contrast, unity, and focal point, helps artists effectively arrange elements within their paintings.

By learning about composition, beginners can explore various ways to guide the viewer’s eye, create a sense of harmony or tension, and communicate their artistic intentions more effectively.

  1. Wet-in-wet: Understanding how watercolor responds on wet paper is crucial, allowing the medium to fuse and flow without excessive interference. Embrace the spontaneous opportunities that arise during the painting process.
  2. Knowing what you can control: While watercolor washes have an element of unpredictability, experienced artists can still control factors like paint thickness and timing, adapting to the medium’s behavior.
  3. Design and composition: Regardless of your preferred style, whether it’s photorealistic or loosely expressive, careful planning and thoughtful design are essential before applying paint to the paper.
  4. Value hierarchy: Simplify values into a few groups, with dark tones anchoring the painting and lighter and mid-tones distributed strategically. Accentuate points of interest with darker values and pops of accent hues.
  5. Placing boats: In this tutorial, the boats serve as the focal point. Notice how the darker foreground and dock guide the viewer’s gaze towards them, creating a moody atmosphere. Adjusting the colors can evoke different moods, from subdued to vibrant.

These are just a few of the insights covered in the video tutorial. Hopefully, they have provided you with a better understanding of landscape painting with watercolors. Remember, mastery in art takes time and patience, but with the right skills and dedication, you will reach your desired level of artistic satisfaction.

Here are five more BONUS tips for beginners when it comes to watercolor landscape painting:

  1. Start with simple compositions: Begin with uncomplicated landscape scenes that have fewer elements. This will help you focus on understanding the basic techniques and principles of watercolor painting.
  2. Use a limited color palette: Limiting your color choices will help you achieve harmony and coherence in your paintings. Start with a small selection of colors and learn to mix them to create a wide range of hues and values.
  3. Practice wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry techniques: Experiment with different watercolor techniques to create different effects. Wet-on-wet technique involves applying paint on a wet surface, creating soft and blended washes. Wet-on-dry technique involves applying paint on a dry surface, allowing for more controlled and detailed brushwork.
  4. Explore the concept of values: Understanding values (lightness and darkness) is crucial in creating depth and dimension in your landscape paintings. Practice creating different values by diluting your paint with water or layering multiple washes.
  5. Embrace the unpredictability of watercolor: Watercolor is known for its spontaneous and fluid nature. Embrace the unpredictability and let go of the need for perfection. Allow the paint to interact with the water and paper, and be open to happy accidents that can add interest and character to your paintings.

Here’s another fantastic watercolor landscape tutorial that covers negative space techniques if you have time to check it out.

If you’re new to watercolor painting, be sure to check out my beginner’s watercolor guide, which will set you on the right path. Link is below. Happy painting!

Seven Techniques Shared in This Watercolor Landscape Tutorial
Finished watercolor landscape