Loose Watercolor Landscape Video Tutorial – Boats and such

This painting is inspired from a photo reference, see below, which I found on the Internet. Loved the bones of the scenery but it needed some additional touches to complete my vision.

Here are some of the edits I made along the way while designing the final painting

  • I wanted the boats to be lobster boats so I eliminated sailboats.
  • I liked the perspective but I changed it a bit and added a bigger dock.
  • I eliminated the foreground grass.
  • Added some figures chatting to give it more of a story and human touch.
Inspiration image
Inspiration image

Other landscape painting thoughts

Painting a loose watercolor coastal scene is challenging for many reasons. Probably the biggest hurdle is painting water and reflections. Plus there are the other landscape challenges that go along with the turf.

To make them look natural the reflections should flow, and not look stiff. And if there are boats involved, which in this case there are, you have to carve around them effortlessly. Most boats have a white top area so this has to be planned in advance. Keeping these areas crisp is a challenge especially when the style is loose.

On top of all that the values have to be spot on! In this piece I decided to place the darkest value mass in the background. Then use a lighter value for the reflections. Yes, there are other dark notes but they really just tie things together and not meant to challenge, or distract from the background.

These are just a few tips and ideas I wanted to share with you for this demo. I hope that help you appreciate the attention to some of the intricacies of painting water scenes and the power of values. Remember values should always be prioritized and whatever you do please avoid color matching.

Materials used in this watercolor demo are as follows:

  • Holbein paints; Cadmium red light, alizarin crimson, Cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow lemon, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, neutral tint
  • Brushes – Princeton Neptune pointed round #12, #6, Rigger #3/4″, Silver brush black velvet jumbo (medium)
  • Paper; Fabriano Artistico, bright white, 140 lb. cold press 11″ x 14″

The finished art

By the way, the photo reference I discovered while browsing Pinterest “Maine coastal scene” photos. I love browsing their pins for ideas and always end up finding a lot of material to work with.

Loose watercolor landscape painting
Finished art