Welcome to watercolor landscape ideas, glad you could make it. Watercolor landscapes can be a beautiful addition to any art collection. They can also be a great way for beginners to get started in the world of watercolors.
In this blog post, we will explore various step-by-step landscape projects that are perfect for beginner and advanced watercolorists that want a good challenge. We will start with a simple mountain scene and then move on to more complex cityscapes, farms and more. So whether you are a beginner or an experienced landscape artist, we hope you will find these ideas inspiring!
Sweeping Landscapes Ideas: 11 Watercolor Marvels
Below you will discover the best collection of watercolor landscapes cherry picked just for you! One thing for sure there's something for everyone. The tutorials include beginner ideas with simple mountains, waterfalls and a quiet winter scene to name a few.
When you are ready to dive deeper you'll appreciate the complex cityscapes and rural inspired ideas. Go ahead, have a look for yourself and see why watercolorists love this post.
#1 Mountain Scene
The first watercolor landscape painting idea is a simple mountain scene. This can be a great way to start because it is relatively easy and doesn't require a lot of detail. You can even use basic shapes to create the mountains.
The pale gray sky is a perfect backdrop for the blue-gray mountains. Add various shades of blues and grays white the paper is wet. Use diagonal brush strokes that are perpendicular to the mountain tops. This adds interest and variety to the design.
Only start painting the mountains when the sky is dry completely. Mix various shades of cool gray. Keep the edges quality crisp on the top mountain edges, and allow the wash to bleed and fade in value as it reaches the ground plane. Try dropping a little water into the wash, or use a clean damp brush to light paint.
To enhance the massive mountains, the warm green ground plane is purposely placed lower on the page. Tall and short trees dot the foreground as a way to balance the larger shapes.
Be sure to keep the trees aren't too tall. This will distract the massive mountain which is the key to making the design work. Make sure the trees are painted with thick, rich green paint.
#2 Simple Waterfall Scene
The next idea is a waterfall scene. This is created with wet-in-wet washes that cover everything but the waterfall which is mostly the white of the paper. At the top of the waterfall, paint the bushes using a pale brownish-gray. Try using negative space techniques to suggest tall brown grass.
Earthy red-browns bring the eye towards the waterfall and the dark trees in the foreground keep the them from flowing off the page. This is a lovely watercolor painting to hang in the office, as it reminds you of the rushing sound of water and the great outdoors.
Be sure to add some dry brush to the dark foreground trees. You want them rich in pigment! And use various shades of yellow ochres, burnt sienna and umbers. Much of the design is in this area, and doing this will keep the painting more interesting.
#3 Tropical Scene
Of all the watercolor painting ideas, this one is perhaps the most advanced. That's because of the multiple layers, color control and negative space painting techniques used to create it. Use good watercolor paper and quality paint for best results.
It's a sturdy composition with strong vertical elements. Start painting a pale blue sky and allow it to dry. Pale warm-greens are used for the first wash on the ground plane. Paint the palm tree trunks while it's wet so the bleed into each other.
Use a small detail brush, or dagger to paint the fronds. The palmettos are first painted with the tip of a dagger, or use a small point round. Work the stokes in a fan shape and paint three to four different sizes. You don't want them all the same!
Underneath are palmettos and other shrubs painted with positive and negative space techniques. But only do this when the first wash is dry completely. This will create crisp edges. Splatter some yellow ochre into the wash to suggest details. The cast shadows play a key role in anchoring the design and leading the eye into the scene.
#4 Easy Winter Scene
Winter scenes make amazing watercolor landscape painting ideas. For the sky and background apply shades of blues and pinks, but be sure keep the some white of the paper untouched in the foreground.
The small shrubs help balance the large sky mass. If there ever was a perfect beginner watercolor painting to master, this is it. The palette is simple but lovely, and the atmosphere is peaceful and quiet.
This watercolor landscape takes some finesse and confidence to pull it off. It's so much fun to try and I'm sure you will do awesome!
#5 Night Sky With Moon
The next watercolor landscape painting idea is a warm night sky with the moon lurking beneath the haze. Use good quality watercolor paper as we will do some wet-in-wet wash techniques. Also, you will use some different watercolor painting techniques which is lifting wet paint. Paint the sky in various shades of pink and orange using wet-in-wet techniques. Keep the strokes diagonal which adds movement and interest to the landscape painting design.
Add a very small amount of ultramarine blue to the mix for the darker clouds which are painted wet-in-wet. As the wash dries use a damp brush to lift paint for the moon shape. Keep the moon fuzzy, so no crisp edges. Allow that to dry completely and suggest a land mass in the foreground. You can use the same sky wash mixture, but add a little more ultramarine blue. And that's a wrap!
#6 Street Scene With Cars And Figures
The next idea is an abstract street scene with some hustle and bustle. Abstract style art is another perfect way to practice some different watercolor painting techniques. Start with clean white watercolor paper and paint buildings and other details over that using wet-in-dry techniques after doing the blue sky. Where the cars and figures will be placed you can leave the white of the paper, and plenty of it! Suggest a few building details with a small dagger brush. This is so much fun!
#7 Rural Landscape Scene
Few subjects sit on watercolor paper as well as a rural landscape painting. Paint the distant trees with wet-in-dry techniques only after doing the sky. Leave small bits of white paper to suggest light hitting tree trunks. Use a pale yellow-green for the ground plane. Allow this to dry before painting verticals and cash shadows. The key to this type of landscape is to make sure you add lots of variety and interest to the scene.
#8 Waterfront Scene With Figures
The next watercolor landscape painting idea is a beach and rough water. Paint the distant trees after painting the blue sky. Use raw umber with yellow ochre for the rock mass but be sure to leave some whites of the paper.
The rocks are painted in laters, so allow the washes to dry before painting more. Try some cerulean blue for the water and suggest waves by leaving some white paper behind. Rich warm beach and add some figures to finish it off. Few landscape paintings offer such a challenging project, so take your time and don't get frustrated if you have to try several times.
#9 Farm Scene
The next landscape painting idea is a farm scene. This one is so enjoyable! If you have some experience you will love this complex landscape idea. On the right-hand side you'll see vivid green. However, most of the other hues are dialed back. The barn and shoulders line for the figures are done using negative space painting. Use a dagger to paint corn stalks and other details.
#10 Harbor With Pier And Boat
This simplistic watercolor landscape painting idea is a harbor scene. But don't let the quietness of the painting fool you. It may look like an easy landscape painting, but you have to nail the washes and colors to make it work.
Most of the washes are pale blues and contrasted nicely with earthy umbers. Suggest a figure with red jacket to add a pop of color. The vertical elements such as boat masts are done with thinner washes. This is by design. If they're too dark it may become distracting.
Use a small liner paint brush for the water ripples. And only add them once the blue wash is 100% dry. These marks need to be crisp and effortless. The darker notes in the pier should be handled quickly, as if you were signing your name on a check. Load the paint brush and think about the path you want the stroke to take. When you are ready, go for it! Don't second guess your work, it will become fussy.
#11 Landscape with pine trees
We saved the best watercolor landscape painting idea for last. It's another deceiving design that appears easy. But it has to be painted in layers. Each layer is darker then the last one. Challenging is the perfect word for describing the final idea. This can be done by painting the sky in a very pale blue wash.
After the watercolor paper dries, you will add multiple layers of warm greens. Save the dark green hues for last and paint them only when the previous layers are dry. The key to this type of landscape is to make sure you add lots of variety and interest to the scene.
We hope you have found these watercolor landscape ideas for beginners inspiring! If you are looking for more inspiration, be sure to check out our other blog posts on watercolors. And as always, happy painting!