Early Spring Landscape Painting Project

Drybrush Technique Works For Sparkling Light and Wispy Branches

One sure sign of Spring is the change in the branches of the weeping willow trees. The long, slender terminal branches that hold the leaves have a yellow-ish cast all winter. As the light gets brighter, the color of these branches brightens up as they prepare to leaf out for the summer. In this lesson we learn to paint those early spring willows and an early spring landscape with them.

Watercolor Painting Lesson For A Spring Landscape Scene

It’s finally spring here in the northern latitudes. Although you can’t really tell it much. But, one sure sign of the coming Spring is the change in the branches of the weeping willow trees. The long, slender terminal branches that hold the leaves have a yellow-ish cast all winter. As the light gets brighter, the color of these branches brightens up as they prepare to leaf out for the summer.  It’s a sure sign and one we’re glad to see when it happens.

Drybrush Technique and Low-Intensity Colors

Late winter and early spring can look much the same. Without snow cover, the fields are generally some version of brown or tan, while still bare trees are gray or brown. Doesn’t make for a colorful scene.

But, the landscape and the wispy branches of the weeping willow and the sense of sparkling light gives us the opportunity to work with basic drybrush technique. In this lesson we’ll really focus on the rough textures drybrush work creates and use it to our advantage in creating a dynamic, light filled early spring scene.

Note On The Drawing Layout

The drawing for this painting is simple and can be traced or drawn free-hand.  You’ll see that the lines on my drawing layout are fairly dark so that you can see them on the screen. But, I recommend drawing them lightly since we will be using mostly light colors and values in this painting.  It isn’t a big problem if the pencil lines show through a watercolor painting, but sometimes they are distracting.

  • What You’ll Need:

    • Paper – and eighth sheet, 7″x 11″ of watercolor paper, approx. – as always, Arches 140lb Cold Press is recommended
    • Paint – Cadmium Yellow Medium, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet, Cobalt Blue, Cerulean Blue
    • Brushes – Medium and Small Rounds, 1/4″ Flat, Rigger

    Color note: A mixture of Permanent Alizarin Crimson and Burnt Sienna is a good substitute for Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet

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Learn To Paint Willow Trees

Weeping willows are large, tall and graceful trees and wonderful additions to your paintings. 

The willow’s long, drooping terminal branches are a wonderful warm yellow color all winter. But, with the coming of Spring, these branches really brighten up as they swell with the buds that will become the beautiful slender leaves of summer.

This short focused lesson will show you how to depict these special trees in early spring using the basic watercolor drybrush technique.

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