Paint A Quiet Winter Scene In Watercolor

Use Basic Techniques and a Simple Color Scheme on Rough Paper

The key to this painting is a strong composition with good value contrasts at the focal point along with textural contrast that emphasizes the softness of a snow-covered winter scene.

Basic Techniques For An Advanced Look

This painting relies heavily on two basic watercolor painting techniques: wet-in-wet and dry-in-wet.  Although they are simple basic techniques, combining them together – along with rough textured paper – makes for a complex, professional looking result.  The secret to making them work is the initial wet-in-wet wash: key word – WET.  As you’ll see, we work very wet at the beginning of the painting and continue working back in first with more wet washes followed by dry-in-wet technique.

Working On Rough Paper

Contrast and variety make for a lively and visually interesting painting. The heavy use of wet and dry-in-wet techniques will create a lot of soft texture and soft-egded shapes. We’ll balance and contrast all of that softness with the rough textures that happen so naturally on Rough watercolor paper.

Drawing Layout For Any Painting

One note on the drawing layout. The downloadable layouts are done with heavy lines to make it easy to see and copy onto your watercolor paper. It is best not to draw the lines too heavy on your paper, especially in the sky, since there is a good chance the lines will show through the paint. It’s not a deal-breaker, but those heavy pencil lines are sometimes a distraction.

What you’ll need:

  • Brushes – Flats of various sizes: 1 1/2″, 1″, 1/2″, 1/4″ and a rigger
  • Colors – Cadmium Red, Burnt Sienna, Raw Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue
  • Paper  – preferably Arches 140lb Rough;  140lb Cold Press will work since it also has some surface texture.


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Value Sketch For Winter Scene

 The painting in the lesson above is based on a simple value composition that creates a strong focal point around the group of trees in the upper left.

This lesson shows how to create that strong value sketch with just a few changes in the overall value arrangement from the photo reference.  If you are new to Value Composition Sketching, it can be difficult to allow yourself to make changes from the scene or photo.  It is usually essential for creating a strong, dynamic painting and becomes easier with practice.

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The lesson above is painted on Rough Paper. 

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