October 02, 2020

Watercolor Fall Scenes

watercolor fall scene

By Sydney Brink

brown countyFall is officially here! It’s time for a special edition post of Ignite’s plein air blog series. Past posts in this series have been over how to use your materials to set up plein air painting for oil paints—but today we’ll be going over how to quickly capture fall scenes with watercolor paints!

watercolor kitWhile painting plein-air is fun, sometimes going out on rainy autumn days or dragging so much equipment to the field can be a hassle. A great way to get that plein air vibe without getting wet is to set up at Ignite in front of our big, beautiful windows. Painting from pictures is another great way to feel like you’re painting plein air—while atmosphere might be harder to capture when painting from a photograph, it sure is convenient. So, come prepared with your own pictures of what you want to paint, and use Ignite’s watercolor painting kits, which have everything you need to paint your idyllic fall foliage! Try to find interesting compositions out in the world using the steps we’ve posted about before. I used a picture of some Hoosier area forests I found online by Brown County CVB.

Painting Watercolor Fall Scenes

  • First, tape down the edges of your paper to a board. Especially with watercolor, paper will curl up when wet. Taping your paper down keeps it secure and will also provide a nice, clean border to your finished painting.
  • Make a preliminary sketch based on what you see—block out not only the shapes of what’s in your scene, but also the light and dark areas to help map out your painting. Don’t spend too much time sketching, however, because it will be covered up in the end!
  • With watercolors, start with the lightest colors in the broadest shapes first. You can always darken a watercolor, but you can never go back and make a color lighter in value. If your painting is starting to look muddy, try to make your dark colors darker—defining the separation between light and dark in a painting is what creates structure and shape.

watercolor fall scene watercolor fall scene

And a tip: mix your own green paints using yellows, blues, and browns! You will always make more authentic colors based on what you see in your landscape, rather than relying on the pre-made pans.

Use these tips and the maker kits at Ignite to create your very own fall-inspired masterpiece in our messy arts area!