How to Paint Pohutukawa Trees at the Beach in Watercolour

Skill Level : 1 Beginner

Medium : Watercolour Painting

Subject : Flowers, Seascapes

Tutor : Dennis Clark

Class Length : 1 hour 59 minutes

Avg Rating : No Ratings Yet

Gold Level or Higher Class

Class Description

Pohutukawa trees bloom over Christmas time and are fondly known as the New Zealand Christmas Tree. They are protected and you chop them down at your peril. There are different species and the flowers differ from bright red to very dark red. You will paint this one which hangs off the side of a small cliff.

In this lesson you will learn:

1.  How to add flowers when there are none in the photograph
2.  How to paint the sky, sea and the beach
3.  How to add the flowers
4.  How to Paint the cliff and the tree
5.  How to add in the small stream of water

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Class Tutorial

Masking fluid

Dab in the flower areas with masking fluid. Some flower areas will be bunched while other flowers are scattered about. Also add masking fluid for the small waves at the water’s edge.

Paint the sky

Wash in the sky with some light blue. It must be lighter near the horizon. Don’t forget to paint the sky behind the branches.

Paint the sea

Paint the sea. The horizon must be reasonably dark and getting lighter down towards the water's edge.

Painting the beach

Paint the light sand colour for the beach underpainting. Be careful not to get paint in the stream area. Plot in the foreground shadows and markings with some blue/purple. Don’t go too dark at this stage.

Painting the boughs

Start painting the light yellow/green for the sunlit leaves, then dab in a slightly darker green for the mid colours. Dab in a very dark green mix for the deep shadows. The dabbing action gives the impression of leaves.

Painting the embankment

Because the embankment is in the shade so this should be a dark brown. Dab the colour to give the impression of rough soil.

The distant trees

Because of the distance these trees are to be a greyish green. This is due to atmospheric perspective.

Paint the flowers

Remove all the masking fluid from the paper. First paint in the light pink and then the bright red flowers, Add red into the deep shade and mix slightly with the green.

The branches and the roots

Use a damp brush to work some of the dark embankment colour over the areas where the masking fluid was removed

Paint the silhouetted branches and use a small round brush for the twigs.

Paint the stream

Paint the Small stream taking care to leave the highlight reflections.

Paint the small rocks

Block in the highlight colours and the shadows.

Paint the cast shadow

Add in the cast shadow of the trees. Note the areas left by the sky holes. The shadows are a much lighter colour where they are over the water. Because of less reflection the shadow is darker in the foreground.

The small waves

Touch-up the shadows of the small waves.

Final touch ups

Darken up the beach in the foreground. This leads the eye to the centre of the painting.

Add touches of light green highlights to the trees.

Final painting

About Dennis Clark

Read more about Dennis Clark

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