Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Creating a Watercolor Step by Step

At school I had an art teacher who said 'A line is a journey from point to point.' That phrase meant both something and nothing. In the same way, a painting is a journey between a blank sheet of paper and one that is splotched with paint (with varying degrees of success.)

But to be a painter you have to keep on truckin! And keep on tryin'

You have to start somewhere!! Be it with a pencil scribble or a dab of paint.

I thought you might be interested in my process of creating a watercolor picture step by step so you can see how I do it. You never know, you might just learn something.

First, before we begin, look at your sheet of blank watercolor paper.

What do you feel?

Nervousness? Or maybe a smidgin of terror?

If like me you often think, help I am staring at a blank sheet of paper and don't know where to start, remember that a good place to start is with a wash. In this case I was painting a sunset so I diluted red, yellow and blue with water and did my first wash.

Slop the paint all over the place in several different directions.

When it had dried my first wash looked like this:

The second wash was more concentrated and I liberally used my water sprayer to keep things moist:

Working wet in wet I started adding in the skyline and the boat dock.

At this point I was happy with the airiness of the sky but I felt the bridge was too blue so I warmed it up with some warm browns. Also I felt that the angle of the dock wasn't dramatic enough so I made some adjustments. I liberally added another wash of red and one of yellow.

Then I decided to add some pastel highlights in warm golden tones to the water to bring it to life and to add dark green pastel to the horizon to give better perspective.

Finally I thought I had captured the view and the light glittering on the water and decided to leave it like this:

Sunset at Middle River, 2013 by Emma Kaufmann

I am pretty happy with the final picture. It is a view of a sunset at Middle River. I think the angle of the dock gives some added drama to the gorgeousness of the sunset.

Let me know what you think and hope you have enjoyed coming on my journey with me!!

Do stop by again soon.

Prints, mugs, cushions and other items of this painting can be bought HERE at Redbubble.


  1. Thanks for sharing your process....lovely painting!

    Hugs Giggles

  2. WOW! Amazing artwork...really caught my eye on Show & Tell Saturday! Thanks for sharing your process.

  3. Gorgeous step out of your process. Thanks for sharing, Happy PPF xox

  4. boah - genial schön... und wunderbar zu sehen wie Du das machst!

    xxx Susi

  5. love this !!! and seeing every step....wonderful work!!! Have a great weekend!

  6. I enjoyed seeing the step-by-step layering! Beautiful painting and technique. Thank you for sharing and Happy PPF!

  7. Lovely and luminescent!
    So great seeing your process!
    Happy PPF!!
    Mixed-Media Map Art

  8. Emma, this is quite amazing! The finished scene is a far cry from step one. It is so beautiful. Thank you for showing us step by step how you did this. It helps those of us who are groping around blindly trying to use watercolors properly.

  9. Oh wow, I love to see the progression of your painting. Thanks for taking us along!

  10. I love this beautiful step by step adventure you have described and illustrated in such a wonderful way!

  11. Beautiful atmospheric result and interesting to see the steps.

  12. Absolutely beautiful. You make it look so easy, but I've tried to watercolor and failed miserably. I will have to try your lesson.

  13. Hi Emma, wow you make the water color process look so easy, its really pretty.

    Thanks for stopping by Oh My Heartsie Girl "We Start Mondays Together" Linky Party this week, I appreciate it!

    Oh My Heartsie Girl

  14. You do make this look so easy. I am really not this talented. Lucky for me, a few of my kids are.

  15. wow thats stunning! thank you so much for linking it up with #MagicMoments x

  16. **waves HI** Just popping in from the bloglovin' Blog hop.
    I am a new follower and I'd love to see you around!

  17. Wonderful serie! I am very pleased to see a big bruch in Your hand. It is so important to paint not to find details. And much water, so the painting 'll be waterpainting. And this is. Beautiful!

  18. thank you for the demo, beautiful results. Happy PPF, Annette x

  19. Wow, absolutely gorgeous. Thank you for the demonstration!

    Have a wonderful day!

  20. So beautiful! The color and light is just wonderful in this painting. I love watercolor and have been focusing a lot on using layering of washes. It takes patience, but the results can be spectacular as your work shows!

  21. I have always wanted to be able to paint like this. Stunning!

    Thank you for sharing your art with us at Inspire Me Monday. You are one of my featured guests this week at

    Create With Joy

  22. Absolutely magical to witness your process..this is such a gorgeous work...there is also a nice dreamy-softness to it...fantastic colors...breathtaking piece!Stunning Beauty!
    Happy PPF

  23. I sometimes have difficulty getting started. Beautiful, beautiful painting. Thank you for sharing your process.

  24. All the strong adjectives have been used. Beautiful and inspiring -- painting I'll leave to the true artists such as you, but thanks for the lesson. Kudos!

  25. Was it hard to stop and take each photo? I imagine once you are going with the flow of painting that you're in the moment and easy to forget to stop?!!
    Loved seeing the steps involved, Hats off to you!
    Wren x

  26. Wandering Wren.....Well it wasn't too bad. Sometimes it is good to step back while I am working so I don't get too carried away and overwork it. Thanks for stopping by.