There are a thousand decisions to make in a landscape painting. Avoid artistic overwhelm with Michael Holter’s 7 Steps to Watercolor Landscapes. By taking your work one step at a time, you can enjoy the process and focus on what really matters at each stage of your painting. Plus, you’ll feel confident tackling any landscape subject after you see Michael work through two different demos, start to finish.
Michael’s 7 steps move through each stage of the painting process. First, learn what to look for in the subject you choose to paint. Next, focus on planning by thinking about your story and what you want to convey in your final piece. Then it’s time to get your subject onto your paper. Michael isn’t precious about drawing, and he encourages you to use any method, including drawing freehand, projecting the image, or using the grid method. Next add washes, shadows, and final touches to make a painting that has a wonderful sense of place.
Learn to let your washes do your work for you. Watch as Michael uses large washes to block in local color and set the tone for his painting. Michael shows you how to quickly create a sky and then move effortlessly into a distant treeline, adding sunlit trees and a sense of dimension, all before your pigments dry.
Learn to simplify color mixing and still capture the subtle shifts of warm and cool in the landscape. Michael explains how he creates a stew of neutral color and then pushes it warmer or cooler based on what he sees in his reference photo.
Create paintings that capture the drama of the sun. From the first wash to the final shadows, Michael shows how he is always thinking about the sun. Learn to adjust trees, buildings, rocks, and people to give a sense of sunlight.
Explore the artistic power of shadows. Not only do they offer value contrast, but Michael shows how radiating shadows give your painting a sense of place. Drop in burnt orange and your darkest darks glow with bounced light.
Michael explores aerial and solar perspective, both key concepts for landscape painters. By the end of the video, you’ll feel confident in creating real dimension in your work.
The landscape is complicated, but painting it doesn’t have to be when you start with a solid plan in Michael Holter’s 7 Steps to Watercolor Landscapes.