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Field and Sky
Watercolor Sketching Tutorial

by Jennifer Branch
YouTube Watercolor Painting Tutorial

I'm sketching this lovely park today. The sky is wonderful, with a storm coming but not quite here, so the colors are glowing.

I know this park very well but this is the first time I've painted it. It's just around the corner from my house, so we go here very often in the afternoon for a relaxing walk. It's just two miles there and back, so it's the right length for an late stroll.

I'm always looking at the sky here. Sometimes they let the wildlife grasses grow long and bloom, which is gorgeous, but the ever changing sky is the real star here. Since I live in north Georgia, most of the places I see beautiful skies are parking lots or mountain tops that must be hiked to. There are trees everywhere else. To see so much sky unfolding before me is absolutely inspiring.

This is a very quick sketch that only took me 14 minutes with drying time. So there's plenty of time to work this into your evening stroll!

Field and Sky Watercolor Painting tutorial

Sketching Tutorial Level


Skill Building

Everyday Painting
Painting Skies

Art Supplies

9" x 12"
Arches Rough Press
Isabey Mop, no.6


(M. Graham transparent watercolors)

Azo Yellow
Nickel Azo Yellow
Cobalt Blue
Ultramarine Blue
Cobalt Teal
Cobalt Violet
Quinacridone Rust

Painting Demonstration 1

Field and Sky Watercolor Painting Lesson 1

In the first wash, I paint the sky very quickly. Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Quinacridone Rust with dashes of Cobalt Violet to make the far background recede.

Move your brush very lightly, just barely hitting the paper, after the first paint is down. You want lots of interesting white highlights in here.

I let this wash dry for about a minute.

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Field and Sky Reference Photo
Field and Sky Reference Photo

Painting Demonstration 2

Field and Sky Watercolor Painting Lesson 2

Now for the greens! I'm mixing all the colors I used in the sky and adding Azo Yellow, Nickel Azo Yellow and Cobalt Teal.

I'm still using my mop brush - it's the only one I use in this sketch. I dash in the greens, taking care to not over work anything. Every detail would spoil the lightness of this little sketch.

Field and Sky Watercolor Painting tutorial

Final Watercolor Sketch!

Oh, this is a fun one! So much reward for just a few minutes of sketching. I plan to bring a sketchbook to the park and paint the beginnings of fall this week. I can't wait to see it with orange leaves or in the blues and browns of winter. There's nothing like sketching on location.

Find somewhere near you this week where you can paint the sky. It's one of the best 15 minutes you'll spend this week!

Happy Painting! Jennifer Branch

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