Fireworks Painting Tutorial
Watercolor Painting Tutorial

by Jennifer Branch
YouTube Watercolor Painting Tutorial
Fireworks are amazing fuel for an artist's imagination! You can start with a photo or just remembering last nights fireworks. Then change the lights, explosions and smoke to happen where you want them to happen. This is a fun, free-form painting to start your imagination off for your most creative New Year ever!
Fireworks Painting Tutorial Watercolor Painting tutorial

Painting Tutorial Level


Skill Building

Strong Darks

Night Scenes

Art Supplies

16" x 20"
Twinrocker Cold Press

Isabey Mop, no.6
Isabey Mop, no.14
Isabey Pointed Round Sable, no.14
Isabey Pointed Round Sable, no.8


M. Graham watercolors

Cadmium Yellow
Maroon Perylene
Cadmium Red
Pyrrol Red
Nickel Azo Yellow
Ultramarine Blue
Cobalt Teal
Cobalt Violet
White Gouache
Wax Crayon
Masking Fluid

Painting Demonstration 1

Fireworks Painting Tutorial Watercolor Painting Lesson 1

I put masking on the fireworks and let it dry completely. NEVER forget to let masking dry. It will ruin your brushes.

Check out my How to Use Masking tutorial.

Next, I painted some pale yellows and a few dashes of red on the fireworks area. I wanted very few of the lights to be paper white, since they are usually a colored glow. I let this dry completely.

I can now start on the background. My base pigment is ultramarine blue, but there are a lot of colors mixed in it. Work very fast on the background!

Fireworks Painting Tutorial Reference Photo
Fireworks Painting Tutorial Reference Photo

Painting Demonstration 2

Fireworks Painting Tutorial Watercolor Painting Lesson 2

I finish the background's first wash in ultramarine blue and maroon perylene. I paint over the masking on the outer layers of the fireworks, but leave the edges jagged as I get into the middle. I want to leave lots of the paler paper.

Painting Demonstration 3

Fireworks Painting Tutorial Painting Tutorial 3

When the previous wash is almost dry, I continue building up the background. It takes a few layers to get a rich, cool dark that will contrast with the fireworks.

Artist's Tips

Build strong darks up in layers.
Fireworks Painting Tutorial watercolor painting tutorial by Jennifer Branch

Painting Demonstration 4

Fireworks Painting Tutorial Painting Tutorial 4

Never wait until the end of a painting to remove masking. Look how that changes everything!

Painting Demonstration 5

Fireworks Painting Tutorial Painting Tutorial 5

I'm being a little more finicky, carefully adding brights but leaving lots of white lights. I want the painting to feel like an explosion of lights.

Don't forget about the smoke of the explosions. It's wafting through the air, carried by wind and a bit by gravity. Notice how it really adds excitement to the painting. So scribble a bit on top of your darks!

Painting Demonstration 6

Fireworks Painting Tutorial Watercolor Painting Tutorial 6

Even after all those layers, it still wasn't dark enough. I'm adding one more layer of very saturated, cool darks. This will make those lights glow!

Don't forget to add some strong darks in the fireworks, not just at the edges.

Fireworks Painting Tutorial Watercolor Painting demonstration

To purchase Fireworks Painting Tutorial original watercolor painting, please click!

Fireworks Painting Tutorial Final Watercolor Painting!

Oh, this is a fun painting to paint! I hope you try it! I can't wait to see all the different versions, because there is no way to paint this one the same way twice.

Please use this as inspiration and go on to create your own wonderful art. It's a difficult one to mess up, which is a nice way to start the year. Not much drawing involved, and a whole lot of just letting your hand dance with your brush. You absolutely need some great, energetic music to paint to!

I love starting the New Year with an easy, creative painting. It sets the right mood for letting my imagination flow and explore new ideas.

Do try painting this one - it's so much fun!

I'm so excited about this year. My kids are a little older, so I have more time to paint, which is wonderful! I plan on doing a lot of homeschool field trips and camping trips to gorgeous places with them. We can paint, picnic and have a science or history lesson at the same time! I'm making a list of interesting places within an easy drive from my home in Northwest Georgia to explore. If you know of any, please tell me in the comments!

I'd love to know more of what people want to see on my YouTube channel and this website.

I enjoyed doing the drawing and reflections lesson series, but I think not too many people are interested in or have time for lessons! :)

I plan to show more sketches like my Everyday Painting series. It's what most people (myself included) actually have time to do on a regular basis. And while it's great to paint on vacation, it's better to make painting part of your everyday life.

Painting is a mini vacation - a few minutes in your day of relaxation and creativity.

My first series coming up this year will be sketching backyard birds. The beautiful little chickadees, cardinals, woodpeckers and titmouses, that crowd my backyard bird feeder this time of year. Several of you have requested videos on painting them. Since one of my favorite free moment activities is sketching on my deck, it seems like a perfect combination.

So if you have more ideas for painting tutorials, questions or frustrations, please let me know! I would love to make painting part of everyone's life this year!

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