Soft Trees across the waters: watercolor

beginner watercolor landscape techniques, painting simple trees and water in watercolours, daniel smith indigo,

Soft Trees across the waters is a nice little watercolor study, anyone can do.

It doesn’t take long.  Nor involve many paints at all.

Its just painting watercolor landscapes with simplification in mind.


beginner watercolor landscape techniques, painting simple trees and water in watercolours, daniel smith indigo,
Watercolor Trees and Water


Watercolor Basics

A very, abbreviated summary is in this post.  With just 4 ideas and tips listed.  It doesn’t really begin to scratch the surface of what beginners might be looking for or, needing.

I could, suggest heading for Watercolor Basics page;  No Fiddling; Impressionist Landscapes;  Trees;  the 3 edges of watercolor;   7 Ways of Watercolor 

and of course you can always

just go to  my   SEARCH Bar …..  type in a word and voila!





First thing to do is – break the many complicated shapes down into 3 or 5 Big, shapes.


ie  the sky, is a Shape.

the trees are a shape,

the water is a shape,

and then the shoreline from front to back is,  just one shape.


There.  Thats 4  big shapes.


Made so much easier than what was really there, in all that very confusing,  clutter of detail overwhelming the mind and eye!




Limited Palette

Using a nearly monochromatic palette of just 2 paints, goes a very long way in assisting your painting efforts.

In making your watercolor landscape paintings simpler, more successful, and easier to learn how to do.


I used 2 paints.

Indigo blue   and  Burnt Umber  Daniel Smith watercolors  mixed well together,  creating smooth browns with super darks where needed.



Shadows and Light

It is important….. to ensure you achieve a good sufficiency of light tones, mid, dark tones (LMD)  throughout.

LMD give you a 3Dimensional look. Depth.

Leaving enough of the white paper, well,  Plenty of it actually,  and  not covering it all up. Don’t  just …..fill it all in with your watercolor paints.


(all I did was mark the area to be left pure white;

then dampened AROUND that area.  And painted into the areas that were Damp.  That left my dry area nice and clean and pure white. Lovely!)


In my sample image shown, I have used a photo with a deliberate play on light and shadows.

It has a very strong shadow cast upon the white backing paper.

This….serves as a great reminder to make good use of your Light and your Shadows.

Contrasts are critical to success.





You might also notice the edges in this watercolor.


Almost every where are soft edges, gentle edges.


Except for the water in the front.

The hard sharp edges of the water, balances out the soft edges elsewhere.

Plus, gives some definition, form and meaning.

They tell us, where to Look.







We, almost all of us, get a bit frustrated when things don’t progress as we expect.

As we want.  As we had envisioned.


I know.

I’ve had 30 years of painting. Things,  do not,  always go as envisioned!! 


So, to help out with this pesky little dilemma,  what I  suggest is to set out 5 – 7 pieces of paper.

Medium small  works just fine.


We will do…. several trials, practices, warm ups.

In other words, we Need, the experience! 



The first is always a test, a trial.  We learn a lot from this one.

The second is the second trial.  ……  “learning more.”

The third we are getting in the groove.

#4 Hey!  Things are going much better.

#5 You really do see improvements from #1 to  #5 or 7.


And to be honest, really,  that is   all we can expect from ourselves.  

To see improvements,  with the practice and over time.




My Suggestions

“My”  way,  is not the only way to create,  to paint.


There are many ways to paint landscapes, many ways to paint water.

This is just one simple way for watercolor beginners to get started.


To learn in easier steps, some basic watercolor techniques of trees, water, landscapes.

In an impressionist approach.

Simple, fun, enjoyable and with pleasure.









Published by debiriley

The act of creation, in any media is a fascinating and magical process. I simply love to create. Expressing in color, line, tone, texture - as if, they were words upon a page. Creating a uniquely me, interpretation. Enjoy More of my "one-of-a-kind" expressive art at and,

13 thoughts on “Soft Trees across the waters: watercolor

    1. yes. yes, that is it. it is a gamble. we risk it all, I think with this media. on the precipice.
      the big, what if. anticipation, maybe. hope, or
      The “OHHH NOOO!!!!” We just aren’t sure which one its going to be. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. you!….. most certainly aren’t a ‘beginner’ Evelyn, for pete’s sake!!! lol
      I look at your work, wc, collage, photos, what you do and think “boy, sure wish I’d done that!”
      a BIG Thank You,
      for letting me know the info was useful and relevant. I know they say silence is golden, but unless readers comment you just have no idea what is useful………

      Liked by 1 person

      1. OK – I’ll stop calling myself a beginner…. !! The big message I’m taking home from this post is that with my watercolour painting I need to practice, practice more and then do even more practice till I achieve what I want to achieve….


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