Yosemite Landscapeito: making quick watercolor sketches in the field

Landscapeitos are little landscape drawings or thumbnails that are easy to finish in the field and fun to paint. The secret is to keep them small. This drawing was only about an inch and a half wide by two inches tall. If you double the size of the drawing, you quadruple the area that you must cover.

The Secret to Controlling Watercolor

The secret to making watercolor easy to manage is water control: managing the proportions of water to pigment and the amount of the mixture in your brush. Do not let puddles form on the surface of your page these take forever to dry and are hard to control. If your want a lighter wash, add more water to your mixture and stroke it on in a thin wash, not a bigger puddle of water on the page. Similarly if you want a darker value, do not paint a big puddle of dense paint and wait for it to dry. Instead, mix more pigment into your mixture and apply this in a thin layer. The watercolor application here is simple glazed layers, each one drying before the application of the next.

Click on the first picture to start a step-by-step slideshow.

7 thoughts on “Yosemite Landscapeito: making quick watercolor sketches in the field

  1. Thank you John for inspiring me to sketch. This landscape series give me more confidence on how to frame from a broader landscape, and joy in using watercolor.

  2. Viktoria Berg says:

    Very inspiring. This is what I found so hard to do: find the limits in the landscape, make a clear selection of what I´m going to sketch. Thanks!

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