On June 23rd, North Light is pleased to release Creating Luminous Watercolor Landscapes by Sterling Edwards. Whether you’re a beginner trying watercolor for the first time or a devotee on a quest for clearer color and more personal statements, you’ll love Sterling Edwards’ easy-to-follow four-step approach to creating luminous paintings in transparent watercolor.
The book includes 8 full demonstrations of a range of breathtaking scenes and seasons, as well as dozens of exercises on how to paint rocks, skies, trees, foliage, buildings water and other landscape elements.
The book also contains an original 30-minute DVD workshop about the four-step process. We produced the bonus material for the book last December when Sterling traveled from his home in North Carolina to North Light’s headquarters in Cincinnati. Jen Lepore and the produciton team had a blast during filming! Over the course of two days, we filmed two full-length workshops plus the bonus DVD for the book.
Here’s a studio picture of Sterling in action:
On June 22nd, join Sterling online for a FREE online event. He will share his four-step process and show you keys to creating depth and luminosity in your watercolors by developing the mid and dark values at the early stages of the painting rather than the end. Everyone who registers will have the opportunity to order Creating Luminous Watercolor Landscapes and his artistsnetwork.tv DVDs through northlightshop.com at a special discount! Click here to register for the free webinar.
To give you a taste of the book, please enjoy the following free watercolor demo of a waterfall using Sterling’s simple four-step process.
HOW TO PAINT A WATERFALL USING THE FOUR-STEP PROCESS
Moving water is an excellent way to energize a painting with expressive energy and brushstrokes. The white of the paper can help suggest the water as it is framed within a darker background. The darker the background, the whiter the waterfall will appear. I like to use paper with a rougher surface texture when I paint waterfalls because I can rely on the roughness or tooth of the paper to suggest the falling water at the edges of the waterfall better than I can on smooth paper. This broken edge or dry-brush effect is best achieved by holding the brush almost parallel with the surface of the paper and making quick brushstrokes.
300-lb. (640gsm) cold-pressed watercolor paper
Brown Stil de Grain
Permanent Green Deep
Permanent Violet Blueish
½-, 1- and 2-inch (13mm, 25mm and 51mm) flats
1-inch (25mm) stiff bristles
no. 6 rigger
no. 8 round
This waterfall has a very pleasing shape and is surrounded by beautiful green mossy rocks. Even the fallen log at the bottom of the photograph adds an intriguing element of design to the scene.
STEP ONE: BLOCK IN SHAPES WHILE SAVING WHITES
1 Add Initial Shapes With Negative Painting
Sketch the basic shapes on your paper. Begin by slightly tilting the paper toward you and thoroughly wetting the paper. Use a 2-inch (51mm) flat and light mixes of Permanent Green Deep and Indian Yellow to suggest the location of the mossy rocks and foliage at the sides of the waterfall. Leave the areas that are to be water as white paper. Add some Brown Stil de Grain to the mix as you paint to suggest some of the rocks. This is also a good time to paint around the foreground tree as a negative shape. Paint the water at the bottom of the falls with a mix of Primary Blue-Cyan, Permanent Violet Blueish and Orange Lake. Use a barely damp 1-inch (25mm) stiff bristle to soften and blend some of the edges. Suggest the colors of the fallen log with varied mixes of Orange Lake and Permanent Violet Blueish. Let dry.
2 Add More Shapes
Continue blocking in the shapes on dry paper using a 1-inch (25mm) flat and varied midvalues of Indian Yellow and Brown Stil de Grain for the moss and foliage. Use a barely damp 1-inch (25mm) stiff bristle to lightly soften some of the edges. Use a mix of Permanent Violet Blueish, Orange Lake and Brown Stil de Grain to paint the rock formations and the foreground logs. Suggest movement in the falling water with a no. 8 round brush and a light mix of Primary Blue-Cyan, Permanent Violet Blueish and Brown Stil de Grain. Use a barely damp ½-inch (13mm) flat to soften some of the edges while they are still wet.
STEP TWO: ADD THE DARKEST VALUES
3 Add Foliage
Paint the foliage next to the falling water with a 1-inch (25mm) flat using dark and varied mixes of Indian Yellow, Brown Stil de Grain, Permanent Green Deep and Permanent Violet Blueish. Use a barely damp ½-inch (13mm) flat to soften some of the edges. Use the same colors and brush to paint the rock formations on the left of the painting. Suggest the shadows and pile of fallen logs with very dark mixes of Primary Blue-Cyan, Brown Stil de Grain and Permanent Violet Blueish. Suggest negative shapes of debris and rocks using the same colors.
4 Develop the Shadows
Paint the trunk of the tree with a no. 8 round and dark and varied mixes of Permanent Violet Blueish, Orange Lake and Primary Blue-Cyan. Paint the leaves at the top of the tree with the same brush and dark mixes of Permanent Green Deep and Brown Stil de Grain. Using a mix of Brown Stil de Grain, Permanent Violet Blueish and Orange Lake, continue adding darks to the foreground logs and rocks. Add some darker values to the water using the round brush and a mix of Primary Blue-Cyan, Permanent Violet Blueish and Brown Stil de Grain.
STEP THREE: SELECTIVE GLAZING
5 Add Color to Water and Foreground
Add some color and value to the falling water using a 1-inch (25mm) flat and a wet mix of Primary Blue-Cyan, Permanent Violet Blueish and Brown Stil de Grain. Use a damp 1-inch (25mm) bristle brush to soften some of the edges. Apply a glaze of Orange Lake and Permanent Violet Blueish to the logs toward the bottom of the shapes while keeping the tops of the logs relatively light.
STEP FOUR: ADD DETAIL AND REFINE
6 Establish Depth and Interest With Foreground Details
Paint additional leaves on the upper part of the trees and add some leaves on the lower parts with a no. 8 round and dark mixes of Permanent Violet Blueish, Permanent Green Deep and Brown Stil de Grain. Use a no. 6 rigger and dark mixes of Brown Stil de Grain and Permanent Violet Blueish to suggest smaller branches. Use the same colors to suggest a few branches on the logs in the foreground. A lighter mix of the color can be used with a no. 8 round to paint a few smaller trees at the top of the waterfall. Paint a light glaze of Golden Lake over the foreground logs and echo the color in two or three other small areas in the painting. Finally use a rigger and a dark mix of Permanent Green Deep and Brown Stil de Grain to splatter a few leaves in the trees and bushes.
In the Columbia River Gorge
Watercolor on 300-lb. (640gsm) Fabriano Artistico paper
22″ × 15″ (56cm × 38cm) • Private collection
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