Do you feel motivated and ready to create art to spend some quality time to relax before, in between, or after a long day of work, but you do not know what to paint?
In this article, I’ll show you a few simple watercolor painting ideas you can try out that will take you only a few minutes.
You can even paint them side by side and stop whenever you must move to something else, and then just come back later.
These fall-inspired watercolor paintings ideas are super fun and so relaxing to point, and I hope you enjoy them as well. Let’s get started. Let’s start with the first painting.
I’m using 100% cotton cold press watercolor paper that I already divided into three sections using washi tape. And then you want to start by distributing clean water all over the first section.
Here I’m using a flat synthetic brush, and I distribute clean water as evenly as possible. You don’t want any pools of water gathering around the edges.
While the paper starts absorbing some of the moisture, let’s prepare some paint. In my reference picture that you can see here, you can see that there is very foggy weather, and I can see some browns and greys. So, in this case, I’m going to use my black and sepia-coloured watercolor painting ideas and dilute it with water so it’s not too dark.
I started with small pools of water, and then I added just a little bit of pigment into each collection.
Once we’ve prepared the paint, use a round brush and spread colors to different areas on your paper. You want some spots to be brown, some greyish.
Once you’ve covered everything with pain, add a little more brown pigment to the pool to create a more concentrated paint consistency. Then start painting a thin and thick line on top of the paint’s wet layer to create tree trunks and branches. Because here we’re using the wet-on-wet technique, the lines will look blurry, making it look like these trees are very far away and covered in fog.
Once you’ve added these blurry lines, you can either wait for everything to dry naturally or use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process. Once everything is dry,
the painting looks like this.
Now it’s time to add more layers on top
This time you’re going to paint trees that are closer to the viewer and covered in less fog.
For this step, we’re going to use the layering technique. I run out of paint, create a new pool of water, and add brown color paint to dilute it again.
You want to create a light value of a brown color because we will layer the paint on top of another layer of color to look slightly darker automatically.
From there, load up your brush with paint and start painting an additional row of tree branches and trunks.
As you can see, I only use one round brush and change up the pressure to create either thick or thin lines.
And don’t worry about making the lines perfectly straight. You want to make the lines somewhat wavy and uneven, so it looks realistic.
Once you’re done with that, let everything completely dry again. No, we’re going to add another row of trees that is even more visible to the viewer.
Again, you want to use an even darker value of the same color. I’m using the same sepia-colour, adjusting it with water and some of the reddish-brown because I just wanted the color to be slightly warmer and more reddish.
In this case, I use my English red color. Once I was happy with the color, I started adding another row of trees—one tree on the right and one on the left.
I added a little more pigment for the left tree to look darker and more visible to the viewer. I also made it look like the frame cuts it off, so we only see half of it.
From there, I continue painting more branches and additional details. Here you can also play around with the wet-on-wet technique and add some shadows as well. In this case, I use more pigments to make the color darker and add it to a few areas focusing on the tree’s left side. And now, using the tip of my brush, I went ahead painted a few thin branches following my reference as a guide. Again, don’t try to make the components perfectly straight or something like that.
Make them wavy and have fun with them. I even left out some space in between some brush strokes to loosen up the style.
And this is how it looks for now. Once everything is dry, it’s time to add the fall leaves. For this step, I’m using my Indian and lemon yellow and mix them.
Then you want to start dabbing on the paint to create small blotches of color to make leaves.
Here I also used the wet-on-wet technique again to make loose transitions between a few colors. Instead of keeping something orange, I added just a tiny drop of my brown, red color to darken a few areas.
I think this way, and the leaves look a lot more interesting. Repeat this step until you’re happy with the number of leaves, and then we can add some more details with the tree.
For this step, I used my black color paint and lightly brushed over the pigments over the dry layer of paint. I use the dry brush technique to add some texture to the tree without overthinking the step.
And this is how it looks so far. While the first painting is drying, let’s move on to this second painting. Again, begin by distributing clean water all over the page. Make sure you remove any excess pools of water so that you can keep everything under control later. Next, we want to use the wet-on-wet technique again and start with the first layer.
For this step, dilute brown and grey color paint with water to create a very light value,
and then you want to start distributing it to the top part of the paper to create the gloomy sky.
Next, add the same light brown color and added it to the upper third of the page to create a loose silhouette of trees. As you’re painting wet-on-wet, the edges are very fuzzy, and it looks like the trees are covered in fog as well. Because I felt like the sky looked a little bit too brownish, I added a little bit of grey on top and blended everything. Next, load up your brush with a reddish-brown.
Here’s I’m using English red and a little bit of sepia to make it darker, and then you want to start dabbing on the paint right below the first silhouette you just added.
From there, play around with different fall colors. For example, I dabbed it on some oranges and browns and used my brush’s pointy shape to create loose silhouettes of trees.
When these trees dry, they will look like they are hidden by the fog far away from the viewer.
Now let’s move on to the foreground. Again, I’m using a reference as loose guidance, so I decided to use my leftover yellows, oranges, browns, and a little bit of green to apply those to the foreground. Don’t be afraid to make your colors look muddy.
Fall colors are usually full of muted reds, greens, and yellows.
As you can see here, I use different colors, and added them wet into wet to create an open field with lots of other fall colors.
I also added just a few reddish-brown dots here and there to make them look like loose flowers on the field.
And this is how everything looks once everything is dry. Now we can go ahead and add the second layer of paint. This time we’re using the wet-on-dry technique. Following my reference as loose guidance again, I went ahead and outlined a few colourful trees right below the blurry row of trees.
Here I’m using the tip of my brush to dab on yellows, reds, and some browns to create simple silhouettes of trees. Make some trees smaller, some taller and looks more attractive.
And to make them more three dimensional, I added a few drops of my dark brown color to the lower parts of the trees and then just let it melt into the wet paint below.
Now we can move on to the foreground. As you can see, the foreground looks around paler when dry. We went over with the same colors and applied another layer of paint to make the colors more miniature pail.
I also keep the area around the trees brighter and made the foreground rather dark. The viewer invited to look at the trees and isn’t distracted by the field in front of him.
And to add a few details, I used a lifting technique and shaped a few light reflections on top of the field. Instead of painting the grass one brushstroke at a time, I lifted the wet painted to reveal the more golden color below.
Now let everything completely dry, and we can move to some final details. You can keep it the way it is because I like the way it looks, but I spontaneously decided to paint the tree on the reference picture as well, but you don’t have to do that.
Your job as an artist is to pick the things you want to paint and leave out unnecessary elements.
For this step, I used different greens and browns to shape the tree by dabbing on the paint, and then I used some of the same color to add details in the field.
Instead of lifting off the paint as I did in the previous step, I painted some of the lines instead, and this is how it looks. While this painting is drying, let’s move on to the third painting idea. Again, start by evenly distributing clean water all over the paper and remove any excess pool of water if you see anything.
For this painting, we’re going to use the wet-on-wet technique again. Once you’ve applied the water to your paper, load up your brush with blue color paint. Here I’m using a mix of my two different blues and distribute them starting at the top and bottom.
You want to blend out the paint loosely. And leave out some white areas in between to make them look like clouds. While you do that, leave the centre of the paper free from any paint.
Now load up your brush with a muted green color paint. Here I’m using my green that was already in my mixing palette, and I added just a little bit of my sepia color to make it less vibrant. From there, start applying the wet point onto the damp paper. I’m following a reference picture again and make sure I used the paint to create the trees and the reflection and the water at the same time.
Here I switched between yellows, reds, and greens while adding paint to the top to create the actual trees and the reflection. Once I applied the first wash of color, I divided the colors by adding a horizontal dark line where the shadows will be.
Now to make the water look like actual water, let’s add some light reflections. For this step, use either a clean flat brush or a round brush with a pointy tip, and then carefully lift some of the wet paint by creating these horizontal lines.
You don’t need to add a ton of those lines, just right around the areas where the trees are reflected onto the water. You can also use the same trick to add a few additional
light reflections inside the trees.
And this is how it looks. Now let everything dry, and we can add some final details. Once the paint is dry, you can add another layer of color, this time wet-on-dry, similar to the previous painting.
I’m using pretty much the same colors and applying them slightly lower than the previous roll of tees for this step. You can see the contrast between trees that are far away and trees closer to the viewer. I also added just a little bit more highlights and shadows. The watercolor painting ideas is finished.
Now you need to remove the tape, and you’re done.