Learn techniques for painting landscape features using pen, ink and watercolour with Claudia Nice


How to Paint Weathered Wooden Fences

Fences are perfect for adding a bit of height and a sense of rhythm to a pasture scene. To obtain rich weathered-wood browns and greys, try mixing ultramarine blue with orange.

The more orange added to the mix, the warmer the hue becomes

White fences or those that are strongly high-lighted can be left unpainted. The background colours will give them definition.

The watercolour studies shown here were painted loosely in layered washes, working from the lightest to the darkest, and allowing each layer to dry in between. The foreground of each painting was textured with pen and ink. Scribble lines were used to accentuate the iris patch, and brown crisscross lines help suggest the dry grass in the lower painting. Bruise lines were used to texture the green grass areas.

How to Paint Rocks and Fieldstones

Most rocks have lumpy, abstract shapes. As you can see in step one, an earthy wash of colour doesn’t really define them. To turn lumps into rocks you need light play (shadows and light areas). To create rocks with surface character, you need to add texture.

Step 1: Draw a grouping of blunt bottomed lumps and fill them in with a wash of colour in an earthy hue. I used a warm yellow-purple mixture for the large ochre rock and a cool red + yellowish green mixture for the maroon ones. Don’t over blend the mixtures. Allow for some variation in hue.

Step 2: Use a small flat brush to layer on darker shadow mixtures. Gradual, blended value changes suggest rounded curves, while hard edges denote an abrupt angle change on the surface of the rock.

Step 3: Add texture to the surface of the stone using dry brush, spatter, pen-and-ink marks and pen blending. I used both black and brown inks.

On these rocks I applied a minimal amount of painted shadows and lots of loosely scribbled pen-and-ink lines to give them a sketchy appearance. This quick, carefree style is great for creating sketchbook journal entries.

How to paint a rock scene

Walking along a country road at the edge of a pine forest, I came across a stalwart tree struggling to grow between two large boulders.
Its trunk carried a great scar where it had pushed into the rock. However, it seemed to be winning the battle, as one of the boulders had been split apart by the constant pressure. I couldn’t resist capturing the scene.

Step 1: Pencil in the basic shapes and lay down a light watercolour wash for the basecoat using the colour mixtures above. Note that more than one variety of each mixture was applied.

Step 2: Paint in the shadow areas using darker versions of the colour mixtures used previously. Sepia was used to fill in the deep shadows beneath the boulders.

Step 3: Further definition and texture was added to the scene by applying a bit of spatter, scribbled ink lines and pen blending. Burnt Sienna was used to brighten the rocks, and the plants and bushes were painted in mixtures of green and yellow-green muted with Burnt Sienna.



How to paint a leafy tree

To paint a leafy shade tree or fruit tree, begin with a simple pencil drawing to indicate the basic shape of the trunk, limbs and crown.

Step 1: Use light-value watercolour washes to fill in the various parts of the tree. If the tree has blossoms or fruit, paint them in first, followed by the leaf clusters, trunk and limbs.

Step 2: Darken the green by adding a little Payne’s grey and daub in some shadow areas with the tip of a no. 4 round brush. Use two or more value mixtures to give the foliage the illusion of depth. Mix a stronger wash of sepia to shade the trunk.

Step 3: Texture the leaf clusters using a .25 or .35mm pen nib and loose, loopy scribble lines.

This feature is an extract from the book, Discover Your World in Pen, Ink and Watercolour, by Claudia Nice