Cypress Trees in Autumn

Rarely do I finish a painting in one sitting; most are spread out over the course of several days, especially when multiple layers of paint are involved. My process starts by doing a rough sketch of my reference photo on watercolor paper. I concentrate on the main structures, sketching few details.

Rough Sketch

This painting, I began by layering on a thin, pale wash using four colors (referring to my photo), using wet on wet.

Initial Wash

Then, I added in the cypress tree trunks, first using a pale purplish-blue color for the trees in the background. On the closer trees, I used a pale brown, then built up the color using a darker brown and green. After the paint dried, I added details using a brownish-black color.

Cypress Tree Trunks

Next, I added foliage to the trees.

First Layer of Foliage

After the first layer dried, I added more paint to deepen the color, and after it dried, added limbs and more detail to the trunks.

Yet Another Layer

Last, I added reflections in the water. To be honest, I wasn’t too pleased with this last step but figured I’d better leave well enough alone. As with some other things I won’t mention, the more you mess with a watercolor painting, the worse it gets.

Finished Painting

(All images used are my own.)

©2022 July Day

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