Country Road in Bright Sun with Red Barn

watercolor painting by deb watson for online tutorial country road in bright sun with red barn

Country roads are a good watercolor subject but how do you manage all the stuff? Where the objects meet and/or overlap, painting can be tricky. With easy techniques, like working back to front and sponging, you can do it! (This was the favorite tutorial of the session – it turned out well for everyone!)

Downloads for Country Road/Red Barn

Suggested Colors for Country Road in Bright Sun

  • Cobalt Blue or Cerulean Blue for light blue sky and making grays, also for purple hills
  • Burnt Sienna or Brown for making gray and barn red
  • Yellow – Lemon or Hansa or Aureolin
  • Gold – Quinacridone or green gold or mix yellow + brown
  • Red – any Red that works for a barn
  • Greens – light and dark green, mix with black if you need it darker.
  • Black – mix your own (video on youtube) or use a tube black. (Ivory is better than Lamp black.)
  • White – any opaque white (recommended: Bleed Proof White by Daler Rowney)

Where to Begin? Step by Step Painting Instructions

Reference photo for watercolor tutorial country road in bright sun with red barn

Step 1 – Lay in a light blue sky behind the red barn, mountains and trees.

You can start on wet or dry paper. Mix a watery wash of light blue and paint the sky. Add a bit more blue to the upper right corner.

Step 2 – Paint the country road gray, going around the white and yellow line.

Mix a little brown with your light blue to make it blue gray. Paint the road, leaving the white lines. Dry.

Step 3 – Sponge and paint the tree on the left side of the road.

Sponging a watercolor tree step for online tutorial Country road in bright sun with red barn

(For more on sponging, click here.)

  • Mix a small puddle of each of these three colors – darker green, lighter green and yellow.
  • Sponge or paint the tree, dipping your sponge in different colors and letting the paint mix on the paper. Sponge less foliage on the top left to more foliage towards the bottom.
  • Trunk and branches – Mix a puddle of brown/gray with cobalt blue and brown.
  • Paint the tree trunks and branches with brown/black, painting around some of the foliage.

Step 4 – Paint the distant mountain or mountains.

Step 5 - Paint the distant hill in watercolor tutorial Country road in Bright Sun with red Barn
  • Mix a grayed purple (blue + red + brown) and paint the distant mountains, going carefully around the barn, house and trees. Keep it light.
  • Optional – If you want to add the farther away hill, wet the paper first above the first mountain and lay in some color. Let the second mountain fuzz out.

Step 5 – Paint or sponge the tree on the right in bright sunlight

  • Mix a puddle of yellow, gold, burnt sienna – whatever color you like.
  • Sponge or paint the tree. You can touch in a little light green if desired. Dry.
right tree and foreground step in watercolor tutorial Country road in bright sun with red barn.

Paint the foreground bright sun green.

  • Use a pretty light green to paint the foreground grass on the left and the right. Make the grass more concentrated or darker in the middle area.

Step 7 – The tricky part! Painting the dark trees around the yellow tree.

Painting the dark trees in the distance for watercolor tutorial country road in bright light with red barn
  • Mix a dark green – perylene green or hookers plus red or phthalo plus burnt sienna.
  • For the tree between the house and the barn, paint it a bit lighter or bluer so it looks farther away.
  • Tall, dark tree, paint it all dark green – going around the edges of the gold tree carefully. You cand use a paint brush or a sponge to make leafy edges where the two overlap.

Step 8 – Paint the area under the tree on the left.

  • Use a dark brown, green or black/red to paint the area between the bottom of the tree and top of the grassy area. Overlapping areas like this are a challenge.
Step 8 Painting the area under the left side tree for watercolor tutorial Country road in bright sun with red barn

tep 9 – Suggest a distant farmhouse beside the green tree.

  • This is optional – you can just make the dark, tall tree bigger at the bottom if you’d like.
  • Give the house a light wash of blue gray or whatever color you like. We’ll add the details once the wash is dry with a pencil or pen.

Step 10 – Red Barn in Bright Sun on a country road.

Painting the house and barn for watercolor tutorial Country road in bright sun with red barn
  • Mix a barn red with red and a little black, brown, or green. Paint the barn, leaving the white window area.
  • If desired, while wet, scratch some wood lines into the wet wash. Dry.
  • Paint the door with dark red or black, darker on the left and lighter on the right.
  • Paint shadows under the eaves and the overhanging part of the barn.
  • Paint the tiny windows with gray.
  • The roof can stay white or have a very light wash of gray.

Step 11 – Add shadows in foreground. The darker the shadows, the brighter the light will seem.

  • Add grasses at the bottom of the trees with medium value green.
  • Paint the shadows with green as they come down the hill, and burnt sienna/blue mix as the come across the road.
  • Note that the shadows curve as they come down the hill, then go straight horizontally across the road.
watercolor painting by deb watson for online tutorial country road in bright sun with red barn

Step 13Evaluate your painting, tweak and add any finishing details.

  • Use opaque white to add a hint of a fence, but only on the right side of the left side tree.
  • Add smoke coming out the chimney.
  • Clean up your edges on the window, roof or white road lines.
  • Add white flowers in the grass or white grass in the shadow edges.

Happy Painting!

The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize - Robert Hughes