Red barns are classic watercolor and even beginners can paint them well if you know the best colors and techniques to use. This easy beginner tutorial explains basic watercolor techniques for step by step success.
Downloads for Easy Red Barn in Watercolor
- Light Blue – Cobalt or Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Hue, or watered down Phthalo Blue
- Red – Most reds will work. If you want more of a barn red, add a little brown, black or green
- Yellow – Lemon, Hansa, Aureolin – any bright yellow
- Brown – Burnt Sienna or any brown
- Green – Dark Green – Hookers or Perylene Green (or mix a dark Blue with a gold)
- Opaque White – Pro White or Bleed Proof White or any white watercolor or acrylic paint
Painting Steps for Red Barn in Watercolor
Landscape Painting Tip – Paint watercolor landscapes from the back to the front – first washes of color on everything, then second washes to build up color intensity and add detail.
Step 1 – Draw or Trace your outline.
Draw or trace the outline of the barn and tree onto your watercolor paper using graphite paper.
Step 2 – First layer of Color.
Sky – Paint the sky light blue, darker at the top and lighter at the bottom.
Mix a puddle of blue paint (sky color).
You can wet the area behind the barn and tree before you paint the sky or paint on dry paper. (Working wet on wet will often give you a smoother sky.)
Use a large brush for this large area.
Start painting at the top and work down, adding a little water to the blue mix as you paint down so that the color gets lighter towards the bottom.
Trees – background – Paint the trees on the left side and top
While the sky is still damp, paint some burnt sienna (or your favorite color for trees) on the left side and a little on top of the barn.
If the color spreads too far, tilt the top of your paper up by placing something under the top to let gravity keep the tree color down towards the bottom.
Trees – Paint the dark tree in front.
Mix a puddle of dark green. Paint the tree in front of the barn with dark green.
You can add texture to the tree by sprinkling with table salt or spattering with clear water, but consider it practice, as the next layer of color will probably cover the texture up.
Barn – Paint the barn red.
You can dry the painting before you paint the barn or leave a small line of unpainted paper between the red and the other wet colors.
Snow – Add shading with blue.
Using some leftover sky blue, paint the bottom of the paper blue. Then clean out your brush and paint the top with clean water. Blend the area between the water and blue so it has a soft edge.
Step 3 – Paint Second Watercolor Layer for Darker Color and Detail.
Barn – Add shadows and texture to the wood.
Darken your red by adding dark green or black. Paint the left side of the barn and the shadow under the eaves with the darker red/black color.
Paint the front side of the barn with more red. Rinse your brush with clean water and streak the red with clean water to suggest boards.
Add a dark line under the edge of the snow in the front with a brush or pen.
Barn Roof – Add shading to the snow on the roof (if desired).
Use opaque white to clean up any rough edges on the barn and add a line of snow to angled top on the left side.
To add shading to the barn roof snow, add a small bit of blue along the top and one side. Then clean out your brush and blend the blue so it has soft edges.
Tree – Paint it dark and saturated with color.
Paint the tree in front again with dark green, dotting in yellow for variation. You can also sprinkle the drying wash with table salt for more texture.
Fence – Add the white fence.
Use opaque white to paint a small fence along the front left side of the barn. White pens (affiliate link) are great for this, but only use them on completely dry areas.
Spatter falling snow, if desired.
Use white paint to spatter or dot on falling snow for a charming effect.
Red Barn in Snow Summary
Colors are limited in a snow covered landscape, but red barns really stand out and bring warmth to your painting. No wonder people love them!