This watercolor stone barn tutorial, step by step, is very straight forward and easy to follow. It uses only three colors (plus an accent yellow), with one large and one small brush. Most steps include a variegated wash to give you some excellent guided practice. Average painting time was under 3 hours.
The beginners did well with this, most didn’t get finished in this week’s class. Some students had problems with their trees or foreground texture and that was solved by sponging on more color.
Below are student paintings in various stages of completions. Everyone did a great job on the stone barn.
Downloads for Watercolor Stone Barn Step by Step
Suggested Colors for Stone Barn Tutorial
- Blue – Ultramarine and/or Cobalt Blue (Cobalt HUE won’t work well)
- Red – any Quinacridone red
- Brown – Burnt Sienna or most browns
- Yellow – accent color – any yellow
Step by Step Watercolor Painting Instructions
Step 1 – Draw or trace your outline onto watercolor paper with graphite paper.
Keep the lines for the clouds very light.
Step 2 – Paint the entire sky with a light cloud color variegated wash (big brush).
Mix a watery puddle of blue and another one of brown.
Wet the sky with clean water or watery blue.
Mop in some of each color, letting them mix on the paper. (Not spotty!
How to MOP – Load your brush with one color. Lay the loaded brush down sideways and drag it around.)
Step 3 – Paint the sky behind the clouds.
Mix a medium thick wash of blue and paint the sky area behind the clouds.
Solutions to Common Variegated Watercolor Wash Problems
Getting the right amount of paint AND the right amount of water is the key to doing a great variegated wash. Practice until you get just wet enough for some blending without total blending. You can do it!
COLORS ALL RUN TOGETHER
Dab up the overmixed color and repaint with a little less liquid.
COLORS DON’T MIX ENOUGH
If your colors are staying completely separate, use a little more liquid or clean out your brush and gently rub with a damp brush for a little blending.
Step 4 – Paint the background hills (small brush).
Mix a puddle of purple (blue + a little red) and another puddle of brown.
Paint the background hills by mopping on some purple, then some brown, and repeat.
Step 5 – Paint the first washes for the stone barn.
Mix puddles – one of blue and another of brown.
Wet the barn with clean water. Mop on some of each color.
For best results, paint on three areas of blue and the rest with brown.
SHADOWS and ROOF
Mix blue and brown for a slightly darker value. Paint the shadow under the roof edges – thicker on the left side.
Use the medium value mix of blue + brown to add shingles to the top of the white roof edge.
BLACK – mix blue and brown thick paint for black.
Paint a line of black directly under the roof edges.
Paint the ventilation holes with black.
Step 6 – Paint the red barn for watercolor barn step by step.
Mix a barn red with red + brown + a little blue – keep it light.
Paint the barn with your watery barn red mix. Dry.
SHADOWS and BOARD LINES
Mix some barn red with black to paint a darker shadow under the roof edge.
Add a few board lines with this darker color, also. Adding one thicker line about 2/3 the way from the barn is a nice look.
Step 7 – Paint or Sponge the Trees.
Your trees don’t need to look like mine. All trees are unique.
Sponging? – be sure to lay a piece of scrap paper over the edge of the barns if you sponge to keep the sponged paint off the barns.
Mix a thick puddle of reddish-brown with red + brown + black.
Paint the trees, adding water to get variety in values. Be sure to leave holes for the birds to fly through.
Paint the tree on the left either lighter or darker than the background hills, so it will show up.
Step 8 – Paint and/or spatter color on the foreground.
Mix a dark reddish/brown and a black puddle.
Wet the foreground with clean water.
Paint in variegated washes of brown and black – working in subtle diagonal lines from top to bottom.
Optional – for more texture spatter or add salt.
Step 9 – Paint back field.
Paint the back field with any color you think would look good. I used yellow.
Step 10 – Finish the clouds with lifting or white paint.
If you are happy with your clouds, skip this.
Lift and soften. Otherwise, use a small piece of Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser (damp) to lift some of the cloud color and/or soften the cloud edges.
And/or Opaque white. You can also use opaque white paint to paint on some white clouds inside the clouds area or make adjustments.
Step 11 – Suggest some stones in the stone barn.
Resist the temptation to fill the barn in with a lot of tiny, round stones. You can see individual stones clearly when the wall is close. With a barn this far away, however, the stones are just slight changes in value. Paint what you see, not what you know is there.
Paint on a few stone groupings with shades of blue and brown. Keep them close in value to the barn color – not too dark. Don’t forget to add a few stones in the shadow area.
Step 12 – Evaluate and Tweak Your Painting
What do you like best about your painting? What do like least?
Fix the parts you don’t like. Wipe off parts (Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser) you’re not happy with and repaint them. Change colors by adding another wash on top (I added red to my tree, then yellow.) You can have as many redo’s as you want.
Last – Opaque white
Spatter on opaque white on the foreground.
Add a white fence and/or a darker fence in the background.
You can also use white to touch up either roof.
Summary for How to Paint a Watercolor Stone Barn Step by Step
Suggesting detail is much more pleasing than trying to add every board or stone. Variegated washes let you easily capture the random color changes in natural objects, so it’s a great skill to learn.