Recently I went birding in the Skagit Valley, and snapped a few landscape photos, including this one of an old barn:
Part of my 2015 "Year of Art" goal is to expand my subject matter, which has been predominantly birds for many years. I rarely try landscape or buildings, and decided to give this a go. The first thing I did was crop it down a bit on the right hand side and bottom, and then I sketched it onto a sheet of 9x12" Arches 140-lb cold press watercolor paper.
Skies are hard, especially with clouds -- it involves doing washes, which I've never been good at no matter how much I practice. You wet the paper, apply the blue with a flat wide brush, and then as it dries, you lift out the clouds with a paper towel.
I didn't get the same shade of blue, nor is it a dark as in the photo, and the clouds are more scattered, but overall I was fine with this sky -- I figured it was better to keep going than waste a nice sheet of paper and start over. In any painting, one always gets to experiment with artistic license, after all.
Next, the foreground:
I made it a bit brighter overall, and the grass on the right more interesting. And now for the buildings:
Here's where I really cut loose with my artistic license -- the original barn was white, but hey, a red barn is so much better! I didn't want all three buildings to be in the same white/brown color range, and of course, red barns are iconic. I was very happy with this choice.
Finally, I used a very small brush to draw in the trees, and here is the final painting:
I enjoyed this very much and am looking forward to trying more landscapes.