Live Lessons: Desert Landscape with Watercolor

Desert Landscape Painting
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This lesson series features:
8 Hours of Instruction
8 Videos

About This Lesson Series...

In this lesson series, we create a watercolor painting of a desert landscape. Watercolors are gradually layered to develop the landscape painting.

Lesson 1 (1:05:17)

In lesson one, we discuss the materials that we'll use, the creation of a thumbnail painting, and the strategy for the painting. We develop the graphite sketch and apply colors to the sky.

Lesson 2 (1:09:05)

In lesson two, we add washes to the middle and foreground and begin adding details to the distant mountains.

Lesson 3 (1:17:25)

In lesson three, we continue adding details to the distant mountains and bring out a bit more of the oranges and purples.

Lesson 4 (1:07:53)

In lesson four, we develop the rocky mountain in the left middle ground.

Lesson 5 (1:14:16)

In lesson five, we develop the rocky mountain near the center of the picture plane.

Lesson 6 (1:02:28)

In the lesson six, we develop the mountain on the right of the picture plane.

Lesson 7 (1:04:50)

In lesson seven, we add purples and greens to the hillside in the middle ground and translucent washes to the foreground.

Lesson 8 (1:30:11)

In lesson eight, we complete the painting by addressing the remaining sections in the middle ground and add the trees in the foreground

Resources for this Lesson...


Photo Reference

Finished Result

Here's what you'll need...

  • Graphite pencil (H)
  • 140 lb or 300 lb Cold Press Watercolor Paper
  • Watercolor Paints
  • Nylon Brushes
  • Water
  • Masking Fluid (Optional)
  • Nib Pen (Optional)
  • Paper Towels

Lesson Discussion

  1. Matt, what did you call the last brush you showed us I didn’t quite hear what you said? It’s not your accent it’s my hearing.

  2. Hey, Matt: Going over the lesson i missed…yes, was down and out for 4 hours straight…so i missed your class 🙁 Darn this thing, but it’s not the Corona yaeh!!!
    …tore into my 300# Arches cold press sheet, (which i’ve never used cold before)…can’t wait…will get caught up!
    oh! got a new natural sunlight lamp and I can seee 🙂

    • Matt — Is it correct that I think you stated pan paints are not as strong in color as paint out of the tube? I have a set of tube Daniel Smith paints and am having difficulty painting the pale/more muted colors. I am heavy of hand which is a burden when painting watercolors so you put that along with the tube paints — I am sure you can imagine my distortion of what you convey in your painting. Please advise how I should proceed with these two cumbersome habits to correct them. Thank you, and I am so glad you are well again and back teaching us!! I LOVE your classes and am a loyal patron. Anne

  3. I recently logged into the live lessons videos (desert landscape). I am now caught up. Just wondering when lesson 6 will be posted. I am a beginner and loving it.

  4. My shadows form week 2 look quite purple now that they are dry. When I painted them, they looked like they had a lot of teh Payne’s grey, but not now that they are dry. How can I fix this?

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