Desert Sunset Watercolor

Hello everyone! Are you ready for another Watercolor Wednesday tutorial?!

I went to the desert this time and created this fun Desert Sunset painting. Perfect to turn into a manly card, display in a frame in a Southwest themed bedroom, or give away as a gift to someone.

Let’s get started, shall we?!

This painting only uses two stamp set from Art Impressions, The Desert Set and the Southwest Set.

It does use a lot of markers though and a lot are in a monochromatic color scheme.

  • No 72 Pine Green
  • No 15 Olive Green
  • No 86 African Violet
  • 45 Sepia
  • 85 Mocha
  • No 96 Jungle Green
  • No 18 Dark Brown
  • No 43 Brilliant Yellow
  • 83 Butterscotch
  • No 7 Orange
  • No 49 Vermillion
  • No 88 Terra Cotta

This painting is on a small 4×4 square piece of watercolor paper.

Begin by using something round, I used the outer ring to my water mason jar, and lightly trace the circle onto the paper. We will be creating our painting INSIDE this circle so it is just used as a guide.

Start with the shorter, wider cactus and ink it up with Sepia first.

On a separate piece of paper, stamp off any excess ink. Then reink the stamp with Olive Green.

Then press the stamp into the corner of your stamp positioner. This will help us place everything exactly where we want them to sit.

Line the positioner exactly where you want to place the first cactus.

Remove the plexi glass portion leaving the positioner in place and press your stamp down in the corner of the positioner. Now your cactus should be right where you wanted it.

Next is the tall cactus. Do the same as before, ink it with sepia and stamp off the excess ink on a different piece of paper then apply Pine Green this time. Press the stamp onto the positioner and decide where you want it.

We you decide on a location, remove the plexi glass section and press the stamp into the corner of the positioner.

Time for the smallest cactus. You will repeat the exact same process of the tall cactus the only difference being, that you will not ink the entire cactus near the bottom of the stamp.

Once you are happy with the composition, press the third cactus into place using the positioner.

Once your cacti are in place, drag the color out of the lines for all of them.

Then paint the cacti in. Leave white space for highlights on the top of the cacti and in a few small areas throughout it. All the cacti are painted in a different mix of olive green, pine green, jungle green, and African violet.

Once that cacti are painted, take the thin side of your sepia marker and go over some of the lines that may have gotten washed out by painting. Add in darker lines in areas where there would be some shadows as well.

Ink the grass stamp with Dark Brown and place the grass any where you’d like. I wanted it near the bottom of the cacti then near the top of the horizon line.

Dip your brush in water and pinch it off then drag the color up and out from the grass.

Using different areas of the tiny rock stamp, ink the stamp in African Violet and Sepia and place rocks where ever you’d like. Use your positioner again to get them exactly where you want them. Then paint them in.

After everything is in place, paint the ground with the Mocha Brown. Dab the paint into place to create texture and leave white areas. Add a little dark brown to any areas you would like darker.

Now it is time to add the sunset. Begin with the darkest orange, Terra Cotta, and paint that at the horizon line. Vermillion would be next, followed by orange, butterscotch with brilliant yellow last. Mix the colors together slightly as you add the new color to make the color change look more gradual.

The last thing that we need to do, will be to apply some of the orange and yellow onto the cacti as the light is reflecting onto them at sunset.

Once everything is dry, erase your pencil circle and sign and date it. And that’s it!

You can now decide if you want to turn it into a card, give it as a gift, or keep it in your home in a frame! 🙂

Stay tuned next week for a whole new Watercolor Wednesday tutorial.

Check out the step by step video tutorial so you can paint along with me. It will probably help answer any questions you may have as well.

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