Painting a barn with watercolors

Today, I went to Stella Niagara in Lewiston for a painting class. The theme for today’s class was snowy barn scenes. The instructor, Virginia Kelley, plans on putting the instructions on wikiHow, under the title “How to paint a snowy barn.” It is currently a work in progress.

the initial sketch, done in graphite on watercolor paper

The first step in this project is to draw a square on the watercolor paper. Then draw an X and then draw a vertical line. The center of the square will be the spot where all of those lines intersect. On the square, which is the front of the barn, you can draw a door. A barn door would be very wide, much wider than the door to a house.

After you have your square, draw a roof. Virginia told us about two types of roofs that are common in barns. They are the gable roof, which appears to be pitched or peaked, and the gambrel room, which has two different slopes and is also known as a “barn roof.”

The next step is to finish the building. Figure out where your vanishing point is and draw your lines at angles. The vanishing point is the spot on the horizon where the receding parallel lines seem to disappear. It is one of the elements that makes a drawing, a painting, or a photograph appear three-dimensional.

Once you finish your building, you can add other structures, including a side building, a shed, and a silo.

After finishing the structures, you can add other things to your painting. I included trees and a fence. Other people added animals and birds, and one person added an ice skater.

Here is the sky, painted in. It is a late evening sky. Notice the little spots. That’s where I shook the salt.

At this point, I was finished with drawing and was ready to begin painting. I began by painting the sky.While I was painting the sky, I decided that I wanted to give it a snowy effect, so I sprinkled salt on the painting. The salt needs to be added when the paint looks as if it is glistening. The salt takes pigment away from the painting, which will be more apparent after the painting dries.

Here, you can start to see the effect of the salt. It looks as if large flakes of snow are falling.

I then painted the buildings, leaving most of the roofs white, with some indication that there is roof underneath all of that snow. The deciduous trees were depicted as bare trees, and the evergreens were painted in several shades of green. As for the ground, it is not a solid white because snow tends to reflect the sky and the structures and the trees. 

Here is the completed painting.

I used two paintbrushes for the entire painting. One was a round brush and the other was a very tiny brush for details. Below are a few of my classmates’ paintings.

The painting with the skater on a winter’s day.

This painting looks very snowy. A day to stay indoors and drink cocoa, to be sure.

A barn in the woods.

Next week: stay tuned! We are painting flowers with a black background.The black background will be acrylic paint; hence, it will be mixed media.

9 thoughts on “Painting a barn with watercolors”

  1. The snowy barn looks so pretty. Love the paintings… I like to draw and can imagine how much fun you have must have had painting lovely piece.

  2. Thanks a ton for sharing this! I was just thinking what I should do for my daughter’s birthday cake and this is just the thing. We have booked one of the best San Francisco venues. I’ll just ask my decorator to do the SpongeBob theme for the party.

  3. love all the paintings;; and thank you for the tip about using the salt -i need to start painting (painted so long ago that i dont recall)..your posts continue to inspire me and now i need to act

  4. Where do you want to go today?

    The paintings show that there is a lot of talent around Lewiston. Do you live far from there?
    My interest in painting got lost when I got interested in tools. Now my art will come out of a camera. Looking forward to seeing your flower.
    Blog on!

  5. Great demonstration of your artistic talent. I have take a few of these painting courses (to no avail). Glad to see someone gets something out of them.

  6. That’s a great demonstration of the painting process. And it looks really pretty! I find watercolours tend to have a mind of their own, which freaks me out a bit. But I do want to pick up a few tricks this year (hopefully)!

  7. Lovely paintings, Alice. I wish I have more patience. I think I must have attention problems. I signed onto a year long online art class last year. Was gung ho for awhile. Then I just struck out on my own exploring and looking at others' art and doing it on my own. I haven't been able to get back to the lessons. They'll be up for another year. I guess I could download them, too.


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