December’s Featured Mentor: Paint a Natural Landscape with Heinrich Edgecome

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Paint a Natural Landscape (Trees on the rocks) with December’s Featured Mentor Heinrich Edgecome.

I want to welcome Heinrich Edgecome as our featured mentor for December. Heinrich has been an important mentor in our watercolour community, sharing tips and tutorials to help beginners in their watercolour journey.

For December, Heinrich has shared a full-length video tutorial!

The ‘Featured Mentor’ is an initiative in our group Watercolour Beginners & Supportive Mentors. On selected months, an experienced artist will share a full-length tutorial and challenge for you to complete.

To enter this challenge, watch the tutorial below and upload your creations to this album here:

When sharing your entry, please include some details on how you created your painting and progress shots if you manage to take extra photos! Remember to title your post ‘December Challenge’. At the end of the challenge, Heinrich will select the winners!

Here’s Heinrich’s feature and challenge:

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Posted by Facebook on Friday, December 5, 2014

About The Artist:

Hello, my name is Heinrich Edgecome, but most of you will know me as Riche. Today I would like to show you how I paint my landscapes, with a specific focus on the trees and the rocks [using a store card].

Dawn and I currently live in South Korea, but we will soon move back to South Africa to be with our new grandson, Luca! We are both teachers with a deep passion for art.

 Many years ago, close to the Stone Age, I dabbled a bit in oils, but then life happened. When the big C hit, I decided that it was time to revive my love for sketching and painting. Dawn urged me to start using watercolours, as we didn’t have a lot of space in our apartment. The rest is history. 

I love to do landscapes, but I also have the urge to spike things up by doing something different. I can’t say that I have a specific style, so I love to try a variety of subjects. One of my main interests is color mixing. I try to use different color combinations in each of my paintings. I don’t want to get bogged down with a standard palette, so I usually try a variety of pigments to bring a bit more interest to the finished product.

We certainly found that it isn’t really necessary to have 1000 colours in your palette to create amazing paintings.  Use your basics and play around with colour combinations to bring out your creativity.

Never sell yourself short when it comes to supplies. Through the past few years, we have found that we spent a lot of money on things we didn’t need, and on brushes and paints that were of inferior quality. Buy the best you can afford. Don’t wait until you are ‘better’, you will get better with practice and good supplies.

A lot has been said about paper. Again, buy the best you can afford. For watercolours, I would always recommend 100% cotton. You can paint on ordinary paper, but you will also just have ordinary results. Good quality paper will make you feel like a real artist, and it will serve to encourage you to practice more.

 The bottom line is good quality supplies and practice as much as possible.

If you are into landscapes particularly and watercolour in general, you could join Our Watercolour Journey on YouTube where you will find a large variety of detailed, and mostly, fully narrated demonstrations on our YouTube channel: We would appreciate it if you could join us each week on our channel for some interesting demonstrations and techniques.

Be blessed,

Heinrich & Dawn

Find me on Social Media:

Materials Required:

Canson Heritage Rough 100% Cotton
Silver Black Velvet No 12 Round
Raphael Martora No 4 Round
Chinese Calligraphy Brush
Cut-up store card
Prussian Blue [Antwerp Blue]
Horizon Blue [Manganese Blue]
Quinacridone Magenta [Permanent Rose]
Quinacridone Gold [Indian Yellow]
Yellow Ochre [Raw Sienna]

Reference Photo:

Project Steps:

Step 1: Sky

The paper is taped to a board with ordinary masking tape and the board is flat on the table.

Heinrich uses a spray bottle to slightly wet the sky area and then he starts with Prussian Blue and the Silver Black Velvet no 12 round brush.  The darker blue will be at the top of the sky, and he will gradually work his way down to the horizon line, where the colours will be more muted.   He dips the brush in clean water to soften any hard lines and to help spread the paint.  For variation, he plays around between the Prussian Blue and Horizon Blue.   He adds a touch of Quinacridone Magenta which creates a soft purple in the sky.  It also helps to prevent the Yellow Ochre from turning green.  If you want to use yellow in your sky, it’s a good idea to work from blue to red to yellow.  In that way, the red will help to diffuse the greenish tint you will get from mixing the blue and yellow, and create a natural greyish-purple.   The Horizon Blue is added to the bottom, as it gives a softer, more opaque effect, creating distance.

He regularly dips the brush in water to soften the hard lines.  The paper isn’t very wet, so it will quickly form hard edges if you are not careful.  Use the damp brush to blend and soften the paint.  Make sure that there isn’t too much water on your brush by dabbing it on a paper towel if necessary. 

Step 2: Foreground & Trees

As usual, you start from light to dark.  Heinrich now works wet on dry and uses Quinacridone Gold to start with the lighter side of the tree and he uses the belly of the Raphael Martora no 4 round to dab in suggestions of foliage. He adds the pre-mixed greens from the palette to bring variation into the leaves.  He uses the brush to define the shape of the tree.  Notice that he does not only use greens, he also uses the pre-mixed greenish-brown to add a darker shade to the leaves.  The colours are not all painted solidly, he also uses the belly to create a dry-brush effect which suggests loose leaves hanging from the branches.  He places the trees close to each other, so the tree on the left catches more light, therefore the leaves are lighter in colour.  The middle tree is a touch higher, so the top of the tree will catch the light, while the bottom will be darker.  The tree on the right is mostly in the shadow of the other trees. 

The Chinese calligraphy brush is ideal for fine detail, like the branches.  Here he adds the trunks very lightly with the pre-mixed brown.  These trees are the furthest away, so they are not very detailed, and they are much lighter.  He adds a few shadow lines underneath each tree to ground the tree.  It shouldn’t look like it is floating in mid-air.

 For the main trees, he starts with Yellow Ochre.  He draws the trunks to the desired length, starting from the foliage to the ground.  to give it a natural look, the trunk is wider at the bottom than at the top.  He adds a bit of brown on the right side to create a shadow line.  Let the brown bleed into the Yellow Ochre by itself.  This will help to create a natural, interesting look.  He extends the branches into the foliage with light strokes.  The colours used in these trees are warmer than those of the trees in the back.  This helps to bring them forward.  Again, he grounds the trees and then adds the next layer of foliage wet on dry.

The trees on the right are also in the distance, so again, there isn’t a lot of detail.

Step 3: Creating the Rocks

He uses the corner of the store card to etch in some grass.  It is important to have a stronger pigment foundation here.  If this layer is too watery, the card will have no real effect.  You will get two kinds of lines with the etching.  On the very wet areas, you will find that the card makes a tiny furrow, where the paint will pool, which gives you dark lines.  Where the paint has settled a bit, the card will push the paint to one side, which will expose the layers underneath.  The harder you press, the closer you will come to the actual paper.  Be careful not to press too hard, or you might damage the paper.

Now he uses the broader side of the card and gently swipes the paint to one side, to expose the lighter layers underneath. This creates the illusion of rocks.  This is a much easier way to create rocks rather than painstakingly painting them by hand.  Heinrich felt that his rocks were too consistent, so we recommend that you change direction regularly.  Be careful not to fall into a modulated pattern.

Step 4: Final Details

Now it is time to add the final details.  He adds shadows to the rocks and the trees. He also adds a few more details to the background to give it a bit more life.

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