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How to Paint Grass With Watercolors

Updated July 20, 2017

Landscapes are the most popular genre of watercolour painting. You can create lush outdoor areas that are entirely imagined, or celebrate a favourite location within your own reality. Some artists find themselves a bit stuck when approaching the grass portion of their landscape. It's actually quite easy, and when mastered, will allow the remainder of your painting to spring to life.

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  1. Decide which portion of your painting will contain grass. The entire surface could be filled with grass, or perhaps a particular area within your landscape.

  2. Squeeze a variety of green, blue, brown and yellow watercolour paint onto your mixing palette.

  3. Moisten your medium round brush and scoop up a generous portion of yellow paint. Keeping the brush very wet, continue to sweep the yellow paint across the grassy part of the watercolour paper. This is the base colour, or "wash."

  4. Dip the same brush, still moist and containing the yellow paint, into the green paint on your mixing palette. Take very little green paint, as it will be used to add depth and shadows to the grass. Sweep the brush along the lowest and deepest ground areas of the grass, carefully blending with the previous yellow. Allow the surface to completely dry before continuing.

  5. Dip the small round brush into the water and immediately tap it into the green and blue paint, so that the two colours are combined on the moistened brush tip. Using quick and varied linear strokes, highlight particular bunches of blades by scoring the green and blue mixture in the direction the blades might stand. Some blades are diagonal, curled, and also straight. Allow part of the yellow wash to be visible, as this will create dimension.

  6. Finish the grass portion of your painting by creating a nice deep mixture of green, brown and yellow. Transfer this colour to shade the various blades and bunches of grass, as well as layer on top of any areas that require depth. Use the small flat brush, dry, for detailing and the medium round brush, moistened, to cover larger areas. Note that watercolours will blend when moistened, and can not replace previous colours.

  7. Tip

    Use various colours of ink pen to draw random crosshatched marks and lines to allow the colours to really pop.

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Things You'll Need

  • Watercolour paper
  • Watercolour paint
  • Medium round brush
  • Small flat brush
  • Mixing palette
  • Jar of water

About the Author

A Chicago native, Jennifer Volino has been a self-employed artist and multimedia performer since 1992. She regularly hosts fine arts exhibits at her art gallery, also writing and producing theatrical productions throughout Chicago. Volino holds a Master of Fine Arts in painting from the University of Illinois.

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