external image 0.pngSunset
external image Sunrise_Watercolor_Size_5_x4_.jpgSunrise
This is a simple step-by-step on how to finally create a beautiful sunrise or sunset with watercolors. Remember that practice is key with watercolors, so don't make this your first and last painting!
Copy Paper (or really any plain white PAPER [this technique will not work on canvas!])
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Prang Watercolor Set (make sure it has the blues, purple, orange and red)
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Paintbrush (You only need one, but if you want you can have multiple sizes of brushes)
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Kleenexes (Paper Towels work also, but they soak up more water than needed)
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News Paper
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Cup of Water
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Set up your work area.
Lay down News Paper on a clear table, because watercolors are a messier paint. Make sure that your cup of water is close to watercolor set, so you aren’t making a mess. A wad of Kleenexes are also needed close by. Lay your Copy Paper on the Newspaper and tape about a half inch inside the paper. This will create a natural border for your art, and when the paper is drying, it won’t begin to roll or fold in because of the water.

Prepare the paints.
Adding a drop of water to the paints will get them prepped for use. Watercolors always need to be super liquidy. The less water the deeper the color, and with skies this value scale is important to keep in mind. IT IS NOT NECESSARY to add water to colors you wouldn’t associate with a sky, such as: green, brown, and black.
Start with a base color.
A base color is the color starting out the painting. This is what helps make the whole painting connect, color-wise. For sunrises, because it is the beginning of light, use yellow. For sunsets, because is it the beginning of darkness, use orange. You want to use a lot of water on these colors, because it is to change your plain white paper into the best sky color. Dip your paintbrush into the water and immediately after, mix with your chosen color. Starting at the top of your page; spread out the color with horizontal strokes across the paper, going from one side to another. Repeat if your brush begins to run dry of paint, until the whole page is the universal color.
Start with your first color beginning at the bottom of the page.
Lighter colors are always important to use at the beginning of any artwork, it will keep from changing the colors of any other color. If you are doing a sunset, a deep orange to almost red color is better to use. If you are doing a sunrise, a peach color to more yellow orange works. First dip your paintbrush into water, pressing brush to the inside of the container to let some excess water drip out. Depending on how deep (dark) you want your colors to appear. The less water, the deeper color. You can mix your colors, but since watercolors aren’t visible on brush hairs, check the color on the newspaper. Orange+ little red+ little water= perfect sunset color. Yellow+ very little red+ lots of water= perfect sunrise color. This color will take up about 15% of the page.

Second color layered upon the first color used.
This step is easy because you’re adding more of the darker color used with the original beginning color. So now the equation of paint is: sunset= Orange+ red+ little water and sunrise= yellow+ little red+ little water. Remember to have the colors that are layered mixed a little at the top and bottom so that the colors look like they are making a gradual transition instead of a blocky colored sky. This amount of color will take up about 25% of the page.

Third color is painted on above the second.
Basically what you are doing with this step is doing what STEP FIVE had done, which is using less water and more of the darker colors again. This color should take up about 10% of the page. EQUATION: sunset=orange+ red+ water+ DABBING WATER FILLED BRUSH ON TISSUE; sunrise= yellow+ red+ water+ DABBING WATER FILLED BRUSH ON TISSUE. (Getting rid of the extra water on the tissue makes the colors appear darker.)
The blue part of the sky is painted on the paper.
Blue is going to be the color that you are going to be using. The only way you can make this color DARKER (sunset painting) or LIGHTER (sunrise painting) is by the amount of water you use on your brush. (It is possible to mix colors, such as a black or white to change the color, but this causes the colors to get ‘dull’ or less realistic.) When using this color, you will start at the TOP of the page and paint down, starting out with little water and ending with more water than started. Painting a sunset, use as little water as possible with the blue. Painting a sunrise you want to use enough water that the blue isn’t as deep as when it is dry (check this by looking at the palette, or paints on the Prang set, and noting how deep the color is.) Sweep the brush horizontally from edge to edge. Every layer of color your make with your brush, though, add a little more water. (Be careful! If the color is lighter than the layer underneath it, the affect is loss.)

Added affects to the painting.
If you would like to make some clouds appear in your sky, you need a fresh batch of water, a clean brush, and tissue. Take the clean brush full of water and sweep across the desired layer of color, NOT THE WHOLE PAGE. (This will ‘melt’ the painting, making it look messy.) Using the tissue, dab at the watered down space. Do it in patches in “cloud” shapes. Press harder around the top edges, so that more water is soaked up, giving the clouds a “shadowed” effect.

Letting the painting dry.
Keep the painting taped down on the newspaper as it dries so it doesn’t curl in or become wrinkly. You can judge by the look of the paint whether it is dry or not, or even placing a hand to feel if it is still moist, but the best idea is just to let it dry overnight or even a whole day. Remember if you decide to check the painting’s dryness by touch, check the lighter areas where more water was used for the color. The darker blue area will most likely dry faster than the lighter because it used less water.
Adriann Dunn

Listening to music really helps the creative juices flow, so set up your Ipod nearby to keep you entertained.
At the bottom of the page, the horizon, you can make a bit of a scene, like mountains or an ocea.
REMEMBER TO KEEP THE PAINTING CLEAN. Don't let the different colors blend too much.
If you decide to use a different kind of water colors, such as tubes, this style of painting will probably not work.