Loved & Learned: Kolbie Blume’s Wilderness Watercolor Landscapes, Chapter 1: Skies

After completing Kolbie Blume’s 10 Day #PaintingtheWilderness Challenge, I loved her easy yet magical tutorials so much that I immediately bought her book, Wilderness Watercolor Landscapes. If you enjoyed the challenge and want more tutorials, the book delivers! I’m going to continue the “loved and learned” process from the 10-day challenge for my paintings from the book.

So far, I have completed the tutorials from the first chapter of the book, featuring skies. Here are the paintings I did, all based on Blume’s tutorials from the book, and what I loved and learned from each one. 

Big Dipper

December 2, 2021 (just a few days after completing the 10-day challenge!) 

Colors: DS Payne’s Gray, DS Indanthrone Blue, DS French Ultramarine, WN Permanent White gouache (for stars)

Tape: Blick Artist Tape

Learned: 

  • Need more practice with trees; the way I stroked them out in a zigzag pattern led to blunt tips where I wanted elegant points.
  • The imperfection in my paper is getting worse. [Note: This is an Etchr Perfect Sketchbook. I did contact Etchr about the issue, and they sent a replacement sketchbook.]
  • Don’t get precious just because there’s no deadline – churn ‘em out like you did in the 10 day challenge. Done > Perfect

Loved: 

  • Star splatter
  • Star glow
  • Deep gradient (two layers)

Desert Sunset

December 3, 2021

Colors: DS Pyrrol Scarlet, Quin Gold, Indanthrone Blue, Transparent Brown Oxide, Payne’s Gray; SH Purple Magenta, Pure Yellow

Tape: Blick Artist Tape

Learned:

  • #10 brush is actually fairly small for a big gradient like this, it would be less streaky with a larger brush.
  • Don’t be afraid to leave more or darkest shade on top.
  • It’s hard to make consistently oval shapes with the pointed brush – need more practice.

Loved:

  • Sky colors and blends are so vibrant!
  • The purple made from Transparent Brown Oxide + Purple Magenta = really nice
  • Hint of blue at the top

Cotton Candy Sky

December 14, 2021

Colors: Quin Gold, Pyrrol Scarlet, Prussian Blue, Opera Pink, Payne’s Gray (all Daniel Smith)

Tape: Scotch Expressions Washi Tape

Learned: 

  • Hard to get enough pigment with a mop brush; best for a light first wash
  • So easy to go overboard with a sky mix and make it all gray
  • Pyrrol Scarlet is more orange than the book’s recommended red, Permament Red, so my result is more orangey overall. I think I might have preferred a bluer sunset with Quin Rose. 
  • Again, I overdid the trees going over them twice because I didn’t like them the first time, so you can see two layers. 

Loved:

  • Clouds – especially the little burst of fluorescent, Opera Pink-tinted orange at the bottom
  • Simultaneous painting method of sky and reflection; so much easier for me than doing one-at-a-time, which activates my ADHD boring
  • Varied tree sizes
  • Making the lake look ripply was a good idea.

Gemstone Northern Lights

December 15, 2021

This one is more “inspired by” the book; the next assignment is Northern Lights, but I didn’t actually follow the  tutorial. Because I had a little mini Daniel Smith dot card with four Primatek gemstone colors, I came up with a composite design based on several photos to use all four colors. 

Colors: Amethyst Genuine, Rhodonite Genuine, Jadeite Genuine, Amazonite Genuine, Indanthrone Blue, Lemon Yellow (all Daniel Smith)

Tape: Kawaii Pen Store Washi Tape

Learned: 

  • Snow-covered trees got a bit muddy; may it would have been better to have different gradies of white to gray rather than consistent amethyst-tinged white
  • Don’t let gouache go on too watery or everything will get chalky.
  • 1-3 larger stars with glow might have been nice. 
  • Watch tape application: Side isn’t straight

Loved: 

  • Abstract colors & patterns of lights; I didn’t intend the middle to look like a heart but I like it. 
  • Literal sparkle in the snow and sky from the amethyst gemstone paint. It didn’t look like much going on, but it’s pretty fabulous dry. 
  • Trees really turn it from an abstract into a landscape. 

Blood Moon

January 12, 2021

Colors: Pyrrol Scarlet, Transparent Red Oxide, Payne’s Gray

Tape: Kawaii Pen Store Washi Tape

Learned: 

  • Don’t lean on the paper with your painty hands! I got a big splotch of black right in the middle of the moon while I was lifting the glow out. I got most of it up and covered some of it, but still, not good!
  • DS Payne’s Gray really has a tendency to form thick, black lines on the edges of where it’s bloomed or picked up. 
  • Don’t have to follow the tute exactly; lifting seems just as good a technique for glow as gouache. 

Loved: 

  • Shape of moon shadows; I used a reference!
  • “Glow” around the moon looks like creepy clouds
  • Top of the tallest tree has a really nice shape

In general, I really found these fun – just as fun as the 10-day challenge, if not more so. I’m super enjoying having the book to work through. I like having tangible assignments to do. It’s also helpful for me to have the blog to post them to for accountability and to see them all together. I hope it’s also helpful to you to see what a fellow student makes, learns, and loves! 

1 thought on “Loved & Learned: Kolbie Blume’s Wilderness Watercolor Landscapes, Chapter 1: Skies”

  1. It’s fun to read your comments! I’ve had the same trajectory as you—Kolbie’s challenge first and then her book. (And then Claire Giordano!) I found the Loved and Learned reflection to be super helpful. I also like to have “assignments” to do, and found as I worked through the book that I was more and more able to adapt the projects my own way. By having the projects in the sketchbook, I was able to easily see my progress. Enjoy the rest of the book—I’m looking forward to her book on seascapes.

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