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How to Make a Rainforest Painting Part 2

On Monday, we started a really cool mixed media piece based on an article about saving a specific rainforest. Today we will be finishing and improving this piece, to make it your own and more interesting.

What you will need

Washing over the Stone Wall with Grey

Start by heavily watering down the black watercolor paint and spreading it out very thinly, so that it looks light grey. Let the grey dry for a good ten minutes before adding the next coat.

Building up Color on the Stone Wall

Start taking more black and add small darker grey rough spots along the rocks. I achieved this effect by watering down the grey, dripping it onto the paper, drying the brush, and moving the water around with the side of the brush to make it brush over the rough spots of the paper, creating a jagged and rough looking edge.

How to do a Light Wash of Blue on the Sky

This part is very tricky, since the lightest thing needs to be in the back of the picture. Pick up the tiniest bit of blue possible, and water it down heavily. Put it down on the paper, and if it still seems too blue, use a paper towel to blot off the color. A dark sky will immediately bring down the painting, and by that point your options are to paint over it with white watercolor or throw it away.

Adding Shadows to the Stone Wall

Use the black watercolor paint and wipe the dark over the red pieces on the stone. This will make it look muddy and gross, which is good for old cave style paintings.

Defining the Distance in the Rainforest Painting

Paint the trees in the very very back a nice dark greenish brown. It can be just a mound of variation, as these trees are so far away that we wouldn’t be able to see them anyway.

Adding Blobby Trees

Using different shades of green that get dramatically lighter closer to the stone wall, make little blobs to create the outline of the tree. Occasionally, have a piece poking out here or there for a really tall tree or branch.

Adding Clouds to the Rainforest Painting

Using a dark blue that is also watered down heavily, create a sort of shadow in the sky. It shouldn’t be too strong, just like a suggestion of a cloud.

Adding Depth to the Leaves

Use a more yellowish green and a darker green and apply them to the leaves to give them more shape and make them more interesting.

Highlighting the Trees and Leaves

Add splashes of lighter and darker colors to add more depth to the individual clumps of trees. Be careful not to overblend your colors.

Letting it Dry

Let the painting sit overnight to completely and totally dry. This is important, since we will be switching to acrylic paint and it needs to be dry in order to paint over.

Adding the Macaw

Paint a blob of red and add blue streaks for the tips of the wings. Add a white face and a black beak. Use flying macaw photos for a reference.

Optional Clear Coat

If you really want to save the watercolor from damage later on, spray it with a good strong clear coat to protect it. Let it dry outside for about an hour before moving it in, so the fumes don’t make your house smell bad.


And your rainforest painting is done. Happy Crafting!

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