Leana Fischer of IG: @mayweflydesign, is a watercolor artist, designer, and founder of May We Fly, a stationery and gift brand devoted to all things delightful. She opened the online doors back in 2014 as a place to share her artwork with family and friends, and slowly but surely, it grew into a full-fledged career. Her aim is to create products that celebrate simple pleasures and add beauty to daily life. She loves finding wonder in the little things, and is most inspired by simply walking out the door into the world around her.
In celebration of Thanksgiving, she'll be taking us through her process of creating an autumn landscape using watercolor paint! Check out her step-by-step process below so you can re-create this charming fall painting.
Take it away, Leana!
Colors used (Holbein):
Permanent Green No 2
Arches 140# cold press paper
Winsor and Newton Professional Sable brushes, #12, #6, and #2
Before starting a painting I like to get my palette mixed and ready to go. These are the colors I worked with for this painting:
HOW TO PAINT AN AUTUMN LANDSCAPE:
With a very light pencil line, draw your horizon line across the middle of the page. Then, using a large round brush, apply clear water across the top half of you page. Work your sky color into the wet area with broad, sweeping strokes.
As you near the tree line, switch to your yellow color, and lightly dab the tops of the trees across the length of the page. The water should spread out the color to create nice soft, blurred edges.
Since we will be creating a reflection for this scene, you will rotate your page, and repeat these steps on the bottom half of the page. I decided to leave a misty area along the edge of the water. To do this, simply leave that part of your page clear.
Once the wet layer dries, you will go back in with your tree color to enhance the tree line. First, put a bit of clear water over the trees so that the color blends nicely. Once the water is down, dab in your yellows and oranges into it, leaving some of the first layer showing through.
Rotate your painting and repeat in the reflected area. I like to use a slightly lighter color when creating the reflection.
Once the second layer is dry, you can begin to add in some of the darker pine trees. I like to use a flat brush for this, using the end of the brush to create the simple pine trees. You can create more pointed pine trees by using the tip of a medium-sized brush, such as a #6.
You can then create the tree trunks, using light brown and a small brush (I’m using a #2 here). Since you’re creating a reflection, pull the trunks all the way down across the edge of the bank, so they meet the reflected trees below. That way you can ensure that the reflection is a direct mirror image.
With your small brush, lightly draw in the the edge of the bank across the length of the page. I gave mine a slight curve as it fades into the distance.
This step is about adding contrast and detail. Use your darker greens and browns to enhance the tree trunks, add small pine trees into the background, give a bit of texture to the leaves, and darken the edge of the bank.
Remember to do this in your reflected area as well!
Finally, you can add a few little details in, such as a dock, birds, and grass.
CHECK OUT THE FINISHED PIECE BELOW:
I hope you enjoy creating your autumn landscape. Once you have some practice with these techniques, try and use them to create a scene of your own!
Have a question about this process? Comment below and we'll do our best to answer you!
To see more of Leanna's work, visit or contact here: