Here’s my recent watercolour painting project from Geoff Kersey‘s watercolour book Ready to Paint: Watercolour Trees and Woodlands, published by Search Press, and  its accompanying DVD “Autumn Woodland” published by Teaching Art. The book and DVD is aimed at those who already have some experience painting watercolours, although much of the content will also be of interest and value to beginners and more experienced artists alike. The DVD was easy to follow, and its accompanying book is packed from cover to cover with Geoff ‘s watercolor  tips to get the best from your watercolours, as well as many of his drawings, sketches, and excellent examples of his watercolour landscapes.

I love Geoff’s style, and if I carry on learning from his watercolour books and DVD’s I should be able to naturally paint in his style. As I’ve noted in previous posts, almost every one of Geoff Kersey‘s Paintings appears to positively glow with an inner Turneresque light and this particular exercise, Autumn Woodland also does just that. Following the DVD step-by-step is almost like having a one-to-one session of watercolour painting with Geoff Kersey in the room with you. I admire Geoff’s ability at being able to suggest a huge mass of detail in foliage with a few carefully placed brushstrokes, and even though there are 11 colours in the palette for this particular exercise  – This was yet another painting where I just couldn’t wait to get started on this one and learn more of Geoff’s watercolor techniques!

Watercolour Tuition

I chose this particular exercise because it teaches you to use a complimentary colour scheme of purple and orange, experimenting with a warm purplish blue for the sky, and brown and orange tones for most of the foliage. Again, as in other previous Geoff Kersey exercises I wanted to truly understand how he managed to suggest so much detail through his careful placement of warm colours, and created the shapes of the path disappearing into the woods with rough purple shadows.

This project used a palette of 11 colours

  • Rose Madder
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Aureolin
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Raw Sienna
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Cobalt Turquoise
  • Light Red
  • Cadmium Lemon
  • Naples Yellow
  • Viridian
Ready to Paint: Watercolour Trees and Woodlands by Geoff Kersey

Click to view





Ready To Paint: Watercolour Trees And Woodlands - Autumn Woodland DVD by Geoff Kersey

Click to view


Autumn Woodland - Stage1

Click to view

The stages

The demonstration was broken down into thirty three simple-to-follow steps, which began with masking certain areas of the painting for the finer details to be pained in later. After the masking was dry I applied various washes for the sky, clouds and the distant extremities of the woodland. After these had dried, darker washes were the applied working from the background to the middle distance. The middle distance trees where then added, finishing this stage with the two silver birch trees in the foreground. Next, the foreground was built up with layers of various washes to create the light, shadows, boulders and stones, and the brighter areas of foliage picked out with opaque cadmium lemon. Finally a purple wash was used to define the path surface and the slight banks either side of it, and some dry-brushed naples yellow to pick out leaves on the ground catching the light.

Autumn Woodland by Ian McKendrick

Click to view

What I learned

All-in-all Autumn Woodland was another great educational exercise to work through. Laying down the sky wash was quick and simple to do, as was laying down the darker middle scene washes which didn’t prove too difficult either. Unfortunately I was a little carried away with these washes, and after realising this later on in the painting I had to lift out some of the wash in the sky to recreate the soft glow through the trees at the end of the path.

I took my time to build up the trees in the middle distance, using dry brush strokes to suggest the twigs at the extremity of the branches, and the birch tree were fun to paint too.

Defining shapes by the clever use of shadows

Geoff’s instructions for detailing the trees, the leaves, and the bark on the birch trees were very easy to follow, and gave very good results indeed.

I’ve included here two of the stages of my version of Geoff Kersey‘s Autumn woodland so you can see how my version of the  painting developed.

The final result

I really enjoyed painting this Geoff Kersey  watercolour “Autumn Woodland”, and was immensely pleased with the final result, it is a striking painting and one I’ll be proud to hang on my wall!

Links to Geoffs book and Autumn Woodland DVD

[table id=1 filter=”Watercolour Trees And Woodlands” hide_columns=”4,5″ show_rows=”1,2,3,6″ responsive=”all” /] My watercolour book library here>

[table id=2 filter=”Autumn Woodland DVD” hide_columns=”4,5″ show_rows=”1,2,3,6″ responsive=”all” /] My watercolour DVD library here>


Next steps

If you’ve painted this Geoff Kersey watercolour demonstration yourself, or would like to offer your feedback then please share it with us using the comments below.