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  • Writer's pictureBrittany

DIY Watercolor Red Barn

I have been getting back into watercolor lately, since the quarantine began. I have always loved painting and drawing, but have put it aside once I got married and had a job and eventually had children. I love art, but it is time-consuming for this mama who is always consumed with two toddlers running about. Starting watercolor for me has been therapeutic in a way and let’s my mind forget about all of the overwhelming things happening in my life right now.

I started off doing small watercolor projects - mostly greeting cards. Then my aunt sent me some painting supplies that she wasn’t using and asked for a piece of art in return. That really sparked a drive in me to create something. I wanted to do something simple and easy for me to paint. I landed on a little bird. I’ve wanted to have some bird paintings hanging around our home so this was great practice for me.

Now I’ll let you all in on a little trick. Even though I took drawing class and drew a lot when I was in high school, I literally suck at drawing correct proportions and it takes me forever to accurately draw something from a photo. I do not have time to really do that and I get easily frustrated over the whole process. Recently, we bought an iPad Air and Apple Pencil for something creative we have been working on. We also purchased the Procreate app for it and I was hooked on it. While I was trying to figure out how to paint this bird for my aunt, I was thinking about how convenient layers are in Procreate and how I wish I could trace something onto watercolor paper (which is thick) while the lines would be still light. And then it hit me, I could just trace the picture of the bird on Procreate and then lighten the trace and print it out on the watercolor paper. It took a little tinkering to get it right, but it was definitely less time consuming than drawing out a bird by eye. After I printed the bird out, it only took me two hours tops, if that, to paint it. I was super excited after that and worked on another painting for another aunt using the same technique and it was so easy.

So now, I’ve decided that I want to show you guys a watercolor that I did using this technique. I wanted this to be a simple picture that wasn’t too complex, because I am also not a professional painter. But I also wanted to have something that you all could download, print, and paint for yourselves!

So our picture of choice: a red barn. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to paint. At first I wanted it to be a flower, but then I wanted something to represent Maine because I have fond memories of the Maine landscape but I couldn’t find anything that was speaking to me about Maine. I finally settled on a red barn because David loves red barns and Jonathan and I have been talking about having a barn on our property if we ever buy a house. It took a little digging finding the right picture of a red barn, but I landed on one picture. I took creative license and left a couple of elements out of the final painting, but I really love how it turned out!

Here is the picture and the trace on Procreate. You can just click on the picture and it will take you to a page where you can download it. Be advised that when I went to print this out, it didn’t print out exactly like a 5x7 so I needed to draw some lines on the right of the trace to make it the right size.

Here is a list of supplies that I used:

Watercolor paper trimmed to an 8x10

No. 2, 4, 8 round brushes

Paint palette

Kuretake 36 watercolor palette

Drawing board


Glass with water

After printing out the picture on the water color page, I cut it down to a little bigger than a 5x7 rectangle so I could tape it down onto the drawing board.

After taping, I started out by painting the sky. I mixed the indigo with some white and watered it down. I then painted the barn. I used a mixture cadmium red, red, burnt sienna, and raw umber deep to get the rust color red. I really had to play around with it to get the right color. My knowledge of color theory is very little, but it’s something I plan on learning more about. When I needed to add shadows to the barn, I just deepened the rust color with raw umber deep.

I painted the grass, roof, and started the trees next. I used a mix of the greens and yellow colors that I listed in the color palette (see below) to paint the grass and I kept coming back after it dried to add some depth to it. I used black and white for the roof. After I painted the trees, I painted the fence line with raw umber deep.

Finally I painted the ground behind the fence and just added touch-ups to the trees and grass and voila we have completed our painting! This only took me two hours to do, and it probably would have taken less time if I didn't have our littles to entertain as well.

Here are some close-ups of the brushes that I used as well as the glass that I used for water. I’ll have linked images down below for you to view. I definitely enjoyed using these brushes to paint!

I also put together a color palette with the base colors that I used for this painting, as well as all of the colors that I used to mix the base colors and to lighten and darken them. I hope you find this helpful! I love having specific reference colors when I'm trying to figure out which colors I need.

I hope you all have enjoyed this watercolor DIY tutorial! I really enjoyed painting it and I will definitely be uploading more watercolor outlines for you all to use sometime soon. Thank you for reading!

With love,


Here are the links to the products mentioned above!

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