Watercolour artwork of horses in autumn landscape

WALK THE HORSES: Watercolour Autumn landscape tutorial. Step by Step


I painted this scene after a walk with my dogs nearby my house. It was a nice sunny evening when I reached the path nearby the horse’s farm. A girl was walking with two horses covered with white cover. The low sun gave the scene a wonderful magic atmosphere. I could not resist painting the scene. This was one of these beautiful moments:

let's get started



  • 46 x 61 cm (18” x 24”)  300 grams Cold Pressed paper.


  • Winsor Yellow, Winsor Orange, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Perylene Maroon, Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Cerulean Blue, Cobalt Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Indigo and Permanent Sap Green.


  • Round No.1, No.2 and No.6 good pointed.
  • Large Flat 55 mm to wet the paper and to apply the first washes.
  • No.12 synthetic hard flat brush to lift out the colour.


  • Saral transfer paper and transparent paper (tracing paper)
  • Masking fluid and Natural Sponge.



  1. Copy and transfer the drawing onto your watercolour paper.
  2. Protect the sides with masking tape.
Watercolour autumn landscapes with horses. Step 1
Walk the Horses Step 1


  1. Spatter some masking fluid on to the treetops with an old toothbrush.  Before the drops of masking fluid dry tap them with your finger so that they change their shape.
  2. Now screw some kitchen paper into a small ball allowing some edges to hang loose.  Soak those edges in masking fluid and stipple the top section of the watercolour paper. This will create spontaneous textures. Let it dry completely. You will see this effect better in later steps.
Watercolour autumn landscapes with horses. Step 1




  1. Protect the edges with masking tape if you haven’t already done so. Then with the large flat brush wet the entire paper with clean water.
  2. With the paper still wet, sponge in some light Ultramarine Blue on all the top section of the paper and ensure that the blue reaches both sides of the paper.
  3. Wait another minute and once the shine has gone off the paper but still moist sponge in some Cadmium Yellow to suggest leaves. Take care not to get too many hard edges. If you feel the paper is too dry, then let it dry completely and start again. Do not overwork with the yellow.
Watercolour autumn landscapes with horses. Step 3
Walk the Horses Step 3


  1. Fill the No.6 round brush with a little Ultramarine Blue or Cobalt Blue and paint the path, the clothes on the figure and the left side of the blanket of the horse on the left. Add more colour to the end of the path.
  2. Paint the shadow side (left) of the fence posts and the shadows cast by the horses.
  3. Also, paint the small tree trunk to the left in the background and then soften the upper and lower edges.
Watercolour autumn landscapes with horses. Step 4
Walk the Horses Step 4 by Maria Balcells – l-j


  1. Fill the sponge with Yellow Ochre and stipple the yellows of the leaves on the trees, taking care to leave some empty spaces. Let it all dry.
  2. Repeat the same procedure with Raw Sienna and Winsor Orange.
  3. Also, paint some suggested foliage and grasses on the ground on each side of the path with the same colours.
Watercolour autumn landscapes with horses. Step 5a
Watercolour autumn landscapes with horses. Step 5a
Watercolour autumn landscapes with horses. Step 5
Walk the Horses Step 5b



  1. Mix some Permanent Sap Green with Transparent Yellow to give a light green and paint the areas to the left of the large trees, between the horses, along the right edge of the path and beyond the path in the right middle background suggesting some foliage or shrubs. (see photo below).
  2. With a foliage brush or sponge stipple some small leaves on the trees with the same colour. Allow it to all dry again.
Watercolour autumn landscapes with horses. Step 6
Walk the Horses Step 6



  1. Make three independent mixes of Permanent Sap Green, Viridian and Ultramarine Blue and suggest some foliage each side of the background trees using each of these mixes and taking care not to paint over the figure or the horses. (See photo below)
  2. With the paper still wet mix an Indigo and randomly drop some colour into the darkest areas. Allow the colours to blend.
  3. With a No.12 flat brush lift out some colour suggesting tree trunks in the background. You do not need to do it necessarily as in my painting. Look at your colours and decide where the trunks would best fit.
  4. Now lift out the colour from the fence posts and rails if they have been covered with paint. Allow it all to dry completely.
Watercolour autumn landscapes with horses. Step 7
Walk the Horses Step 7


  1. Paint the main tree trunks with the first wash with any pale colour that you have used previously. Take care to paint each tree with a different colour so that you can distinguish which tree is which.


  1. Do the same for the branches on the trees taking care not to erase the small areas of foliage. We just want to suggest branches at this point, we do not want to paint them fully. Depending on the amount of foliage that there will suggest where you want to place these branches.  In the next step, you can decide which branches to paint and what value to give them, let it dry completely.


  1. Paint the shadows of the horses and trees with Ultramarine Blue and Cobalt Violet or Cobalt Blue mixed with Permanent Alizarin Crimson.


NOTE: You may give the tree trunks other colours as well, (see photo below), I used a very light wash of Cobalt Violet and I also added a little Cerulean Blue. I have also painted the right tree with an Olive Green made from mixing Yellow Ochre and Permanent Sap Green, before the paper dried I added some darker tones with Permanent Sap Green.

Watercolour autumn landscapes with horses. Step 8
Walk the Horses Step 8




  1. In this step, we add some colour to the tree trunks and their corresponding right side branches.  To do this, we mix Olive green (Yellow Ochre + Permanent Sap Green and/or Raw Sienna + Permanent Sap Green), but you may use any colour that you wish.
  2. Start with the tree on the right of the group and define its shape.  First, fill the gap between the trees at the lower section with a dark green.  Now paint the trunk taking care not to cover all the foliage. To do this use a good fine pointed brush and paint around the leaves (negative painting) at random points taking care not to use too strong values.
  3. Do the same with the branches.
Watercolour autumn landscapes with horses. Step 9
Walk the Horses Step 9

STEP 10:

  1. Now paint the rest of the tree trunks one by one, wet on wet first with a light Olive Green (Yellow Ochre + Permanent Sap Green and/or Raw Sienna + Permanent Sap Green), and then while the paper is drying (still moist) add other colours such as Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Blue or Perylene Maroon but always in a moderate way.
  2. One colour unifies all the trees in an ensemble; this is the Olive Green. Allow the colours to blend into each other and use the brush to get a little texture.  Also, take care to alternate the dominant colour in each tree trunk so that you get a nice contrast.  Finally, use a dark Indigo or Burnt Umber to paint the darkest areas of the tree trunks.  Use the darker values such as Perylene Green or Indigo only towards the base of each trunk.  Allow it to dry completely.
Watercolour autumn landscapes with horses. Step 10 a
Walk the Horses Step 10 a


  1. Once dry fill the sponge or the foliage brush with a mix of Cadmium Orange and Winsor Yellow, and randomly stipple some colour into the leaves if necessary, without overworking.
  2. Now paint the shadow side (left) of the fence posts with Perylene Maroon.
  3. Allow it to dry completely.
Watercolour autumn landscapes with horses. Step 10 b
Walk the Horses Step 10 b



STEP 11:

  1. Now paint the body of the horses with Yellow Ochre and the clothes of the young woman with Ultramarine Blue or Cobalt Blue. Let it dry.


Watercolour autumn landscapes with horses. Step 11b
Walk the Horses Step 11 b


STEP 12:

  1. Remove the masking fluid.
  2. Soften the edges of the masked areas with clean water and paint in some areas of it a little additional foliage. Depending on the size of the open spaces created by the masking fluid you may decide to show an open blue sky rather than foliage if you do then use a pale Cobalt Blue.
  3. If necessary stipple in some Winsor Yellow and Cadmium Orange. Do not overwork, you can always add more once the painting is complete if you wish.
  4. Now paint the horses with Burnt Sienna and add some Perylene Maroon to the darkest points.
  5. Add a glaze to the young woman’s clothes with a new wash of Ultramarine Blue and Indigo, taking care to leave some whites on the light side if necessary. (Check your values).
  6. Paint the blankets on the horses with Cobalt Blue and while still wet add some shadow to the left side with Perylene Red.
  7. Paint the young woman’s hair with Yellow Ochre and Raw Sienna. Once dry paint the shadows with Burnt Siena with a touch of Ultramarine Blue.
  8. Paint the final details such as the horses’ hooves with blues and browns.
  9. Finally, take a last look and check the shadow and foliage values. Add some last details if necessary. Finished!
Watercolour autumn landscapes with horses. Step 12
Walk the Horses Step 12 b by Maria Balcells – l -j