Let’s Paint Christmas Birch Watercolor!


The setting sun beckoned my company for one last moment. The clouds declared a mood, consecrating these last seconds. I was ordained a devotee. Such was my walk at dusk.

This painting was inspired by a gorgeous sunset just the other day. You would not believe how easy it is to paint this scene. You can do it yourself in just a few steps. Let me show you!

Watercolor Winter Birch

Step 1: Draw 3 birch trees in pencil starting almost at the bottom of the watercolor paper and all the way to the right side. Next, take a .05 black micron pen and outline the trunk, some branches, and the lenticels (black horizontal marks on trunk) of the birch trees. Or you can use any permanent black tip marker.

Watercolor Winter Birch

Step 2: Take a wax resist stick or white crayon and color over the birch trunks. Why are we doing this? Because our paper is white and we are going to paint over the trees and we want our trees to remain white. The paper I used is hot press, so it is smooth and works well with the wax resist stick. Using a wax resist on cold press paper (textured) may not cover the entire trunk. To know the difference between hot press and cold press paper click here.

Watercolor Winter Birch

Step 3: Using cerulean blue, paint the clouds in the sky in a big “S” pattern.

Watercolor Winter Birch

Step 4: Paint a few cad yellow patches. This is actually the sunset sky peaking through the opening in the clouds.

Watercolor Winter Birch

Step 5: Take some cad orange and apply it near the horizon. I also took a small amount of that orange and added it to the middle yellow patch. While both are still wet touch the very bottom of the orange and yellow patches with very little alizarin crimson. Let them blend together.

Watercolor Winter Birch

Step 6: Using cerulean blue again, paint the bottom of the page under the trees (snow) and paint under the middle sky opening.

Watercolor Winter Birch

Step 7: Using iridescent watercolor medium, paint over the snow. You can only see this if the paper is tilted… you can clearly see it in this picture though.

Watercolor Winter Birch

Step 8: When everything is dry, take a smaller Micron pen, .03 or .01 and draw in some fine twigs.


Final Step 9: After taking the masking tape off, continued the twigs right off the paper with the Micron pen.

Winter sunset

Here is the reference photo. The moment that inspired me on that dusk, evening walk.

This painting is so quick and easy, that I made several more. It was fun to change the sky and add different colors to see which I liked best. I cannot decide, I like them all!



I hope you enjoyed this free step by step demonstration on how to paint winter birch trees at sunset. To see more step by steps click on this page.

Merry Christmas!


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