Niagara - American Falls in Watercolour
4.9 (5 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
36 students enrolled

Niagara - American Falls in Watercolour

If you are an Artist at heart and love to paint one of the Wonders of the World with Watercolours! Enroll now!
4.9 (5 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
36 students enrolled
Created by Bev Morgan
Last updated 10/2018
Price: $44.99
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 8 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
Training 5 or more people?

Get your team access to 4,000+ top Udemy courses anytime, anywhere.

Try Udemy for Business
What you'll learn
  • Students will review basic techniques in watercolours, observe and paint shadows on the falls, cliffs and the Maid of the Mist tour boat, use masking fluid and learn how to paint waterfalls and move rapids of the Niagara River.
  • Review basic watercolor techniques and create the majestic "American Falls" in Niagara. Students need to purchase basic watercolor art supplies, including paints, brushes and paper. Students should be able to print the resource guide, photo and transfer references.

Learn how to bring colour, composition and techniques together to create a watercolour work of art! 

This course was especially made for novice students or seasoned artists  to encourage them to try a new techniques such as creating dramatic waterfalls, moving water, rugged cliffs, background landscapes and have fun by 'doing'. For those students 'terrified' to draw, an easy transfer method is explained early in the course.

Students will begin developing their own personal skills and will receive "Simple steps for Painting Waterfalls in Watercolour" for future paintings.

Teacher available for any questions during and after this course. She would love to see your original paintings from this course.

Students will receive 2.5 hours of video supported with photo references, transfer sheets, written and verbal step-by-step instructions.

At the end of this course, you will have a beautiful, final masterpiece "Niagara - American Falls" to be proud of! 

Who this course is for:
  • This course is for the novice painter or who would like to expand their watercolour techniques.
Course content
Expand 15 lectures 02:42:32
+ Introduction
15 lectures 02:42:32

Welcome to this course.

Niagara Falls is the collective name for three waterfalls that straddle the border the between Canada and the United States. From largest to smallest, the three waterfalls are the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil falls. The Horseshoe Falls lies on the border of the United States and Canada with the American Falls entirely on the United States' side, separated by Goat Island. The smaller Bridal Veil Falls are also on the United States' side, nearby the American Falls.

The falls are located on the Niagara River, which drains Lake Ontario into Lake Erie.

We will be painting the American Falls which was inspired from a recent trip to Niagara Falls.

In this class, I will be demonstrating a quick way to transfer this image onto your watercolour paper. Afterwards, we will protect the whites of the paper with masking fluid. There will be no worries painting this vibrant and impressive waterfall.


 Let’s create and have fun painting this natural splendor!

Preview 08:47

Let’s begin by printing out the Instruction guide (includes supply list), photo references and two transfer sheets.


Paper: 140 lb cold press paper (half sheet or smaller) approximate size 12” x 16”, plus a scrap piece of watercolour paper (recommended: Archers, Stonehenge, Fabriano, Saunders)

Brushes: Rigger, Liner or Writer brush, any size

                 Round brushes size 6, 8, 10

                 Flat brushes:  1 ½ or 2 inch & ½ in brush

Paints:  New Gamboges (or Gamboges Hue), Burnt umber, Alizarin crimson, Ultramarine blue, Cerulean blue, Burnt sienna

Misc. Items:

·        Masking or Frisket fluid, Plastic spoon, toothpicks

·        Water dropper bottle and 2 containers of rinse water

·        Paper towels, Palette, Table salt

·        Pen, HB Pencil, Mechanical Pencil, Kneaded eraser

Supply List and Instruction Guide
  • Prepare a watercolour paper (140 lb cold press) taped on all sides on a hard surface.

  • Tape the transfer sheet to a window so the backside can be traced with a lead or graphite pencil. Once finished, flip the transfer paper to the front side

  •   Tape at the top to the watercolour paper. Use a pen and go over all the lines again. Once in awhile check to see if the graphite is on the watercolour paper. If not, retrace the back side again or press harder with your pen.

  • Remove the transfer paper and now re-draw some of the lines of waterfalls, rocks, background and the fine details of the boat ‘Maid of the Mist’. Use the photo references as a guide. Use a kneaded eraser and dab any excess lead off the surface of the watercolour paper.  (It will cause lead smudges if left on)

  •   If you wish, this would be a good time to draw other features in your painting such as birds or more buildings in the background.

Transfer and Sketch

What is masking fluid or frisket? Masking fluid is latex-rubber fluid made with a solution of latex and ammonia. It is applied to your watercolour paper, to work as a resistant, preserving the white paper or wash underneath. There are many manufacturers of this product ranging a large price range. So far, I have not found a favourite, but I do prefer ones with no dye added. I have found that the dye (yellow, blue, green) can transferred onto your watercolour paper once removed (especially when the bottle volume is low and there is a higher concentration of the dye).

I am planning to have the sun on the top right corner, so then I will know where to place the Masking fluid.  Pour the Masking fluid in a plastic spoon. With a toothpick apply Masking fluid on the buildings, the river above the falls, tops of the major water cascades, top edge of some of the waterfalls, the boat, etc..... Air dry

Protecting our Whites

PART 1: Make 4 light washes of New gamboges, Cerulean blue, Alizarin crimson, and Ultramarine blue. With a large flat brush wet the bottom part of the painting starting the horizontal tree line. Start with the New gamboges and Ultramarine blue at the tree line. Alizarin Crimson and Cerulean blue randomly on the waterfalls. Finish off with Ultramarine blue in the water. Air dry.


PART 2: Apply masking fluid again, especially under the waterfalls and rocks previously masked.

Background Colours

In my painting I decided to keep the sky simple with a medium wash of Ultramarine blue.

 I did this because I wanted to direct the eyes to the waterfall, not the sky.


I decided not use a green pigments, but instead create my own green, with New Gamboges and Ultramarine blue.

When I wanted to add more darks, especially at the bottom of the trees, I added more blue. While the paint is still wet use a scraping tool to create distant trees.


Sometimes add Burnt umber to a few places especially the bottom.

Abstract Trees

Remove the masking fluid off all your buildings. I wanted to add a bit more contrast, so I decided that the sun is on the top right corner. Then I know to apply the shadow mixture on the front or left side of the buildings.

Look at the waterfalls, do you see the shadows cast, especially on the right side, under the falls?

Try to avoid painting at the bottom half of the falls, because that is where there is mist, and very little shadows.

Some of the rocks below will be in shadow.

 I created a violet colour by mixing Alizarin crimson and Ultramarine blue. Sometimes, I dragged the brush and sometimes soften with another brush.


Because some of the falls above the mist have a light colour, I painted a medium value of Cerulean blue. I did this in two areas (above the mist & below the water edge)

In this Lecture resource print 'Simple Steps for Painting Waterfalls'. I usually follow these steps when painting 'any' cascade waterfalls!

Adding Colour to the Falls

Now it’s time, to remove the masking fluid off the falls and the rocks leaving the masking on the bottom edge of the water, any on the right cliff where there is stairs and the boat.

Paint a bluish-black, by mixing pigment directly from the tubes of the Burnt umber and Ultramarine blue. When I was painting the darks, I used the reference most of the time. Can you see how the original whites of the paper are now popping?

To add depth to the cliffs, introduce some dark brownish black and a bit more greens.  Try the crumpled Kleenex trick, by rolling it gently over the cliffs. If done properly, it will provide instant depth. While the paint is still wet, sprinkle some table salt.

Paint the rocks below with this dark wash and use another brush to soften in some areas, especially where the mist begins.

Painting the Darks

Let’s start painting our background buildings. I painted Burnt sienna to the right side of the buildings first. Air dry. I finished the left side with Burnt umber, try to create where the light source is coming from. Sometimes I added Ultramarine blue to a few of my buildings. You can be very creative with your own colours on your palette.

Background Buildings

Add both Ultramarine blue and New gamboges to the same wash from Lecture 6 to make a darker value of a bluish-green.

When I paint a lake or a river, I always turn my painting upside down. In that way I begin with a very dark value and paint across horizontally. By scraping your brush near the white areas, may add the transition between the river and falls.

While the paint is still wet, I added some reflections to both the right-side cliff and the boat.

Niagara River

Your reference will provide you, a guide how to paint the tourists in blue rain coats. If you paint a light wash of the shadow mixture (used in Lecture 8) on the left side will help separate the sides of the boat.

Maid of the Mist

Now it is time to stand back about 6 feet away. Ask yourself these questions below……

Or send your questions directly to me.

  • Are there enough darks?

  • If not, use a darker version of the bluish black,   and paint in those areas darker

  • Did I leave enough whites?

  • If not, you can either lift the colour out or use an Xacto knife and scrape the paint off

  • Can I see movement in the water falls?

  • Should I add more shadows or cerulean blue to a few areas  in the waterfalls?

  • Are my rocks too dark? If yes, lift some of the rocks, by using a clean dampen   brush and then dab with a paper towel I always like to tell my students that   if you use the right paint pigments, watercolours are ‘forgiving’!


Finishing Touches

I hope that I inspired you to try these new techniques in other paintings and that you enjoyed this class!

Summary of the course

·        A quick way to transfer any image onto your watercolour paper.

·        Protect the whites or specific areas with masking fluid.

·        How to create mist on the rocks?

·        Painting process from light to dark.

·        You can use Bev’s “Simple Steps for Painting Waterfalls in Watercolour” for future paintings

Preview 02:58