I love flowers and have been practicing these because I can’t grow all of these in my garden. It is really too hot in Texas to grow most of the flowers included here, so I will continue to paint them!
- Watercolor paper 140lb (or card stock, if watercolor paper is not available)
- Paintbrushes (2 rounded tip, 1 small & 1 medium)
- Container of water
- Paper towels
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Step 1: Start by practicing lines.
Thin lines are created by holding the brush perpendicular to the page (straight up) and using the tip while lightly gliding upward. Thick lines are created by holding the brush more like a pencil and letting the thicker part of the brush (called the barrel) glide along the paper.
Use the small brush to make small flowers and the medium brush to make larger ones.
Step 2: 4 or 5 Petal Flowers
Wet the medium rounded brush and dip in paint. For a petal, lay the barrel down almost flat and make a tear-drop shape. Then make another one close to and slightly overlapping the first one. Continue with 3 or 4 more petals, adding paint when needed. Leave some white or very light color in the center. Rotate the paper, if needed. Next take the tip of the brush and make highlights on one edge of each petal.
Clean the paint off the brush and add green paint for the stem and the leaves. Use the tip of the brush for the stem. Paint with the tip, then the barrel, then the tip again, for the leaves.
With black paint, use the tip of the brush to paint tiny dots in the center of the flower, making a circle shape.
TIP: I often tilt the paper about 30-45 degrees to keep the darkest color at the bottom for a shadow.
Step 3: Buds on a stem
Lay the barrel of the brush (the main part of the brush) down 3 to 5 times at alternating angles. When the buds are dry, add the stem and leaves.
Step 4: Peony-type flower
Add a fairly dark dot on the paper. Without adding more paint, make a few arced strokes on each side of the dot. Lighten the color with a little water and start to make small arcs around the center, leaving some white for highlights.
After the flower dries a little, switch to green and just lay down the brush gently for the small leaves.
Step 5: Peony bud
Add a fairly dark dot on the paper. Without adding more paint make 2 arced strokes on each side of the dot and a couple of dabs on either side. Lighten the color with a little water and start to make very small dabs of light color in the back of the dot, leaving some white space for highlights.
After the flower dries a little, switch to green and just dab the brush gently for the small leaves at the base. Use the tip of the brush to make a stem.
Step 6: Chrysanthemum – side view
This also starts with a very dark oval for a center. After it dries for a minute or so, start with small arcs of color, darker on the bottom and adding water to lighten the color for the top petals.
Switch to green and dab just under the flower when it has dried a little. Use the tip of the brush for the stem. For the leaf or leaves, paint with the tip, then use the barrel until the leaf meets the stem.
Step 7: Coneflower – side view
Start where the center of the flower should be with the barrel of the brush and make an arc while pulling up the brush to the tip to create a point. Continue making petals, starting at the center with the barrel of the brush, painting an arc, and ending with the tip of the brush. Rotate the paper, if needed. After it dries just a little, use the tip of the brush to create highlights consistently on the top of each petal with a slightly watered down version of the paint. Leave little gaps of white paper.
Switch to green to paint the stem with the tip of the brush. For the leaf or leaves, paint with the tip, then use the flat part until the leaf meets the stem.
With black paint, use the tip of the brush to paint tiny dots in the center of the flower, making an oval shape. Add a few more dots on one side to show the shadow.
TIP: Odd numbers often make a more pleasing composition. Use an odd number of petals and an odd number of leaves.
Bloopers and practice that did not turn out quite so well!
I included these at the end to show that I still have to practice and sometimes my flowers don’t turn out exactly as I would like them to.