How to Paint Flowers with Watercolors

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 48,286
    Craft Expert Catherine Hillis discusses how to paint flowers with watercolors.

    Catherine Hillis: Hi, I am Catherine Hillis and I am professional watercolor artist. I am teaching you how to paint in watercolors and right now I am going to teach you how to paint flowers in watercolors.

    Flowers are a wonderful thing to paint in this medium. We can paint from the reddest red to the whitest white and all the myriad of colors in between.

    Right now I am going to show you how to paint a sunflower. I am going to show you how to paint the sunflower using the wet-on-wet technique. I am going to wet each petal, either one petal at a time; sometimes I will paint groups of petals. So I have wet this area and I like to lay the yellow in first. You want to use as few strokes a possible in this wet-on-wet technique. I think we call that economy of brush stroke. Now a lot of time on a sunflower, if you look you will see that a lot of times there's a little bit of red or maybe some green right at the base of that petal. A lot of times there's reflection of other things around reflecting on that. It might be reflecting from the head from another flower, from another petal. So I am going to put a little bit of -- also a little bit of green down here. Just reflecting from that sunflower petal. Then I am going to leave that alone and let that cook just a little while. Let the pigment move.

    I am going to come in and wet this petal down. I am going to do the very same thing and I am going to wet this petal down. I am going to work on two petals at a time now. As long as this geometric section is wet, I can keep laying in color as much as I need. However, when the glistening begins to leave that area of the paper, I need to stop and let that dry. Remembering, that stop and let it dry is one of the primary things that we need to remember in watercolors.

    I am actually going to go ahead. Now my paint brush is loaded, so wet on dry, this time I am just going to go ahead and lay in that basic color. I am going to paint wet on dry on this petal, bring it out just a little more. I am going to come back on this petal wet on dry and give a little more definition. If I leave those previously painted areas alone and don't paint right in them, it will look like the veins in the petal.

    So there we have the beginnings of a sunflower. I will be adding or glazing a couple of layers on these as needed, but I will need to let them dry first. A little bit of blue there, a little bit of thalo, a little bit of blue here. I am going to pick up this strip with the thirsty brush and I need to let this dry before I can glaze again and bring a little more definition to the flower itself.

    I have been painting the petals of the sunflower and I need to let these petals dry. I can use the hairdryer or let them dry naturally and then I will come back and paint more definition on this flower. I did use the wet-on-wet technique here. On the gladiola, I also use the wet-on-wet technique, just letting colors blend on the paper.

    Also, with the trumpet flower I use the wet-on-wet technique breaking it up into sections and floating color in and letting it mix on the paper and then what we end up with, is a beautiful sunflower with all the shadows and the variations needed to make it look real. So I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about how to paint wet-on-wet petals and next I am going to show you how to paint greens.