Watercolor Made Easy
Like any form of art, watercolor painting is not a medium one can grasp easily. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. I will take you through 13 simple steps to painting your own honeysuckle spray bearing in mind that watercolor painting is actually a build up of layers of colors. This is an easier approach to applying color to your canvas.
Block of 300 gms Watercolor paper (this ensures that colors and water are absorbed into the canvas without wear and tear.)
Brushes: No. 6 Fine Tip and No. 12 Medium Tip
Daler Rowney Paints
Paint palette with deep well
Small water container
Pot of Honeysuckle spray
Primary colors, Magenta, Lemon Yellow and Ultramarine.
Magneta + Lemon Yellow = Orange
Magneta + Ultramarine = Purple
Lemon Yellow + Ultramarine = Green
Magneta + hint of White = Light Pink
Lemon Yellow + Orange = Gold
Lemon Yellow + Gold = Indigo
Ultramarine + Gray = Cobalt Blue
Main Washes Palette:
Lemon Yellow + Light Pink + two drops of water = Creamy Yellow Wash
Gold + hint of Magenta + two drops of water = Deeper Yellow Wash
Lemon Yellow + Gold + hint of Indigo + two drops of water = Pale Green Wash
Light Pink + two drops of water = Rose Wash
Stage 1: Planning Your Canvas
1. A piece of art is not simply a “dive-in” action. Paintings require planning of the composition of subject on your canvas. This involves marking down the extremes left, right, top and bottom of each element in the subject.
2. In any artwork, the focal point immediately draws us to the emphasis of the image that is usually what entices you. A visual flow is created through the use of a focal point. In our case, the pink petals of the Honeysuckle spray.
Stage 2: Rough Sketch-Up
3. As first time watercolor painters, I recommend sketching a rough black and white drawing of the flowers to get an overall composition on paper. Add in all tonal values to identify shadows and highlights. In addition, study the relative size of each flower to stem to leaf and the shape of each petal. This will act as a useful reference while you paint.
Stage 3: The Actual Painting
4. With reference to your sketch, mark the shape of one flower with the pale yellow wash. Lightly layer the petals with the rose wash. Remember that the petals emerge from the crown of the flower. Soften the wash with a brush of clean water. To avoid making any unnecessary mistakes, always begin with pale tones to allow for gradual build up of colors.
5. Add in the main flower buds with light pink ensuring that they meet at the same point. Reflect the shadow on the left side of the flower buds with a little magenta mixed with brown and a hint of violet.
6. Using the pale green wash, lightly paint the base of the flower. Add in shadows to the left of the base with a darker gradient of this wash. Put in the leaves and stem with the same colors. Brush down a thin white space in leaves as the spine. Apply shadow to the leaves with a touch of ultramarine.
7. Add another flower using a slightly darker tone of light pink and violet. This represents the flower’s position a behind the first flower painted. Like before, add the stem in green.
8. Intensify the next flower behind these two flowers with a deeper concentration of violet and light pink. Each petal is done within one brush stroke swiftly with a little weight added.
9. Add a touch of violet as the shadow of the flower petals.
10. To create depth in the painting, add more leaves on the innermost stem. With the first painted flower as the main flower, add more rose wash at the dark sides of the petal and ultramarine to the bottom areas of the leaves. Create depth to the entire painting with a hint of shadows across the stems and leaves where appropriate.
11. Stepping away from the canvas, study the composition for a balance of white space in relation to the flowers. Should you feel the absence of balance, add a small, dark bud at the bottom right with concentrated light pink over a wash of violet. Paint in a slim stalk and a tiny leaf to connect the bud with the rest of the flowers.
12. Do not forget the tiny flowers that complete the image. With gold, put details to shape these petals with a wash of clean water, Add tiny dots of violet as the anthers of each flower and a thin wash of blue as connective tubes.
13. Finally, add color to the white spaces between flowers with a light wash of violet and blue with the No. 12 Medium Tip brush. Soften this effect with a brush of water. This marks the completion of your first self-taught watercolor flower painting!
With the same methods taken, you can now easily paint other flowers with ease and confidence!
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