Daffodils – Easy Techniques to Improve Your Flower Painting

Finished Daffodils with background for Daffodils easy techniques to improve your flower painting watercolor tutorial by Deb Watson

With these easy techniques your flower painting can go from childish to amazing in one quick step. Paint this fun daffodil painting lesson and learn how to paint with variation in color and value, then add shadows for watercolor flower realism. This is as easy as it gets for spring flower painting. Backgrounds are optional, but you’ll find helpful tips for those, too!

Downloads for Daffodils Easy Techniques

Suggested Colors For Watercolor Daffodil Painting Tutorial

  • Yellow – any bright yellow
  • Orange – transparent pyrrole orange or mix red + yellow
  • Brown – any brown
  • Background – good background colors are blue, purple, orange and green

Easy Painting Step and Helpful Tips for Watercolor Daffodils

Step 1 – Draw or trace your outline onto your watercolor paper with graphite paper. Keep the lines fairly light, especially the shadow lines.

Step 2 for Daffodils easy techniques to improve your flower painting watercolor tutorial by Deb Watson - first washes on flowers and foliage

Step 2 – Paint the first washes of color on the flowers and foliage

Petals – mix a puddle of light yellow and darker yellow (you can add a little brown or orange). Wet the petals, leaving the center circle dry. Paint on some of each color, letting it spread on the paper.

Stems and Leaves – mix a puddle of light green and medium or darker green. Paint the foliage with some of each green and some of your yellow, letting the colors mix on the paper. Dry well,.

It may seem like carefully painting a solid color would be better, but that doesn’t end well with watercolor flowers. Getting variety in your colors and values will be much more pleasing in the finished product!

Step 3 (adding the centers) for Daffodils easy techniques to improve your flower painting watercolor tutorial by Deb Watson

Step 3 – Add the orange centers to your daffodil watercolor painting and suggest details in the foliage by lifting and darkening areas.

Variety? The centers are small by you can add variety by charging in darker orange while the center is still wet, outlining a center with darker orange or dabbing up some of the color with a paper towel to lighten some bits.

Foliage – lighten some areas and darken others.

To lighten – rewet the stems you want to lighten with a damp brush and dab up the color with a paper towel. That will bring them forward.

To darken – paint darker green on a stem or leaf to push it back. Darken the stem under the center flower to give it more attention.

Finished Daffodils without background for Daffodils easy techniques to improve your flower painting watercolor tutorial by Deb Watson

Step 4 – How to add watercolor shadows to flowers.

Shadow Colors – for shadows on the yellow flowers, mix the perfect shadow color by adding a tiny bit of the orange and green to your yellow, or try adding a little brown.

Where to put shadows – Shadows are mostly underneath the centers (see the reference photo), with a few shadows and lines on the petals. If your shadows are too dark, lift some of the color with a paper towel

Lifting petal lines in the shadow area – once your shadows have dried, rewet and dab up some lighter lines in the biggest shadow areas.

Step 5 – How to add a background for your watercolor daffodil painting

To add a background, mix a puddle of color – more than you think you’ll need.

Wet 1/4 of the painting at a time, being careful not to to wet the flowers. Touch on the background color and let it bleed into the wet area. You can touch in more color or darker color next to the flowers, but don’t go back into a drying wash.

How to fix background washes in watercolor

If you’re having problems with your background wash, one solution is to switch to gouache, an opaque watercolor paint, to paint a smooth solid color and cover any problem areas. I always keep a set with my transparent watercolor for touch up and helping students solve their issues. Gouache paint doesn’t have the glow of transparent colors, but it can make your watercolor painting much easier and more fun when problems are easy to solve.

Finished Daffodils with background for Daffodils easy techniques to improve your flower painting watercolor tutorial by Deb Watson

Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth - Pablo Picasso