Beginners will learn quick and easy watercolor techniques while painting a glowing watercolor floral in this introduction to applying watercolor paints. Avoid the big beginner mistake of painting flat colors with these skills – skippers, salt, adding more than one color, layering and lifting.
Downloads for Watercolor QuickStart
- Red – any bright red (I used Pyrrole Red)
- Blue – any light blue (I used Cerulean)
- Black – tube black or mix Ultramarine Blue + Burnt Sienna
- Yellow – any good yellow (I used Azo Yellow)
- Green – your favorite green (I mixed Phthalo Turquoise + Yellow)
- Gray – Blue + Black (or Burnt Sienna)
Painting Steps for Easy Floral Painting
Step 1 – Draw or trace your your outline onto your watercolor paper with graphite paper. Keep the lines light.
Step 2 – Paint the geraniums red.
Mix a small puddle of an orange-red for your geraniums. Paint the geraniums, leaving skippers or unpainted areas in the mix. You can mix a small puddle of yellow and add that before or after painting for variety, letting the wet colors mix.
For a splotchy texture, sprinkle table salt onto the drying areas once they begin to lose their shine.
Step 3 – Paint shadows on the white flowers.
Mix a small puddle of light to medium blue or blue/purple. Paint a few shadow areas on the white flowers, leaving some unpainted white.
Step 4 – Paint the bucket.
(The bucket can be any color you like, but keep it light in value for a better composition.)
Mix a puddle of a medium value blue. (Remember, wet on wet will dry much lighter than it looks wet, so more paint!) Wet the bucket with clean water. Drop or stroke in some blue and let it bleed out into the wet areas.
Step 5 – Dry well and brush off any salt.
Step 6 – Paint darker shadow areas onto some of the geraniums.
Mix a puddle of red with more paint and less water than your first puddle. Paint a few shadow areas onto the geraniums – mostly towards the bottom. You don’t have to paint every flower – go for variety – some with a little, some with a lot, some with none.
If your shadow areas look too stark, just dab them with a finger while they’re still damp to smudge and soften.
Step 7 – Add details to the bucket.
Paint a light red stripe across the middle of the bucket.
Also add darker blue lines for the boards, but don’t paint the lines completely top to bottom – just suggest a few.
Step 8 – Paint the green foliage.
Mix a puddle of green and a puddle of darker green (add black to darken).
Paint the foliage with green, going carefully around the flowers but leaving SKIPPERS! Work from one side to the other.
When dry, add shading areas with the darker green. If you want even more definition, paint on a few areas of even darker green – almost black.
Also paint the stems.
Step 9 – Finishing touches on plant.
If desired, use Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser (damp) to gently wipe off some of the paint on the flowers to soften edges or lighten colors.
Add yellow/orange or greenish centers to the white flowers. If the shadows seem too light, repaint them with blue or blue/purple.
Step 10 – Paint the bottom Shadow.
Mix a big puddle of blue gray – add some black to your blue. Paint a shadow coming from the bottom of the pot with SKIPPERS.
When your brush is dry, scumble on a hint lighter gray above the shadow.
Step 11 – Add a background?
If desired, use yellow or other light color to add a background behind the flowers. It looks nice to put the yellow in some of the skippers in the green leaf area, also.
Summary for Watercolor QuickStart – Painting with Skippers
Anything that keeps your areas from looking flat and all one color is an improvement. Leaving skippers in watercolor washes is one of the easiest ways for beginners to add variety.