Floral arrangements are some of the easiest and prettiest things to paint. From daisies to roses, painting a fantastic flower is one of the earliest accomplishments a watercolor artist will experience. Even then, seasoned watercolor artists still love to paint floral foliage across their canvases. The only question is how to get started!
1. Start out with leaves.
While it’s exciting to get started on the petals and stems of our flower, it’s important that you master leaves first. Start with a No.10 or No.12 round and a 34” flat brush. Create a leaf shape with one wash of your chosen color. We recommend looking up images of leaves for reference. If you’re struggling to start out, consider lightly sketching out your project before putting paint to paper.
2. Create more leaves and begin connecting them.
Once you’ve got your leaf-shapes on your canvas, try connecting a few different shapes. They should meld into one another, but you may need significantly more paint on your brush to complete this task. Note: let the paint dry before you create any negative shapes with darker colors - i.e., the underside of a leaf.
3. Create structure in your flower.
Now that you’ve got a few leaves under your brush, try connecting them to a stem. It may be best to paint your stem “line” and let it dry before returning to your canvas. After all, the best way to complete the structure of your leaf is to change the value and color of your plant as you go. Once your paint is completely dry, you can even add some dark, sharp-edged negative shapes to make your foliage stand out.
4. Start your petals.
This should be similar to your leaf project with some variation. Looking at a flower, you’ll notice that all the petals vary in spacing, shape, and size; some plants even have green centers or multicolored pollen. Try to look up a picture of your desired flower for this stage as it may be helpful. Using that same No.10 or 12 round brush, begin pulling out the shapes of your petals.
5. Add value and color.
We’re utilizing a lot of the same techniques we learned with our plants. Once we’ve got our petals down, wait for that base color to dry before adding soft colors to outline the shape of the petals. If you’re painting white flowers, we suggest using shades like blue or gray to round out your flower.
6. Finishing touches.
Allow your painting to dry. If you’re unsatisfied with the depth of your painting, go back in and add some more dark, sharp-edged negative shapes to further deepen it. If you’re satisfied, congratulations! You’ve just painted your first flower. Once you’ve mastered one type of flower, move on to another type of flower to advance your skills. Soon, you’ll be a flower-painting fanatic!
Written by Alexis Mesa