Painting Flowers in Watercolor – and a free download

a watercolor painting of tiny daisies in a brass vase in the sunshine

Painting Flowers in Watercolor as a Meditation

I’m painting flowers in watercolor as a meditation this week. With my cell phone, I snapped a photo of dwarf Daisies in a hammered brass cup outside in the sun. Printing the image on plain printer paper in black and white helped to keep my focus on values.

Painting small (the watercolor is about 6×5 inches) makes it easier to sit anywhere in the house or yard to paint. All you need is a chair and a tote bag of art supplies. Making art is a salve. It is the compass at our helms, and the keel on our boats.

(Read Shari Blaukopf’s post about drawing from life to stay nimble, and away from the news.) Are you drawing or painting this week?

I snapped a photo of this tiny flower bouquet outdoors in the sun. It was printed in black and white on plain printer paper. If you’d like to practice painting flowers in watercolor, with a focus on values, you can use this photo too. Right-click the image and download it to your computer.
Print it and paint it. 🙂

Painting Flowers in Watercolor Steps

Starting with a loose, simple pencil sketch on watercolor paper, I painted the background first. No hard lines; all wet into wet watercolor washes. You can do this too, with a lot of squinting to see and map the lightest and darkest patches. How soft are the transitions between the light, dark and mid-range values?

Still wet: painting watercolor glazes with transparent layers of pigment on wet paper to keep the edges soft and diffused.

Paint Slowly, Squint a Lot

Using watercolor glazing techniques, I added layers of watercolor, one after another on the brass vase and the foliage, working around the flowers to preserve the white of the paper. The values are built layer by layer, slowly, letting them dry while working other areas of the painting in sections.

When I got to the white circles where the flowers were, I painted yellow ellipses in their centers as stamens first. A shadow was cast on most stamens (see photo below), so they were added loosely on top of the yellow with sap greens.

Painting little washes in the color of the sky around the petals was done here and there, but again, loosely. I didn’t paint each flower, or every stem. I trust that your eyes and your smart brain will fill in the missing details to understand that this is a loose, miniature watercolor painting of flowers.

Yellow stamens on the tiny daisies (in yellow arrows) were painted first. Green shading on the stamens was suggested with a few dots and dashes on top of the yellow (green arrows) to suggest shadows.

Don’t Forget the Option to Lift

The last layers of watercolor were applied to the darkest shapes just above the rim of the vase. Painting with a variety of greens in flat layers on the foliage was easier than painting every stem. Keep in mind that after a solid passage of dark green pigments dry, you can lift watercolor with a clean, wet brush to ‘suggest’ stems.


a watercolor of white flowers next to a painting palette and the hand of the artist at work in the studio
After the watercolor dried, I added a few petals and dots with white watercolor to increase the “flowery-ness” of the bouquet. 🙂

Community + Sharing

If you paint the same image from the download of the reference photo above, tag me on social media so I can see your watercolor. Feel free to draw the image in graphite as a value study, or create the same image in colored pencil. Wherever you share it, let me know so I can see the beauty you create in this crazy week.

a watercolor painting of tiny daisies in a brass vase in the sunshine
Daisy Applause 6.5 x 5.25 Watercolor (available here)
ceramic-watercolor-rinse-cup
Petite ceramic watercolor rinse cup to beautify an art table

Collage Cascade

Artist Jeanine Robb created this fabulous collage with printer paper photos of her grandparents and the house they used to own in the background. The image of the house was pulled from Zillow. #resourceful Follow Jeanine on Instagram.

Thanks for the emails and comments on collage in the last post. The imaginative collages you’ve made (so far) just slay me. I loved every one of them! Please keep them coming! Thank you so much for sharing them with me, and for posting them on social media. The resourcefulness to collect materials for your ideas is inspiring. I especially loved searching the real estate images on Zillow to grab a photo of a beloved but sold grandparents home for use in a family photo collage. Good job, JR!

a sea lion on a dock sitting upright and looking straight at the viewer with a speech bubble that says Making Art is Fun, right?
In stressful seasons, mini sessions of making art serves to calm and center thoughts on something fun. Creativity is a respite.

Checking in with Each Other

How are you doing? Are you able to make something creative this week? Have you been cooking, sewing, knitting, collaging? Will you tip-toe into sketching in pencil (check out these sketchpads), playing with watercolor, or adding pen and ink to old watercolors? Can you balance the consumption of news with tea and art books, or scrolling and note-taking on inspirational artist’s blogs?

Did you see this Stitch Challenge? Every Monday for the next five weeks, a different textile artist will deliver a burst of inspiration especially for you in the form of a short video workshop (free) and a hand stitch challenge that you can do at home over the following few days. So… if you can’t bring yourself to draw, maybe you can stitch?

a shelf in an art studio with supplies tucked along it's length, and a line with clothe pins holding a variety of monotype prints

Good Reading

Artists all over the internet are using social media during this sheltering in place time to share and connect. The internet is fluid with posts from musicians, actors, painters and authors, all using video capabilities on their phones to broadcast free content to the world. It’s quite remarkable – and poignant – to feel the generosity of the creative community out there. These folks are part of our tribe, you know?

  • Mary Chapin Carpenter is broadcasting a series called Songs from Home – with her guitar and her dog Angus – live from her kitchen. Watch the second episode here.
  • Landscape Painter John Poon has begun offering online painting workshops on color in landscape painting from his studio for $50. The next online workshop will be Saturday, March 28th. Sign up here.
  • The hashtag #togetherathome is being used to help folks find sheltering at home musicians and entertainers broadcasting from their creative spaces to yours. This page is harvesting some of them if you want to take a look.

Though still very far from being perfect girls, each was slowly learning, in her own way, one of the three lessons all are the better for knowing – that cheerfulness can change misfortune into love and friends; that in ordering one’s self aright one helps others to do the same; and that the power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely.

Louisa May Alcott

The Thing About Time

I hope you paint, draw or carve something soon, my friend. I hope you’re sketching, making lists of ideas, and scribbling compositions on post it notes. Remember to pick up the phone to chat with art friends, and keep yourself connected to your tribe, and encouraged. We are all going through this together. Remember all those moments when we wished for more time? Try hard not to squander this gift. This crazy we’re in is free time. Scoop it up.

Thanks for visiting, and I’ll see you in the next post –

Belinda


a cat making direct eye contact, and asking of you miss your art supplies
Visit BelindaTips.com to get free access to a short video course aimed at getting you and your art supplies back together.

Art Quote

We must do our work for its own sake, not for fortune or attention or applause.

Steven Pressfield
pink linen stone washed artist's studio apron
Stone washed linen artist’s apron. This soft shade of pink is my favorite, and it’s hanging on my studio door right now to cheer me up! (They come in all sorts of colors) Stone washed linen seems like a nice alternative from the usual stiff canvas or denim artist’s studio aprons, don’t you think?

4 thoughts on “Painting Flowers in Watercolor – and a free download”

  1. Pingback: Floral Watercolor Painting - Finding Inspiration in Small Still Life Arrangements - Belinda Del Pesco

  2. Pingback: Sheltering in Place with Art Alone-Together, and Printing a Monotype without a Press - Belinda Del Pesco

  3. Jeanine Robb

    Hi Belinda, I love your blog and am always excited to read through it. This morning, I am so enamored by your watercolor and was scrolling down to make a comment about how lovely your daisy painting is when I came upon my grandparents, it overwhelmed me. I’m so touched and honored that you are sharing my collage of them on your blog! Thank you! It means a great deal to me.
    This technique has churned up all kinds of ideas and I have one in the works this morning. Thank you again for your generosity!
    Interesting side note, daisies were my grandma’s favorite flower.
    Air hugs to you!
    And by the way, love, love, love the daisies!👩‍🎨

    1. Jeanine! Your collage put a lump in my throat! Grandparents, dressed spiffy, linking arms, with such sweet, sweet faces, in front of a very cute house! And your Grandpa wore a clipped glasses case in his shirt pocket… so did mine! And your grandma loved daisies?! I’m going to pour myself a glass of wine to toast to them tonight! You did them proud, my friend. It’s a marvelous piece of your family history, honored as fine art. Keep posting and sharing. Your work is wonderful and heartfelt. Air hugs and elbow bumps to you, with big wishes for your good health. XOXO

Write something.... pretend we're neighbors, and we’re painting watercolors together in the garden....