Expressive Vintage Botanicals in Opaque Watercolor: Four Loose Floral Artworks | Bianca Rayala | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Expressive Vintage Botanicals in Opaque Watercolor: Four Loose Floral Artworks

teacher avatar Bianca Rayala, Top Teacher | Watercolor Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      About The Class


    • 2.

      Paper, Brush, and Paints


    • 3.

      Practice Strokes: Flowers and Leaves


    • 4.

      Project 1: Daisies


    • 5.

      Project 2: Cosmos


    • 6.

      Project 3: Bougainvillea


    • 7.

      Project 4: Protea


    • 8.

      Final Thoughts


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class


Watercolor is known for being a transparent medium but in this class we will explore another equally beautiful characteristic of watercolor which is opacity. with this modern twist, I will be taking you through 4 vintage botanical artworks that you can surely paint yourself.

 If you feel like you're not an artist or you're not good at drawing, don’t worry. I will start the class with a walk trough of all the materials to help you get started. 

 Next, you will be learning the fundamentals of watercolor such water control, essential brush strokes and modern watercolor techniques.

Once you're ready, I will take you through my process step by step and by the end of the class you will have 4 beautiful vintage botanical paintings that you can be proud to keep for yourself or give as a gift to your loved ones.  

 Im excited to see your masterpieces and help you discover your true potential! lets get started!


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Bianca Rayala

Top Teacher | Watercolor Artist

Top Teacher

Hi friends! I'm Bianca and I'm a watercolor artist. My purpose is to inspire people to discover and pursue their creative passion. See full profile

Level: All Levels

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. About The Class: Ever wondered what hidden gift or talent do you have? With the help of a simple floral watercolor class I attended years ago, I discovered my personal gift in painting. You know what? This class may do the same life-changing impact to you. [MUSIC] Hi, everyone. I'm Bianca Rayala, and I'm watercolor artist. My works revolve around the beauty of life and nature. Watercolor has tremendously changed the way I appreciate everything around me and I see it as a special way to communicate a personal message in a story. Over the years, I've taught thousands of artists across the world and it is my purpose to help them discover and pursue their creative fashion. Watercolor is known for being a transparent medium. But in this class, we will explore another equally beautiful characteristic of watercolor, which is opacity. With this modern twist, I'll be taking you through four vintage botanical artworks that you can surely paint yourself. If you feel like you're not an artist or you're not good at drawing, don't worry. I will start the class with a walk-through of all the materials to help you get started. Next, you will be learning the fundamentals of watercolors, such as water control, essential brushstrokes, and modern watercolor techniques. Once you're ready, I will take you through my process step-by-step, and by the end of the class, you will have four beautiful vintage botanical paintings that you can be proud to keep for yourself or give as a gift to your loved ones. [MUSIC] I'm excited to see your masterpieces and help you discover your true potential, so let's get started. 2. Paper, Brush, and Paints: Watercolor is known for being a transparent medium. What does it mean to paint loose florals using opaque watercolors? How do we actually bring out the beauty through this modern twist? Well, this class will answer these questions. For your final project, you will be painting four artworks which you can confidently use as a home decor or even a gift to your loved ones. Let's start with the materials that I'll be using for the entire glass. First on the list is paper. The one that I'll be using is hot pressed watercolor paper from Paul Rubens. The main difference of hot pressed from cold press is that hot press paper has a very smooth texture, which makes it easy to glide the brush smoothly. Since we will not be using much water in our brush, we will most likely create a dry brush stroke if we use a cold pressed paper because of its semi-rough texture. However, if you only have a cold pressed paper at home, you can still do the exercises, but the adjustment you can do is to add a little bit more water in your mix to avoid the dry brush strokes. You can also try using a vellum board as an alternative paper. Let's talk about the brushes. I will mainly use silver silk 88. These are brushes from silver brush. These are synthetic brushes that have great absorbency, exceptional holding capacity, and wonderful color control, and excellent wear resistance. I prefer using synthetic brush for this painting style since we will not be needing a thirsty brush. This one is ultra round brush in size six. It is a round brush, but has an extra sharp tip. Next is the filbert brush in size eight. It is like a flat brush with a curved edge. Lastly, this is one inch flat brush, which I will use to paint the background. I will show you in the next lessons how to paint different strokes of leaves and flowers using the round and filbert brushes. We will learn how to create various strokes by just altering the angles when painting. Now let's move on to paints. Watercolor is a medium that is by definition transparent. This means the layers of paint can be seen through when we do glazing. However, apart from transparency, watercolor has another characteristic that we need to understand in order for us to use the appropriate color for a specific technique and purpose. Watercolor is not always transparent. There are colors that are semi-transparent and opaque. If the color is opaque, then you cannot see through the layer of paint beneath it. To choose the right beat, you need to know how to read the information in your tube. Let's take this paint as an example. When you look at the tube, you will see the name of the paint and the paint number. Then on the side, if it is an artist grade watercolor, you will see pigment information. Like in this tube, this color, Naples yellow light is made of PY 216. These three stars is the light fastness rethink. Square symbol is the transparency, clear square means transparent, black square means opaque. A square with a line in the middle means it's semi-transparent. The triangle symbol is the staining characteristic. Clear triangle means it's non staining, while a black triangle means it is staining. When purchasing watercolors, you have to check on this information to make sure you get the right colors that you need. If you're aiming for a transparent painting, you should choose transparent colors. If you want to explore a different painting style using opaque colors, I recommend using opaque watercolors to achieve maximum results. If you don't have opaque watercolors, you can simply use the paints that you have and mix them with any opaque watercolor. You can use titanium white, which is an opaque white watercolor or a white gouache to make these paints opaque. Let me show you now the colors that I'll be using for each class project. For our first class project, I will use chromium green oxide. It is an opaque single pigment color. Then next is Naples yellow light. I'll use also a bit of lavender as ascents, dunes for the background, and titanium white for the flowers. For the second project, I will use the same colors except for lavender. For our third project our background color is kept with mortuum which is similar to Indian red and a bit of Vandyke brown. Lastly, for our final project, my background color is pro gray. These other colors on the side are just optional. I will use some of them in the practice exercises. These are the basal colors of Nevskaya palitra. They are pre-mixed paints with titanium white. You don't need to use the exact same colors that I used. I encourage you to check your stash of paints and choose just a handful of colors and practice, color mixing using a limited color palette. In this way, you will understand how colors are mixed together and you'll also create a harmonious collection of artworks. Let's start the water control and brushstrokes on the next video. I attach some photo inspirations and also the photo of the final paintings in the resource section. You can download them for your guide. 3. Practice Strokes: Flowers and Leaves: Before we begin this four artworks, let me guide you through some important points like water control and practice strokes using round in filbert brush. Let's practice painting each elements starting from the flowers and next the leaves. To bring all the maximum opacity of a color, the brush must contain a very minimal amount of water. Here I dip my brush in my glass of water, remove excess water from it and mix the paint well until I create a very creamy mixture. Now let's test the stroke. We want a stroke like this one. There is full coverage and as much as possible we want to avoid unpainted gaps on the stroke, which I call dry brush stroke. If this happens, you need to add a little bit of water to your mix. Now let's try with a few more strokes. See how thick and opaque the strokes are. Now if I add more water in it, you will see some puddles of water, which I don't recommend to have. Next, let's practice how thick the coverage should be when we paint the background. The paint should be thick enough, that the paper should not be seen through. Notice this second stroke. If the mix is watery, the paper tends to be visible beneath the layer. Now let's proceed to practicing this strokes for the flowers and leaves. The color is irrelevant. You can use any color you like for this exercise. But what I want you to focus on is how I hold the brush, try to observe the angle of the hair, and also the pressure I place to create the strokes. Since we are aiming to paint in a loose and expressive style, the important thing to keep in mind is to look at the general shape of the flower. Observe not just the size and shape, but also the flow of petals and its stem. Doing this prevents you from having a stiff and unnatural flower. Let's start with a daisy flower. Using my filbert brush, I load it fully with pigment and paint the center of the flower. Notice that I just add a little pressure to create a small semicircle stroke. Then suddenly releases the pressure to create this flat edge. Next I get my round brush load it with thick pigment and hold it near the [inaudible] rule. With a quick and light stroke, I create thin and slightly curved lines to portray the delicate petals of a daisy. I try to imitate the flow of direction of the petals of a real daisy by painting them like an umbrella shape. Try practicing this stroke in different size and facing different directions. Now I will paint a daisy that is not yet in full bloom. With petals still up. Here let's paint the stem. Notice that I change how I hold my brush. Now I'm holding it near the edge of the handle to have less control. With a single stroke, I paint not a straight line but something like a jagged stroke to show its natural look. Practice making very thin strokes to paint finer stems, still holding the brush nearly at the edge of the handle. Don't feel bad if you don't get it right at your first try. Painting loose requires muscle memory, so keep on practicing. For a next flower. Let's paint cosmos. Cosmos are saucers shaped flowers with teardrop or heart-shaped petals in yellow pollen. Using a filbert brush, I press the tip of the brush, creating a little bit longer shape and then release. Then using the side of the brush, I been a thin petal. I change the direction of the brush to create the round shape. Basically it is using the full width of the filbert brush to paint front facing petals and the side of the brush, to paint the side facing petals. Now for this petal closest to me, I combine the flat in the side stroke. Let's do it again, start with the front-facing petals with a full stroke. Next, we move to side facing petals using the side of the brush. Then the combination of the two strokes to paint the last petal. Let's paint a smaller one by making light dab of the brush. Again, we focus on the general shape of the flower and don't be stressed on copying the actual or realistic look of it. Play with your brush strokes to create movement and rhythm. I add the pollen in the middle of each flower and they consider where the flower is facing when doing it. Next, let's paint the stems still making the stroke shaky and trying to do it in a single downward stroke. Let's practice adding a bit of leaves by simply varying the pressure you put on your brush and also dancing your brush a little bit. As much as possible. We don't want to have a perfect looking stroke for the leaves to make it look organic and expressive. Now let's practice painting bougainvillea. Using a round brush, I place my brush in a horizontal position and create strokes. With the entire belly of the brush touching the paper. As I create the stroke, I vary the thickness and thinness of the stroke. I also wiggle my brush slightly to create a curved shape petal. When you look at the movement of my brush, it seems like creating random strokes, but with the shape of the general bougainvillea flower in mind. If you will observe this flower, it is actually soft and has no defined shape. We tried to bring that quality or essence through the movement of our brush. Practice creating big and small flowers by altering the strokes. Next, let's paint the stem once more. It is helpful to observe the movement of the stems or how they grow, so we can replicate them through expressive strokes. One thing in common is that my strokes for the stems are slightly dry, giving contrasts against the vibrant flowers. Keep the strokes fluid and vary the thickness and thinness of the stems too. Now let's move on to painting other elements like protea and some leaves. I will use my filbert brush and cap with modern paint. I start with the tip of the brush then gently twist the brush so the side effect can create a long, slender stroke. Our goal is to create a teardrop shape petal, with one end having a rounded edge and the other with the pointy edge. As I do this stroke I keep them directed towards an imaginary line so they will look connected. Let's do it again. Next, let's paint the stem. But this time it is thicker. Let's practice the berries. I start with thin stems and twigs. I encourage you to look at the actual pictures for your guide. Then I add small group of red dots to portray berries. On some spots I paint multiple berries, while on other spots I only put few. Next, let's paint a eucalyptus. Using my filbert brush I create big rounded strokes with the brush flat on the paper, then thin strokes using the side of the brush. The thing here is to vary the shape and the size to imitate the look of eucalyptus. Next, I add the fine stem with my round brush. If you find it challenging to paint fine lines, I suggest that you use a smaller brush to make it easier for you. Let's paint a pine leaf next. With a very quick repetitive strokes, using a pointed round brush, we can create a pine leaf as easy as this. Just make sure that the strokes are directed to a central point so they look connected. For our last exercise, let's do thin narrow leaves. I still use my filbert brush, and let's do the side stroke. It is almost similar to the protea strokes, but this one is thinner in size. These are just some of the flowers that you can create using a round brush and a filbert brush. You can create unlimited kinds of flowers and leaves using the basic strokes that I shared. Just keep practicing and don't give up. As you develop muscle memory, your strokes will look more fluid and natural. Let's start our first-class project on the next lesson. 4. Project 1: Daisies: For our first class project, we will be painting a garden of daisies in a cream background. For the background, I will use White Nights dunes. This color looks a bit similar to buff titanium. To get an alternative color, you can try mixing titanium white with Van Dyke brown in a bit of yellow. I paint the area with full coverage. I made the consistency thick and opaque so the paper won't be seen through. Once you're done, let it dry completely. Make sure that the paint has dried thoroughly so when we paint the flowers, they won't smudge or bleed on the background. The colors I'll be using for the flowers are titanium white, chromium green oxide, Naples yellow light, and a bit of caput mortuum and lavender. The commonality between all these colors are they are all opaque. If you don't have these colors, you can mix any color that you have with an opaque white paint, like titanium white or gouache, to create a similar opaque color. Now we are ready to paint. I start with the center of the flowers using my filbert brush. Remember that the brush should not have too much water. Load the entire brush with a creamy pigment to get the maximum opacity of the color. I add a bit of white to intensify the opacity. Next, I make some strokes in various directions to create interest and natural movement on my garden. I also value the size of the strokes. Next, I will paint the petals using my round brush. I load it again fully with creamy white paint and then paint a quick thin and repetitive strokes to imitate the general look of daisies. Notice how thick my white watercolor is. If you maintain this kind of mixture on your painting, it will not fade this much when it dries. I continue painting the flowers and I differ the size and directions. On some parts, I also been buds, while others are full-bloom daisies. As you repeat the strokes, you will notice that you get more comfortable and your petals don't look stiff anymore. I add the hint of lavender as accents on some parts of the petals, but be careful not to overpower the white ones. I add some more whites on areas that are lightened just to strengthen the contrast against the background. I did the same on the yellow centers. I darkened them a bit with a buttery mix of paint. Let's paint the stems. I mix my green with a bit of [inaudible] to create an olive-like color. The mix is still very creamy with almost no water in it. You can create a lighter tone by adding yellow in the mix. I start holding my brush at the edge of the handle and paint the stems in dry brush strokes. Do this in one stroke, and with confidence. You can add some hints of leaves to fill in the gaps between the stems. When I paint leaves, I normally let my hand paint whenever or wherever my heart leads it. The more I get to a particular, and mental, and where to place them, the more the painting looks awkward. Now I will add some highlights of yellow in random spots just to make all the colors in the painting connected. I also add some more little leaves as fillers, and also to enhance the overall composition. Sometimes a double from brush can portray a tiny leaf, and you don't necessarily need to be in a complete stroke of leaf. As a final thought, I add some more whites on my flowers to make it pop from all these colors. Now, this is our final painting. Since the paint layer's thick, it will take a bit of time to really dry, and settle. Let it dry completely, and let's start our second project. 5. Project 2: Cosmos: I hope you enjoyed painting our first-class project. On this lesson, we will paint white cosmos on the muted olive green background using a filbert brush. Let's start beating the background. I'm mixing chromium green oxide and caput mortuum. Since red is a complement of green, it is a good color to tone down this green color. I notice that my green mix looks pale when I applied it on paper so I will create a thicker mix once more. I fill in the page thoroughly and will let this dry completely. To fasten the process of drying, and to ensure it is really dry, you can use a hairdryer or a heap gun. Let's paint. Using my filbert brush, I load it with white paint and do some strokes for the cosmos. The thing in creating a floral artwork is to try to observe first how a certain flower grows so you can do a similar interpretation. I provided a photo of the cosmos field where you can get inspiration for the home position. You can find it in the resource section in the project and resources tab below this video. You don't have to copy the reference photo exactly, but it will just serve as an inspiration and how these flowers are moved by the wind and how they usually grow. Is add accents of yellow stokes to portray some small wild flowers in the field. Now let's mix colors for the leaves and stems. Since we have a green background, we need to create a different shade of green. I still use chromium green and caput mortuum, but I will add a bit of a dark blue in it so the mix will create a darker green color. As I paint the stems, I hold my brush at almost 90 degrees. I put very light pressure to create very fine strokes. This may seem challenging at first, so if you find it hard to make fine lines, try using a smaller brush. I will add some more white cosmos to build the composition and make the picture look fuller and happier. If you notice, the new ones that I added have random shapes and strokes already. They don't look similar to the first cosmos that I painted. Doing this random strokes gives your audience a chance to complete the picture. They serve like suggestive strokes. They may not completely look like full flowers, but they lead the viewers to see them that way. Plus, it will already look distracting if all the flowers in your composition look exactly the same in size and shape. There will be no focal point. Here, I will add the yellow pollens in the center of each cosmos and also dubbing strokes for the tiny leaves. You can also try painting some accent strokes as fillers in the base of the flower using the filbert brush. The most important thing to have in mind is that each stroke must contribute to the bigger picture. Don't focus too much on one section because it may be too overpowering and in effect, ruining the overall look of the painting. For my final touch, I will dub some thick white highlights on some petals and buds. We can stop adding strokes now before we overdo the process. The hardest part is to know when to stop. I suggest that you stop before you feel the painting is done. This is our white cosmos garden field. Let's paint the bougainvillea in the next lesson. 6. Project 3: Bougainvillea: Welcome to our third class project, where we will be painting bougainvilleas. I will use caput mortuum as my background color, white bean for my flowers, and dunes for my leaves, since green won't be visible against the maroon background. Let's paint the background. This style of painting may seem an unusual way of using watercolors, but I find it so helpful in understanding water control. With all these practice exercises, you will get to know how much water your brush can hold. That will be very useful when you transition to painting with transparent watercolors. I also encourage you to experiment. You can try creating a rough textured background instead of a smooth coverage. You can also try using a masking tape to have a crisp borders rather than a jagged edge like mine. I prefer making the edge like this to create a vintage and loose effect. I also imagine putting them in a glass and glass frame which gives a nice balance and accent. Now that my background color is dry, I use a heat gun to speed up the process. We can start painting. I will use my round brush and paint a bulk of bougainvillea in the upper right corner. I imagine the natural flow of the stem, so I will create a diagonal flow of flowers from the upper right corner going down. The strokes of this flower may seem tricky at first, but remember to just lay the entire bristle of the brush flat on the paper and slightly sway the brush as you make the stroke. I carefully observe the formation of the petals on the reference photo and I see them so soft and thin. They are so delicate. They look irregular in shape and grow so graciously. Let's try it to bring that essence through our strokes. As I approach the middle part of the flower, I made my flowers noticeably smaller so that the focal point remains to be on the flowers here on the upper right corner. The flowers in the lower left are just like dots and dabs of paint. Next, I will use dunes to paint some stems and small leaves. I will mix it with a bit of green to add variety. Remember that you don't need to paint a defined leaf since we want to mainly highlight the flowers. Loose painting is all about playing with expressive strokes that contribute to one cohesive painting. I'll prepare some more colors for the stems with green and Van Dyke brown. I need a creamy and richer mix of green. Before doing a stroke, look closely on the images of Bougainvillea and see how the stems move. I try to copy the playful movement that it has with light strokes of my brush. It is okay if the stroke is not so visible since the stems are really thin in reality. You can just add some spots of leaves around the stem to complete the image. This part is where you stop overthinking and overplanning and just enjoy the rhythm of your hand. Look at your work as a whole picture and add leaves or fillers as you desire. Enjoy the painting process and you'll be surprised that everything will fall into place. But remember, you have to learn to stop before you think it is complete. We don't want to over-enjoy the process to the point that the composition is sacrificed. Let's add final touches, again, of white to darken the main flowers. You can also add some more green or cream fillers to make the focal point fuller. Let's finish off by adding some dots of yellow pollens in the center of the flowers. This is our final painting. I hope you're getting more comfortable in painting in this style. Let's complete the last project on the next lesson. 7. Project 4: Protea: We head on to our last class project, and now let's do an artwork with a Christmas vibe. I will use Pro Grey as my background color. I'm really excited to see the works you can create and the color combinations you'll try and discover. Although I love painting other subjects, loose florals will always have a special place in my heart because they are relaxing and inspiring to paint. I hope you experienced the same thing as you've been the four projects. Here my background is done and dry. I will use caput mortuum for my protea and my mixed greens here for the leaves. I will start with a protea, then add different leaves around. Using the side of my filbert brush, I will paint each petal. Next, I use the same brush to paint eucalyptus behind the flower. Notice how I create the stroke using the different sides of my brush to vary the shape and size. Next, let's add the stem with a dark brownish-green color. Our composition for this project is a bit different from our three other projects as we are doing a floral arrangement. Avoid overthinking and just imagine how different elements would look united in one picture. Here I'm adding a branch of berries to fill in the space between the leaves. I also tried to change the height of the elements. This will create dynamics in your work. A good thing about sticking with the same color palette is that all the elements will automatically look connected and harmonious. I will add two more proteas here on the left, but I will make them a bit smaller than the first one. Now, there is a big gap between the three flowers. We need the filler to connect them and we can use some pine leaves to fill the space. Let's add some more. You can lift this below. This time, I changed the color by making it darker. The main idea here is to make this bottom part look foul by adding strokes that will support the whole picture. It doesn't necessarily have to be another bunch of leaves but some strokes or stems can be a good and less distracting addition. I add some more berries and twigs on different spots. As a final step, I will darken some petals of the protea, add some darts of berries and tiny twigs in stem to serve as fillers. Now our painting is complete. 8. Final Thoughts: Thank you so much for joining me till the end. It really encourages me to have students like you, who are so passionate to learn and grow. But before we say goodbye, I'd like to leave one thing that I want you to carry as an artist. You see, watercolor is a medium that can seem intimidating and even frustrating at times, but always remember that nothing is impossible and anything can be learned, especially when you keep loving what you're doing. Don't give up and always paint from the heart. I would love to see what you create, so please share them in the project gallery below. Feel free also to post them on Instagram and tag me because I love sharing my students' works on my Instagram stories. My handle is @biancarayala. Thank you so much again for being with me and I hope to see you on my other classes.