Free Watercolor Florals - Let's Paint Irises with Fun Tools and Techniques | Cathrin Gressieker | Skillshare

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Free Watercolor Florals - Let's Paint Irises with Fun Tools and Techniques

teacher avatar Cathrin Gressieker, Artist and Textile Designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

9 Lessons (47m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project + Inspiration Board

    • 3. Supplies

    • 4. Trying your Tools

    • 5. Painting 1 - Purple and Yellow Iris

    • 6. Painting 2 - Soft Iris: Focal Flowers

    • 7. Painting 2 - Soft Iris: Secondary Flowers

    • 8. Sketchbook Flip Through

    • 9. Thank you very much!

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About This Class


Let's paint very free and fun watercolor florals!

In this class I will show up how to paint Irises in a loose and abstract way, with brushes you normally might not use. Irises are a perfect playground for experimentation because of their unique and forgiving shapes and their stunning rainbow color palette.

We will create three projects - a Warm-up Exercise to test out your tools, Purple & Yellow Irises and Soft Irises.


This class is for painters of all levels, beginners can just start painting without the fear of it having to look right or real and the experienced painter might want to shake up their usual painting routine a bit and try some new tools and techniques, also good as a creative warm-up!

I have put together a Pinterest Board for you with Iris inspiration galore.

So grab your unusual brushes and tools (I will show you mine too) and let's paint together!

Yours florally,


Meet Your Teacher

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Cathrin Gressieker

Artist and Textile Designer


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1. Introduction : Hello and welcome to my class, free watercolor florals painting, irises with fun tools and techniques. I'm so happy you are here. And this time we're not only going to paint loose florals, that free florals and I resist a perfect canvas, the perfect playground for this, with their interesting and forgiving shapes and often also their rainbow color palette. My name is Catherine Brassica, and I'm a floral artists in a textile designer. And I'm always looking for new ways to fresh up my full paintings and to give them something special. And today we're going to use different tools. Not my favorite two brushes, but different brushes. So see what you not use often in your studio at home. And then take those pressures are tools. We're gonna do a warm-up exercise to try our tools. And then we're going to paint two paintings, one, purple and yellow one, and a softer version. So this class is for all levels. So if you're a beginner, so this is a very unintimidated way to paint. You can just paint. It doesn't have to look real. And you can just have fun. And if you're inexperienced or intermediate painter, this can be just a fun exercise to get out of a rat and to unstuck or as a warm-up exercise. So if that sounds good, grip utils and then we just start. 2. Class Project + Inspiration Board : So for your class project, you can paint along with me, even though it's probably hard to follow because this process is so messy and so intuitive and spontaneous. But try see what results you're going to have. I put together a Pinterest board for you with lots of colorful inspiration. And you can use photos of this board or your own. And I just can't wait to see your paintings. You're free floats in the class gallery. 3. Supplies : The supplies for this class. So this time I'm not using my two favorite brushes. I've printed everything with them in my other Skillshare classes. Bye bye. But I'm challenging myself to try new materials, new supplies. Brushes are normally not used so much. So I'm taking my largest filbert brush. Then I'm taking a dagger brush. The size also a dagger brush. And a smaller size. I'm taking my smallest brush, number 2. And then I'm using these stub below with the pencils. The kids to wait for my kids to add line work and just play with them. So if you don't have these, no problem, maybe you have just regular tools, regular pencils, or maybe you know, those, those here, the neo color water-soluble. So if they're water soluble, they will be good. Or even. Maybe you also have watercolor pencils, something like this. But if you don't have anything water-soluble, just use what you have our pencils. You can also add line work with, with smallest brush, no problem. So maybe you take five other tools you normally not use. It's just about showing us, judging yourself, try new things, new marks. Good. What else do we need? I am using my paper palette to mix everything on it. This year already quite whether it and I'm using just some tissue paper for dabbing the brush taken away pigment. We need water containers. I usually use one for my first wash, one for the second wash of the brush or for need clean water. Full. And then of course we need some some paints. I'm using my favorite Dr. Ph. Martin's liquid watercolors, but you can use any you have, so any brand of your choice. So there will be blues, like an iris blue, violet course. And maybe also like, uh, like another blue. And I'll have some greens like olive green and Chartreuse for painting the leaves and stems. There'll be yellows and darker yellows and oranges. And also of course, some some pink, lighter pink, like a nice pink and also darker pink is also a lighter pink here. Okay, What else? Maybe some cyclin here to across. Just go with the flow. What you have and use that place, okay, taking this away. And as you will see, I will be using the paints very intuitively. I have some on my palette and then add some in-between. So if you're not able to follow this process, no problem, Just take the colors that speak to you. That's always important. And then I put together an inspiration board for you on Pinterest with different shapes and colors. The bearded iris. Photographs. For color inspiration, some vintage botanical inspiration. If you have your own photos. Even better. But we can use these as we will just work really from that. And then there'll be no copyright problem. As is, it's just inspiration and no copying and copying. Good. So get your tools ready. See you in the next lesson. 4. Trying your Tools: Let's have a play with our tools and get to know them. So this is just for fun, experimentation. We're not painting anything, we're just trying out. Okay, let's get some paint. Iris blue on my palette. And maybe also some, some yellow, yellow here. Daffodil yellow. And I'm just getting some colors out for play. Violet here. Maybe some blue true blue. Olive green could also be nice. Jungle green. Maybe some should trues. So we have something to play with. And I think we start with the big brush to big big filbert brush here. So just slip it in water, taking some of the pigment and then I see, just see what kind of marks can give us. You know, it has this rounded edge. So we have those big marks. Then you can have it on the side. Then it's like narrow mock, quite distinct also. Just trying it out. How it behaves. What can be done with it. Nothing in mind. So we're not painting a flower. Not so water. Let it later K, That's this Warsh. Then we have the dagger brush. What does this give us? So we can decide to see it. Also quite a rectangle mark. And depending on how much pigment is on its side, can be larger than the other. And if you put like you have like one color on the brush and then you tip in it. And other one can have like a graduation with two colors of honor brush. Also on the side gives you the smaller Mark. Wispy lines. Okay, and have the other dagger brush. I like to use it for, for stems and leaves because this is really like a brush you cannot really control. Gives you these fine lines with P, grass muscle trying to paint a flower here. Maybe count. Can't help it. Abstract variation. And the other side have, have all kinds of marks. Interesting. Yeah, of course, spatter is always an option. With every tool you have. Having a real rainbow palette here already. Okay? And then I also have my smallest brush, the two round, which can be used to add line work, can also do it on the site and it's bigger. Still trying to paint it. And Iris the new way here. Just testing my my materials. And you see if you're trapped pigment and something that is still wet, it will bleed, it will merge together. So you can do quick lines, can do slower lines, see how the quality of your line changes. Can do. Lines. And areas that are still wet. Or maybe outside areas can just type something in. So just try your mocks Mike here with a big one. You could also debit, get these marks here. Half circles. Challenge yourself to try marks you wouldn't do usually. And see where this takes you, how you maybe would not paint a flower. Usually. So it's all about fun. Experimentation matter, but more water. Okay, So we have the fifth tool and a little bit on my finger. Finger painting. Why not try this? This gives you an unusual Mark. Shaw. And like with a little brush, you could also work with your pencils here. Add some kind of line work inside, outside, going around, going inside. And with these tableaus, if an area is still wet, they will also merge and lead because they are water-soluble. Not wet. Certain stay on top. I can also try doing it with your left hand if you want. If you're right-handed or the other way round, you want to try something that's not so controlled. Can always activated too little bit. Saving water soluble. And if you have other mediums like the nail color, new color, you could also try these. They also water-soluble. How are these? So here trying marks you wouldn't usually do. Yeah, it's picking up paint still merging. And just for fun, let's try it also with the watercolor pencil so you can use whatever you have if you don't have these pencils. No problem. You can, you can skip that or work with a small brush here, or try regular pencils, colored pencils, like it would be here. So given to give it some texture, you don't have to activate it here. So if you drag it into comments, also, dragging it out. Just get to know your tools. What they could do. Try something different with these. And I still prefer Meister below CIA. Something very satisfying about holding these because they're bigger kids to which they usually are. So I will work with these in my class today. Okay, We've made a big mess here. Let it dry, try it out. Maybe you want to try that on another paper again. And then see you in the next lesson where we'll start painting our free florals. 5. Painting 1 - Purple and Yellow Iris: So now for real, Let's paint iris. And I've put together this iris inspiration board for you. On Pinterest, of course, you can use any of your own reference. The best would be your own paintings, of pictures, of photos. But we using this inspiration and a very loose way. So that's no problem. So just kinda scroll and see what talks to you. And I think I'll try this one here. First. I risk drama. Who? How does this work? And yeah, let's take a brush. That's also a challenge myself of changing my brush once in a while. I'm just making very loose shapes. So looking at my reference, but then still just making it up as I go trying to try something new. Strange marks. This is what I wanted this time. And some quick marks and also some that are a bit slow. Here we have some kinda more red, pink color getting muddy. Some more. Here, most robes. Trying to filbert brush. What will this give us? Okay, then of course we have this, this yellow center. Can add some yellow, maybe even a bit orange with my step below that, this plant. And there's also some here and there. And there's no orange ship. It's still feel like circling the slave with my step below. So here, color bleeding happening, merging, watercolor blooms happening. So if you have this new painting, some What them like the plague, some artists. But I actually love with love it when it happens and unusual happens if one area is drying and you add some more water to it and then to have these edges. That's looking nice and free to me. So at a stem and maybe also with my strange dagger brush, let it bleed into it. Okay, What about some space? At this point already, okay, So they will tend to gather with others. Let's have a look. So let's add another flower. Which one? I reset coat back. Stay here. Why not one of these yellows? And I'm taking the brush. And we'll be just adding something, some kind of shape here that might or might not resemble a, an iris. And stock a here. So I'm still trying to see a bit where are the light and the dark areas, just dropping it in here. See how this would emerge side of my brush. And let's take some, That's the pillow to give it an edge, but this orange, so do I have yellow? This one? Sorry about this camera thing this time. So messy process here. Sometimes the camera is just in the way to cutting the real experience here. So water soluble, they are just a little shape as you can see. And let's add some more yellow also turn him. Maybe with another brush, should make a different shape. Orange. So maybe just an indication of it. Maybe some, some petals just be lines. There's no blue minute I'm adding. This is like big playground for touristic license here. Just play. So irises, I researched a bit. It's also something about their, their flower essence. They're called paintbrush of the soul of the artist paint brush. And the flower essences also good for setting your creativity on fire if you're stuck. And maybe that's a bit too new for you. But me being a yoga teacher, I'm like This information once in a while. K. I have this say about this here. We add some more, Let's add some more. Some really dark one. Maybe get even darker up here. Just adding some green to my to my purple to mute it. Just behind here. Again, just a little indication. That's muted color, mixed color hand. Why not also add some line work? Something that's a bit strange, like MarkovWordOne, expect with a flower. And I'm not sure what I really like it. And taking a bit of here, this gives you a different mark. So that's another tool. And it would be connected to stem this lead in. So I think this is kind of hard to follow. So please make your, your own irises. Just for inspiration here. Something that could be interesting for you. Good. So we also have like these here to get really loose with my my dagger brush. Ran not much can be controlled. So that some of these irises are more prominent and this kind of fading in the background. Just like an indication of what is there. So some will always challenge myself to go a bit slower. Happy with this mock. Everything has to be so fast here. You see I'm quite fast painter. Better time. I'm not sure but this area, but this just happens. It, It's okay. It's extra mutation. We're not trying to do something perfect here. Not at all. It's all about this free-spirited kind of painting. What would your tools try new things, maybe have some, some new insights to the process. That's what it's all about. Giving yourself permission to be really loose and playful here. Okay. I would like to be this painting, this iris more prominent and didn't like this mock him, just rewetting it and just adding some violet to it. What will happen? We don't know. Watercolor, this fickle friend. So some things you might try to control. I also like it to be uncontrollable in a way. That's the beauty of it. Never really know what you get. This technique. See I'm also holding the brush like this. So this could also be something you do. Not like this. Usually hold it but in a different way. Or here too, we really lose. Challenge yourself, try new things, be open to them. So you see this also merged into the other flowers if this is the center now, fine with me managing the small together like that. And then of course it will look different when it's dry. So now it's like this, but then maybe there will be some bloom's differently and look completely a bit different here. So, okay, so I think for this one, I'm quite happy. You can go on and on and on. Or this is just a feeling and a one is a painting finished there with this kind of paintings. Probably. There's no formula, but if you're like, okay, I'm fine. I could stop. There's no area that's calling me. Then call it a day, make another one. And sometimes you have to make like 1, 2, 3. And the third one is like the cool one. And you really totally loose and we'll do a second one in a minute. 6. Painting 2 - Soft Iris: Focal Flowers : So let's paint another one. And this time, I would like to paint something softer, maybe something a bit blue-ish, a bit brushy, like here. But I'm trying because usually I like it full on color. You might have seen and stride softer, but sometimes these have a mind of their own painting so we don't know it. And that's fine with this process. So let's go for something that is softer. And I think I also start with with, with my stuffy nose. And as I started here, Let's try starting another area and just make some marks. Maybe even with my with my left-hand, maybe can you take two together? Unusual marks. That's where it's at for me. I'm looking at this one here. Okay. Interesting enough. Interesting enough. So that's wet, it may be water soluble. Remember my kids, like couple of years ago, they painted all the windows in the living room with these and meter is bring painting. Look really good and was really easy to wash up off because they're water soluble. This and then let's just get some pigment. And also I've done have really anything pink and everything I have is so strong. Maybe eyes pink can do the trick. So the first one was quite an explosion. Can I go slower here? We'll try. And you still want to be free and not overthink if that's what I wanna do here. I paint. Anything else that's a bit softer. Sunrise pink, shows it, dropping it in. And usually there's also some yellow and red and orange involved with the eyedropper tool, let's call a trooper eye dropper is photoshop is also another to go. Maybe like this. Maybe. Then there's always the dark center. And even though I tried to pin this m here now. So this is just like my something to look at, something to get you going, but then be free. Make it your own. That the process guide, you do it for the process. Okay. See often they have this sort like leaves, so this is actually the right brush for it. I think it's also called salt brush. Dagger is also some kind of sword, isn't it? Let's just get this n. Not bad, not bad. Merging, merging. What about making it darker and flow in spare time? Okay, don't want to have too much control. I want happy accidents galore here with this process. Good, good, good. So now I wanted something blue. So why not take something of integer p for it? This one has an interesting shape. Where is it? Okay? And I would also try to have two colors on my brush. I can do it tries or if I had like a true blue here, then I think I need more for another color, maybe the iris blue. You can put it on the tip of the brush. Then. Two copies. So remarks here. And let's just rip something in the iris blue and the yellow. Green. Let's get some yellow. What about sunshine yellow? And I haven't used my small brush for awhile. Come on. Let's go use it. Of course it gets green, mix it with blue. Nobody knows that. No problem. So this is like standing like this here. Just caught my attention. Do I want this maybe not too much. I'm not sure. Getting the mark. Put notes lost. I'll revisit this later. Can still green on my brush. And Let's get some more purple shade looking at this flower pigment. But it's also good to have some muted colors like this because you really, I avoid them, but then I think they really make the other colors saying you have some more gray or green or brownish tones. So if it's all bright, bright, bright can be a bit of a headache. Slower, softer. Still, making it up, looking at shapes. Let them guide me. Okay. Small brush. I wanted to go to the Gagnon. Small brush, personal so much because they're usually like big brushes. That's why challenging western. Always good thing, good. Stuff below. Where are you? So kids are muted. Painting. Stuff below. Also be there to paint on stem, of course. So you see it's a bit of a different quality. He is more line work still showing through. This is more of a bleeding area. This shape looks like one that is about to open. I could make it up, but I could also will look with my boat, gives me. 7. Painting 2 - Soft Iris: Secondary Flowers: This one down here. It's better to be seen here. Then. Have it opening in no way. Here. This one. Go. Fine, fine, fine. This doing. I don't know. But quite pleased that this one. But I'll just leave it as the as it is because I didn't know what to do. Actually. It was this where was this one? Can be some pink center. Really visible. Still doing it. Okay. And then I would like to do one that is just water and then dropping something in. What could be good. So you see, I just use this board very freely to see at the given moment what I would like or not like. So maybe this one ham. So I'm starting with just, I'll put it down here. An area that is mostly water. Still on the side of the brushes, a bit of pigment. Okay. So I'm just trying to get this shape. And then I will just take some purple. Let it come in here. So it's just like a piece of an iris. Okay, screen on the brush and Sij. But all these happy accidents and just embracing, I want them to be that kind of succeeded. So soft. Not bad for me. Hope you're doing fine with your painting. And of course they often have these bulbs coming out. Let's also add something here. So in this way, I'm just making it the other way around. Because if it was mirrored, adding some like here. And maybe what does our board gives us? Four bulbs. Here. Muddy colors. So it's not pursue as I intended. Just drop it in. Let us very much pigment here. Okay. So this is more like a little suggestion, suggestion this painting. And I kind of succeeded in a bit of more paler way. Too much bit of editing possible with what color? Of course, you cannot go over and over with it. Back in. I've pains like oil or acrylic, but that's also part of the beauty that you just have, like one and try. Okay. So have a look at this one I have here. It's not only declaration, so just add some leaves here. The pointy variety of very blushing here. Maybe some here on top. And if it's growing out, what about my spreaders? Sputter time again? So don't be afraid to ruin anything with this kind of painting. You just go and just go. And maybe a bit of definition, not too much, but maybe just a bit. So those two PI has something but I'm just making it up now. Not really looking at my reference there, I have some some place to go to. Fine. You say it's a bit paler. And the first one actually is just blobs and marks. To still kind of can see that this might be a flower Syriza. It's fine line between very lows, nearly abstract, but lots of fun. I think. 8. Sketchbook Flip Through: As a little extra inspiration, I would like to show you some of my artwork in my sketchbook. So you see here, I resist expressive, same techniques, different brushes, line work. And I tried to do something new. And everyone, I'm another sketchbook where I also worked. You see the dagger brushes. Here's some more artwork. And of course even more so different compositions here going out or maybe adding a darker background. Small and loose, or even a bit bigger. Let's turn the page. There's another one. And then I even have a really big one. Let's see whether I can get it here. So this is like, yeah, I don't know how much. You can see. Really big one. Okay, so maybe this is inspiring for you. And I can't wait to see what you create, your interpretation, your loose florals. So let loose. Can't wait to see them. 9. Thank you very much!: Thank you very much for taking my class. I hope you had a lot of fun and you have some free floats now by aside, full of energy, vivid color, and I can't wait to see them in the class gallery. Please share maybe a bit about your process. And I really hope to see you soon. Bye.