Live Encore: Wintery Watercolor Wreaths | Audrey Ra | Skillshare

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Live Encore: Wintery Watercolor Wreaths

teacher avatar Audrey Ra, Watercolorist and Modern Calligrapher

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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

12 Lessons (48m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Materials

    • 3. Sketching a Cardinal

    • 4. Starting Your Wreath

    • 5. Prepping Your Paints

    • 6. Painting Your Cardinal

    • 7. Adding Greenery

    • 8. Review: Painting Different Leaves

    • 9. Finishing the Cardinal

    • 10. Adding Final Details

    • 11. Q&A

    • 12. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Paint seasonal wreaths with greenery, berries, and a lovely little bird!


Painting wreaths can be such a great way to celebrate different seasons, practice your watercolor skills, and create a beautiful work of art! In this 50-minute class—recorded using Zoom and featuring participation from the Skillshare community—top teacher Audrey Ra walks you through all the steps to creating a winter-themed watercolor wreath.

To start, you’ll learn how to do some studies and sketches to prep for painting a bird as part of your wreath. Then, you’ll sketch out your wreath and build up plenty of greenery, reviewing how to paint different styles of leaves along the way. In the end, you should have a beautiful piece of art—or at least have had some relaxing painting time and learned a few new watercolor skills.


While we couldn't respond to every question during the session, we'd love to hear from you—please use the class Discussion board to share your questions and feedback.

Meet Your Teacher

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Audrey Ra

Watercolorist and Modern Calligrapher

Top Teacher

Let's spark creativity!



I'm so glad you're here! Whether you're new or a long-time student, I hope there's something for you in my classes.

My creative journey started with the bullet journal. Since then, I picked up watercoloring and calligraphy. It's been a bit of a whirlwind, to say the least! I published my first class on loose florals in September 2017, and have been steadily adding new classes. 

I love meeting new students and making connections. I hope to see you in one of my classes soon.

Thank you, and let's make the world a more beautiful place!



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1. Introduction: Painting with watercolors is so relaxing. You're letting go of any perfectionism, any pressure, and any stress that we tend to put on ourselves. For me, painting wreaths and greenery have been almost therapeutic. It gives me a sense of calm and a connection to nature even when I'm not outside. Hi, my name is Audrey. Thank you so much for having me. I'm a teaching artist and I've been teaching on Skillshare since 2017. When it comes to watercolor and painting flowers, I'm most known for my loose floral style and you can find me on Instagram and Facebook and on my website, In today's class, we're going to be painting a winter themed wreath that features a red cardinal and lots of greenery all around it. If you follow me on Instagram or social media, you know that I love wreaths. I really feel like the shape of it, just gives that feeling of completeness. While painting a wreath can seem challenging, I'm going to break it down for you and take you step-by-step. As I mentioned in all of my Skillshare classes, is really important to be easy on yourself and really have fun through the process. It's not about painting exactly what's on my page, but really interpreting the tips and the techniques that I'm teaching you. Something to note, this class was recorded live and I got to interact with the audience as I was painting. I'd love it if you painted along with me. Grab your paint, your brushes, and your paper, and let's do it. 2. Class Materials: Hi, I'm Kate Hall. I'm a senior content producer here at Skillshare and I'm so excited to be the host of today's live class with Audrey. What are we going to be doing today? Hi, everyone. Thank you so much. I'm so glad to be here. We are going to paint a winter schemed wreath that features a red cardinal bird, something like this. I'm really going to break it down for you because when you see a painting like this, you're like, "Where do I even start?" I'm going to take it step-by-step for you and I really hope you'll have just fun through the process and really become confident towards the end, and maybe you'll be painting another wreath tomorrow with a different bird. For tools, I saw you say in chat that we need round brushes in size 2 and 6. Anything else? I've got some sketch paper because I do want to go over just some basic sketches on the red cardinal. Then we've got a watercolor paper. The final painting that we're going to be doing it, it's going to be on an eight by eight paper. I also have watercolor paints. This is just my standard paint palette that I have. But obviously, looking at the wreath, we're going to be using mostly reds, greens, and some brown. When I have a palette like this, I always have to have a water spray bottle just to keep my paints moist. I have two large jars of water and I like to use just large jars because then I don't have to refill and clean them out as often. Paper towel or cotton rag you'll need. Then pencil and eraser. If you have a kneaded eraser, this is even better. Like I said, round brushes sizes 2 and 6. What kind of watercolor paper are you using? Anything fancy or just what you have on hand? Yeah, it's not too fancy. The brand is Canson, C-A-N-S-O-N, and it's 140 pound. With watercolor paper, it should always be 140 pound because it's nice and thick, it's going to be absorbent. The kind that I'm using is cold press paper, so it does have a little bit of a texture to it, but it's not too bad. 3. Sketching a Cardinal: To get started, we're going to prepare to paint a cardinal with some observation and sketching. We're going to just use regular sketch paper to do our sketching because we want to preserve our watercolor paper as best as possible. First I want to just do some observations. So when we look really close up at the red cardinal, you see that they have a tuft on the top of their head that comes to a point, and you can see that right here too, and then you can see that the black parts around their eye and their beak curves right around their eye. If you want to just take a moment, we're going to sketch one over on this side together that's going to look closer to the final work. But again, just for now, let's just do some more observation. If you look at the beak, it's not quite long, and it's not quite very short either, it's a medium length. Another observation for the eye. It doesn't really matter where you place the whites of the eye, but you do want it in a place where, it's looking towards the side, if they're looking forward, the white is going to be closer to the beak area as if they're looking outward. If it's of in the back, it means that they're looking out the side right at you like that. Let me give you some quick pointers on how to sketch animals or birds or even people. It's always about the ovals or circles and so go ahead and sketch a small circle. It's going to look like a snowman, and then sketch a slightly larger circle just like that. The way that our cardinal is going to be facing, I mean, this is a final sketch, but it's going to start with these two ovals, and so it's good to have this as a foundation because it helps you just imagine the overall shape and also helps you to break down the animals overall body anatomy make up. Then from there we're going to add a little bit more detail. Why don't I zoom in on that just a little bit. Up here, I just added the tuft right on the head, so this was the original oval right here, and then I extended this side on the left for the beak, and then I added just this part right here, which is going to be the black area of the cardinal, and then the last thing I will probably do is just add an eye. Depending on how wide your circle is or how long it is, it's going to determine how well round bodied or round bellied your bird is going to be. Mine's a little stout, and that's okay, and then the final one, I added the eye here, and then I added just extra lines on the sides to represent his wings because they're folded inward. Then I added a couple of feet or claws and then the tail. Now in this class we're not going to be painting our cardinal in a botanical way. What I mean by that is we're not going to be aiming for scientific accuracy. We're just going for just the general feel of our cardinals, so if we were to look at our final painting again, I don't have a ton of details like all the feathers or anything like that, but when you look at it, you can still tell that it's a cardinal. That's really what we're going for. Let me do a quick sketch of the eye because again, I want to make sure that you get that nice white of the eye when we're finally going to do our painting. If you have a generic oval for the eye, you want to preserve the white, that white circle around the eye too. In order to do that, you can either draw a larger circle around it, around your original one, or you can draw a smaller circle right inside and this way. The space in between the two ovals, that's going to be the white surrounding the eye and I have that right there. If this is where the beak was, and I want to put the white of the eye further in the back, then that's what I would do and then color in the rest. As we're painting, we want to really make sure we preserve these whites, because in watercolors we technically don't have the color white. Instead, we're going to use the white of the paper to shine through. That means that we're going to be painting around this white area. All right, so hopefully that was quick and easy, so let's go ahead and go to our final paper. I know it sounds daunting already, but we can do it. I believe in you. 4. Starting Your Wreath: Now, we're going to start sketching out our final wreath. I'm going to use whatever I have on hand to draw my circle, so I'm going to use this painter's tape that I have. You can use your mason jug lid, you can use your cup, your mug, your paper towel holder, whatever you have. I'm just going to sketch just the bottom half of the wreath. Just like that. Remove my painter's tape and there you go. Very faint line right there. My cardinal is going to go right about here in the middle. I'm going to imagine that his feet are going to be right down here. Is it important to have faint pencil lines as you're sketching this out? That's a great question. Yes. You do want a faint pencil line because once you paint over the pencil line, it's going to be a lot more difficult to erase, so try to sketch as lightly as you can. Using our sketch as our base, I'm going to draw a very faint circle up here for the head, and if you're pretty good about sketching, you don't have to do the circles. If you want to just go ahead and start sketching in the tuft of the hair right up there, the feathers, I mean, not hair. Then get the body going like that. I like imagining that he has a little Mohawk. That's what I'm imagining. Yeah. That's right. I'm using the bottom of the wreath to help me anchor the bottom part of the body on the cardinal. Now, I have the blank outline of where the black feathers are going to be and I'm going to just sketch a faint circle for the eye. I'm going to keep the tufts going. All right. Couple claws. Now, the feather is going to be a little bit narrower than the width of the body, so just like that. I'm just going to erase a couple of random pencil lines that I have here. Then the rest of the wreath, this faint circle line that I have here on the right and on the left, I'm just going to use that as the basis for drawing in all of the greenery elements. How are we doing? We've got our sketch done. All right. You can keep sketching, but I'm going to go ahead and prep my paints. 5. Prepping Your Paints: Next, I'm going to pick out my colors and mix my paints. Now, I could give you all the names of the paints, but I don't know exactly which brand you're working with. I'm just going to give them generic names like red and red orange and lemon yellow, something like that. If you have something equivalent, that's what you should use. A cardinal is usually reddish, but it also has orange hues to it. I'm going to use this well here to grab my red orange that I have. I already have a bright red orange here. I'm going to pop that in there. What I like to do with these large wells here, instead of filling it up with just one color, I usually like to add a second color and sometimes they might organically just mixed together and that's fine with me. Because what I like to do sometimes when I'm painting quickly and loosely, whatever brush color that I might have on my brush already, sometimes I go back into this original color. I don't want to contaminate my colors, that's why I bring this original color into this well and drop it here. If I were to pick up that red orange color instead of going to this original well here, I'm going to pick it up from here. All right. I've got some red orange, some bright orange. I'm going to pick up some of this yellow ocher and put it over here because it's only going to be a small amount and mix it with a little bit of orange. That's going to be our beak. We'll need a little bit of brown for our branch. I'll put some there, and we might be using some more brown, especially when it comes to painting the wreath elements too. All right, let's get some greens going, my favorite color. I have here, it's like a muted but dark sap green. I know it's hard to really describe it, but I just love this color. It's very saturated. This is all from the Lukas brand, if you're curious. Again, I'm doing that same thing where I do half and half, I'm going to bring this bright green yellow or yellow green over here too. It's already mixing together right here in the middle. Again, I'm personally okay with that, because I like the surprise of when I get a new color. Some people don't like that, that's okay too. All right. I also have a bright tallow green over here. Tallow green, at least mine, is very concentrated and pigmented, so I don't need a lot of it. But I use the tallow green and mix it with my brown to get a really dark the forest green color. Yeah, look at that. Love that color. It's beautiful. Yeah. I'll probably be using more of it, especially for doing the leaves in our greenery. I'm going to try to mix a little bit more of that. When you rinse your brushes, do you keep one jar of water for cools and one for warms or you just rinse? That's a great question. I usually just have one that's going to be my dirty water. This is what it looks like now. Then the other one is clean because when I put my washed brush back into my paints, again, I don't want a lot of contamination going on. Then I dip the washed brush in the clean jar of water and then I go into my paints. Yeah, I know some people do cool and dark or cool and warm, but then your brush is still dirty. You want clean water. Sometimes people have a third jar or a cup of water so that they have that clean cup. Yeah. This is pretty much our color palette. Let's go into our painting. 6. Painting Your Cardinal: Now we can get to painting our final piece, starting with the cardinal. I'm starting with my size 6 brush because I just want to get a lot of the color down as much as possible, and we're going to start with the red. With watercolors you always want to be starting with lighter colors to dark. Now, when we come to our body, notice how I made half of his body, especially the roundest part of his belly really white and bright. I'm not going to put down a lot of color here. I'm going to do the wet on dry method, which just means putting wet paint on dry paper, so I'm picking up my paints with a semi dry brush. I'm going to start right up here. You don't want a really wet brush or really wet paint because then it's going to just spread out everywhere, so we don't want that. This is your tool, right? This is my size 6 brush. Oh, see what I know. I think that's okay. What I'm doing, I'm just doing quick strokes, especially right at the edge, so I can get that feathered look. Now when it comes to the main body, the paint is still on my brush, but I'm going to pick up some clean water, pull up my brush just quickly, and then now that it's a little bit more wet, and the paint is a little bit more diluted, I can quickly cover larger areas. Why are we starting with a cardinal and not the wreath itself? Because I always start in a wreath with whatever the "most important" or the feature element is. For this wreath, the feature element is the cardinal. Yeah, I really want to make sure that the cardinal is done right, and then the rest of the greenery will just be easier to incorporate. Got it, that makes total sense. Let's go ahead and just fill in the rest of our cardinal. Again, if you want to use just the tip of your brush to create that feathered look right on the edges, do the same right here on the belly, great. I'm going to pick up just a little bit of this orange and go in there with the tail. I really love this little fat robin, he's my, no, cardinal, my best friend. The tail is a little orangier than I'd like it to be, but that's okay. Something that I like to do, a loose approach to painting, while my painting is still wet, I might actually pick up some of this color, and then just randomly drop it, and just see what it does and then see how it spreads and see how it interacts with other colors. I'm very much an experimenter when it comes to this, and I think with watercolors, you have to have a comfort level with that. Because when you're a little bit too rigid, it really limits you. I think watercolor challenges your challenges your comfort level. Yeah, so I'm going to let that dry, wash out my brush. Let's go into the beak because the red parts that we just painted are probably still very wet. We don't want to go in there with the black quite yet, because then it's going to all bleed into each other. Let's go in there with the beak, I'm going to switch to my size 2 brush and pick up that beak color that I had mixed up with the yellow ocher and the orange. Then as I paint the beak, I'm going to leave just a sliver of white space in between where the top and the bottom of the beak meet. Just a sliver of white-space. That'll just give us the illusion that it's not just a blob but it has dimension to it. It's a little bit too yellow. Pick up just a little bit of brown mixed that in there. I know this cardinal is a little bit orangier than this one, but this is a printer error. My printer for some reason always tends to print things a little bit too red. My true cardinal was a little bit more red orange than anything. Printer has some opinions about the palette you should be using. Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, it doesn't make me very happy. How we doing so far? We are going to add just a couple more details to the tail, but once it's dry, so let's let that dry. 7. Adding Greenery: Next, we'll move on to filling out the rest of our wreath with some greenery. I'm going to stick with my size 2 brush maybe. No, you know what, I'm going to do my size 6 because again, I like to start out with the larger and the more feature elements. With this brush, I'm going to paint some of the larger leaves that I have going on here. We're not going for exactly this. You can paint whatever greenery elements that you like. You can paint larger leaves if you like or smaller leaves. It's really up to you. I'm just going to go with the flow as well because that's what I'm all about. I am going to do some really large leaves. I'm using just the tip of my brush to create the stem, and do some large leaves that come out this way. What kind of stroke are you using to create the shape? Yeah, that's a great question. Again, I'm starting with just the tip of my brush to the paper and then as I come into the main body of the leaf, I'm pressing down like this so that the entire brush is sitting on the paper, almost 90 degrees to it and then I'm dragging it ever so slightly, and then picking it up back to the point. Then to finish off the leaf, I usually just draw another line on the other side. It's like magic. I'm going to turn my paper just slightly because I'm not ambidextrous. If you are curious about how to paint leaves like this, I do have a couple of Skillshare classes on how to do that, so feel free to check those out. I do like to layer my greens, so I'm just going to add a couple more leaves out this way. Do you find that with the greenery, sort strokes looks more natural. Do you have a sense of that? I personally like that, yes. But the key is adding that white space, I'm all about that. If you see that slither of white space in between the two strokes that make up the leaf, that makes it seem like it is a leaf, and not just a blob of color in the shape of a football. We want to make sure to leave that slither of white space so you get the sense that you see the vein on the leaf. I'm going to pick up a slightly different color, maybe mix that sap green and that yellow green I have over here. Then just do more of these leaves but fill in the space in between. I might have smaller leaves coming up this way, and I'm just doing single or double leaves, and I'm still using my size 6 brush. If the six is too big for you, that's okay, you can move down to the size 2 or even size 4, it depends on what your comfort level is. As your paint is drying, you can layer your greenery on top of each other too and that will give it the feeling of, it feels more full. It seems a more organic looking wreath instead of your leaf just being like do, do, do. You want them to crossover each other, so it looks more natural. 8. Review: Painting Different Leaves: Amber is asking if you could demo the round leaf in your digitized version. Yeah. All I do is just drag my brush around the rounded portion. If I were to create the stem like this, I think I did was just bring it around like that. Instead of doing two separate strokes, I just brought it back. It's not quite pointed, and you can always go back in there and round it out yourself at the end, but give a little bit of pressure in the middle, just slightly. The colors aren't exactly right because I would use a much darker color, but at least you have an idea. Judy is wondering if you could demo the pine needles again if you wouldn't mind. Absolutely. I'm going to switch back to my size two brush. Just going to grab this graphene here. The trick to a good pine needle is really just how thin and how pointed your round brushes are. You want to make sure to hold it at almost an upright angle like this. I have just the stem of it. Again, if you look at your brush and you see that there's a ball of water forming at the edge, just take it over to your paper towel, blot it real quick, and then do the needed thin lines. I'm doing really quick strokes. You have to make sure that your brush is almost dry, so you get really fine lines. Again, if you're not comfortable with a size two brush to paint this thinly, that's okay. They make all sorts of sizes to do that. Just use very quick strokes. It's almost like you're flicking the brush. It's totally okay if you accidentally skip in the line and so there is not a solid line, that's okay too. Again, we're going for the overall gesture or the overall impression of the painting. If you need to also turn your paper so that you get more control over your angle of the pine needles, that's totally okay. Kristi would wonder if you would mind demoing the regular leaves again with the little white space, the football leaves if you will. For that, I love to use a size six brush, and it also depends on how rounded the body of your brush is. Mine tends to hold a whole lot of water and it has a ton of bristles and so it really lays flat and wide. Again, just for the stem, I use just a tip of my brush to create the stem. Then as I'm going up the leave I'm going to press down, so it's completely on the paper, the entire bristle. Then I'm going to drag it. After about half an inch, I'm going to start lifting up to that point again. Then just to do the other side. Just going to finish off that shape. I'm not doing the same exact stroke, though. The first stroke was completely down, drag, lift. The second stroke, I'm almost perpendicular to this and my brush is stabbing the leaf and all I'm doing is just painting mid broad stroke just to complete the shape. Again, leave that white space in between, so it looks like a vein. I think the trick is then getting the bending of the wrist and bending of the brush to feel more natural, and so trying to move a little bit faster. I demonstrated it very slow but try to move a little faster. You have this come down, come up. Instead of doing this double leaf, you can just do a single leaf. Stem, bend down, come up. Just try that several 100 times. I'm just kidding, but also not really because practice really does help you. For me, painting these leaves is almost therapeutic. Whenever I get a new color or new supply, I just paint leaves. That's all I do. The more natural that stem bend, lift can feel, the more fluid it can feel, the easier it will become. Then again, if you want to do the other side, just bend ever so slightly. I have a friend who said, "Anyone can paint or draw anything they want to, you just have to be willing to do it roughly a billion times." Exactly. After you do a bunch of these straight leaves, you can also do a couple that are curved like that. 9. Finishing the Cardinal: Now that our cardinal has dried a little bit, we can add the branch and other details to finish it off. I'm going to switch to my size 2 brush and get my brown and hopefully my cardinal and the greenery around it is dry. If you ever want to see whether your paint is dry, obviously, you can do the touch test, but if you don't want to risk that, you can just hold it up to a light source at an angle. Then if you see a shine to it, then it's going to be still wet and if you don't see a shine, it's probably either still damp, just a little damp or it might be completely dry. But I'm pretty sure my body of the cardinal is pretty dry. Yeah, I just did a quick touch test. But I'm going to have the branches going horizontally, just straight-through. I'm going to start with a thicker branch here and come right in between. You want your branch color to be a little darker so that it really stands out overall, this greenery, you have a smaller branch that comes out. Cute. Then we will add the claws that go right over it in just a moment. Let's pause on the greenery real quick and see if we can go in there with the black to finish off our cardinal. With a size 2 brush, again, if the size 2 is a little bit too big for how large your cardinal is, feel free to go down a size to even one or zero. Especially when we're going to be going into the white of the eye, it might be a little bit tricky. For the black, I'm going to try to keep it as solid black as possible. I'm going to start with the eye because that's going to be the trickiest part. I'm going to start with outlining that pencil line that we just did and be so carefully. That's a major eyeliner going on there. Mood. Then at this point, depends on your comfort level, if you want to do the inner black part, that's okay. Or if you want to just draw another circle on the outside, that's okay. The beauty of going now with the black on top of this red is if you actually mess up, that's okay. The black will cover pretty much the red. It's pretty opaque. You know what, I made my eye a little big, but I think I'm going to go on the inside and do the white that way. It doesn't have to be a complete circle of the white either. If it's just slightly smaller, that's okay. Then preserve a small area for the pupil. How wet is the brush you're using to do this? It's not very wet at all. When you're doing really detailed work like this, you want to make sure that your brush is as dry as possible and that your paint is also not very runny. The consistency is going to be pretty thick. The thicker the better and the drier the better. There's room for less mistakes because the watery and the more runny it is the more it's going to travel on your paper. But now it can be a little bit more wet if you want it to be. As I paint the rest of it and I'm going to be very careful not to mess up the white of the eye, and I'm doing that same quick stroke around just to get that feathery look. You can do the same right around the beak and then color in that space. The body of my cardinal should be pretty dry, so I'm going to go in there with my red-orange again and just accentuate the sides. Remember for the wings. I'm going to add some long vertical lines down here in that same red-orange. They're all parallel. I feel like I should have made my eye bigger, but it's okay. Then I'm going to do the claws in just in the black. Again, a very dry brush, and here this is just going to go right over the branches just like that. I see you're curving them. Do you find that the curve helps it feel more natural? Yeah. I think because their claws are hugging the branch, so yeah, you do want them curved just slightly. 10. Adding Final Details: Next, we can add some more greenery and fun details like berries to finish this wreath off. So I'm going to stay with my size 2 brush now. I'm going to do some pine needles. I'm using just a tip of my brush to get a nice thick line. Then some quick strokes for these pines. They can be kind of peaking out. Again, feel free to layer your greenery elements, right? How are you deciding where to place these? That's [LAUGHTER] a great question. I kind of start with trying to fill in empty spots. So that's why I added this one here and then this one in this empty spot. But yeah, so at first I tried to fill in the empty spots and then after that, I'm more about like trying to just the overall balance. If I had two up here, I'm probably going to need another one down here just to balance this side out, and then on this side, when I had this one and this one, I felt like I needed to add a couple more down here. Down here, there's not much empty space. But that's why layering on top of them is okay. Or if you wanted to have the element kind of poking out from behind the bird too like that and just keep it kind of small because you don't want any of these additional elements to take away from your feature elements, right? We want to enhance our feature element. You can also have things that are coming out from behind the bird. But here at the bottom too. Now, I feel like this little pine needle needs to have a little leaf next to it. It looks a little lonely. I'm going to add just a tiny leaf right there, so he has a friend. Maybe another one. There we go. The other tip is when you're adding some of these more prominent but still lesser elements, you want to add them in multiples of or not multiples but in an odd numbers. Over here I have 1, 2, 3, 4 and then I have like a tiny one here. That's tentatively five, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. The odd number just gives a little bit more of a visually pleasing kind of look to it. You don't have to be so calculating about it, but it's just a general rule of them. Okay, let's add some berries. I'll use that same red orange, but maybe add a little bit of like just a regular red to it, just to differentiate from the red cardinal. Again, I'm using a semi, it's pretty dry, my brush, and then the paint is not very running. That's important just as you add more and more elements, you don't want any additional water that you don't need. Even when I'm adding the berries, I'm going to add that sliver whitespace or a white spot, and I'm going to be painting them in multiples of three or again, just using an odd number. So you can have like one large one, that's okay. But then if you have smaller ones and try to add them in multiples of three. Again, I know I'm breaking my rule about having an odd number of berries over here, and I only have two and that's okay. Again, it's just a general rule of thumb. Not the berries. The same red used in the cardinal or they're like darker, they're more pure red? Yeah. So I use that same red orange, this little mixture down here on my palette, and then I just added some red right on top and then mix it all in. So it's red, orange plus red. So it is more red than the cardinal. I'm just taking a step back and looking at it. I feel like I want to add obviously the branches to the berry. So we will, I'm going to stay with my size two, pick up my brown, and it just has some thin stems. What I'm doing, I'm kind of pointing them back to the shape of the wreath, right? I can't have the stem sticking out this way out to this corner. I want them to be part of the wreath. They're going to be kind of sticking out that way. [NOISE] All right, I'm going to just finish up, but with even more greenery elements [LAUGHTER]. So I'm just going to stay with my size too and just add a couple of like single leaves here and there. Just to kind of round it all out. Again, I'm looking for some of those like empty spots and then keeping these pretty small because again, I don't want them to really take away from the things that I've already painted, especially the cardinal. I want him to stay the main focus of the painting. But I'm also doing a lot of layering because again, the more you kind of step back and look, I might see kind of some whitespace right here. Maybe I want to fill in that space with a small leaf. I notice you're going much looser in these strokes with small details like this, is it okay if they're a little messier? Absolutely. I think the great thing about loose painting is that it's not meant to be observed quite closely and then observing all the fine details. Think of it more as an impressionistic painting where when you look at a painting by Monet or you know Cezanne. Like it's not meant to be looked at five inches away from your face. It's more about stepping back and looking at the whole of it, and really appreciating the impression that you get from that painting. That's kind of the same thing that we're doing here. It's okay if you're a brush strokes and your gestures are little bit, I don't know how to say it. Yeah, like loose for like for a better work and it's totally okay because again, we're going for the overall impression. So my impression for this painting is that, whoa, like I see a really beautiful Cardinal and I see it's surrounded by a lot of greenery and berries. How does it make you feel? I want you to feel joyous from it. I want you to feel hopeful because usually it's cardinals are a sign of hope, I believe. Yeah, I think that's the impression that I want to give to other people. I'm not so concerned about the details because I don't want you to be odd by the details and the skill. I want you to be odd by the emotion. That's why I think I just personally like the loose floral style the best. Let's just add just a couple more finishing touches. I'm just going to take another step back and look at it and see if there's anything else I really need to add or due to any different need Otherwise, I think we're pretty good. So you recommend like several different colors of green, right? Is this an additional color or is this just like a lighter version of your existing? Yeah. I don't know if you can kind of see my palette over off to the side here, but I'm just using up whatever I have here. Remember, how I said I'd like to take my dirty brush that already has paint on it, and a dip it back into the paint here. That's exactly what I'm doing. I'm just using whatever color I have on my brush. Just picking up a color from here, a color from here. Because at this point, I'm not so concerned about the accuracy of the color of paint. I'm more concerned about the overall look of the painting. Yeah, I'm just using whatever color I have left here. I want to just curve my wreath, just a little bit inward this way. Yeah, just a little bit, now it's little bit too high. It's now I do another leaf over here. [Laughter]Very well, there you go. That was a little bit more honest. Now, I could keep going and add a couple more berries and some more pine, but eventually we got to stop, right? [LAUGHTER] Yeah, there we go. I just also wanted to add a disclaimer. I know a lot of you probably saw this and we're like, oh my God, but if you also look really closely, this is actually a digitized painting. I did paint all of these elements originally, right, and then I took them and then I created this wreath. I only created one half of it and then I just duplicated it, I just mirrored it. Then I added the cardinal, that again I had painted separately, and then I added him on here. So if you're wondering, why doesn't my read look like this, it's because this was digitized and put together in that way. But I think again, if we were to paint all of these elements separately, you could totally achieve something like this as well. 11. Q&A: Now we're going to open it up to questions from our students. See this having a thing where they keep getting hard lines along the edges when the paint dries and they're wondering, are they using too much water? Any troubleshooting tips there? Yes, usually it's a sign of too much water. So what's happening is that the water is pushing the paint towards the edge and then it's just drying just like that. What you want to do, one of the tests that I do with new watercolors is that we do a test where we observe our brush and observe how shiny it is versus how matte it is, which will indicate how wet or dry it is. The more you just play around with the water levels, the more you'll get comfortable with it. But yes, that is an indication of too much water. Then in that case, you want it to either while it was on the paper, if you wanted to pick up that excess water, you can use your paper towel or a different dry brush to pick up the excess water, or you can before you even put the paint on the paper, make sure to blot your brush just slightly on a paper towel to get rid of the excess water too. Different Judie had a question about the beak. You make it look three-dimensional. How do you do that? Is it just the leaving the whitespace? Do you shade it a little bit? What I did, I do have just a sliver of whitespace on it, if you can see that right in the middle. But then that's where I added that brown. I added a little bit of brown just on the bottom half of the beak just so that again, it looks like an actual beak. When I was looking at it, that yellow and the orange mixture just seemed a little bit too bright. I felt like I needed to add a little bit of a shadow on the lower beak. Yeah, just a little bit of that brown in there. 12. Final Thoughts: Just to wrap this up, I have a couple of final thoughts. When it comes to painting birds or a feature element like that, make sure to always start with some observation and sketching just like we did today. Whenever we paint loosely, it doesn't mean that we're just doing whatever we please, it is always based on some kind of structure. Second, it's always important to practice. This first wreath might not have turned out the way that you wanted it to, or maybe it doesn't look right, but that's okay, you still tried something and you should be proud of it. The next one might look even better. It could also look worse but the point is that we have to just keep trying and believing that you're improving with each painting. I can't wait to see your winter wreaths, so make sure to post the project and share your work. If you like this loose floral style, make sure to check out my two classes on loose florals. If you want to paint some more wreaths, make sure to check out my wreath's class so that you can learn more about how to incorporate color theory and different feature and filler elements to make really unique wreaths. Thank you so much for taking this class. Make sure you check out my other classes on my Skillshare profile.