Loosen Up and Play: How to Create an Abstract Floral Watercolor Painting | Jackie Quigley | Skillshare

Playback Speed

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

Loosen Up and Play: How to Create an Abstract Floral Watercolor Painting

teacher avatar Jackie Quigley

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

9 Lessons (16m)
    • 1. Welcome to Class!

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Step 1: Background Colors

    • 4. Step 2: Simple Pattern Layer

    • 5. Step 3: Drawing your Composition

    • 6. Step 4: Negative Painting with White Gouache

    • 7. Step 5: Top Layer Details

    • 8. Sealing an Aquabord Painting

    • 9. Loosen Up and Play!

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

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

This class will provide you with step-by-step direction to create your own unique abstract floral watercolor painting. Amateur and professional artists alike will experience a way to loosen up and create an eye-catching piece of artwork. This class will guide you through the process of adding layers and depth to a painting of any size. Artist Jackie Jean will also introduce you to Aquabord, made by Ampersand, and she will highlight the beneficial qualities of this watercolor art board. 

Meet Your Teacher

Jackie Jean is an artist, mommy, wife, and teacher. She lives with her husband, two boys, and baby girl in Pennsylvania. She enjoys coffee in the morning and eating chocolate any time of the day. Jackie is inspired by botanical illustration and patterns found in nature. Besides creating abstract paintings, she loves surface pattern design and developing illustrations for various clients and commissions.

Jackie Jean attended Columbus College of Art and Design and majored in Fine Arts. She graduated from Edinboro University with a Bachelor of Science in Art Education and a minor in Painting. Jackie currently teaches art to about 600 kiddos in grades K - 5. When she isn't teaching, she's playing with her kids, cooking, out in the garden, or in her studio. 

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

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. Welcome to Class!: loosen up and play how to create an abstract flora water color feed. Hi, everyone. My name is Jackie. I'm an artist, illustrator, designer and art teacher. Thanks for taking this class. During this time together, I'm gonna show you how to loosen up, relax and create an abstract floral watercolor painting. If you're anything like me, you're often doing really tight detail work either by hand or on the computer. And sometimes you need a reminder that it's okay to loosen up and have fun. This class will allow you to learn some new techniques, get out your paints and possibly try out a new material you have never tried out before. Join me in my next video where I'll go over materials that I use and I will introduce you to the wonderful world of Aqua Board. 2. Materials : before we start painting, we need to talk about materials. When I'm creating a watercolor painting, I like to use a variety of brushes. I usually have a larger flat brush like this one and will use a combination of flat and round brush is where it is necessary. It's a good idea to have a good variety of sizes as well. The smaller round brushes will be important later for small details. Now let's talk paid. I use a couple of different brands of water color paint, and you probably have your own favorites. But if not, check out M. Graham and company the color get from these paints or super bright and intense. I also use cotton and watercolors made by Windsor and Newton. Lastly, I used Grumbach ER paints. You can pick up a set or single tubes of any of these at any art supply store. You also want to grab a tube of white quash pain or wait acrylic paint. I like to use white quash, but it's completely up to you. You also want to find a water cup to clean out your brushes. This doesn't have to be anything fancy, and you'll need a paint palette, you could pick a paint palette that's already in use. Might is very well loved. Or you can pick a paint palette that is brand new, fresh and clean. Now if you've never used it, I'm very excited to talk to you about Aqua Board. As I mentioned earlier, I have been using Aqua Board for almost a decade Now, AKA Board is made by ampersand, and I purchase it through. Dick blick dot com. I love Aqua Board because it eliminates the need to frame your finished watercolor painting , and you don't have to put it behind glass. It's archival and very absorbent. You can purchase it as smallest four by four inches and as large as two feet by three feet . You can also purchase aka board with a 1.5 inch or two inch would cradle like this one. I think it gives it a really professional look. The wood cradle is also very convenient for wire hanging again. This eliminates the need for framing and glass. I will steal the painting by spring it with a coat of clear polyurethane. This makes the colors rich, vibrant and non fading. For this class, I'm going to be demonstrating on a six by six inch piece of Aqua Board panel. This panel is the standard eighth inch thickness, and it does not have a cradle. If you're excited to start painting and you don't want to spend any money, by all means, grab your favorite watercolor paper and save the aqua board for another time. I'm excited to see what you will create. In my next video, I will show you how to add the first wash of colors. 3. Step 1: Background Colors: step number one background colors. So I have my painting surface ready. My paint palette set up, and I have my water and brushes close by when I start with Aqua Ward, and in this case, same goes with watercolor paper. I washed the whole surface down with water to start. Ampersand actually recommends you do this with the Aqua Board, regardless of what you're doing with the surface for this class, we're creating a blend of colors for the background. As faras colors go. Choose your favorites limited to three or four and try to avoid very dark colors. I wouldn't go anywhere near black on this initial stuff. You want the colors to mingle and blend. Don't overwork this part. This is the fun. Let your intuition flow part of the painting. You're creating the depth and mood of your overall painting by your color choices and how they blend and move together in real time. This step only took me about six minutes. So again, don't over think it and just have fun. - Way can move on to the next layer. We need this layer to dry completely. In my next video, I will demonstrate how to add the next pattern detail layer 4. Step 2: Simple Pattern Layer: step number two the pattern detail layer. At this point, your background color should be completely dry. For this layer were using watercolor paint to create small patterns on the top of the blend of colors we've already created again. This will add a layer depth to your overall painting. These patterns will end up peeking through your floral motifs and add extra interest to your painting before painting directly on your final piece, you can practice making simple patterns and a sketchbook. Keep these patterns simple, something you can accomplish with a tiny round brush. You can make small marks like dots, dashes, Chevron's exes, triangles or open circles. The choice is yours. Plan on using 5 to 7 different patterns on your painting, depending on how big your overall pieces in size. As for colors, I would use the same or similar colors that you chose for the background. In this case, I'm still using watercolor paint, but I'm using less water and making sure that the color is darker and almost opaque. Use the tiniest brush you own or experiment with different size brushes. Don't felt the whole background. Leave some backgrounds based between the different patterns if at any point you made a mistake or you don't like an area of pattern, the good part is we can make it disappear later on. When we add the white quash paint, join me in the next video where we talk about floral composition and drawing. 5. Step 3: Drawing your Composition: step number three. Drawing your composition before we get started. I want to share some composition tips with you. When you're laying out your space, use a good variety of big and small shapes. You don't want every single shape to be the exact same size. Also make sure your shapes have simple and complex outlines. You aren't drawing any interior details at this time. You're only creating the contour line of a leaf or flower. Make some shape, simple and sweet, while making others complex and interesting. Try to engage all four sides of your paintings. Make sure something is touching each side of your painting. A good way to do this is by cropping a shape on the edge of your painting. It gives the illusion that it doesn't just stop within the frame, and if you end up with a lot of empty space, use filler shapes to take it up. I love using circles and organic shapes to fill these areas. When you're ready to start drawing onto your painting, use a to age pencil or something similar. So doesn't show up Super dark. If you don't feel confident drawing directly onto your painting, gather some photo references of plants and leaves and practice drawing out a small composition on scrap paper or in your sketchbook. Remember, the goal of this project is for you to loosen up in play, so don't feel like you have to have a perfect drawing. In fact, I would encourage you to do is draw what comes naturally. If Laurel's aren't your thing, draw some dinosaur contours. Draw awesome cat contours. Make this painting your own. Here is also your chance to draw out a mistake. If you don't like a certain area of your painting, make sure you don't draw shape in that space. It will end up getting covered with white paint. This will make more sense in the next video. Once you're done drawing in pencil, you're ready for a white quash. See in the next video. 6. Step 4: Negative Painting with White Gouache: step number four. Painting the white negative space. This is the fun step where you're painting will really start to take shape. Using wash or acrylic paint, you will add white to Onley the negative space. This means the area around your pencil drawing. You can keep your white paint completely opaque or water it down so that you can see a little bit of your background color poking feel. This is completely up to you. I like you in the white color mingles with the background colors so I tend to add a little water. Use a medium or small round brush to get into the tight spots. Feel free to go over areas if you want it to be more white or pink the way in the next video where we will at the very top. 7. Step 5: Top Layer Details: step number five, adding the top layer details. Thistles the final layer of your painting, where you can add some colorful details to create movement and one more layer of depth. You can choose any shapes, lines or simple motifs to paint directly on top. I am slightly obsessed with plants and the microscopic world of plants, so I often incorporate this plant cell structure pattern into my paintings. These details work well on top because they create little windows to look through at all. The other layers, I've already added, don't feel obligated to use thes shapes. I've said it before and I'll say it again. This is your painting had what makes sense to you Here. I'm using watercolor pain again, but barely adding any water. So I have control over the placement of this top layer to some colors you've already used in your painting, so everything is cohesive. Try to incorporate the sides of your painting again and allow this top layer to flow and move so the viewer can follow these areas around your whole painting. Loosen up and play stop when it feels right. If you have been working on awful board in the next video, I will show you how to seal it so you don't have to frame it 8. Sealing an Aquabord Painting: ceiling. You're awful Board painting If you have been using Aqua Board to create this project, I mentioned earlier that I steal my finish painting with a clear spray so that there is no need for framing behind glass. You can use any clear, non yellowing acrylic spray or polyurethane too quickly. Steal your painting and create a permanent barrier. You can pick up a clear acrylic coating spray at any craft or art store. If you want a little shine on your painting, go for classy. If you want to keep the original look and feel of your painting, stick with a Matt Spray like this one. I do one or two quick coats and let it drive. Since the Aqua born is a stiff board, I display my paintings by simply standing them up against a wall or adding a wire hanger. If I purchased a cradle board 9. Loosen Up and Play!: you watched me. Now it's your turn. Thanks so much for taking this class. I hope you were able to learn a couple new things and I hope you were able to loosen up in play. I would love if you would submit your own watercolor creations to the project gallery. And if you could also hash tag a f w with JJ toe any social media so we can all see your beautiful creation. Please feel free to leave questions and comments. And I would be happy to get back to you. Thank you.