Luminous Watercolor Florals - Cherry Blossoms for Beginners | Trupti Karjinni | Skillshare

Luminous Watercolor Florals - Cherry Blossoms for Beginners

Trupti Karjinni, Artist, paintmaker, cat mom

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9 Lessons (50m)
    • 1. What's this Class About?

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Color Palette

    • 4. Brushstrokes and Petals

    • 5. Petals to Blossoms

    • 6. Blossoms to Branches 1

    • 7. Blossoms to Branches 2

    • 8. Finishing Touches

    • 9. Your Turn!

13 students are watching this class

About This Class

Get ready for some therapeutic florals time! Together you and I will learn how to not only paint watercolor florals but to paint transparent, luminous loose flowers.

Quite often I see beginners (and the occasional experienced artist) struggle with how to use watercolors for what this medium is known for - it's transparency. So instead of capturing the delicate luminosity of florals, they end up making highly saturated florals that look "heavy", if you get what I mean.

If you ever wanted to learn how to paint glowing, delicate loose florals, this class is the one for you! We will learn how to get over our fear of adding WATER to WATERCOLORS and learn how to use the tints of a color to paint delicate cherry blossoms.

This class is for anyone who has struggled with florals ever (I know I did VEERRRYYYYY long time). At the end of this class, you'll be able to paint any florals in a luminous, transparent way.


1. What's this Class About?: When I was in Amsterdam this April, I saw cherry blossoms for the first time in my life. Although I had painted them so many times before, I cannot express just how happy I was to see them in their full spring glory. That is exactly what has inspired me to create this class for you today. Hey guys, I'm Trupti Karjinni , a watercolor artist, instructor, and the owner of Blue Pine Arts. A company that makes handmade artistic watercolors and other art supplies. You can find out more about me on my Skillshare profile. I want to share with you my take on painting, clawing, transparent, lose watercolor florets. We will practice our brushstrokes today to study the petals. Then we will learn how to build upon that to paint our branch of delicate pink, cherry blossoms. It's going to be a very relaxing class today. Get ready for some pampering, for some me time. Let's begin. 2. Materials: Let's take a look at the materials that we'll be using in today's class. Let's start off with the paper. I'm going to be using this big piece of Fabriano artistical 300 GSM cold press paper. This is an artist grade paper. For today's class, I would prefer to work on an artist grade paper because when I had my first success with painting loose florals, it was when I switch from student grade paper to artist grade paper. That made all the difference for me. So that was my experience. So see if it works for you, but you could use cold press watercolors student grade paper as well. I'm choosing to use a larger format today because sometimes if you walk on bigger painting formats, like a biggest size, it gives you another level of confidence in your skills. So if possible, go for a bigger piece of paper for today's class. I also want to use a small sketchbook like this, blue pine arts tiny sketchbook. It has again it has cold press artist grade 220 GSM paper inside of it. This sketchbook is really great for me to make some color swatches play with the colors and ideas that I have in my mind before I move on to my final piece of paper. Today we are going to be swatching all of up colors from a selected palette and we will also be practicing a basic brush strokes in this little journal. So grab anything. Student grade people will work for this part of the class as well. For the brushes I am going to use just these two brushes today. These are my Princeton heritage round number 6 and my Prinston heritage round number 2 branch. The reason why I prefer using just these brushes for my florals is because first of all, they're made of synthetic hair, so it is synthetic stable hair. It has the snap to it that gives me a lot of control for the style of florals I like to do. Also the fact that it holds a lot of paint and water in it. Another reason why I like using this brush is that when I used it, it has a blunt edge toward which I really prefer in my florals so just pick any brush that you have, any watercolor brush, a size six or an eight, or a size two or zero, and it'll work just fine for you. Coming to the paints I'm going to be using my gorgeous blue pinnate handmade watercolors. So I've chosen a palette of six colors for us. I'm not sure if I'm going to use all of them, but let's have a look at the colors that I'm going to use, so I have rose matter kiss, I have quinacridone, goulal, which is the same as quinacridone rose and other plants, I have Alfonso yellow, which is a beautiful warm yellow, I have Rosa Marine, which is a lovely, lovely purple that leads towards pink. I have sap green I have dark clave hematite, which is a beautiful, just a lovely, granulating dark brown, which will imitate the browns of the cherry blossom branches. I'm going to use my special ceramic palette for today's class. So this is a ceramic palette with five wells and five mixing areas that I picked up from Germany. You all know how much I love using ceramic palette because the surface doesn't stain in the paint does not meet on the surface, as you'll see later in the class. To absorb my water, I'm going to use this new thing that I've found in Fabriano when I was there for the watercolor festival. This is a sponge. It's kind of like a magic sponge or something so when it becomes dry it hardens up and becomes like a hard block. But when you put water on it, it becomes this pliable surface and it holds an insane amount of water. The way you use it is you take your brush and then you just wipe it on it. So instead of using paper towels, you can use this brush and then you can squeeze all the water off towards the end, you can just give it a rinse, live it to dry, and then soak it up again to the next time we want to paint. So I've never used this before so let's see how this works. We will of course need a jar of water. So I always prefer using a transparent jar with a lot of volume so you can hold a lot of water to wash in your brushes. That way I don't have to go back and forth rinsing out my jar again and again to change the dirty water. So those are all the materials that we'll be using in today's class. Let's jump onto the next section where we will take a closer look at our color palette and then we'll start. 3. Color Palette: Let's take a closer look at the colors that we are going to be using today. I've chosen six colors for today's class. All are blue peanuts handmade watercolors. The first one is this gorgeous soft murder kiss. This is a beautiful soft warm pink color, and I love how delicate this color is especially for painting cherry blossoms. The next color that I have is quinacridone coral from blue peanut. This is the same as quinacridone rose and other brands of watercolors. This is just a beautiful juicy warm pink color. Next up we have Alfonso yellow, which is a warm yellow color and I'm not going to use this a lot in today's painting, I'm just going to use it to paint the centers of cherry blossoms and also to warm up a few of our colors to make them look a little peachy. Next up we have the stunning rosmarine. Now this is purple that leans towards the pinkish side. This color's just so dynamic and they won't be visible in this ones watch, but it granulates beautifully. With the blue and the pink and this color separate on the paper, for the green, I'm going to use our blue peanut sap green which is just a warm lovely green color to paint the leaves of a cherry blossom branch. I will probably warm this up with some yellow and our brown to make it look a little bit more olive. The last color that I've chosen is the dark clove hematite, which is just a beautiful dark grainy leading brown, perfect for the cherry blossom branches. These are the six colors that we'll be using today. Just to show you the diluted versions. Because you're going to dilute our colors a lot in today's class. It's always a good idea to tint your colors out and see what they look like, when you add a lot of water to them. In this exercise, I'm hoping that you will get rid of your fear of adding water to your paints and really tint it and get down because especially in my workshops, I see that one of the biggest problems that my students have is adding water to their color and really tint it down and use it in a diluted form. In the next segment, we're going to do some flush exercises, and then we will deconstruct a cherry blossom into loose brush strokes and study how to build up their individual petals. 4. Brushstrokes and Petals: Now you can see that the colors that I have selected are very harmonious with each other especially for painting florals like cherry blossoms. Now, I'm not going to be using all of these colors at all the time especially the two pinks and the purples. It's mostly going to be monochromatic painting with mostly a lot of things. But just to bring some interest in our art work, we are going to vary the pinks by adding a little bit of the warmer pink, a little bit of the cooler purple, just a little bit of the yellow to make the pinks more peachy. Let's go ahead and practice our brush strokes to get the flower shapes. Now, if you seen cherry blossoms, you know that they usually come in an oval shape petal, and you usually have five petals. I'm just going to draw the basic shape of the cherry blossom. But if you've observed real cherry blossoms, you'll know that the petals are a little freed at the edges and that's what gives them the character of cherry blossoms. In order to get that, let's go ahead and practice brushstrokes first. I want you to load up your brush with the pink color and practice using the tip of your brush to get the thinner lines, and then apply pressure on your brush to get these broader strokes. If you want to learn more on how to use brush exercises to truly understand your brush, make sure you take my previous culture class. It's all about exercising your brush strokes and you get to learn how to paint really pretty feathers also. What we're going to do is make this exercise of starting with the tip of a brush, and really pressing it down and curving it like this. Now we're going to do the same thing on the opposite side. Then we're going to combine these two strokes by making a loop and eventually painting an oval shape, but also practice leaving this gap of white. Today we are going to paint a florals, we're also going to leave some whites to show the highlights on our flowers. It's important to learn how to paint petals in shapes while leaving the gap. Let's paint a floral shape again. When you're using synthetic brushes like this, when you have a lot of control, you can even use the brush like a pen and just draw using the tip of your brush. You see how I'm just using the tip of my brush, pressing it lightly to draw this oval shape. Practice using your brush like a pen so that you get even lines like these. Now that we know how to paint an oval shape like this, the next thing we're going to try is to break up this oval shape into a more interesting petal shape. What I'm going to do is bring it down like this and while leaving the gap, I'm going to make the edge more freed like you can see here. Let's practice and apply petal like that. Now I'm going to add a lot of water to my paint mixture. See how I'm really diluting this pink. I'm going to take these diluted version, take your sponge and paper over to that any excess paint from it. Try and paint your petals again but with a more diluted color. Do you see how much more luminous this petal looks compared to this? Let's try one more. Observe how I'm using these gaps and using my brush to make these freed tips of the petals. What I'm going to do now is try and warm up my pink to make a peachy color and then I'm going to use it again to make my petals. In the next segment, let's see how we can use these lose bottled shapes to paint our cherry blossoms. 5. Petals to Blossoms: Let's move on to actually painting our cherry blossoms using the pedal shapes that we just practiced. I'm going to grab this beautiful [inaudible] and dilute it down. Then I'm going to paint the petals around the center, so notice how I'm not touching the pedals, all the pedals with each other and that's the fifth petal. All right, I'm going to take some Alfonso yellow and then we drop it in the center to show the cute little center of the flower. Now, if your yellow touches the pink and spreads into it, let that happen because that's going to make your flowers looks so organic and so beautiful. I want to illustrate the difference between painting just a floral with watercolors and painting luminous florals with watercolors. I see a lot of people just taking a really saturated thick color, so if they thing that cherry blossoms are pink, they'll grab this really strong more saturated pink and they will go ahead and paint the entire flower in this pink color. Then they'll take another like really saturated yellow and drop it in the center. I also see so many of them not even leaving these white gaps, so observe the difference between this flower and painting this luminous cherry blossom next to it. The trick to painting a luminous floral is that you really dilute the pink down. When I was in Amsterdam, I had the fortune of seeing cherry blossoms with my own eyes for the first time and I saw just how beautiful and delicate they were. Now, I'm gonna switch it up, mix all this pink with the yellow and make it a little more warm, more peachish and then drop it next to this pink. Let's grab ping again again. Now what I'm going to do is, grab this dark pink, a darker [inaudible] gulal and then I'm going to just touch the insides of these wet petals to show that the petals are getting darker towards the center and then I'm going to grab a little bit of a diluted version of this Alfonso yellow and drop it in the center. Now, look at the difference between this flower and this flower. You can see that I painted most of the flower using a very transparent layer of the pink and then I dropped a darker pedal, just one of the petals will slightly darker. Then I dropped a bit of a darker, more concentrated color in the center. This whole play that's happening between the lights and the darks, the contrast between this extremely diluted pink with the stronger pink color over here. That is what makes a floral so much more luminous and more lively and just so delicate looking. Because I mean, you see cherry blossoms as so delicate. I just feel scared to just hold them in your hand. Let's practice another cherry blossom with our diluted pink. Remember to leave the white gaps between the petals. I made one of the petals a little darker. And what I can do is, I can just take some plain water in my brush, touch this darker petal here and just paint it with some clear water and drop some color in there. You can see just how beautiful and lovely this flower is looking. Now, let's try to paint some cherry blossoms that are grouped together. When you see cherry blossoms on a tree or on a branch, you can see that a lot of them just grow in little clumps, so we want to show the flowers not just equally spaced around each other. But as though there is a big clump of cherry blossoms and they're all peeking out in different angles. I want to paint a cherry blossom that the center is somewhere hidden over here because I already have a very light petal here, to contrast with that, I'm going to paint a darker pink. Maybe I could bring in a little bit of this rosa marine, but just really dilute the rosa marine and just use like a slightly purpleish petal and you can observe that when I drop my Alfonso yellow in here it looks like as though there is a flower with the center over here and the rest of it is hidden behind this first flower. So remember to just keep dropping some colors here and there. Maybe with this flower, just two of the petals are peaking and we can't see the center at all, so the trick to painting are luminous cherry blossoms is one to keep varying the tones of the petals so that they look interesting and to keep adding contrast like how I did here and here. Another way to differentiate florals from each other when they're in a clump is to drop the center and the center just gives so much character to the flower. And another thing that you can do is like keep varying the peaches and the pinks and the slight purples in the flowers and we just keep repeating it in a pattern but not in a pattern that's like equidistant. We keep like clumping the flowers together and you have a few cherry blossoms. Now, let's practice how to paint the branch of the cherry blossom. If you see a cherry blossom branch, you can see that the color of the branches are very dark, beautiful dark brown. I have my dark love hematite and I just want to add a little bit of the rosa marine to just bump up the chroma of this brown and you can see over here that the crown just looks so much more richer and has a bit of a pink hue to it. The way I'm going to paint the cherry blossom branch is to practice a stroke in a way that the branch does not obliterate my flowers, so I'm going to start my branch from here and I'm going to use the stop and go motion. You can see that because of the stop and go motion, the cherry branch looks so much more organic. I'm going to form some of these not like features that you get in some of the branches, so that's the thing, a cherry blossom branch is not like a smooth branch like this. It's more of a sharp edge branch, so there's a lot of difference between making branch look like this than with this. I will call it the stop and go motion. As for the leaves of the cherry branch, I'm going to take some of this sap green and I could use it just like that. It's a lovely color, but I want to make it a little bit more olivey, so I'm going to add a little bit of the dark clove hematite and tone the color down a little bit and using my brush, I'm going to paint these tiny little leaves because, you know, I'm painting a cherry branch that's in full blossom and you can hardly see the leaves. Just a few of these tiny leaves will make it look more natural. I could paint another leaf just peaking out from here, maybe another here. As I said, we don't want too many leaves off the cherry branch, otherwise it's going to look too crowded. We want the hero of our composition to be these beautiful, large, very delicate flowers. The stems and the leaves are just some extra elements to tie our whole composition together. Go ahead and paint as many cherry blossoms as you want to really get the hang of diluting your paints and then using them to get the transparency that we need because after all, watercolors is a transparent medium, is it not? Let's use it the way it's intended to be used. All right, so let's move on to the next segment where we will go on to our final piece of paper and we'll start painting our cherry blossom patch. 6. Blossoms to Branches 1: Let's get onto the composition of a painting first. Today, I want my cherry blossom branch to grow from this edge, this end over here, and then curve up till here. I'll have a larger clump of cherry blossoms here and then they'll get sparser, and end up somewhere about here. If I feel that there is a lot of empty space left here, I might just draw another branch that's coming in like this, a shorter branch, and then just come here and end. I just think that just to have this composition of the branch going from one end of the paper to the other, it makes the painting look really beautiful and interesting. Now, to make sure that my artwork is centered in the paper, this is a trick that I use. I have a half-inch masking tape and I just tape it around the edge. Now, remember that I'm not taping the paper to the board. I just want the tape to form a border around the paper, so that I keep my painting centered. All right, let's get started with painting our cherry blossoms. But before we begin, I want you to take a deep breath, and let go off all expectations because this is going to be a very meditative class, and we're just going to just purely enjoy the beautiful, playful nature of watercolors. At the end of this class, you will come out with a gorgeous composition of cherry blossoms. Just let go of all the control and expectations, and you'll see how it works out so great. I have my muddy case and I'm diluting it with a lot of water. Remember the brush exercises I taught you. I'm just going to draw the first petal, the second one, and for the third one, I'm going to paint this darker muddy case. Right next to this, the fourth petal, I'm just using a brush load of clean clear water, and I'm just going to pull the pigment away from this beautiful muddy case petal. We come to complete our flower. You can see how there's a beautiful yet delicate play of light and dark between the colors, as well as all the white gaps that I've left inside the petals themselves. I'm going to get some alfonso yellow, come back in, and drop it in the center to form the delicate center of cherry blossoms, and off we go. The first color is done. For the second color, I'm going to dilute my quinguilal, and start placing it next to this flower. I want to paint a flower that's peaking from behind this one, so just painting three delicate petals. I'm going to bring in some of the peachish color of the quinguilal. I'm going to drop the center here. You can see how the yellow just rushed into this pink. Don't disturb it. Let it be. That is the beauty of watercolors when you get these unexpected bleeds. Let's paint another flower over here. Be spontaneous with your brush strokes. Some of the petals like this one is just almost transparent. There's hardly any color on there. Once we drop the darker center, like so, you'll start seeing the blossom just come to life. Now, I'm going just drop in the alfonso yellow, and that one's done. It's just a matter of repeating the shapes, changing up the color every now and then. Most importantly, it's all about having fun, so don't forget to do the that. All right. Let's paint another peachy flower. I'm going to mix some of the alfonso yellow, some of the quinguilal, and I must remember to add a lot of water. I want to paint another flower that's upturned. I'm just going to paint the three petals like so. Another flower, I just leave it just like that. What I'm going do is, paint the little dots of the stamen here at the top. It gives the illusion that the flower is all turned up and the top of the flower is here. This is another way that you can use the centers of the flower to hint the orientation of it. Here is another group. Again, I'm going to drop the center stamen here. Right about now what I'm going to is, get a more saturated, peachy, pink color. I'm mixing a lot of quinacridone rose, quinguilal with a little bit of the alfonso yellow to get this peachy bright, pinkish red. I'm going to drop in a little unopened bud here. Maybe another one here. You can see how just a few of these darks are just popping out of this whole composition. Now, let's go ahead and paint some of the branches. I have my dark love hematite, mixed with the tiny bit of rosa marine. I'm going to start the branch here, and you can see how I'm leaving white gaps in the branch itself, to make it look a little bit more dynamic. I'm not going to connect the branch to all of the flowers. Just a few. I want another flower here to tie this whole thing together. I'm going to bring in a diluted version of the rosa marine, just to make the composition a little bit more purple. You see how this is a cooler purplish pink. It's a lot of fun to see this composition just come through like this. Again, I'm just using clear water in some places. I'm going to punch in some of this rosa marine, here around the center, to give it that pop. Some yellow. Now, we're ready to bring the branch outside a little bit. Observe the stop and go motion again of the branch. I'm going to remember to place some of the knot-like characteristic of the cherry blossom branch, and some over here. Then I'm going to bring this lovely light olive sap green. I'm going to really dilute it, and then paint little, leaves, on the edges. Observe how I am not making the leaves a big deal in this composition. I'm also not pointing them all in the same direction. All the leaves in my composition are not pointing upwards. Let's see, maybe another one here. Just a tiny one. We'll stop with the leaves now and continue with the flowers. 7. Blossoms to Branches 2: I tried to step back a little bit and just take stock of where my artwork is at this moment of time. I know that I've pretty much filled in this area, I don't want to overwork this. Now, I need to place a few more clumps of cherry blossoms here, maybe a few here, and then just a couple here, and then just end IT to make it look like a beautiful branch, just carving up like this. I need to make sure that I don't overwork and fill this entire page and every bit of white space with a lot of cherry blossoms. We still want enough white space all around these flowers to make them pop. When I was in Fabriano, there's this really great watercolor artist and his name is Thomas Schaller. I heard him talk about this in his demo. He said that a lot of watercolor artists that he meets are afraid of two things, water and color. I recognize without just how true that is, when I was trying to learn watercolors in my beginner days, I remember just how spooked I was about using color and using water. I ended up making a lot of paintings with the colors didn't really have any tonal value in them. I would just get really afraid of diluting the paint down to a mixture that has almost no color in it. It just never made sense to me. I was like, if it's water doesn't have any color in it, why should I even put it on my paper? You can see how in this petal there's literally hardly any pigment, and yet because of the surrounding petals, it has a form and it has this delicate beauty about it. I guess that's what I really love about this medium is that you can truly learn how to bring a certain type of beauty, but almost no color on your brush. It's display of this light and dark that just makes it so beautiful. I have another clump of flowers here and I want to bring in my branch again. What you see me do is place my flowers first, then take a little bit of a halt and bring in my branch to make sure that my branch is actually covering away. Because as an artist sometimes I get so carried away with this beautiful way, this joy of painting, something that I just have the tendency to loose control and start painting it all over the page and ruin my composition. It's a good idea to stick stock once in a while. Bringing your branch, see how it's working. We're going to place one of the buds about here, maybe another one here, just to keep the contrast alive. But I really am not liking this empty area right about here. I'm thinking maybe another node. Now the space looks a little bit more cohesive, and you can see how our composition is slowly coming together, and it's just filling the paper with such delicate beauty and so much joy. You can see that I'm not particularly worried about the exact shape of my petals. Maybe in some places it's harder to tell whether there are three flowers or five flowers. It's hard to differentiate between the centers of the flower and the petals of the flower. I'm going to bring in my branch again. It's like a step dance. It's flower branch, leaves, buds, and flower branch and leaves and buds again, and again, and again. I don't want to extend this branch all the way till here, so I might just want to place another flower here, maybe another the proper one, because I haven't done that in a while. Now, I am fairly near towards the end of my branch, so I just want a very delicate maybe just a half open blossom here towards the top. I'm going to add a few more leaves towards the end. Don't overcrowded, but I want to make sure that the end of my advantage has more leaves. 8. Finishing Touches: Okay, so I'm extremely pleased with how my whole composition has turned out and I just love how all of these colors have worked together and just how beautiful they are looking. So what we can see is that almost all for flowers are just really light and value and we can see that in this whole composition, almost all of the cherry blossoms are very delicate and very light and value and the dark values are very few compared to the larger light values, which are cherry blossom parts, which are dark pinkish red color and the really dark brown branch that's going through this entire composition. So you can see how there is a harmony between all the light values and a few of these dark values, which just make this entire flower branch looks just so glowing and so beautiful. So I could leave it just as it is but I feel like there's a lot of empty space here. Now you can get creative with the space. You could maybe do some lettering, write a beautiful message here but, since I'm not so good at lettering yet, I want to paint maybe just another branch of cherry blossom that comes down here and ends here. So I'm going to turn my paper around. I'm going to paint the branch, another branch that is entering from this end this end, but I won't eat into the negative whitespace. That is there around this branch. I'm just going to maybe start from here and end here. So not a lot of cherry blossoms, just a few of them. So let's start actually by bringing some of the stem. So I have a stem that's coming down from here and I'm going to just start painting the blossom. Maybe another little blossom here and all I'm doing is basically just repeating the same steps.[MUSIC] There you have it. We are almost done with the composition of this piece. Maybe just another flower here. I got to tell you I'm loving using this rose and maroon, and this composition, just as purple colors bringing in so much character. 9. Your Turn!: I hope that painting these cherry blossoms give you as much joy as they gave me today. I hope that now you are able to fearlessly add lots of water in your watercolors, to take the advantage of the transparency of this beautiful medium. Please upload your luminous flowers in the class projects section, I'd love to take a look at your work. If you upload the class results on Instagram, please do tag me. My Instagram handle is @truptikarjinni. Lastly, I would really appreciate your reviews on this class. Until the next time my friends, happy painting.