Paint with Me: Loose Watercolor Florals | Holly Hoffman | Skillshare

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Paint with Me: Loose Watercolor Florals

teacher avatar Holly Hoffman, Watercolor Artist

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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

6 Lessons (56m)
    • 1. Introduction to Class & Loose Floral Examples

    • 2. Color Palette & Supplies

    • 3. Sketching & Composition

    • 4. 5-Petal Flowers

    • 5. Leaves, Filler Flowers, & Details

    • 6. Finished Painting & Class Project

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About This Class

In this class, students are invited to paint along with me, as I demonstrate how to combine large, 5-petal flowers with leaves and filler elements to create a beautiful loose floral painting! This class is approachable for all levels of students, and offers a look at the process of creating a finished floral painting. We touch on everything from supplies and composition, to how to determine where and how to place the various elements. Students are encouraged to complete a loose floral painting of their own!

Meet Your Teacher

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Holly Hoffman

Watercolor Artist


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1. Introduction to Class & Loose Floral Examples: Hello and welcome to my skill chair class. My name is Holly Hoffman, and I'm a watercolor artist. One of my absolute favorite things to paint in. Watercolors are loose florals. Loose florals have been trending for a while now. They're really playful and fun. You can use a lot of different color combinations for them, and they're really suitable for all levels of water colors, from beginners onto intermediate and experts. So in this class, I am going to walk you through how I approach a loose watercolor floral painting. We'll learn how to paint by five petal flower, how to add and leaves and fillers and create a really beautiful, dynamic peace. I find this style is also kind of intuitive and meditative. It's something that allows me to paint more freely, which has been a challenge for me in the past, because I like to approach things more realistically and with lots of details. So for those of you who have a similar approach to watercolor, this could be a very freeing opening style to try out. And for those of you who are beginners, it really focuses on your brush strokes and for standing composition and your color palette and how the elements of your painting come together. So before I jump into this class, I just want to go through and show you some of the loose watercolor floral paintings that I have done in the past to give you a better understanding of the style and all of the different directions that you can take it in. When I hate the in the style, I really love to use bright colors. I think it adds a lot of life and playfulness to the pieces. This one here is one of my favorites, with those cool tones mixed with the deep green and and Oakar shades, and I also keep a large sketch book for painting practice pieces in. So I have this great big would be sketchbook here, dedicated just to loose florals. The paper quality isn't great, but it allows me to experiment without feeling like I'm messing up my good paper wasting supplies. I could just try different things out and see how I went. Teoh approach them, and if I want to bring them into more finished pieces later, I've been doing a lot of base complicit in this sketchbook, playing around with different color palettes as well, like absent metallics at times and also try to paint different kinds of flowers. A fearsome to lips this'll one has more muted color palette with some soft pinks and dark greens. This one is based off of one type of little pink flower that's repeated and a day. You know, this is one of my favorite ones. This features a five petal flower that's very similar to what we'll be doing today, so that gives you an idea of just a few of the different color combinations and compositions and flowers that you can paint in the loose watercolor floral style. There are so many different things you can do with this style. I think that this is gonna be a really fun class for everyone. 2. Color Palette & Supplies: So now we're going to talk about what supplies you will need for this course. So the first thing we'll talk about is paint, and I'm quickly going to touch on your color palette that you choose also. So when I choose a color palette for my paintings, I'll do one of two things. I'll either base it off of the flower or reference photo that I am using for the painting, and I'll try to match the colors at least fairly closely to what I'm seeing. Or if I'm painting like I'm going to be today, where I'm just kind of making it up from my imagination and demonstrating these these techniques. Then I'll go ahead and choose my own color palette. So a color palette that I've been really loving lately are peachy tones combined with deep rich greens or deep, earthy greens. And I also like a little pop of metallic. So I chose today to use bright opera pink, which is my absolute favorite shade of pink permanent yellow deep van date green and then Payne's gray, which you could use black as well. So I'm going to be mixing the opera and the yellow to create those peachy tones. And then I have this nice, deep, rich van date green, which also mix at times with a little bit of this Payne's gray to deepen it even further. And then I have this metallic here. I think it's red. Gold is the name came in a set, and I can't remember the name of the set. But any very pigmented type of metallic paint that you have could work If you want to incorporate a color like this into your painting. E tried to keep my color palettes, probably under six colors, and then from there I will use those six colors, either, as they are, sometimes all mix other, mix them to make other shades, and other times also use a very basic color palette where it's on Lee, you know, maybe three or four colors. It's really up to you what you feel comfortable with. Sometimes if you're new to doing a type of painting or like this with the loose florals, it's easier to work with less colors to begin with to just choose like a a green and then a couple of shades for your flowers that you can mix together and creates in different effects just for practice. That way you can focus more on the brush strokes and the composition and not have to worry as much about what color to put wear or how to mix all these different colors together. So that would be my recommendation. I also keep a piece of scrap paper. A lot of times when I'm deciding on that color palette, I will just dots in different colors on a piece of scrap paper, and I'll kind of mix them around and see what looks good together. I have a little metal pan that I put a dot of each of those colors in plus my metallic, which I'll leave in the pan for today. You could use a ceramic plate or a plastic pallet, whatever you happen to have. And then I have a size eight round brush. This is my most used brush. You'll probably see it in every skill share class that I teach because it's nice for those broad washes, and then it comes to a point for details. I do also have this little size to around detail brush. Today. I may use it for some of the details. I may just stick with this brush, but sometimes I like to have one on hand, just in case I decide that I need it. And then I have pencil and eraser for our sketching heart, a jar of water or to whatever you prefer. And then I have regs and paper towels. I recommend that you have these laying around in case you need to stop up some excess water you spill. Or sometimes you can create a need effect to a dabbing paint off with, like a paper towel or sponge. And then I have my paper. So what I normally used, if I'm just doing practice paintings or something kind of lighthearted, is this cancer in Excel Watercolor paper? I would definitely recommend this if you are a beginning watercolor artist, or you just want to practice something, you confined these PACs tablets of 30 for between five and $10 depending where your shop for them. And while it's not a super high quality watercolor paper, it is definitely a good like beginner or student level paper to practice on for today's video, I am going to be using this sheet of cancer and Melinda Roy Cold press, smooth paper. This is my absolute favorite watercolor paper. And just for the demonstration today, I wanted to paint on something a little nicer, I guess since I'm fairly comfortable with this style and if you are as well, go ahead and use whatever kind of paper that you would prefer. But that being said, I think back covers all of the materials that we're going to need for this course. So I will be back in the next segment and we will talk about our composition and our sketch . 3. Sketching & Composition: So before we begin our sketch, I just want to note a couple of things I always mention in my skill show classes that when we're doing our sketch for watercolor paintings, we want to sketch as lightly as we possibly can so that we don't gouge our paper with pencil marks, and we are able to erase that pencil out again for this particular sketch. Since we're doing a very loose style, I'm gonna keep my sketch very minimal. So when you are setting up your composition, if you are not working from a photo or a still life where you can, you know, look at the flowers and, um, you know, see that there they are, visually in an arrangement that's appealing, like if you're just making it up from your imagination, I guess you want to make sure that you always have at least three flowers in your composition to balance it so you could do you know, 123 You could do a couple here, and one that comes up a little further, or you could add in a lot more to make it much fuller. But three seems to be the number that gives it enough fullness and balance to make your composition look correct. You know, granted, there are always exceptions to the rule, but that's kind of the rule of thumb that I go by. So for this particular composition, I'm not going to paint in a vase. I'm just gonna do a very kind of open, flowy type of arrangement. Orb. Okay. And I want that to go at an angle kind of from the upper left corner, down towards the bottom, right corner. So I'm gonna be thinking about that as I draw out my composition. So for the flowers, all I'm going to do our circular shapes. I'm going to paint a very basic kind of five petal flower like a poppy style. I think I showed and easy earlier of that type of flower. I'll just pop it in here again so you can see so something like this is what we're going to be looking at today. So I'm going to place my first flower kind of in the center a little bit, and I'm just gonna draw very light. Large circle. Okay, so that's where my 1st 1 is gonna be. And then I want Teoh I have one that's kind of facing upwards. So for that, I am going to draw more like 1/2 circle because you'll be seeing it from the side. It's okay to have leave some space between your flowers because we're gonna fill that in with lots of leaves and other possibly buds or Berries are things like that. Okay, so I want to I'm gonna put another one in right here. Also going to put a couple of buds in here, maybe one that's more closed. And then one right here, that IHS beginning toe open. So kind of ah, half circle, type of shape Right there. Okay, Now I'm just taking a look at it, making sure that it looks balanced. And then if if you get painting and you realize that your composition isn't quite as balanced as you wanted it to be, you can either find a spot to add in more flowers, or you can fill it in with those filler elements like I mentioned, like the leaves and stuff. So if you feel like you got it wrong, there's a lot of things you can do. Teoh kind of correct the situation, which is really a nice thing about this style. It's very fluid and it's easy to change the direction you're going if you're not happy with it. So there is my composition kind of along this line once again have my circles and half circles drawn in, and now we are going to move on to painting. 4. 5-Petal Flowers: Now we are ready to begin painting before I start. I do want to mention that if you are completely new to this style, you may want to take just a little piece of scrap paper and practice a couple little flowers before you started on a big sheet of paper just to kind of get a feel for the technique and what you're doing. So what I always do when I begin is I take some water on my brush and I mix my base what I call my base color for my flowers, which is gonna be a very light peach tone. So I'm going to mix some of the pink and the yellow together with a lot of water. I use a weapon wet style a lot when I paint these flowers, meaning that I paint them first in this very light color like a great here. Some testing this color was gonna paint like a little petal shape. Looks good. Looks like what I want. So then what I'm going to do is take a more concentrated version of that PCI tone and then I'll go in and I'll just kind of dot it in in some areas and let it flow and kind of bleed around to create that loose effect. You can even tilt your paper a little bit, you know, make it make the paint, run through the water, and it will always dry a little bit differently than what it looks like when you first lay it down. And that's okay because this style is all about kind of showing off the qualities of the watercolor and the looseness in the free nous of it. So now pick up some of that very light based color that I was talking about. And I am going Teoh. Normally, I would start up in the very top corner. But I want to demonstrate first how I paint this five pedal flowers. I'm gonna do a big full one for you. We're going to leave a little bit of a circle in the centre, open white, and I'm just going to start kind of sketching out a pedal. You can follow the curb of that circle that you drew. So I'm just going to use some more water. And what I usually do is leave some white spaces within the pedal, kind of like little highlights. Okay, that pedal looks pretty good to me. So then going to paint in the next one. Some of them can have less white and some of them can have more. It's up to you. It just adds an extra element of dimension and kind of that adds to the loose style. Because you're not filling in every single area perfectly. You're letting some just just to be, so you don't have to worry too much about making it look perfect. You can just sketch in those those pedals even here. This last one, I made my other ones little, maybe a little too big hills. Last pedal is a little bit smaller, but that's OK. I will also add in some pedals a few marks for pedals around the backside to to help fill in the flower more. But we're starting with this basic five pedal layout. So once you have all of those in, then I'm going to grab a more concentrated mixture with a lot of pink. And what I like to do is just dot it right at the base, the center. I'm gonna put in a few dots of pink, and that's where I usually start adding in my colors is right there at that center. You can just kind of let it flow around, get it to a point where you like it. Keeping in mind as I mentioned that, it's also going to change a little bit as it dries. The other thing that I will mention is that watercolor always drives about 20% lighter than what it looks like when you put it on the paper. It's always more vibrant and more colorful when you first put it down. So don't be afraid to make your colors mawr intense. Then what? You I think you would or look more intense, and you want them to when you it's dry because they will fade out some. Right now, I'm mixing yellow and pink to make more of intense PCI shade. Maybe I'll put a little bit of that around some of the edges of the pedals a little bit in the center, too. What I like about this style is that you can paint the same type of flour with the same colors many times, and you will get a little bit different result every single time you do a painting just because of where the paint decides to flow and how much color intensity you use and all the different factors. There's a lot. It's kind of up to chance with this. This is where it gets very meditative for Mia's. Well, I can really just kind of turn my brain off and just focus in on watching the colors blend together and kind of pushing things around with my brush. A lot of times, if I can get into that meditative state where I'm not overthinking what I'm doing, my paintings turn out really nice in the end. And sometimes I don't even notice how nice they're turning out because I'm not paying attention until they're all done that I think, Wow, that really came together. Which is cool. All right, so we're gonna let that dry, and then we will add in more details. Okay, so now we're gonna I'm gonna go back up to this kind of half moon flower appear and I am going Teoh, just start painting in some petals. So I'm gonna kind of round them a little bit like so. No, that's still wet. Gonna take more intense mixture again, done it in at the very base. This is our wet on wet technique. Once again, a little more pink in there. Choose a couple other little spots to add that and going back to the thought of your color palette, something that I maybe should have mentioned earlier. Is that you? If you're working with warm colors, you want to make sure all the colors you're using in your flower are warm tone like the pink, the pink, yellow orange. They're all next to each other on the color wheel, right? So when they blend into one another, they're going Teoh, create that PCI tone and they're going Teoh retain a vibrant color if you were to throw some green in here, so green is opposite of red on the color wheel and all these colors air, you know, kind of close in the red family. So you throw something on the opposite side of the color wheel in, and suddenly all of your blending and melding and stuff is going to turn to brown so you don't want to pick. You know blue and orange to put in together in your flower unless you're an experienced watercolorist and you have a way of making at work. I have seen it happen. But a general rule of thumb for this is to keep your colors close together on that color wheel. All right, now, I'm gonna go to this little bud over here. I like to paint buds with a more intense washing color, and sometimes I'll even paint them more pink or more yellow than the flowers themselves, just to create a little more interest. Okay, so there's a bud. Now I'm gonna take it's more that wash. So this flowers just starting to open, So it's almost gonna look a little bit like a upside down heart. Um, it is just starting to bloom and unfold here. Gonna add in a little more yellow. More than peachy color. - Okay . Through a few different shades in there. Well, just kind of see how it drives. See what happens. Go down to this other big round flower right here. Approach it the same as the last one. So leave a little bit of white during in the center and paint in five petals again. I'm just starting in that more pigmented color around the center. You know, this one starting to dry I'm seeing that it could use just a little touch more in the center. So I'm gonna add some there too. Can I add some around the edges of the pedals you want? It's kind of your choice where you want to add in your more pigment tones. Okay. And then I'm gonna paint this last. But down here, I think I would paint that bud. Maybe with a little more. A little more orangish orangish pink town coral. A guest? No. I am going to give this a chance to dry. You could go straight in and start adding your leaves and other elements. If you wanted to, it would probably bleed with the flowers a little bit. If that's a look you're going for, that's totally okay. Sometimes I like to do that as well. But for today's applications, since we're approaching this in a more beginner friendly kind of way, I'm going to go ahead and let this dry, and then we will come back and add in those leaves and other elements 5. Leaves, Filler Flowers, & Details: all right. Now that our flowers air very close to being dry, I'm just going Teoh paint in a few more pedals on the bigger flowers. So I'm gonna take that light PCI mixture again. And but I'm going to do is just kind of fill in a little bit where their spaces in between just for a little added fullness. Overall, I'm going to keep these parts pretty light because I want the main focus of your eye to be drawn into the center of the flower will feel that center in a little bit, By the way, also, it's not going to remain blank like that. If you like your flowers the way that they are, you could skip this step. It's not not mandatory by any means. - Okay , so now onto the leaves. So what I'm gonna do is take my test sheet once again, grab some of that green, first of all, and it's pretty deep color mix. A little bit of that pains great in as I mentioned that I'm really into this kind of deep, earthy green combination with the peaches right now. If that's not your thing, you could definitely go with more of a grass green of lime green, a variety and green, Something else that appeals to you more. But this is my Van Dyke mixed with some Payne's gray. And for me, that's kind of the color combo that I'm looking for. So what I'm gonna do for the leaves, I should probably demonstrate first here is I'm going to just paint a basic leave shape. I'm not gonna over think these and these also, we're going to have a little bit of white space left in the middle, at least on some of them. So came in like that, and then I'm going to take, um, it's more that tone and just kind of dot it in. Sometimes it'll deepen it up on 1/2 of the leave sometimes, um, it will be the whole thing that I make really nice and deep, and they don't all have to. For me, at least I don't have to connect on a stem. Sometimes I'll put a couple leaves on a stem like this other times, you know, have one kind of come in, but not necessarily touch and connect, or I'll put you know, one up here that's just kind of free floating, so you'll see what I mean to as we as we go. All right, Something. Get a good amount of that color mixed up, and I'm going to start up here towards the top for this part, I'm going to draw a little line. Sometimes I kind of like the stems to skip. So I don't worry about, you know, making a nice, like, thick, perfect even line. I just kind of 0.1 along and then the leaf Europe at the end of it. And I'll make a a few light strokes. Kind of get it to the type of shape that I want to see good like that, maybe add in just a little more paint and then leave it beat. And then maybe I'll put one right here is Well, the stage is all kind of just about filling in space, and we're also going to use a filler flower. But I I personally like to put the leaves in first and then I'm going to put one coming up from this big flower here, so maybe it's a little bit bigger. Leave. Put some of that nice deep tone in there, so anything I'm gonna mention is don't be afraid to make things overlap a little bit. When I first started working in the style, I was so used to painting realistic and was kind of a perfectionist that I wanted everything to be individually, you know, on its own, nothing could overlap anything. I was just uncomfortable with that. And it took me a while practicing to get to the point where I could just let go of that. And I find that my paintings look a lot more natural because of it could make your leaves a little bit different shape like this one. Maybe you're seeing it from the side stuff like that. You can work a slowly or as quickly as you like. Sometimes if I really kind of get into the flow, I work pretty quickly. Other times I'm just, you know, kind of relaxed and going slower. So, like, here, I'm gonna put a couple stems on. He's going in. But then I'm also going to I think the leaf in here. It's gonna overlap some of that stuff. But that's okay because your imagination can fill in when you don't see one part of the picture like where one's them is supposed to be. What not you just I know it's there. I'm going to put in another one here. So maybe this flower has a leaf when they get a jagged edge or jagged tip like that. I always think that's kind of pretty too. Something different. Put one here. We'll make a little bit of a stem coming off. This guy here not gonna take it, uh, all the way down or make it to concrete because, you know, then you're wondering where exactly does it go on end and whatever. I'm just gonna kind of give the impression of us down Phil there with flour or with the leaf, too. So I'm just gonna continue on with this process. And as I had mentioned, we're kind of working at this angle. So I'm going to focus a lot of my leaves and, um, elements that I add in to keep that kind of direction going. All right, so now I have a good amount of leaves, and so what I'm going to do is do a little bit of a detail work, adding in the other element that I'm gonna put into this painting, and I may come back to the leaves to add a few more in if I need to feel like I need, um, them to fill in some more space. So now I'm gonna take this gold paint. And I had some water on this for a while, kind of letting it soak so that it gets, uh, nice and soft because we're gonna want to use, um, the metallic and kind of a high, high concentration so that it's as opaque as we could make it. I am going to use my my detail brush for this. I decided if you have a smaller brush, er detail brush you want to use, go ahead. Or you can use the tip of your your round brush. So just to give you an idea of like the opacity that I'm looking for, it's like that and s Oh, this is gonna be my overall color combination. Here is well with the coral color and the gold in the deep green. So what I'm gonna do for my other element, I think I am just going to make kind of a little cluster style flower like little tiny buds and then once all those little dots are dry. Then I'm going to go in, and I might actually use more, Just like a Payne's gray. And I'm going to It's kinda hard to show on this, but I'm gonna connect all of the kind of all the stems and make like, a little flower. You'll you get the idea of what I'm doing as we go to. And then just like we balanced the flowers in our composition, I'm going to try to balance these a little bit to the first ones that I'm going to do, going to be right over. They're gonna be right over in here. Not too worried about where I placed them. Just all kind of together in there. - All right, so I think that looks pretty good. We're just making kind of a little cluster. I don't know if they show quite as metallic on cameras. They are in person, but they're very, very gold. Very pretty in person. So I'm going to continue adding this element. So I'm going, Teoh, I'm actually gonna put another one of these e think right up in here and we need a little more little more filling up in this area. This one might be a little bit smaller than the other one. Okay. Want to put some right in here? I'm gonna add a few right down here. I think the best way to describe the how I place this kind of an element in as I go kind of every other. So I have some up here and some over here. I'll have some here and some over here and, you know, not directly across from each other. They're at a little bit of a angle, and then I'll probably put some down at the bottom two. So that's kind of how I balance it within the composition. All right, so I think that gold detail looks pretty balanced now. So what I'm going to do next is take that Payne's gray color. Use my detail brush. Actually, I'm money. Even switch to a smaller detail brush. If you have one of these liner style brushes, thes could work really well too. I might actually use that for this. You can use any, you know, rush. That comes to a fine tip to do the lines, but since I have this one handy, I'm gonna go ahead and and use it. So start with these first ones. I did again. Not every little line needs to connect to every other line. Uh, we're just giving the impression you could make these lines a little bit bolder if you wanted to. This brush just doesn't really Finn line. So making these little stems just connects these flowers into the rest of the peace finishes, giving the illusion that there little flowers. What part of this loose style of painting is just changing the direction of where the elements are coming from? So you don't want all of your flowers to be face on. You don't want all of your leaves to be completely flat pointing in the same direction. You don't want all these little elements to, you know, be exactly the same. You want a lot of variation. And that's part of the If you can get into that flow that I was talking about and just kind of cess and feel, um, what looks right then? Things tend to come together, but that can, you know, take practice if you're if you're just beginning. All right. So now we have all of our little stems painted in. So what I'm gonna do now is just take a look at the painting, see if there's any additional areas that need leaves. And I think, as I look over and I think this bottom could use just a couple more leaves Okay, So I added in just a couple more leaves till I felt like things were balanced. Now we're going to do the final details of this piece, which are going to be on the centres of these two flowers. So what I'm going to do for that tape detail brush once again and I'm gonna get some of that black pains. Great head color. I'm going to dot this in the center. Make lots of little little marks in the center. Gonna leave the very center of the flower open for just a little bit of yellow. You could make these centers as big or as small as you like. You could even skip the black and just put in some yellow if you want it. It's really all up to you, just teaching you the basics that I use when I'm painting with this style of water color. And I think this is a fairly simple style of flour. Lots of people have drawn or painted five pedal types of flowers before, so it's a good a good starting point. And you can really experiment with it a lot green. A lot of different types of paintings. Okay, so rinse my brush. I'm gonna grab some of that yellow we used earlier. That's my brush a little more. I didn't get it quite clean enough. And then I'm just gonna dot little bit of that in the middle, mixed with the black a little bit, but that's OK. I don't mind that. All right. So I will be back in the next segment to talk about our class project, and I will show you this painting after it has completely dried. I'll hold it up so that you can see what the finished piece looks like. 6. Finished Painting & Class Project: all right. Now that are painting has dry. I'm just gonna hold it up for you to see. It's always easier when you look at something from a little bit of a distance to see how it comes together, what the composition really looks like. Somehow you can really see that the effect of that line more the diagonal angle. And, uh, I'll show you the gold little flowers. They drive very reflective, very pretty and really love the color combination for this piece. It came out really nice, as did those washes and bleeds that you don't always have a lot of control over. I really like how they turned out for this. So for the class project, I would love for all of you to create your own loose floral watercolor peace. If there is anything that I can explain more or expand upon, please let me know if you want any feedback as you're going through the process of painting or you just want me to look at your finished piece. I would love to do that. I would love to see pictures. The work that you're doing, I hope that you enjoy this class. And I hope that in the future you will join me for more water color floral classes here on skill share