Painterly Sunflowers with Oil Pastel and Watercolor | Rebecca Humphreys | Skillshare

Playback Speed

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

Painterly Sunflowers with Oil Pastel and Watercolor

teacher avatar Rebecca Humphreys, Scribbler of Doodlebits

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

6 Lessons (35m)
    • 1. Hey there!

    • 2. Watercolour Underpainting

    • 3. Oil Pastels, First Layers

    • 4. Scribblin’

    • 5. Oil Pastels, Top Layers

    • 6. Ta Da! The big finish!

  • --
  • 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

Learn how to combine watercolours and oil pastels in this class! Your project is both fun and easy, and will have you feeling like a kid again as you relax and paint with me. 

We will create our own painterly, impressionistic piece of art using no specific photo reference, but trying to capture the idea of sunflowers, rather than copying a photo. You’ll end up with a piece of your own art that is loaded with feeling and freedom. 

Want some more good news?

This project uses very few art supplies! You’ll be diving in and getting right to the fun parts right away!

I’m ready for some fun, are you?

Let’s go!!

~ Rebecca  :)

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Rebecca Humphreys

Scribbler of Doodlebits



A few ink and watercolour tidbits snatched from my sketchbook....


I enjoy the process of using traditional art supplies and seem to encounter less barriers to creativity when I’m using watercolours, ink or oil pastels in the real world. I do some digital work, too, and I imagine that the more familiar I get with using those tools, I may enjoy using them just as much ... or almost :) Traditional tools seem to evoke more of a feeling of ‘play’, which I find highly addictive! Maybe that's why I enjoy making my own watercolours as much as I enjoy actually painting with them. :)


And some Oil Pastel pieces...

Hey there!

You thought there would be something interesting here, didn't you? Ah w... 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. Hey there!: Hi, guys. So, Hey, we're gonna have some fun. I hope you're gonna be able to join me on this project. I had a lot of fun on its scribbling away like a madwoman. Um, you're gonna see a combination here of watercolor and oil. Pastel. A lot of fun. So I have three reference pictures here so you can get an idea of what a bouquet of sunflowers can look like. They all face different directions. So that's really the look that we're aiming for here. But with using a specific reference photo, let's talk about surprise. This is very, very simple. The only supplies that you're going to need are shown here. I will be using student watercolor paper tape for the edges of that paper water, of course. A paint set, a big brush that helps to keep it loose. And a set of oil, pastels and paper tall. And it's optional if you want to use a blending stuff or not. But really, that's it. That's all you'll need to use. So let's get to it. Let's go paint. Okay, 2. Watercolour Underpainting: Okay, so first things first after you get your paper all taped down. Ah, you're gonna want to wet the whole surface of the paper and you want to wet it nice and evenly. So you might need to get down and look at it from the side and look for that sheen and make sure that you don't have any dry spots or puddles. You want to avoid both of those problems? Um, and just give yourself a nice, um, even layer of wetness on your paper. Now, I'm trying to keep this as fun and playful as possible. So when I start my under painting, which is what this water color layer is, it's just an under painting that we're gonna cover over with oil pastels. Um, when I start this, I'm just laying down some, um, yellow very loosely and where I think I might want to have Ah, some of the main flowers. Now, it doesn't matter if you can see, like, brushstrokes and all that kind of thing because you're working on wet and wet paper. You're working wet and wet. So you working on wet paper? So that means that all this is going to soften off and, um, be very blended haute when it dries, so you won't see, um, the shape of the brush or any of those things that you might be worried about. Besides, remember, this is just our under painting, and it's to give us almost the effect of, ah, loose sketch that you would do before you paint. It's to give you a general idea, except by using paint. The paint is going to move, so that helps us to kind of let go a little bit of the the, um, too much control that we might be trying to keep over a painting, and it makes it so that we just relax and play. So I'm putting some brown in for the centers. So you noticed that some are facing away. Um, they're facing different directions, and then I'm going to mix up some green for the leaves, and I'm just basically going to dab it in here and there. This is this is just play. It's fun. It's not. It doesn't have to be a specific one way or another. Um, when you're putting down your color, though, try to leave some white areas you notice I have, um, some white around the edges because that will allow me to put in a back room layer later. And that will be something that adds some dimension to the peace. Now you can if you want, zoom right in and fill the whole thing with the flowers and the leaves. That's fine. That looks really cool. Georgia O Keefe did that all the time. Um, if you do have some, uh, runaways like I had there, just mop them up with the ah, dry or thirsty brush and keep trucking. And once you have, um, I like to put in a little bit of dimension in with the greens and in with the pedals, basically, just to give me a non idea of what is going to go where. But like I said, this is not supposed to be too fiddly. I could have made it a lot less fiddly, actually. Um, but once you have a loose piece that you're comfortable with, um, walk away and let it drive. I could be the hardest part, But just trust me, walk away, and we'll come back to it after that's dry 3. Oil Pastels, First Layers: congratulations. You let try. No. Before I ever start using Milo pastels, I always take a few moments to clean them off. You don't want that color blending in with where you only want yellow, Um, or whatever color you happen to be using. You can very easily clean them off by just wiping them on a piece of paper towel, which is what I do with all the colors that I I plan to use, not just the yellow that you see me doing here. Um, I am going to start with yellow, though. Um, mostly just because I want to. I've heard some artists give reasons why they start with different colors. But you know what? I'm much more simple than that. I just I just do what I wanted. Teoh. Um, yeah. So you'll see me. Um um I'm not coloring one complete pedal out of time and finishing that moving on the way you would say with some other mediums. Um, this piece is a very loose, um, impressionistic, painterly style. Ah, you can tell that we're gonna do a lot of scribbling today. So it if it feels like you're scribbling you are You're going to be scribbling. Just pretend your kid again and say it doesn't matter to me. I don't care if I feel like I'm 66 was fun. Um, so I am going to be putting ah, different shades of yellow all over of the whole area where any pedals are, Um and I'm not gonna make equal all the same yellow and then over it with all the next color yellow and all the next couple yellow. I'm trying to keep some variety so that everybody doesn't look identical, because when I have ah, OK of some flowers, I like the fact that there's a lot of variation in the flowers. Some have oranges and reds and Brown's even so, I'm trying to make some look. Some pedals even look different than other pedals. So just laying down different shades of yellow here and there. Wherever the mood strikes, you put down different colors of yellow. Um, so the first layers that you put down there, you're gonna press very lately, only covering ah percentage of that area where you want that pedal to be. So you're gonna leave a fair amount of the paper showing through, and that will allow the next color that you put down that you want to blend with it. Um, Tiu stick to the paper as well. And then, once your paper is more covered by the under layers, the top players will just naturally start blending those bottom layers together. And it will start to become more smooth and it will start to even note. And it'll start to, um, sort of smear on the paper, which is the point where I like it. I like, I call it like squishing the oil pastels together. Um, I really like that, um, feel of the the paper there, the pastels squishing altogether. So have fun. This is This is a fund project. It's it's, um that's all I have to say that it's a fun project. Just pretend you're a kid and you're playing again. Um, and just keep adding yellow wherever you think you want to add yellow and ah will add in even some darker colors like oranges, and we'll get into more of the details in the next lesson. 4. Scribblin’: Okay, so now for the centers. So the process is basically the same. I'm here. I'm doing a squiggly scum ble motion. Um, to help the centers look more like they do when you view them from an angle. They're not, you know, circular or even oval with all those pedals. Sticky note of the center. They kind of have that squiggly Well, look, So you're gonna add in different shades of brown, just like you did with different shades of yellow for the pedals until you get it. How you like it, I added in even like some orange shades, Um, just the adding in of different layers of color helps the painting to look so much more lively and not flat and dull when you're finished. So here you can see that kind of scum ble Rowley motion that I do. It's more to keep me from having too much control, having too tight of a control of it, and just to keep it kind of loose and fun and and scribble e like we talked about. It's a scribbling painting. That's that's the fun of it. Now, once I got, um, these darker values set in, I realized that the pedals looked kind of weak and pathetic. So I wanted to go back in and beef them up a little bit with some, um, added layers of color. So that's what I did in here. And then after I got in a little bit more, um, some deeper color values and their to match the centers. Um, then I'm going to go in with, ah, the green for the leaves. Now, um, when you're doing the green for the leaves, try not to smear it into the yellow. If you do, it's not the end of the world, but try not to. It'll make it easier for you. In the end, it isn't that the fun of of playing, you want it to be fun and easy. Um, so once you get that all down, you can go for some some green Um, so the process for your leaves is once again very similar to the process that we've done so far. Um, the difference is that the leaves are underneath the pedals, so you'll almost need to do like a negative painting type of thing. If you've ever done watercolor and done a negative painting and what this will do. When you're painting an area that's actually around the pedals, it will actually help you to show off your pedals, to give them more specific form and dimension than the previous squiggles had done. So because the leaves are, um, nice and dark underneath your bright yellow petals. Um, you can show off, of course, where the pedals will be so oil pastel can be used in a way that allows you to have a lot of details. But we're putting them to the way that they're the easiest to use today. And that is with, like, big and bold colors. Um, not teeny tiny, delicate, detailed work. And um, that's half the fun of using its, you know its It lends the idea of playing with crowns again. I'd like it to notice, um, the leaf closest to the camera. Look at the amount of oil pastel that I have applied to that that's the first layer of color that's down so you can see what I mean by a percentage of coverage. When you put those first layers down and and leaving the paper to show through, um, that paper that showing through will allow the other colors that you lay down to stick to something. And then when you add in your other colors, you'll be naturally blending over them just with your oil. Pasto Um now so far to blend we have only used the method of blending with the oil past all themselves. We will eventually do a bit of blending. Ah, with our fingers, which is really fun. Um, and we will also do, if you happen to have one, some blending with a blending stump. But that type of blending is more for adding detail and definition, which is difficult to do with just the oil pastels on their own. But like I said, if you don't have a blending stump, don't worry too much about that. Um, the whole idea behind this project is one of fun and play, and almost Messi do do a messy project. Um, a scribble e ah type of art. Um, and the reason that I wanted to do this type of art is because I just want to let go and just enjoy putting some color on some paper. Um, remember if you if you ever colored with kids in a coloring book. They choose colors because they like those colors. They don't choose colors because that color makes sense to use. Now we're gonna go little step above just choosing whatever colored we want. Whatever colors we like the best. But the idea here is just to have the fun of playing with color and not to have the little voice in your back of your head that says that doesn't look very good or no one would like that. Uh, tell that snotty little kid that lives in your head to be quiet and go home. Um, yeah, because this is just fun. It's meant to just be fun and and bring a smile to your face as you're playing. And so I hope that you can do that. I hope you can let go and just have fun. And I know I've said that, like, 50,000 times just half on, but I really I don't know how else to say it. Um, I enjoy making art because I enjoy playing with color, and this is a project that it definitely lets you play with color. So I'm going to start now on the background. Um, basically, you know, we'll make this brief. I'm thinking grass below blue sky above. That's, as you know, impressionistic as it's gonna get, and we're going to use the same methods that we've used on the rest of the piece, so I'm just gonna speed up a little bit. But this idea that this blending method that we've used just like on the rest of this piece it works because of the principle in art called fat over lean. So, um, this means that you can put fatter layers over lean layers. So our first lien layer for this piece was watercolor. That's very lean. And our next layers were each lean layers of light layers of oil pastel. And then, as we added, increasing amounts of oil, pastel or levels of fat over the lean, Um, that oil pastel builds up on your paper, and it begins to blend and smooth out. And so that's not, you know, the only thing that's involved in fat over lean, but that's the reason why this works. That's the reason why we can paint with or color or draw with oil pastels over top of watercolor. That's the reason why we can put layers and layers of oil pastels over top of lighter layers of oil pastels. Um, so I just thought you might be interested in that long description of fed overly. Um, okay, so now I'm gonna begin to add some, basically, just some definition. So trying to decide what flowers are actually facing what direction? And I'm putting in a little bit of that definition to the pedals, um, and showing some separation to the pedals with green and orange. Um, pastel. And if you look at these, you know, green and orange lines I don't have the orange in yet, but I will, um, don't let them freak you out. You know, you've got your you work so hard to get your, um, nice yellows down for your pedals. Um, and then you're in a draw over them with with orange, and it may terrify you. But remember, um, you're just drawing very lightly to show where the definition of the pedals are very lightly, indeed. And now, because that you have a very good layer of the oil pastel down already, um, you can draw very lightly with your top layers, and it can make quite a thin fine line um, you'll see what I mean. Once you once you try it, it's a different. It's a different quality of line than it is if you just put it on like, ah, blank paper eso. The other thing is, if you see these lines and think all it's too dark or oh, it's not the right color or Oh, that doesn't look like a pedal anymore. Um, with oil pastels, you can simply ah, By going over that line with another oil pastel, you're going to be able to soften those lines that you put in and blend them in. So I'm using like a brighter orange, a darker orange than any of the pedals that I've put down so far. But then I'm going to use a color that's lighter than the one I'm currently using. To make those lines. I'll use that lighter color to blend that those lines into the pedals, and it will just soften them off. Just, um, the way you would in water color. You're gonna just soften that line. And so that's what the the ease of working with oil pastel is so here. I have, like, a mid tone yellow, and I'm going to go over all of those lines that I have and you'll see it just softens. Moth doesn't get rid of the line, but it softens it. And so that's That's really the The look I was going for is to try to have the pedals show up, but to not have, like a bright line of of scribble, which tells money cause it's kind of the whole big scribble right now, and, ah, we'll add some definition next. 5. Oil Pastels, Top Layers: way will continue to add more definition to the pedals and show some separation between the flowers with some greens and even some blues. So you use the greens where leaves or grass might be showing through the pedals, Um, and blues where the sky might be showing through the pedals these air your final defining strokes that you use for your pedals. Um, you may do a little bit more, um, fussing with it than this. But remember, um, our goal at the outset was to make a very loose, painterly style. Uh, sunflowers, Um And so in order to do that, we want to keep it as on Messi. Unfussy. I mean as possible. Um, you can deepen areas and other colors, Aziz. Well, um, add some depth, um, to the centers of your sunflowers by placing the darkest brown at the base of the center. And that will imply, ah, shadow and form. And the centers will seem to, um, pop off the page and have some real depth to them. Eso That's what you'll see me doing here with this darkest color of brown. Ah, you can also add some deeper colors to make it so that it's Ah the The values are more, um, similar throughout the piece so you can deepen the colors in your leaves. You can deepen the colors of your background colors as well, and then just keep blending. So, um, as you add in your depth of color and you add in more layers, just keep blending them until you get them to a point where you're satisfied with the the light and dark values. And, um and then we'll start to, um, blend everything. So you pretty much at least here in my piece, I've pretty much got the pedals or I want them the centers where I want TEM and the leaves where I want them. So now I'm just going to work on blending the background. So the greens and the blues and then after we get it blended enough with oil pastels, I will be blending a little bit with my finger. Now you don't have to blend in any method beyond using just the pastels themselves. Um, some people don't like to stick their finger in their art. I can understand that, Um, but pretend your kid and you're making mud pies and just remember how much fun that waas? No, not every kid like to, you know, play in the sandbox and and, you know, be dirty when they're playing. Um, but, ah, part of play is is just letting go, letting things happen. So, um, if you do get a little bit messy, you can wash your hands after. And we're all very good at that, washing her hands like Matt now. So, you know, I actually get something to wash off. You can see. Okay. Um, yeah. So you don't have to blend with your finger. That was a very long ramble about why you don't have to blend with your finger if you don't have to. But if you do choose to, um, I actually do personally like it better if it's well blended. Um, I don't I don't specifically love the look when you can see all that white bits of paper through the oil pastel. Um, no. If you blend it enough with your oil pastels, Um, and hard enough with your oil pastels, a lot of that can disappear, but, um, I like to have the layers smooth enough that I can blend them on their own and I don't want to, like, press so hard. Um, that I lose some of the oil pastel two crumbs and stuff like that. Um, but, you know, this is your playtime. And if you like the look of the paper, the little white flecks of the paper showing through, then that's good. You're done. Congratulations. You're done. But I am going to blend a little bit now. You'll notice my hands are pretty messy by this point. Um, they're just That's just the way it is with these tools. Um, I'm I'm also going to show you that I do have a fair amount of the oil pastel, actually, on my finger. Now, the reason I'm showing you this is because if you do need to blend some of your pedals, some of the yellow minor pretty much is blended as I ever want them to be, So I'm not going to be blending any yellow. But if you do need to be mindful that your finger now has a fair amount of dark pigment on it so you can clean that off the same way that you clean off your other oil pastels or your blending stump. Wipe it on a piece of paper to hell. That Ah. And once I get this, um, blended with my finger to the point where I like it, then were pretty much done that part, so you can go on to blend with a, um ah, blending stump. My goodness, that was hard. And I'll show you how to do that, Um, in the next lesson. 6. Ta Da! The big finish!: So we're gonna talk about using that blending stump. You can get these from quite a few different places, but if you can't get one like I said, don't worry. Um, I'll show you how to use it, though, in case you can get a get your hands on one, um, before explain how to use it. And when you look at the rest of the painting the part that's not finished, um, noticed the areas left unb lended the areas where you can see ah flecks of white. In more larger groups, you could see flecks of weight and a lot of it, but, um, the areas mostly that air between objects like ah, sky and grass or, um, leaf and sky. Those are the areas that were going to be focusing on with our blending stop so you can blend that area much easier with your blending stump. Because it's such a fine and narrow strip, you can blend that area and add definition to the pedals so so much easier with a blending stump than you can with a fingertip. Um, you can use it to add definition to the pedals as well as to the leaves and you can also at the same time blend. Oh, any areas where you see Ah, that needed a little bit more blending. Or you see some white areas still peeping through, Um, the low pastel. Um, I could have blended this painting even more than I actually did even more than the finished piece, But I actually wanted a more kind of chunky appearance. Um, I wanted it to look fun and loose and and chunky like that. Uh, yeah, You will occasionally need to clean off your blending stump by wiping it on your paper towel. You don't need to clean it excessively like some of the blending stumps come with, ah, sanding paper that you can really clean it off with. And that's good heroines in a while, like you definitely do want to do that. But when you're in the middle of a project, you don't really need to clean it that excessively. You just need to remove that oil pastoral that will build up on the end so that you don't have a little glob awful apostle and then smear it into another color, which I have done. You'll only do that a few times. before you realize that you really don't want to do that anymore. Oh, yeah. So you can learn from my mistakes. Yea. Um, yes. You can, um, just go through the whole all the all the outside areas where your main brok is going to connect with your background. That's the area really that you're focusing on with your well, oil pastel with your blending stump. I can't talk. This is not a good job for someone that has problems talking. Ah, uh, Anyway, I'm trying to laugh at me to two months. Um, so before I get into showing you a little bit about some close ups here, I just want to tell you that it is possible, um, to sign an oil pastel piece. Ah, it's very possible. Um, you do this with a method called scruffy toe or something like that? Uh, I don't mind admitting that I don't know everything. So there it is. Um, So here are some close up shots, though that will show you basically how loose this piece really is. It is almost has, like, an unfinished appearance, which is what I was aiming for, but back to how to sign an oil. Pastel Peace. Um, choose an area where you have a relatively dark amount of pigment, like it say on that dark leaf that we see in front of us right there. And if you take your credit card scraper that you often use with water colors, you don't have a credit card. Scraper is just basically a scraper or a knife even, and you just basically scrape your signature into the thick part of the oil pastel. It's that simple. Now, if you do scrape it in and you really can't see it very much, I have a little trick for you. You can go over it with a white gel pen and it will show up. So that's really fun. Okay, people, it's hard to believe, but we have come to the end already, and it's time to take off the tape. I really, really hope that you decide to do this from Project with Me and to just take a break and play and relax. Um, the world is a bit of a stressful place. That's an understatement. But the world is a stressful place today, and, um, give yourself a break and play, and I hope that, um that you can find that break by doing this project with me and and just have fun being a kid again and scribble on some paper and paint on some paper and just have a good time enjoying the process and not worry too much about what it's gonna end up like anyway. There we go, people, Thank you so much for taking this.