Watercolor Autumn Wreath | Cara Rosalie Olsen | Skillshare

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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

8 Lessons (51m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. Drawing the Circle

    • 4. Mixing Colors and Building A Palette

    • 5. Painting the Flowers

    • 6. Mixing Paint for the Leaves

    • 7. Painting the Leaves

    • 8. Adding Stems and Veins

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About This Class

Let's invoke all the beauty of Autumn and put it together in a gorgeous wreath! This is a somewhat simple class in comparison with some of our more detailed studies, so I hope you can grab some paint and paper and sit down for a fun hour with me!

If you have ever found yourself struggling to put together a well-balanced wreath that doesn't feel overworked with anxiety-laden strokes, this is definitely the class for YOU!

We will discuss how to avoid common mistakes while painting wreaths, and how to ensure the composition feels natural and organic.

As always, we will additionally cover color mixing to achieve the tones you see in the photo.

Creating the structure of the wreath: we will use a simple technique to ensure our wreath feels balanced

Painting elements: this is where we will begin to apply the formation of flowers and other elements

Color Mixing: I will show you step by step how I create a range of tones used to create rich reds and ethereal whites

Color mixing for leaves: same technique as used above, however this time we will be covering green tones

Painting leaves: now we move ahead to form the shapes that consist of our leaves, using a variety of strokes to ensure versatility 

Adding Stems and Leaves: we conclude by using our brush to create leaves to pull together our elements


Watercolor Paper

Brushes (sizes 8,10, 12 recommended)

Paint (any artist grade will do)

Circular object to trace

Cup of water

Paper towel to blot


Meet Your Teacher

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Cara Rosalie Olsen

Floral Designer + Watercolor Instructor



Hello, hello!

Goodness, I am SO glad you are HERE :-)

A quick intro before you dive into the lessons!

My name is Cara, and I am the owner of Rosalie Gwen Paperie, an online floral boutique. I’m also a watercolor instructor and can be found teaching budding artists in the Orange County, CA area. So if you’re local, please consider joining us for an in-person workshop!

Teaching is my passion. There is something incredibly beautiful about witnessing a person come into their creativity for the first or tenth time. I firmly believe words such as "talented" do not exist when approaching the creative realm. Every single one of us has been given the ability to share our story through the vein of creation, and it's simply a ... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hello my friend and welcome back to class. We have something super fun to do today with the holidays right around the corner. I thought it would be a great idea for us to create an autumn slash winter read that way, if you want to end up at your house, you have plenty of time to do so. We are going to work on building a palette and incorporating a lot of the techniques and mechanics that we used in the previous classes. So not any new material here that you need to be aware of, but just continuing with using the Overwatch brash, mixing the colors for the right consistency and a little bit of review on loose roses and p and 0s. All right, let's get started. 2. Supplies: Okay, so let's very briefly go over our supply lists. As with previous videos were pretty much using all of the same supplies. Here we have a variation of round brushes, mainly in sizes 10 8 and six. I definitely recommend at least two tens and at least 16 We're gonna be having a lot of moving parts here working with wet into wet. So it would be best if you have multiple brushes which will save you from having to rinse off in between mixing colors. Ah, we're going to be using Windsor, a new in and Daniel Smith watercolors. But like I always say, if you have another brand of paint, you are welcome to use that as long as it is artist grade, it will hold up. We'll be using our palette, which is my salad plate, a cup of water and paper towels to block off if you want to take a few moments and just, um, search Pinterest and look at a few different fall reads just to kind of get an idea of what it is that, um your how you might want to shape yours. You're welcome to do that. Um, like I said in the introduction video. This class is springing off of our last class, the PNE class, where we did our wreath as a class project. So I'm not going to go over all of that because I was very, very detailed in that class. And if you haven't taken that one, I definitely recommend you starting there because I'm just kind of sort of jump into, um, our creation. Today. My other classes are extremely thorough, but this is a just a fun holiday class that I wanted to get up for. You guys using some of my most favorite autumn colors. You can see things were kind of looking very primary over here. Except for blue. We're gonna be doing some white peonies with some very deep bronze EBrown roses. And then we're gonna do some fun gold green leaves on making mixing up a orangey concoction as well, So the colors will be using specifically or Daniel Smith, Green Gold, Daniel Smith quinacrine own Burnt Scarlett Windsor and Newton Sepia Windsor and Newton Payne's Gray Windsor, Newton's Red Deep and Daniel Smith understood green mixed with a little bit of sepia. So little those will be our colors. But any autumn e follows colors you have in your toolbox will work just fine. We're gonna work on cans and paper, £140 cold press, just like we always dio. And all of my reasons for that are in my previous class, we're also gonna be using this we used in our peonies wreath class project. This is should the candle talk, but is the perfect size for making sure when we do a wreath that we're not crossing into the no territory, no trespassing zone. So we'll be putting this in the middle of our page, tracing around and then creating another ring around that and that will serve as our do not enter, lest we lose the lovely shape of the wreath. All right, so let's begin 3. Drawing the Circle: all right. First things first. Let's draw our circle. You to draw it too hard, just dark enough so that you can see it. And then what I end up doing afterwards As I take this need, Herbal Racer and I will go over some of the darker areas. Just I really just want it light enough so that I can see it. And then afterwards, when everything's dry, then you take your eraser and you go over everything. And this is so great because it will not lift the color. But it will take out the pencil marks already have a little boo boo over here, but I'm just gonna leave it because I'll end up cutting it into a square shape anyway. Not a big deal. Also, I'll show you a little bit later. My magic trick for lifting unwanted watercolors off of the page. So we'll take this and remove it pretty much completely. All right. So again, not going to be covering the introductory toe how to create peonies because that's all in that other class and same with the roses and same with the leaves. This is just a fun paint along, um, you know holiday video that I wanted to put up with you guys because I always get so money . So so money. I was get so money. So many requests for, um, how to do fall wreath. So hopefully you can turn on some music and just sit back and 4. Mixing Colors and Building A Palette : Okay, so you can see that I've already traced it. I put my circle here in the middle. I went around lightly. And then what I end up doing? I sure this In my previous classes, I have this need herbal eraser, which is fantastic. And I just erase the lines just dark enough. I just want them dark enough so that I can see them. And then later on, when everything's dry, then I will go over it and lift out all of the pencil marks, and then it will not pick up the watercolor. So it's it's a great little tool tohave. And then I take my pencil and I just kind of loosely sketch a wider circle. I want to be careful about not running up against the page that you want to leave. I would say about an inch to inch and 1/2 right down here. Try not to cross those barriers. Um, I already have a little boo boo over here, which I'm just gonna leave for now because I'm gonna end up cutting it out anyway. But I also show you towards the end of the video, my tip for lifting out unwanted watercolors on your page. So stay tuned. I always get so many questions about, you know, what do you do? Once when you made a mistake with watercolor, it's actually really easy. It just takes a little bit of patients and some clean water. So I have another one over here is well, so I will lift those out. But ultimately, it's not gonna matter cause I'm end up cutting that out anyway. All right, so we're gonna get started here. Just reminder all of the thorough explanation of how to create pinwheels, roses, peonies. Everything you need to know is in all of my previous classes, we're not gonna cover that there because it would be incredibly duplicate material. And I try not to waste your time with that sort of thing. So what I will go over are the the ideal water ratios. And you know what we're looking for when we're putting the paint down and the structure of the wreath. But the how to steps that I typically begin with in my videos I'm going Teoh. I'm just going to elect to not include that, because all that materials already held there. So let's take a look at her palate. Here we have what we're gonna be using for white peonies, which is a mixture of Payne's gray and sepia. And so you're gonna wanna have that mix to about this consistency, gonna put a little bit more water into it so that it ends up looking a little bit a paler version. We'll put that right over here in the corner. So this is about what you would like it, what you would ideally want it to look like for the PNE. Same goes for the roses were dipping into our queen acrid own, burnt scarlet and a little bit of sepia here. I've mixed up the two and we'll have the middle and the bleeds be this darkest color, as you could see right there and then, as it gradually gets lighter. Very good. So those will be the main colors of the flowers were also be playing with one of my favorites, Daniel Smith, Green Gold. And we'll probably add a little bit of sepia to that as well. Just to get it a little bit more of a brownie gold. There you have that very folly. We'll also be using Daniel Smith undersea green just right here. And we'll be using our 3/4 over wash again all about this brush in the peonies video. So please take a little trip over there if you have not, and watch all the magic you can create with this brush and again will probably be adding a little bit of sepia to that just too dark and things up a bit make it more of an earthy color. So there you go. Those will be. The main colors were working with will also be dipping. Ah, little bit of this sprint Scarlett into our gold to make, um, some orange tones in our leaves so you can see what that will look like right there. But that's gonna be the gist of it. That's our palette, which I just find incredibly soothing. Very autumn and without being too in your face over the top orange ease 5. Painting the Flowers: Like I said in my previous video, I'm RPGs class Excuse May. It's very important that you are mindful of which direction you have your flower facing so you can see that this is now the middle. I haven't pointing in this direction. And so the pedals need to become they need to fan out in this direction. You can do some crossover pedal work. You know where you bring one down. I'll show you like this and kind of bring it over like this and leave this area white. But you have to just make sure that your mindful of where the pedals air facing I like to just sort of scrub the brush. There's no particular proper way to do this, but I am, uh, changing the positioning of the British coming up on the tip or coming out to the side depending on how thick I want things. I want things very thin. I come up street, why you want things very thin. I come down at an angle, get into my Daniel Smith green gold and we have a really pretty little middle. Now I'm gonna go back in a little bit of a darker tone this time and create some bleeds really? Coming up and utilizing the tip of this brush. Princeton rounds are exceptional for this. Like having some darker areas of the flower is well, okay, they do one more down here facing this direction. So I'm gonna turn you here just so I can get the right positioning. I always stress move your paper, not your body. You want to be as comfortable as possible while you're painting. So ever that needs to happen the same as before. I'm gonna dip back in to the darker version of this white to create some bleeds. And e don't think I've already mentioned yet if you're unfamiliar with white water colors of the whole class devoted to it. So again, that's why I'm not going into white water colors because I went into extensive detail earlier in the year into our green gold. Okay. Now, while things are still wet, I want to get into the queen acrid own burnt Scarlett. And the sepia we have to wash is so we're gonna pre load our brush. One of your number 10 should be a little bit lighter, and one of them should have the darkest version of that color mixed up. So I'm just waking up my piles over here. They sort of fell asleep while I was working, and we're going to put together a rose a little bit more Conacher down on my plate. You really want it to be nice and dark, so do not hesitate to make sure you have plenty of color under palette. That center of that rose should be quite dark. Gonna help to provide contrast with the rest of the rest of the pedals. Okay, so I'm working against the clock here. Things are still wet, but they're gonna dry up rapidly with the rose. It's just a collection of see shapes and boom brings in different directions. Case what? This point is where I pick up the lighter color and I began to come out. Garden roses and peonies actually look quite similar. So they can to be for me anyway. Very similar in nature and structure. Um, I don't mind if you want your peonies or your roses toe look much different. You could obviously change things up. So there we go. That one's kind of tucking behind there. We'll put in a bleed over here and then come out over here. One more. We're gonna do a smaller scale rose here to give some dimension these air bigger. This is medium. And then we want a small definitely mix it up when you are doing a wreath, you do not want all the same shape, positioning or sizes. There we go. Have a cute little, uh, as I always say, My disclaimer. If you hear some snoring in the background, one of my Children did not fall asleep. It is my £7 Tchula who snores like a trucker. So if you hear me gently rousing her, um, that's exactly what I'm doing. Bela, No story. We're paying to me now. Stay a week time, okay? I'm gonna start to fill in some other areas. That way these could be reserved for the leave. So I'm gonna dio rose down here. Always talk about balancing with, um with wreaths. It's for yeah, with reads Excuse me. It's very important to not lose that shape. So we want to make sure that we are reserving the southernmost tip for the leaves and keeping our flowers moving in a circle fashion. You hear a little bit. I always try and have you in closely. But then sometimes I end up moving out of the screen. Apologize. This one's much lighter to kind of contrast against what's happening over here. That is definitely intentional. Can see me switching brushes a lot of going back and forth between, um, lighter and darker, catching those bleeds when they're happening. - Let's go in with another PNE dipping back into that sepia and Payne's gray. This time I'm going to do a couple buds. That's appears, Wow, Make sure to leave a little space for some green gold in there, dipping back into their now and just lightly rubbing up against those buds. So we have a great structure here. You can see that we're have plenty of room until we get to the top here, and we also have plenty of room down here. So we're not running up against the page. Uh oh. This is what happened over here on my palette. So I'm gonna have to take a moment and lot that away and remake my white tones because although I love when happy, accidents happen on the palate with white, so you really just can't mess around. So that is what I will be doing for a moment again. What we did there was Payne's gray and raw number, and I have two different mixtures, one with more water in the other, heavier on the paints. You want something that's sort of a cross between Ah, gray gold and, like an earthy brown could take a little while finding that proper mixture. That's both cool and warm, but it's worth taking the time to do it for sure. All right, can see My white still has a little bit of a pink tone in it, but that's all right. I won't be mad at it. Then they're gonna go into the darker part of that color and darken up those centers a little bit of green gold. Then we have a pretty well balanced wreath. So I think this is at the point where I would then begin to add leave, so we're gonna come back and start mixing up colors for that 6. Mixing Paint for the Leaves: all right for this next portion. Like I mentioned, we're gonna be using our oval 3/4 wash. Hopefully, you bought this brush for the last class. But if not, it can be substituted for a round brush. That's totally fine. I just really like this British for its loose nature. And just as a lot of fun, um, Dimension toe leaves. I'll show you re from our peonies class. We used this brush for those, and it just turned out just so pretty and, um, gives it more of a loose feel. So if you don't like this brush, though, and didn't like it again, welcome to use the brown, the brown, the round We're going to be using Brown's. We're gonna be mixing our undersea green with sepia. So I'm gonna do that here so you can see the right consistency that we're looking for dipping into my water. Sorry I jiggled you a little bit here and let me straighten you out. There we go. So we have sepia mix that up over here, and then I had to pull out a little bit of that undersea green and then over here, off to the side. We'll make our combination. So there's that my syrupy consistency. And then over here I will add a little bit more water to this so that it'll be our lighter version. So again, you should have something that looks like this. And then your darkest version should be a little bit darker. Right on top about that, Okay, For our additional leaves, we're going to be adding some gold tones. So this all we're going to do is take the green gold, which I have here, and I'm going to make a little pile right here. I'm gonna let these colors all run together because that's what they're going to do on the page anyway. So we have this sepia and undersea green another Seppy and understand green, just a different variation of it. And then we have this Goldie Green, I think, who probably not be adding too many orange tones just not to compete with, um, the roses and the peonies. If you want to create some more orangey tones, you can. I mean, we've created a really pretty color here, so I may in part that on some of the leaves, which is just done by taking the green gold and putting it into the red over here. So now you have or excuse me, the burnt Scarlett. We're not gonna dip using the Rentzer Windsor red deep just because I don't think it's necessary. This brunt Scarlet is very versatile, and it suffices. So here we have our, um, our orange color bronze, which is really pretty because it's mixed with the sepia as well. So, um, you can decide what you like. We'll just kind of move along and you'll see why I make certain choices and then leave other things out. I really feel like with wreaths. It's one of those things that you can't plan out to strictly. You gotta give room for inspiration, toe happen. So give yourself options. Prepare your palate for oranges and golds and greens and reds and browns, but then feel free to, you know, move around a little bit. Okay, so now that we have are working palette, we're gonna transfer back over to the page and begin putting the leaves down 7. Painting the Leaves: All right. So I have my brush loaded with that undersea green on Sabia. So I'm going to start to create the shape of the reef. I'm gonna begin over here working my way from the left to the right in order to avoid smudging things. I do that a lot. So I tried to be incredibly mindful. Bella, no snoring. And she goes again. You have to tell me if you can hear her in the background. Sometimes when I watch these videos later. Just sounds like I'm snapping it. No one in particular. But to me, it sounds like there's a 7 47 about to land in my studio. Okay. Again, Staying mindful of our wreath shape, we do not want to cross down into here. So what I like to dio sometimes is to begin with making that guide Mark just so I know. Do not go lower than here. Okay, so now I know this is where I don't cross and again. I said I was gonna work from left to right, and I forgot. So I have to be mindful not to scraped my palm against the paper. Okay, so I'm going to begin with that light wash breaking my own rule here saying Move the paper , not your body. So I'm going to do myself a huge solid here and the paper. I'm running into my boo boo area a little bit, which is fine. Briefs are all about seeing your strokes and then deciding what to do next. Someone. It had a little bit more darker tones over here. Okay, now it's definitely time to start filling in this area and bringing some movement to the wreath. Everything's has this very upward feel at the moment, so we want to start giving things different directions. I love this brush so much keeps my leaves from looking way too stiff. I tend to be a perfectionist when it comes to that kind of thing. So in cases like this, it's incredibly helpful for me to loosen up, making sure not to go any further than the spot over here mixing up a little bit more off that green. Now. Now, that engine, nice and wet, I'm gonna go in and pick up the Daniel Smith Green Gold that mixture of the gold and the green and just start adding a little bit here and there. Okay, a little bit more over here. Nothing too drastic. I really liked the green up against these colors. Absolutely studying. Is there some of my favorite favorite colors? If you've been following along on Instagram, you'll notice that I've been mostly doing wash work lately, which has been such an amazing medium for me. But playing with water colors again makes me remember all the reasons why I love them. - Skin Trance. Stay Mindful of making sure that the leaves are not all facing and going in the same direction. Stand up and give yourself an aerial perspective so that you can see what's happening and you're not so close to the page. I'm going to put a little bit more, um, green on my palette. My green is starting to look very brown. And while they like Brown, I think the sweet spot is that in between sort of just sitting here thinking, I know a lot of artists don't, um, I want to show the pause in the reflection that happens because it's just kind of white space in instructional videos, but I think it's important to show you exactly what it looks like. So when I'm creating a wreath, I just try not to rush it. Um, I like to stand back and sort of see what's happening and then make my move. I hope you will feel space to do that as well, Being careful not to go past this point and making sure all my leaves are coming in this direction. I'm kind of going over some of the darker areas of the stem and adding in more brownie colors so that you can differentiate between where the stem is our Sorry, we're like the branches are and where the leaves are. You can see I have both brushes in my hand. I'm kind of going back and forth. Obviously I don't have to oval washes. So when I want the lighter tones, I switch back over to this number 10 making sure that I maintain the shape of the wreath and don't get lost. I make these little guide marks. It was a good time to pick up a little bit more of that green gold. - Don't be afraid to really bend your leaves. She's gonna help to create a lot more motion in your wreaths, - having a head back over in this direction is to make sure that I'm staying mindful of everything that's happening over here. Pick up a little bit more green again. I had a lot of set beyond my plate. So this green just really wants to turn brown. And I really want to make sure I preserve the integrity of the green. So just squirting a little bit on my palette as I go along. One thing I love about cancer paper talk about it a lot is that it stays wet for a while. And so you have time. Teoh, you know, continue and have continuity in your pace. Peace and not feel like you have to rush back. To do things immediately does not prevent you from doing this, though, which is where my poem ran up against it. It's OK. 8. Adding Stems and Veins : The very last thing we're gonna do today is at some stems to our leave Since obtains, um, really not gonna go overboard here, But I think a little touch up Brown running through the leaves will really give this simple wreath, that sort of added interest that brings a piece toe life. So what does? Escorted a little bit of sepia and a little bit of Payne's gray. And I'm gonna mix up really, really rich brown something right about there, then back over here and we're gonna start working from left to right. Try and avoid those smudge lines, and we're gonna darken up some of this. The branching and some stems. Excuse me? Some veins. I'm gonna use my round brush for this. You can absolutely use um, that overwash this actually makes for some really fun veins. So I would definitely invite you to experiment with that. But just because I'm extremely familiar and comfortable with it, I'm going to default to my round, so I'm just running some veins through the leaves. Not really trying to overthink get darkening up some of the stem. - Just adding little details here and there. What I love about a simple reads like this one. We're not using too many colors. Is our ability to jazz things up with the leaves in our A peonies? Um, I avoided doing anything on the leaves because the peonies themselves were so complicated. Came and head back over here, continue working. It was actually still a little bit wet, so that's fine. Get a little bit of for Wendell Wet action to love, making sure my we've they're my palm isn't running into any of my leaves. I am notorious for that. And again, just start getting up some of these branch areas. - Okay , so they have it. Some really, really pretty details in our leaves. And I think it suits the mood of the simplicity of the colors. So well, I hope you guys enjoyed that. I hope you enjoyed the experiment of lifting up the colors you can see here. It's already starting to dry, the shadows disappearing. The very last thing that I would do is just take my need Herbal eraser and when everything's dry, go over all of these areas. So I'm not gonna do that because it it sends off these little Reeser dust bunnies and that could get into the paint. So we told things are very, very thoroughly dry, and then you can finish it off. All right, guys, I will see you the next time.