Watercolor Florals Made Simple | Whitney Rain | Skillshare

Watercolor Florals Made Simple

Whitney Rain, Artist

Watercolor Florals Made Simple

Whitney Rain, Artist

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8 Lessons (45m)
    • 1. Welcome!

    • 2. Basic Supplies

    • 3. Learning the Strokes

    • 4. The Flowers

    • 5. Adding Details

    • 6. Putting It All Together

    • 7. Final Thoughts

    • 8. Bonus Demonstration

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About This Class

Discover all the skills you need to create beautiful yet simple floral watercolor paintings!


Florals are one of my favorite things to paint using watercolor! The loose and abstract capabilities of watercolor allow you to create lively florals with beautiful color gradation.

We’ll start by learning some basic brushstrokes, then we’ll put those to use as we practice several different floral shapes. Then I'll teach you how adding details to your florals can really make them pop! We’ll finish it off by combining all of our new floral skills into one beautiful floral painting! As a bonus, I include a second full painting demonstration!

I truly believe that every person is creative if they give themselves the chance to try. This creative exercise is the perfect way to ease into the loose and abstract style of watercolor that makes it so unique and so rewarding for both beginners and experts alike.

This class is completely approachable for beginners but also offers several new insights for more seasoned artists. This style of floral painting is incredibly relaxing and so rewarding when you see what beautiful colors and shapes you are capable of creating!

Join me today and expand your creative practice while discovering the beauty of watercolor!

Click Here for Detailed Supply List With Links

Canson Paper

Arches Paper

Meet Your Teacher

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Whitney Rain



I am an artist trying to learn everything I can about creativity! Despite a busy life as a mom and engineer, I find pockets of time to paint every day. I want to share with you what I've learned so far in my creative journey. Thank you for joining me!

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1. Welcome!: Hello and welcome to beautiful watercolor florals. My name is Whitney, and I love to paint with watercolors. It was only a few years ago that I picked up a paintbrush for the first time and decided that I was going to learn how to paint. I remember what it feels like. Toe watch an artist, paint a few seemingly simple strokes and think, Yeah, I can do this on Lee to be left wondering how there's looks so pretty and mine just look like a big blob of water. Over time, I started to understand how to create abstract petal shapes and combined those in a way that created riel looking flowers. It's very exciting today. We're going to learn about and then practice all the strokes you need to create your very own loose watercolor florals. First, we'll go over some basic supplies, followed by a practice exercise from mastering floral brushstrokes. We use those new scales to create several floral shapes and finish off the class by combining all those florals into one beautiful painting. Once you understand how to manipulate the brush to your advantage, you will have no problem creating unique and beautiful floral shapes in any size, shape or color. Thank you so much for being here. See in the next lesson 2. Basic Supplies: Okay, so I've got an image here of all the supplies that I've used for this class, and the supplies for this project really are quite simple. The main thing is you're going to want a round brush, and you're gonna want it to be on the larger side. I'm using a Princeton Neptune brush. This one's a size 14. I've used a lot larger. I've used a little bit smaller. Um, I think this is a really nice size, but feel free to use whatever you have or whatever you have access to. Um, regardless, you want to make sure that you have some certain characteristics in a round brush. The main thing is that the tip of the brush comes to a really nice point, and you can see that with both of my brushes. It's really essential that you have that tip to be able to get the variation of strokes that will need to create our floral shapes out of one brush. You also want to make sure that it's big enough to hold enough water and color that's very necessary for creating larger pedals in a single stroke, which is a big part of this technique. Feel free to use something smaller. Ah, starting out. If you need to, you can still get really good results. They'll just be on a smaller scale than you would with a size 14 or I've even I even often use up to a size 20. My other brush is a size eight. That's the one I'm gonna be using for details. Ah, when we add some detail, work as a second layer tour florals, and you're gonna want to make sure that that one has the really thin tip as well, and that it's also able to hold some nice saturated color. Now paper will make a big difference in the outcome of your floral paintings. So you want to make sure that you get watercolor paper with at least 300 thickness for a lower cost paper. The blue cans and pads are really great paper for the price. The only problem you're going to run into is that it does dry really quickly. So if you're looking to drop a lot more color into your flowers and use wet on wet technique and you know pulling color into other parts of the page using water, we will talk about that. And look at that. You're gonna want something higher quality to get the best results from that technique. Um, something like arches is a really nice paper. I always use cold press, but I have experimented with hot press and you can actually get some really pretty unique results Painting florals on hot press. Um, the difference between those is that hot press is a very smooth paper, and cold press has this'll lovely texture to it. So I do most the time, prefer cold press, and that is what I'll be using today. Um, the pain time using is Windsor Noon professional grade watercolor paint. I do have, ah, two of Daniel Smith that I'll be using a swell. I've got all those colors already in my palette. If you're interested in the colors, all throw them up on the screen and go ahead and pause. And you can write those down if you are interested in the exact colors that I'm using as I go. So this is what I use. Also, I do like to have a paper towel to grab a little extra water. Water is I'm going, or if I end up messing up. I also use just a regular mason jar from my water. I find that that works just fine. Feel free to use whatever you have on hand or whatever is most accessible to you. The most important thing is that you just begin practicing these strokes as you improve. You will see better results if you use higher quality pates and papers and brushes. But as you start, it's really not important that you have the perfect supplies. It's really more important that you are practicing the strokes and that you're learning how manipulating the brush can really do some interesting things, Um, to your paintings. If you're interested in a more detailed list of supplies, I will put a link down below to my website on their A list out and describe all of the supplies I use. And I show high end and low end options for each of those supplies. Um, I've used both successfully thanks for each of those, so it's a really great resource if you'd like to take a look at that. Also my first skill share class called modern watercolor botanicals, it goes into a lot more detail about supplies so feel free to check that out as well. If you'd like some more information about supplies. All right, let's get into it. 3. Learning the Strokes: All right, welcome to our first lesson. Let's get to know a round brush because it's gonna be our best friend as we attempt these floral shapes in our next lesson. So load up your brush Mission color. I'm just going to use some various pink colors. Um, I've got some different shades here that I'm just mixing together, putting a little water in, getting a nice color, loading up my brush with with that heavy color. Now, I'm just going to start experimenting on my page with types of lines that I can create. So I'm starting really thin, and I'm getting thicker and thicker on the way I'm doing that is by the amount of pressure on putting on the brush. So I'm starting with very little pressure and then you doing more and more as I go. Now I can even do it within the same line. Less or more pressure as I pushed down and pull up. This is a really good exercise to start to learn as we get into florals. Now, here I'm doing more of a C shape. So at first I'm going light than heavier than lighter as I sort of form this C shape or maybe just in one spot, I could really experiment with several different ways of doing it. As you can see, I'm also kind of doing a U shape because that's gonna form the bottom petals of our flower is the same motion, but with a U shape, I'm also practicing kind of some dots and some light loose strokes. That's how I'm gonna create the middle of my flower. And I'm gonna do that by having my brush vertical. Now here. I'm just kind of doing small strokes in a circle, getting thicker and thicker as I go out Words. This is how you start to build a flower. The magic of a round brush is really your ability to control the pressure that you're applying to the brush and that will create strokes that will be really dynamic and create very interesting petal shapes when you feel like you can get a lot of variation in your strokes, just keep trying thes individual strokes in different directions and see what kind of shapes you can get just by manipulating your round brush. So the middle we start with a small amount of pressure and then we're going to get to more and more pressures. We go out words. I'm also going to try some of these small, quick strokes. They're just very thin moving from the inside to the outside, testing more pressure or not. Here I'm trying small strokes, just pushing a little bit with each one. That can also kind of creative flora looking shape. The possibilities here really are enlists. So just take some time to try out lots of different pressure combinations and see what types of brushstrokes you can create. You can see I'm trying both smaller and larger strokes, and we will use both of those in the next lesson here. I'm trying some larger loops using quite a bit of pressure. When you put those loops together, you can create a very interesting looking floral shape, and we'll look closer at that in the next section. As a bonus, you can create really simple leaves using these different pressures with on the brush as well. So have your pressure at first, smaller pressure at last, kind of doing two strokes, leaving a little white in the middle. For definition, you can see that I'm just using less pressure for the thinner lines, more pressure for thicker ones. And that creates just a very simple nice leave shape that can complement or flowers. So yes, lots of pressure at first. And as you're pulling across the page, release that pressure until it's nice and thin for the tip of the leaf. I'm also going to just put a few little buds on this page. Those I just kind of used to little strokes quick ones with some heavy pressure at first, and that can create kind of, ah, floral bod looking shape. Now I'm going really quickly in this lesson. So when I finish, take some time. Really. Practice your thin and thick strokes, see what kind of variation you can get and really create some muscle memory around, applying those different pressures to create very dynamic shapes. If you're interested in learning more about leaves, I have an entire lesson all about Botanicals leaves all kinds of interesting shapes that you can create with watercolor and a flat brush, and that is in my other class my first school share class called modern watercolor botanicals, and I would really recommend checking that out if you like this class or you want to learn more about another technique for creating plant shapes with watercolor 4. The Flowers: Okay, We're finally at the fun part. There are endless possibilities for for floral shapes, so we will just barely skimmed the surface here. But I'll walk you through a few different types of flowers. So the first thing before I'm going to do is sort of a p any style flower. So I'm gonna get some pink going. Just my very shades of pink and nice, strong color. You want really strong color in the middle of your floral. Now, I'm actually adding a little bit of green gold in with that pink that's gonna give it a little bit of a peach tone. So I'm starting in the middle with some really, really sick color, Um, very saturated. And I'm gonna work my way outwards. Now, as I do, I'm going to sort of pick up water and rinse a little of the color out of my brush so that I'm getting some variation in the shade of my my brush strokes. And I just kind of keep building my way outwards, maybe doing some smaller, some bigger. In general, we go from small strokes, too big strokes. But I like to add a little bit of small strokes in the outside for interest. And then now I'm just dropping a little extra color into a few parts of the flower that are still wet. The nicer your paper is the longer of a window you'll have to drop in that color. And so that's where I use a really saturated pink. Now here, I'm gonna add a little more green gold, get something to leave a little bit even more peach. And when a star on sort of more simple rose. So a very, very simple center, just with some random strokes that I'm gonna start doing thin circular strokes around the outside and slowly applying more and more pressure as I do those circular strokes and some in a bit of a C shape as well, like we practiced in last section. Now I'm adding a little yellow color into the middle as I feel like my flowers forming just to kind of give it some more interesting color variation. And that's the beauty of water colors that you can add this color in as you go as long as your flower is still wet. Now I'm gonna try another flower with kind of a deep red. This is gonna be the one where I do three big loops in a row. I think I'm gonna add 1/4 as well. Then I'm just gonna add some of that red, deep, very saturated color into the bottom to create somewhere interests and dynamic flow of color. And it's that simple. That floral shape was just 34 strokes in a row. And I have this very nice floral shape now. Okay, so I'm gonna try another interesting type of floor. I'm going to use some of this sort of purple e color that's already in my palette at a little red to make it a little more of purple shade. And I'm just going to use pressure at this star and then really quickly come off the pressure as I move up the page and as I kind of do different strokes at different speeds in different pressures altogether, I create that floral shape. You can tell it happens very quickly. That's kind of the fun of this. Ah, this technique is that you can get a floral shape so quickly, as you can see, I added a little extra color in the bottom as well I'm gonna pick up a little more paying for just a last flower. This is sort of similar to the 1st 1 This building my way outwards, doing different strokes and shapes. And you don't have to move this quickly. You can definitely take your time. Is your thinking about strokes? But it does look very natural if you just kind of do what you feel like is natural for you to dio when you're making the strokes, it can look very were again. I can help the abstract nous of the floral shape there, I just added, in a little more yellow and pink Mary Have it just like that. There's some beautiful floral shapes I would recommend holding off judgment on whether you do or don't like a flower you've painted based on how it looks when it dries or after you've added details. So I often don't love my flowers. But then later, when I see them all dry or I add some extra details in another layer, Um, I actually really like them. So keep that in mind as you finish up this section of the flowers and make sure enjoying me toe ads and details 5. Adding Details: okay. Adding details is such an interesting and fun part of the process. You can take flower shapes that you think might look a little bit like just a bit big blob of color, no real definition. And you can give them definition and shape and lead and guide and trick the eye into thinking that it's this beautiful abstract floral. So even if you think that your flowers don't have a whole lot of shape to them yet, don't worry. They can always be saved through the second layer of detail. So I'm gonna start by mixing up a nice, saturated neutral I dio also often use yellow. So I'll do some of that today to for my for my neutral. I'm going to use Payne's gray. I'm gonna put a little bit of red, and they're just to give it a purple tone and then throw in a little yellow just to gray it out, not have it be such a deep purple just to make it a little more in the gray shade. Now I'm gonna want to make sure this color is very saturated because watercolor is translucent, So if we're going to do a second layer we wanted to show up. So I need this deep saturated color. Now I'm going to start with my brush very vertical. And I'm just gonna create tiny strokes on this middle flower and by strokes. I don't even really mean that. I'm kind of just dotting the paper to start with here. That's gonna create the center of the flower that we're so used to seeing kind of your classic center of a flower on. By using those dots, it's leaving some open space. Now, once I finish the dots, I'm gonna create really quick, thin strokes coming out of the middle, And that's gonna look kind of like a little bit of, you know, floral growing out from the middle of the flower and keep adding some to the center. Keep adding some strokes, as I think they would. Look, I'm mostly adding them to one side just to make it look natural is if you're looking kind of from an angle from above the flower. I think that looks really pretty. So just like that, that flower has so much more definition than it used to. Now, I'm just gonna pick up a yellow color here and just do quick, thin strokes out from the middle kind of varying lengths and pressures. And there you go. Just like that. That flower has a beautiful center and something to kind of guide the I I'm going to pick up a brighter yellow and just kind of dot the tops just add even more shape and color. Okay, Now I'm gonna head to this bottom flower, and I'm gonna pick up just pure saturated red color. Um, that I used to create the floral and not even adding really much water. I'm just going to create these strokes, you know, on some flowers, you have kind of these deeper color within each pedal. That's what this is sort of imitating. I think it looks really pretty. There's also there's already so much more dimension to that flower. Okay, now I'm gonna grab some nice, bright pink, and this one, I'm not just going to do a middle. I'm going to kind of build out from the center and just give everything another layer with this rose. I like it already. I think it's very pretty, but this will just kind of give it that little bit of extra interest when you look at it and a little bit more dimension. So I'm kind of doing similar to what I did to create the flower, except just less of it. So stronger strokes in the outside, thinner on the inside. Now you get this nice defined lines that are kind of added into your floral came from my last one. I'm just gonna pick up a little yellow, do some little strokes in the middle of your typical flower center. Small, quick strokes that are really thin to keep your brush Vertical. Very little pressure. There you have it. Okay, I'm going to go back and add some of that deep purple in little strokes in between what I already created in my loops. Maybe some little dots on the end now has even more energy than it did before. Also, feel free to add a stem and some leaves if you want. This can be done before or after painting the bloom. Um, it's really up to you. And the most important thing is that you take some time to experiment 6. Putting It All Together: Now it's time for me to walk you through my whole process for creating an all over pattern of floral shapes. I usually start with about three large flowers in the middle of the page and then work my way out from there. I find this creates a nice energy and flow once the painting is complete. So here we go. I'm gonna start in the middle with that saturated color like we talked about before. I'm just using a combination of pinks here. I'm pulling that color out into each of my pedals, as I do. Those Suttles see shapes that we've talked about was continuing to make nice shapes pulling that color out, allowing it to flow into the outer petals, having some interest to the outside through some smaller strokes. And then, of course, dropping a little extra color into the middle or other parts that I feel like my benefit from some extra saturation. But I'm adding a little bit of green gold here to my pinks to get more of a peach tone. I find it nice. Have variation in the different florals on a paper. It's just nice to get some variation of color between your flowers. So once again, just tiny strokes in the middle, pulling that color out with bigger strokes as I go with less and less color in the brash that the color just flows from the inside where I initially dropped it down. Don't worry for your flower touches the other flower. All that will happen is that color will flow from one floral to the next, and it will actually be really beautiful. Okay, so I've got two big flowers now and thinking I'll put in 1/3 and then just sort of see where I want to go from there. Same process here. I'm choosing to do three pretty similar florals to start with. You just get such a nice flow if you take the color out of your brush and just allow the color to come from the interior of the flower. All right, So I'm thinking about my next flower now, and I think I'm gonna go for one of those more detailed rose shapes. Sometimes I would just leave it at these three flowers and add some extra smaller shapes around the outside. But this time I'm going to go for some a lot of really big, bold florals. So I'm going to do one of these were detailed roses adding more of that red in as I go to try and get some nice color Varian shades and hues, adding nice detail to the outside. Yes, well, okay. So because of how these shapes are placed on the page, I think I am going to do one more flour as well. Uh, continue. Zhu Li be a good idea to do a non number of large shapes on your paper. That usually creates the best composition. But of course, rules can always be broken. So I'm gonna do just sort of, ah, different color appear a purple color using that Payne's gray in the red. A little less detail in this one, but a little bit more color gonna drop in you more of a deeper color, sort of more of a bluish purple into some parts of that flower to create petal shapes. Okay, so now I'm thinking about what I'm gonna add to this. I think I'm done with the big floral, so I'm mixing up a really nice deep purple, and I'm going to do some of these loops kind of allowing some parts of it to be more saturated than others by getting more water on my brush. And it's nice when you do these all over patterns sort of work your way off of the page as well, and also to do some shapes in different directions. Um, since this isn't necessarily on up and down looking broke A. It's sort of more of an aerial view. I'm gonna have some florals that look like they're upside down who came grabbing some yellow? I'm gonna do some of these more energetic ah floral shapes, kind of in some of the spaces I have left once again allowing some of them to come off the edge of the page. And if it touches what color that's OK, it's just gonna flow into each other. It's a nice part of water color. Those happy accidents, once again leading the direction of the flowers, kind of go out of the page. I like to sort of have a flow towards the outside of the page. Now I'm thinking about adding in some organic color, some leaf shapes, so I'm doing a deep green, um, making sure to add in some pains great and make it that really deep green. And just doing those very simple leave shapes that we learned in our lesson about strokes earlier. Just sort of finding the gaps, finding places where I think color needs to go and adding in these organic leave shapes, I'm varying the color as I go so that they don't all look exactly the same. I do want them will be fairly similar color wise, Um, but I think I'd like a little bit of variation. So I'm adding in a little green gold, a psycho for brighter pieces, making sure I have enough water on my brush to get that saturation into the paper. I do like to paint fairly quickly. Um, it's nice if you still have wet color As you go, you're adding a little extra color. This continuing to find the gap sort of flowing the leaves toward each edge of the page. It's going to kind of guide your eye from the middle, where there's all that color and florals towards the outside of the page. As you look at the painting on a brighter leave with mostly green gold up here. Okay, so I think that about finishes my first layer. Oftentimes I will just leave it as a first layer. But in this case, I think I'm gonna go ahead and add some details. So here I'm just adding one of those really deep neutrals, the middle of these yellow flowers, similar to what we did. And we added details earlier. A small strokes. Leaving some space is to create form and dimension. This just makes the florals look a lot more realistic and easy to identify. So it's honestly, just up to your taste, how much detail you do or don't like to add. I think the flowers are beautiful. Either way, it really just depends on the cell that you're going for. This does definitely help add to the flow of the painting as well. Those small lines, Um, really give your I a place to rest As you're looking around the painting. I'm thinking now that those big loops probably need some details walls, maybe a few of the middle flowers. So I'm just gonna go for a really bright yellow on the loops, the small strokes from what would probably be the interior of the flower if you were looking at it. If you use something like Yell Over, says a deeper, more saturated gray. Obviously it's not going to show up a swell just because of the translucency of watercolor . But it still adds that really nice pop of color and something that you can really notice and look at as you get closer to the painting. It's always really hard to know when to stop, um, when you're painting. But in this case, I'm just going to keep going. Well, that's really just a learning, learning experience, just adding some deeper color in there. I'm just hoping to get a little more pop from this floral, but this one I've noticed that kind of the outside has gone to just sort of a water blob. I'm trying to add a little more detail into this one. It's kind of some additional pedals and color just to get more variation. This one I'm just trying toe help, the kind of starkness of those lines. So if I feel that color went on to deep, I'll just try to pick up some of it with my brush with just, you know, not very much water in it, and then it will pick up some of that additional color, which I can then spread onto other parts of the flower. Just kind of adding a little detail into this purple one as well. Sometimes like to go pretty dark with the detail layer. Um, if it seems too dark, go ahead at some water kind of spread the color. Like I said, if you want to pick up the extra color from off the page, you feel like you kind of made a mistake. Just drive your brush, get all the color out, and then try to pick it up with your brush. All right, so I think I'm gonna call that about done. Um, no. Maybe add a little yellow into the interior of that flower. Just a few extra small details at this point. But I'm really happy with that piece. And I felt like I did a little too much yellow, so I'm gonna pull it up with some paper towel. That's another way that you king fix a mistake, especially if you catch it right away. So paper towel is a great tool, and I think that's a really beautiful piece and something that I was able to get in about 10 or 15 minutes. I'm thinking now that since I added so much detail to the flowers, the leaves just kind of need a little extra dimension as well. So I'm doing some very deep color. It's a permanent sap green with some Payne's gray and Adam and kind of a few little details or shadows to the leaves that I did. The details I do aren't necessarily to make the flower look more realistic. It's kind of just to add some interest, um, and shape to the morals and to the leaves. Well, thank you very much for joining me for this demonstration. I'm going to include one additional demonstration without any voice over a za bonus after the next video. So go ahead and check that out. If you felt like you learned from this and I really appreciate you being here. Thank you so much for watching 7. Final Thoughts: thank you so much for taking the time to join me today. I really hope you learned a lot and created a painting is proud of. Please leave some feedback and a review down below. I would love to know what you thought of this class and most of all, please post a picture of your floral creations. There are so many possibilities when it comes to watercolor florals and that makes painting them so interesting and fun and beautiful. I can't wait to see what you create. If you're looking for more fun, simple and unique watercolor techniques, be sure to check out my first class modern watercolor botanicals. It's full of lots more demonstrations and simple instruction that results in beautiful paintings. See you next time. 8. Bonus Demonstration: here is an additional full demonstration video of me creating another all over floral pattern. I'm not gonna do any voiceover as I go. I'm just gonna let you watch my process. And if that's helpful for you, go ahead and watch. And I really hope that you learn something. That it helps your painting turnout even more beautiful. Thank you so much. Enjoy. Okay.