Watercolor Iris: Pro Techniques Explained | Anna Bucciarelli | Skillshare

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Watercolor Iris: Pro Techniques Explained

teacher avatar Anna Bucciarelli, Professional Illustrator

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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

10 Lessons (1h 45m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. Color Palette

    • 4. Process Overview

    • 5. Step 1: Outline & Masking Fluid

    • 6. Step 2: Background Layer

    • 7. Step 3: Definition Layer (Part 1)

    • 8. Step 3: Definition Layer (Part 2)

    • 9. Step 4: Accent Layer

    • 10. Step 5: Finishing Touches

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About This Class

In this class I'll show exactly how I paint a realistic purple Iris flower, and you can follow me along in real time. 

Of all the botanical subjects I paint, the most requested one is a purple Iris. I am thrilled to share my watercolor process with you in this in-depth class. As many of my students asked, I will be narrating every step of the way, explaining the rationale for every stroke and color placement. You will also see fragments of the reference photo, along with the detailed notes on the split screen. In addition to the painting, I will take you through the palette building process, so you can practice building your own botanical palette using a simple and straightforward system I’ve developed over the years.

Key concepts we will cover in this class include:

  • Understanding {sun} light and how to use it in your color selection - including warm and cold shadows, highlights and boost pigments.
  • “Interrupted stroke” and how to you use it to create beautiful textures on the petals.
  • Layering the colors to build a realistic flower shape - from base wash, through definition and accent washes, and all the way to finishing touches.
  • How to choose your watercolor paper, including advantages and disadvantages of different paper types.

Key techniques we will practice:

  • Applying masking fluid to protect highlights
  • Painting wet on dry
  • Painting wet on wet

Resources you will get as part of this class:

  • Reference photo
  • Black and white outline of the painting
  • List of my supplies, along with some alternatives you may consider
  • List of the pigments I used, along with some alternatives you may consider
  • Botanical palette structure - a guide for future reference

This class is aimed at intermediate artists who are already familiar with the basic wet-on-dry and wet-on-wet techniques. But of course all beginners are welcome as you may get inspired to challenge yourself and try something new.

I look forward to seeing you in class! :)


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Anna Bucciarelli

Professional Illustrator



Hello and welcome to my Skillshare channel! My name is Anna, I am a Canadian money designer,  and illustrator of all things intricate and beautiful. You may have seen my art on Canadian silver dollar coins, Starbucks holiday cups, or the streets of Toronto. My painting style is influenced by the decorative tradition of “Petrykivka” painting – an Eastern European art focusing on floral and plant motifs.

I teach advanced watercolor and gouache here on SkillShare. You can also find lots of painting resources on my YouTube channel, visit my website or follow me on Instagram @anna.m.bucciarelli if you want to learn more about my work or simply say Hello!


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1. Introduction: Hello everyone and welcome to my skill share channel. Today we're going to paint a beautiful iris flower. I'm going to take you through the entire process step-by-step, narrating every stroke and every color choice. This class is more suitable to those who are already familiar with the basics of watercolor and are looking to elevate your watercolors skills and learn some more advanced techniques. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Anna Bucciarelli and I'm a professional illustrator from Canada. My artwork appears on all sorts of cool products, including Canadian $ coins. You may have seen the Starbucks cup around Christmas time, or maybe you've been using my coloring collections. But I'm mostly known for my super vibrant and textured watercolor botanicals and so today I'm going to paint a new flower with you and this is my favorite flower, an iris and I'm going to take you through each step in real time. So what you will see is for every stage of the painting process, a split screen where on the right hand side, I'm going to show you what I'm painting, on the left you'll see detailed notes and sometimes a little fragments of the reference photo. So you understand what I'm looking at as I'm painting and you can follow along. I'm also going to be narrating in the background and you can listen to my rationale for the color choices, the placement of the strokes at how I look at the lights and shadows and the reference photo in order to recreate it on paper. Before we get started, I will talk about the supplies you need, including the types of brushes, masking fluid, and of course, paper and I will explain in detail the way I approach building a botanical color palette with a very specific structure and then we'll go through different pigments and I'll help you choose the ones that will be most suitable for this iris. Will also talk about the masking fluid and what you need in order to successfully apply it in your work. In terms of the flow we're going to focus on four painting stages and I will take you through each one explaining the objective and the special techniques that we're going to use in each. We're going to start with our background layer and then progress through the painting to our definition layer and then the accent layer, and finally, creates some beautiful finishing touches on our flower. This is something that I do in every class. So my approach is consistent. If you've taken my previous classes, like the rows painting where the cherry blossom you'll be well familiar. As I always do and my glasses, I include a very detailed reference materials including specific pigments that I use and some alternatives that you might consider, the list of supplies that you will need, also including some alternatives that you can find in your collection and a black and white outline that you can transfer to your watercolor paper. So let's get started. Don't forget to download the resources from the resources section and of course if you like the class, follow me on skill share and you'll be the first to know when I publish my next. Don't forget to post to your class projects on the Skillshare website, I can't wait to see them all. If you have any questions whatsoever, you can just start a discussion in the discussion section of this class and as always, I will be answering your questions on the weekly basis. 2. Supplies : Welcome to the class and thank you for joining me. Let's talk about our supplies first. It's not a very long list, but there are some things that will be quite important. The most important thing is paper and I always talk about this in my lessons because it's the number one thing that will really impact the results that you produce with your brush and your paints. If you don't have the right kind of paper, unfortunately, watercolor will not behave the way you want it to behave. I want to make sure that before you start, you get the paper that is the right paper for this type of painting. What you see here is Arches watercolor block. You can use a different brand, not really concerned about the brand, but what I am concerned about is that you pick the right thickness and the right type of paper. This is a 140 pounds. Now, this is as low as you want to go. You can go higher like 300 pounds. The paper will be even better. It will feel better, it won't buckle as much, but 140 is sort of the standard and as low as you can go in terms of the weight of the paper. Now, in terms of the type of finish, there are three types of paper ranging from very smooth, which is called hot press, to a very rough textured paper. This is the third type, this is in-between. What you will see, and this is in blocks, [inaudible] what you will see when you open it, is a tiny bit of texture on paper, and this is good. The texture is what allows this cotton paper to absorb water and it gives you a really nice feel, but it is not too smooth. Unlike say, hot press paper, that is completely smooth, this will hold a lot of water and it will allow us to build our color slowly, relatively slowly over a period of say, five to 10 minutes without getting dry. If you go with hot press paper, the water that you put on it will get absorbed too fast and we won't be able to achieve the results that we want to achieve. That's why I like cold pressed paper. Now as I mentioned, there is also a rough paper which is lot more textured. The reason why we don't want to go with rough paper is because it will be very difficult to achieve the results that we want and our definition and our accept layer. That tiny details that we want to paint on our flower, you won't be able to get in there with your tiny brush because the texture will prevent you from painting very delicate strokes. This is your ideal paper for botanical watercolors. It will allow you to do very large washes of color, and it will allow you to also paint small details. Now let us talk about your pencils and your erasers. When you draw the outline on your watercolor paper, you want to make sure that it does not leave a lot of marks. Go with a pencil that is hard, so you will find that information on the sides, it says H. You can go as high as four H. The markings will be really light and you will hardly see them when you're done, you won't need to erase as much and you won't damage your beautiful cotton paper with your eraser. If you do need to erase some things and we will have to erase at least the masking fluid at the end, you can either use your regular eraser or what's even better is these retractable erasers, they have a very tiny tip and you only pick up what do you need and you don't damage the paper around. I mentioned the masking fluid, so let's talk about that. There are different brands of masking fluid that you can use. I use Windsor Newton because i like how fluid it is. It feels almost like water. It's very flexible. There is some flexibility in terms of the color. If you pick up a white masking fluid like the one I have here [inaudible]. It's got an ivory, it will be difficult to see when you are painting, but depending on your level of experience, you may not mind that as much, but if you really want to see your masking fluid as you are applying it, you may be able to find a masking fluid that's tinted, so something like a light blue tint. That way it's more visible when you are applying it, it's more visible when you are painting around it and it's more visible when you erase. Depending on your comfort level, you may want to go with just white or ivory color masking fluid or something tinted. In terms of the application, some people use an old brush, which is totally fine, but it does require quite a bit of clean up. If you do not clean up the brush right away after applying art masking fluid, it will definitely dry out and ruin the brush. What I prefer is rubber stylus. This is called a color shaper and it's from Royal Silver Ring and I really like these because they are super flexible. They have a tiny little tip that you can move as you're applying the masking fluid. It has that feel of a regular brush, but it does not require a lot of clean up, you can just rub off them asking fluid and put it away. If you do not have a rubber applicator, you can also use a matchstick. You may also find it handy to use some tissue paper and the reason why we might need it is if your brush has too much water, you can always tap it and remove the excess water. That way, you' will be more flexible and you will be able to control the amount of water on your brush. Speaking of brushes, you will need at least one brush and I always use a Windsor Newton series seven sable brushes because they give me the most flexibility. Sable hair holds a lot of water. What you are able to do with this kind of brush is paint very large washes. In our first layer, this will be important because we are going to be applying very large washes of color and as we move through our painting process, we'll need to switch to smaller details and again, this brush is flexible because it has a small tip and it will allow you to apply these smaller strokes to really define the details of your flower. Now, if you do not have a brush like this and I can do both the large wash and the small detail, you may want to pick up two brushes. One would be for your larger washes early in the process and one for your smaller details. These are synthetic brushes, same that I would use, say for my brush painting. This one is size six. You may want to go with something like four, or five, or six, just to work really quickly and cover the areas that we need early on with water and color and later you will switch to something like this and size double zero, or zero, or maybe even one and you will paint smaller details with this brush. Finally, we will need color palette, and I like these porcelain pallets, they are really great for organizing your colors by themes. I have my colder blues, I have my warmer oranges and browns here, a little bit of gold. You don't have to use a porcelain palette, you can use a plastic palette or a metal palette. I like when my pallets are white because I could actually see the color the way it will appear on paper, but it's really up to you what type of palette you use. These are just my favorites. They do tend to crack though. Finally, this is a completely optional tool, but it is really useful. It's a glove and it helps me protect the surface of my painting when I put down my hand and I am painting something more on the left side. I am right-handed. You can get a left-handed glove as well. You will see me using this glove throughout and you will notice that I am using a red one by the time I'm making this video, I unfortunately misplaced my red ones. This is an old black one. I find them super useful and they really helped me avoid the smudges. 3. Color Palette: Now, it's time to talk about our color palette. If you've taken any of my previous classes, you know that in order to approach a botanical subject, you need to have a structure to organize your palate. You may have seen this diagram before and essentially it describes my approach to how I choose my colors from the variety that are available out there. At the heart of this is understanding the source of light. When we pick our base color, which in this case will likely be purple, we will go through this system and identify what colors we need for highlights, what colors we need for our dark spots, will also decide on which colors we're going to use to boost our base color and really add the vibrancy that we need in order to have this really colorful painting pop. Finally, we'll talk about the shadows. Again, if you've taken my previous classes, you know that depending on how your light hits the subject, you will have some warm shadows and some cold shadows. At the end, these are the colors that I picked for our iris flower, and some of them are must have colors and some of them you will need to find in your palate either the same one or an equivalent, and some of them are totally optional. Let's quickly summarize this. We have for our petals these five colors here, and this is our base, this is our purple color. I'm using dioxazine purple. You can use imperial purple or any other purple that you have in your palette. Just keep it quite light, this is our base. To boost that color, you want something like this. I'm using quinacridone violet. You can also use magenta. It's a nice in-between your lightest pink and your base color, so this will give it a nice boost. I mentioned pink, I'm using opera pink. You can use any other light pink. This is for your lightest areas of the petals and we will use it a lot on the side pedals that are facing the sun. Now going down to our shadows, I decided that for our shadows, for warm ones, I will just double down on my bass purple. It's really nice color, you can build layers of it and really get it to look quite dark. I'm not going to add another color, I'm just going to double down on my purple. Sometimes I drop my boost color into my shadows. This is the result you see, a really warm but dark shadow. Then for our cold shadows and also the pedals that are really far away that are behind, we want to set them back visually. I'm using ultramarine blue. I like this one because it's quite textured. What do you may want to do, and this is totally optional, is add another blue just for visual interest, I'm using cobalt blue here, but this is completely optional. What you do need though, is one type of blue at least. These are our petals. For our beard, we're going to use a warm yellow or a really light orange wash. What I'm using here is hence a yellow, and we're going to do these tiny strokes for the beard of the iris. You will also see that towards the very end I've added a bit of blue to our beard just to identify the shadow areas of the beard. The beard is technically white with yellow tips, but we wanted to really define those whiskers, so I use blue for that, so this is our beard. Then for the leaves, quite simple, we're going to use this nice green gold for the base. If you don't find a green golden in your palette, you can mix yellow and green and make this really beautiful mixture that's really warm and light. For the shadow areas, we're going to use a darker green. This is Hooker's green, quite more saturated, a bit colder, so these two will be our main colors for the stems and leaves. There will be some parts that are quite dry, you can check with the reference photo. For those dry parts, I'm going to use my olive green. You can use a bit of brown, orange if you want, but you want to go warmer and darker for your dry part. Finally, for your darkest color, which we will need for making those beautiful details, those textures on the back of the pedals and also some shadowy parts of the leaves and the stem. You'll need this dark color and you don't want to use black because black doesn't appear in nature's color. What I usually recommend is either using a very dark brown or you can also mix all the colors in your palette and make a nice dark mix mixture. But if you can invest in a new pigment, I highly recommend perylene violate. It's a beautiful color that you can layer and it will appear really dark but natural. It mixes as you can see really well with orange, if you want to add a bit of orange for interest, but the orange is totally optional. What you do need is this dark color. If you don't have perylene violet, you can mix brown with violet or purple and get something that's close to this color. But this is the darkest color we're going to use for all the details. 4. Process Overview: Starting with the background layer, we're going to lay the foundation of our watercolor painting. Progressing to the definition layer, which I'm going to split in two parts based on our understanding of the light and how it illuminates the subject. We're going to spend some time in our accent layer, really defining our shadows and boosting our highlights. Slowly, step by step, we're going to create beautiful texture. Finally, in the last layer, I'm going to show you how to put finishing touches then paint some of the unique details on the flower like the iris beard and the beautiful mesh of veins on the petals. 5. Step 1: Outline & Masking Fluid : Before we start painting, make sure you create a nice outline using a very hard pencil, so that there's not a lot of dark or feet markings on the paper. You can use a black and white outline that I created for you, it's in the project resources section or you can just look at the reference photo and draw your own iris outline. When it's ready, let's start with the masking fluid. The reason why we need to cover some areas of the painting with the masking fluid is because with watercolors, we typically paint from light to dark. However, there are some parts that we really want to preserve and leave them white in order to maybe come back and paint them with a slightly different color. I'm talking about the yellow beards, the tiny little details that are sitting on top of those side petals. It would be really difficult, if not impossible for us to paint around them as we're using our blues and purples, because there's a lot of detail there and what we want to do as we're painting our base layer is to do a large wash of purple without worrying about those little yellow details, so we'll cover them with masking fluid. Then when we're ready towards the end of the process, we're going to erase the masking fluid with our eraser and reveal the white paper and then paint those little details with our yellow color without worrying that it's going to get mixed up with purple and look all dirty. Let me quickly show you exactly how I apply the masking fluid, the strokes that I use. What I have here is just a lid of my masking fluid bottle, you can also pour it directly into your palette. I have my handy rubber color shaper, and I'm going to dip it. To make a nice mask for our beard, I'm going to do a line at the base, make sure that it's full of masking fluid and then I'm going to drag those whiskers up just like that. You can see how the rubber tip is allowing me to do really fine details. The iris beard doesn't have a hard edge, those whiskers are defined, really fine on top. But I have a swollen base at the bottom, I'm just going to go over it one more time. 6. Step 2: Background Layer: We're ready to start our background layer, and our objective here is to create a very soft background wash of color, so not a lot of details at this stage, we're just looking at the background color and getting this right will help us establish our flow as we progress to our next layers. We're using wet-in-wet technique, so essentially going to wet the areas first either with clear water or with a light wash of paint and then we're going to be adding our colors into that wet petal slowly letting them blend on paper. You're going to start with something like this and end up with a nice background layer that looks a little bit like this. We're ready to start painting and what I'm going to do first is focus on my top flower, top petals only. I'm going to apply a very thin coat of clear water to the top petals with my regular brush. Here's the level of water you want to achieve, you can see it's glistening in the sun, so not too much water, but enough for it to stay wet for a couple of minutes. I'm going to make sure I cover everything so check and see so there are no dry areas left. I'm using my older brush here because all this brushwork will wear out your tip. What I'm going to do now is start with my highlight colored pink. I'm just going to drop a few drops of color in the middle and then continue with my base color, and the base color I'm going to start applying from the edge and towards the base. You can see I'm painting around my pink. If it spreads from the front petal to your back petals don't worry about it. That's actually a good thing, it's supposed to be happening. It will help us keep the overall base color cohesive. Now I'm going forward with my blue, and this is only for those back petals because they're in the shadow, we want to visually set them back so I'm not using much purple here, I'm switching to blue. Now I'm going to drop a bit of paint here in the middle just like I did for the front but this time it's a lot more pigmented. I want those back petals to be darker, eventually, so don't be afraid to use more intense pink here, I'm doing the same for the right petal. Now I'm back to the front petal and, again, I'm just using my base color from the edge down, I drag it with the tip of my brush. You can add a bit of your base purple to the back petals as well and then continue down with your warm green. Make sure it blends nicely at the base with your purple and you can continue with your base color on the back of your side petals. A very light wash, not too much color. We'll return to this part later. We're just trying to establish the base values and the base pigments. Again, I'm back to my back petals adding a little bit of blue, and now I'm really focusing on the shadow areas. I look at my reference photo and I find those folds and I put some blue in there where I feel like the shadow should be deeper. Here's one on the front petal, it's a deep fold. I'm going to add a little bit of blue there to set it back visually. You can see my brush strokes are always from the edge of the petal and then towards the middle. I'm trying to follow the way the petals are folded and the way the shadows appear. I'm trying to use my brush to paint that. It's hard because the water is still wet, but you should start feeling more control as the water dries out and sinks into the paper. You will notice that you have a lot more control and your pigment is not spreading as much. Now I'm going to repeat the same process for my side petals. Again, I'm going to make the entire area wet. I'm going to let the water sink in for a bit and then I'm going to start adding my colors. One thing I want you to notice, don't worry too much about the exact placement of my colors because I'm using my reference photo and I'm just trying to follow what I see. Yours might look a bit different as long as you get the basic colored right. In other words, using your colder blues on the shadowy areas and your highlight pinks in the middle of the petal, you'll be fine. Just keep looking at your reference photo and follow this basic structure. You can see here, I'm adding my base purple again just from the edge and then towards the base and I'm letting it blend nicely with my pink. The petal is wet so let the colors do their work. Now this is the back of the petal and I don't want any pink there. I want to make sure it's all nice and purple. That part is in the shadow. This is completely optional, but you can add your boost color here, just in between your purple and your pink. If you don't have a boost color, it's totally fine. You can just get away with purple and pink, but I like to add a bit more interest and so I'm dropping a bit of violet here. While the water's still wet, I'm going to return to my top petals and I'm going to do a bit more work there. Now the key here is to work fast. Obviously, you want to make sure that the petals are still wet. If they're not, you can spray if you have a little spray bottle of water you can just spray it and then continue. Again, I'm expecting to feel more control now because my water is sinking into the paper. The colors are not flowing as freely as before, and so I'm attempting to draw the folds, these straight brush strokes from the top towards the base. You can use either your boost color or your base color, but just a darker version. Then I'm back to the side petals and I'm trying to do the same thing. I'm just adding little drops of color where I can see in my reference picture that the shadows are more intense. I'm going to go to my back petals and do the same thing. Just add a little bit more pigment there. What I'm seeing here is there's a bit of a shadow underneath the beard, the so-called beard, so don't forget about that. Now underneath the back side of that petal, again, no pink there, it's a really dark area so I'm using my base purple. Now I'm switching to the side petal on the right and I'm going to do a light wash of purple, which is to identify the shadow and then I'm going to leave that side petal because it's really in the shadow, I want to come back to it later and show you how I do the darker version. For now let's switch to the second flower, we'll start with the side petal and the process is the same. We'll wet the petal, we'll add light pink in the middle, and then we'll add base purple color to the edges and underneath the petal, and then if you are using your boost color, which I'm going to do, I'm going to add that in between my purple and my pink. Quickly, just wanted to note why I'm going in this order. I don't want to paint the top petal of this flower because I want to make sure that the first flower is completely dry. I don't want them to be too blended because there is a very defined edge between them, the top petal of the second flower is really dark, so I want to make sure that I do this later. Again, I'm using very light wash here on the edge and I'm letting it blend into my pink wash. I'm using this strokes, mimicking the way the color appears on my reference photo, and I'll do the same thing for the other side petal of my bottom flower, I'm going to cover it with water, a very thin layer, but not too thin. I want to make sure that the water stays on top of paper for couple of minutes to let me do what I want to do with my colors. I'm just going very carefully around the edge and then maybe not so carefully in the middle because I'm going to make sure that my edges are precise. Now I'm going to start with my purple instead. I feel like there's a lot more purple here and then I'll do my pink later. Again, I want to make sure that I use the tip of my brush when I do the edges of the petal. I don't want to make any mistakes here. I'm a little bit more loose when it comes to putting the color down in the middle of the petal. Now I'm going to get my pink and I'll let it with my purple. We're going to use a lot more intense pink and that's okay. We want to make sure that it shows through as we continue layering later on. Now I'm using my boost color to mimic those lines in the middle of the petal, those folds and the shadows. I'm spreading it around. You can use your base purple here, you don't have to use the violet that I use for the boost, but what I'm doing here is, I find that I made the petal too dark. I'm just going to drop some water to lighten up those areas. This technique is called making a bloom. Essentially while your color layer is too wet, you can drop clear water and let it spread, pushing the pigments out. You will see a blue shape there. Now I'm going to that side petal of the top flower. I mentioned that I left it blank on purpose and I went back to it because I'm going to use a slightly different sequence of colors here. It's very dark, so I'm now going to wet my paper first. I'm just going to go with light purple wash right away and I'm not adding any pink here, no highlight color. I don't want any highlight color because visually I want to make sure that this is a very dark petal. I'm going to start with a light purple wash and then I'm going to use a combination of my boost color, which is my violent. You don't need it, it's optional, but a bit nice just for visual contrast and what you do need as a bit of blue. I'm going to use my ultramarine blue and I'm going to drop it into the purple on the areas that I feel are particularly dark. Like that folder underneath the petal in some other areas, just looking at the reference photo. Again, don't worry if the way you drop your shadow colors and you boost colors is not exactly the same as what I'm doing here. Played by year, look at your reference photo. As long as you have a nice variation of light and dark areas, you will get a good result. Here I'm making another blue because I feel like I've made it a bit too dark there. I dropped some water, I'm watching it spread and now I'm going to add my boost color in the area that I feel should be really dark, more pigmented and then I'm going to go with even more purple. Really make sure it's getting darker and darker as I paint. You can see now this petal is probably the darkest of all that I've done so far. That's a good thing, we want some contrast. Now I'm dropping my blue as I promised I would. Now I'm fairly confident that my top flower petals are dry and I'm going to do the front petal of the bottom flower. You can see the color is not running into the side petal of the top flower. Again, it's a very dark area, so I'm not going to make my petal wet with water first, I'm going to go in with purple. Then I'm going to go down with a clear water and the reason being is because I want to make sure that that area that's in the shadow really is darker. I don't want any clear water there first time. I put out a wash of purple, then I'll continue with clear water all the way down to the base. For those side petals that are sticking out, I'm going to use a light wash of blue. Again, no water first, just a straight wash of color and the same thing on the right. I'm going to go straight with my color. This time I'm using purple. I'm going to be adding blue there too. I want to make sure that those areas are visually in the background, so dropping even more base purple. Looking at my reference photo, trying to guess where those folds are in my picture, and just painting them very slowly and carefully with my brush. I'm going to leave this for a while because my surface is too wet, so I don't have a lot of control. I'm going to switch to those back petals of the top flower real quick. It's just a little chunk and I'm going to do a straight blue wash because it's really in the background. I want to keep it dark and cold with my colder colors. I'm using a lot of blue here, very carefully making sure that it doesn't blend with my other petals. Now I'm going to return to this, I feel like I have more control. I'm going to draw up a bit of cobalt blue just for visual interest, but you don't need to use to use two blues, you can just stick to one blue. Now I'm going to do a quick player for purple here. I feel like this petal is a bit too wet for me to do what I need to do. My colors are spreading too fast, so I'm going to leave it for a minute and I don't want to waste my time so I'm going to do a part of the stem. Applying a really light wash of your base green and then adding your shadow green. I feel like enough time passed and I'm going to return to that petal and I will finish it off. I'm going to add a bit more purple and violet where I feel like I need to. I'm going to add a bit more here and I think I'm satisfied, so I'm going to go back to my stems. Again, a light wash of your base green color all the way down. A bit of your shadow green, which is Hookers Green. I am using here, more pigmented, more saturated. You can see I'm adding it at the bottom where I feel the shadows should land. Then to the tips where you see the the dry tips. I'm adding a bit of Olive Green and later on I'm going to add Perylene Violet up there you go. Just a tiny little drop to identify where the tip will be and also under the petals where the shadows are. I'm going to let it dry and I'm going to do the same thing for a green areas on top there. There's some dry leaves there, I'm going to start with, again, my base green. I'm probably going to add a lot more Perylene Violet there. If you don't have Perylene Violet, you can just use your brown. But essentially for your dry leaves, you want to use something that will be warmer and darker than your regular green and it's a nice compliment to your purple. I hope you agree. I think it is. I think that it's a dark enough color, but it's not taking away from our beautiful purple and that's it. I am going to let this dry thoroughly. I want to make sure that when we start our next layer, which we're going to paint wet on dry, meaning wet paint will go on dry paper. I want to make sure that this layer is completely dry. Typically, I leave my painting out for at least 2-3 hours. Ideally, I come back to it the next day, but 2-3 hours is enough for the water to sink in and for your colors to dry out. 7. Step 3: Definition Layer (Part 1): You should have something like this in front of you right now. It's just your base layer. It is a lot lighter now that the water dried out, the colors are blended and everything is thoroughly dry. We can start with our next step, which is our definition layer. We're going to use a lot darker colors, but not too dark, just like one step darker. We're going to go through every petal and every leaf and define our shadow areas more. Let's get started. I'm going to start again with my top petal. I'm painting with my wet color on top of a dry petal. I have a lot of control and I'm now defining those folds. What you're going to do here is start from your edge of the petal and then paint your folds down like I'm just dragging my brush. As I drag it, the stroke becomes thinner and thinner. I use a lot of this technique in my botanical watercolors. If you've watched any of my previous classes, I call it an interrupted stroke because essentially I start my stroke thick and then I just drag it down and it eventually disappears. This is really useful technique for painting the texture of any botanicals. You can see I can really get into that fold and then define the edge of the fold. Make sure that the shadow is very well defined. I can even double down. Then as I get towards the base of the petal, my stroke is really thin, this is where having a nice tip on your brush will help. I will also go in the middle of the petal and looking at my reference photo will completely cover those areas that are in the shadow like those large fold with my bass purple. You can see I'm outlining the shadow and then just paint my purple wash in the middle. It's a bit darker. It's slightly darker than what we used for our base layer, but it's not too dark. It's still giving me a bit of a view of my base there. Now for the edges, I'm adding even more dark purple. Just for the tip of my interrupted stroke, I want to make sure that my edges are really well defined. That's why I'm making sure that my color is darker there on the edge. I'm going to switch to this side now. Again, I'm looking at my reference photo and I'm just painting those tiny folds, the tiny ones with the tip of my brush and then the large ones I press the brush a bit more and I connect the folds with my brush and I keep dragging it down. Now I'm going to switch to my side petal. This is a really dark area. Remember when we were doing the base layer, we didn't even use any pink there. It was just more dark purple. I'm going to make it even more dark now. I'm going to really define that area by adding my color and making sure that I separate visual with the back of the petal and in front of the petals so there's a hard-line there. I'm going to paint my shadows my folds here. Again, I outline that curve. I'm painting with a wet brush on dry surface so it's easy for me to control my brush strokes. Now I'm going to do that petal all the way in the back. Again, I'm just using purple here and I'm outlining the petal folds. I'm dropping even more dark purple now because I want that area to be intense purple. Just to a little bit, I'm going to go back to my top pedal and I'm actually going to double down on my purple there. I'm painting more shadows on top of the shadows that I already painted. I'm using my reference picture to make sure I get it right. But you can also help yourself and just draw some light pencil outlines to make sure you get it all nice and easy. Very slowly. There is no need to rush right now. This is not wet on wet. This is wet and dry, so you don't have to worry about your color drying out quickly. You can always come back, add more intensity. I'm going to switch to the top petal of the second flower, do the same thing. Based on my reference photo, I feel like the sides of the pedal are in the dark. I have a very faint outline pencil mark there, so I know that I'm going to put some shadows there. I'm mixing wet in wet and wet and dry now because I made the area wet and I'm dropping a bit of color there on wet on wet. But it's very controlled because it's just a tiny chunk of the petal that I'm working with. Now I feel like I need more help, so I'm going to help myself by outlining that deep shadow. It's the shadow that the side petal of the top flower is casting on the top petal on the bottom flower. It's a deep shadow. I want to make sure that I have nice separation there between the light colors and the dark colors. I'm going to help myself with a very thin outline. You can see the pencil I'm using 4H, H identifies that the hardness of the lip. It's a very hard pencil. It's not going to leave a lot of graffiti marks. It's very light and you will not see that outline once I'm done with my purple color. It's the purple color will actually be darker than that pencil outlines. I'm just going to follow the outline right now and cover that entire area with a purple wash. You can see that this wash is a lot darker than what I was using for my top flower. This is on purpose, I want to make sure it's dark. Then you can see I'm dragging my brush down from the edge of that shadow. Then we're going to add even more colder color using my blue here. To complete the shadow area, again, blue is a cold color, so visually it will set it back and look a lot darker and further away when we're done. Then this is the tricky part. I don't want to cover it all with color. I'm just going to paint smaller folds there with the tip of my brush. Very light. I'm going to go back and draw up more pigmented purple into that shadow area while it's still wet so the color will spread. I dropped a few bits of violet there, just for visual interest. Again, totally optional. Nice to have. You can use magenta if you don't have violet but that's just for visual interest to add some variation. Now I'm using the tip of my brush to identify those smaller folds in the middle of the petal. I can go back to the right and paint more shadows and outline the shadow first with the tip of my brush and then fill it in. I'm using more violet here. I feel like even though these are areas in the shadow there must be reflecting some pink from that side petal on the right. That's why I'm using violet. That's a bit warmer. So darker pigment, but a bit warmer. Violet instead of purple, it's not necessary. You can continue just with your purple and add blue to the areas that you really want to set back visually. Now you can see I am switching to the side petal of the top flower, I'm going to outline that shadow with my light purple wash, a lot lighter than the other petal underneath. I'm going to fill it in and then continue with smaller folds very slowly. Moving towards the base and going underneath the beard, there's a tiny shadow there, not too dark. Outlining the folds, very slowly just tap and then you can drag it towards the base. Too much water on my brush and I'm going to blend that shadow with my brush and then drag it towards the middle and a bit more purple. Then with the dry brush, I'm going to blend it into the background. I'm going to go with my blue and I'm going to make sure that those top petals in the background are set back collisionally. I'm adding first ultramarine blue and then a bit of a blue boost with my cobalt blue and now towards the base, some purple. I am going to do the top petal and the back again, I'm using a lot more blue here. Want to set it back visually using a lot of interrupted stroke painting from the edge down towards the base. More blue more purple. I'm not worried about it running in to my front petal because the front petal is completely dry so I can do what I need to do here with my colors, letting them spread across the back petal, but I'm not worried about the colors running into the front petal. Again, painting from the edge down. Here's another large fold I outline it, fill it in. If you need to zoom in on your reference photo, that's what I do quite often. Just really study the folds and gain if you feel like you need to use the pencil first, totally fine. As long as you use a light pencil, it won't be visible after you want to make sure that you make it as easy for you as possible. To get the shadows, you don't have to get every shadow and every fold, but just roughly identify the placement of the folds. When you zoom in it might be easier to see. My paper is still wet there on top so I'm going to use this as an opportunity to add even more color. More blue, more purple on the edge between the front petal, which I want to keep light and that back, and also on the edges of the petal. Now I'm going to work on the side petal of the bottom flower. If you like, it should be a little lighter because it's facing up towards the sun, so we're going to be careful with my shadows here using a very light wash. The folds have less shadow areas so very thin strokes. Unless I'm painting this part underneath the petal, no one should be dark. Here's another shadow area I'm going to outline it. Here's the one all the way behind the beard. I'm also going to outline it and then fill it in. Again if you don't feel comfortable outlining straight with your brush, just use your pencil first. Now I'm going to paint a deeper shadow on this petal here. Much darker purple. I really want to make sure that that shadow is defined. We're going to use the same intensity of purple here. This is the reverse of the side petal away from the sun. I'm going to outline it and then fill it in with purple adding a bit of my boost color. Now let's work with this petal. I'm going to double down on that shadow that I painted earlier, but just more purple towards the edge. Then I'm going to go underneath to make it darker in certain areas, then add a bit of pink here because I feel like that area is reflecting a lighter colors from the bottom petals, so that's what I'm going to do. 8. Step 3: Definition Layer (Part 2): Now, we're ready to start Part 2 of our definition layer. We're going to focus mostly on the side petals. These are the petals that are facing the sun, and we're going to have a lot more pinks and violets here, lot more of your boost color. Overall, these petals are lighter, but because they pick up the sun, we're going to have a lot of a warmer colors here. You are looking at something like this right now, and you want to get to something like this, so a bit more textured, a bit more pinks, a bit more detail. We're going to do this slowly with very precise brush strokes. I'm going to start with this petal down here. The way I'm going to do this is wet and wet to begin with. I'm going to make the entire petal wet. The reason why I'm doing this is because I want to add a lot more pink color to the base. I really want it to pop. I'm going to cover the entire petal with clear water first. Looking at the reference picture, I want to keep this part right here quite light, so I'm going to make sure I don't put too much color there, and here I'm drying my brush, and I'm removing excess water so I don't have a lot of pigment flowing in there. I'm going to keep it fairly dry compared to the rest of the petal. now, I'm going to drop my boost color right in the middle of the petal. You can use your violet. I'm using quinacridone violet here, or you can go directly with pink, which will also give it a nice warm glow. I'm just spreading my color around towards the edge, adding a little bit more on the side but keeping that one spot quite light without any pigment. Now, I'm adding more violet there mixed with pink, just dragging it over to the edge, really making sure that this petal that's facing the sun looks quite different from the petals that are facing up. Now, I'm just going to drag my brush over tiny strokes over that light spot, just defining the folds in the little grooves, adding more pink throughout, and blending it nicely. Now, I'm going to go with my purple and make sure that the edges are really dark and full of pigment. I'm just dropping my purple right on the edge, and it blends nicely with my pink because the petal is still wet. Our paper is letting the water sit on top of it for a few minutes so we can work through the whole petal. Now, it is a bit more dry now, so I have more control, my color's not spreading too much. Now I'm ready to also draw a couple of lines in the middle. The color will slowly spread, but you can still see the shape of the line that we drew. Those are the grooves, the little folds in the middle of the petal. Now I'm going to do the same thing on this left petal facing the sun, and the process will be exactly the same. You're going to wet the petal, add pink and violet in the middle, and I'm going to go with my purple all around the edges. I'm going to try to finish this before the paper gets dry, so that my colors blend nicely the more time passes, the more dry it gets, the more control I'm going to have. I'm going to add more and more defined lines towards the edge, I'm going to drop more and more color on the edge. That part underneath the petal, the back of the petal, I'm going to go wet on dry and I'm just going to paint a few lines just to add texture, define those folds. But that part, I didn't make it wet so I can do wet on dry. More color, more little details. Now I'm going to go to the back of the petal that's still dry and I can do some controlled strokes there. Add more details, deepen the shadows. Now I'm going to add a bit more violet, because I still feel like it needs more warmth and a color boost. Now, I'm happy with that petal. I'm going to switch to this top flower and paint the side petal there. Same process, although I did go in straight with my light pink wash, but you can start with just water and an add pink after. I started with some intent pink and then I'm using clear water to continue. I'm going to cover the entire petal all the way to the base. The closer I get to the base, the lighter it gets, the further away I am, the more pigmented are my colors. I'm going to go with purple, and I'm going to finish this off with a darker purple on the edge. I'm quite happy with the contrast and the transitions.Again, I'm trying to paint quite fast here because I don't want the water to dry. I'm adding a bit a violet here in the groove and dragging it to the middle, bit more violet. Now I'm going to spread that violet all the way to the backside of the petal. It was dry when I started, so I have a lot of control. I'm going to continue with purple and just paint the details of the shadows/ this is what you're going to end up with at the end of this definition layer. Now we're ready to move on to the next step, which is the accent layer. 9. Step 4: Accent Layer: This is our axial layer, the last layer we're going to do before we remove the masking fluid and finish off the painting. The objective of this layer is to accentuate the details. What you should have at this point is a painting that looks almost ready, really nice definition for your shadow areas, your light areas, your sunspots are really popping with the pinks. Everything looks right and now we're going to spend some time, about 15 minutes total on creating accents. We're going to double down on some of our shadows. We're going to really define the folds and the grooves on the petals. We're going to paint some accents on the stem and the backside of the petals or you see those lovely details and some dry leaves their stand. You're going to have something like this, a lot more textured, a lot more detailed, and a lot more realistic looking. After that, we're going to remove the masks and paint those young beards. Let's get started, I'm going to paint the bottom flower first, the top petal. Just looking at my reference picture, I'm going to decide which shadows I want to make a bit darker. Here's one, I'm focusing inside and I'm just going to define the folds within that shadow. Making it a bit darker and then spreading the color with a wet brush, just blending it into the petal into my base color. I feel like this part should really be a lot darker than it is. It's already in the shadow but it has some folds so I'm going to double down on some areas of that shadow and really defined those folds and those grooves with my purple; add some violet, make it really dark, almost opaque. It's flowing up into my other petal and I'm just going to spread the coloring with a wet brush. I don't mind if it's a bit too blinded there but I'm going to paint with the tip of my brush all the tiny details from the edge and to the base. Again, I'm using my reference photo to make sure I'm following the natural progression of these folds from the edge down in a nice curve. Now I think I'm happy with that petal, I'm going to move to my top flower and do that front-facing petal. Then again, using my base color but a lot darker; this time, I'm going to make the shadows deeper and then from those shadows I'm going to define those little grooves that go towards the base of the petal. Here I am outlining a fold within a shadow and then covering the area with purple. I'm even going to drop a few bits of blue there, I really want to set that area back visually so adding my cold shadow color there and dragging it down with tip of my brush towards the middle. We're going to go and continue this process on the other petal on the left. Again, using my blue and my purple, defining my shadows more, adding more texture. Then I switch to the right, more shadows, this area is called the halved and it has a lot of those dark colored detail so I'm going to add my parallel and violet here, we can use brown If you want, you don't have parallel violet, It's a warm color, it's a dark color, It's semi-transparent. It's going to really help you create that shadow and it's a nice complement to your purple and it will also blend really nicely all the way down to your greens. I'm going to start with that pigment, that parallel violet and then I'm going to do a quick wash of color, the green, just bringing it all the way down to my greens. It's a nice transition. You can parallel violet on the halved, the so called halved of the petal, which is basically underneath at the back, at the base and blending it down with my green through adding some hookers green now, intensifying that green, this is my shadow green that I picked. As I move towards the stem, I want to add more shadow green there and back to parallel violet, looking at the reference picture, there's some dark parts there.Then I'm going to blend it with purple going up. Basically parallel violet, blending it down with the green and up with the purple and using the tip of my brush to drag those little grooves. Dropping more purple, really making it dark now and you can see the parallel violet blends beautifully with purple. It's a nice natural combination at the stillness flower. I'm going to switch to that petal leaf and then back using a reference photo, paint those smaller details. First with purple and then I'm going to switch to parallel violet. Now I'm going to add a bit of burnt orange just for visual interests. I really want to make sure that this part looks different from the purple petals so I'm adding a bit more warm orange color there. I don't want it to stand out too much but I do want it to look different than the petal color. I'm going to finish it off with that warm orange color, you can also use a mixture of brown and orange if you want. Now I'm just dropping a bit of my parallel violet again, just to make the colors a bit darker. I'm quite happy with what it looks like now. I'm going to go back to the halved of the side petal and now that is dry, I can paint those lovely details on it with my parallel violet using the tip of the brush. Really fine lines going all the way up. Again, this is a very similar to that interrupted stroke except the lines are really dark here. It's a nice contrast against the lighter green background and we want that, that's what we see in the reference photo, that little pattern can just repeat it on the side petal. That's the accent that we're going for, it's tiny little lines. You don't have to get it exactly right, I think it would be unrealistic to expect that. You get each line exactly as it appears in the reference photo. I'm just following the logic of the organic shape and the coloring also. I know that these lines are directed towards the base. I'm just following with my brush and mimicking the natural direction of those line's going to go back to this part, it's drying up. I'm just going to define my shadows a bit more using the tip of my brush. Now I'm switching to bottom part here, I'm going to accentuate all my green parts, all the shadows and using hookers green, everything that's away from the light, I'm going to put a nice coat, Africa's green. Now I'm dropping some olive green to further deepen those shadows. I'm going to finish it off by accentuating the dry tips with my burnt orange color. Just with the tip of my brush, a few strokes, few lines there on top and that's it for our accent layer. I'm going to let it dry at least two hours. I might wait a day, we're going to remove our masking fluid next and finish off the painting. 10. Step 5: Finishing Touches: We're ready to finish off our beautiful iris flower, and before we get started with our paints, I'm going to quickly remove the masking fluid from those parts of the flower that we covered with the mask. So now that we're ready, let me quickly show you this as what you should have after you finish the excellent layer and after it's completely dry and here's where we're going to get to. So it almost looks like it's ready. We just have to add a bit more texture. So starting with the top petals, I'm going to zoom in on my reference photo, which is what I like to do in the final stages. I'm going to really work through every inch of this flower. Wherever I see there is an opportunity to add more variation, more texture, define the shadows better, I'm going to do that. Here you can see I'm just adding more small shadows and grooves between the two petals. I'm going to make that little area of the flower darker because it's actually showing me the back of the petal. It's completely away from the Sun. Here, let me zoom in on my reference photo. I feel like there is an extra little detail I can add. That part should really be darker, so I'm going to make it darker. The only thing to keep in mind is, every stroke should be directed from the edge of the flower and then down towards the base. Unless there is some extra special shadow that goes across, I keep my stroke's pointed towards the base. A lot more detail here. This area needs more purple, really trying to mirror the color variation that I see in that reference photo. What I really like is using my iPad or my phone at this point and just really zooming in on my details. You might see other details that are missing here. I mean, it's a lot, but we're just trying to get more accurate as much as possible. I forgot an entire piece of a pedal there. So here, I'm going to paint it. I'm going to come back to this area. It's so dark and in the reference photo. I really want to make it darker and I want to correct some of the mistakes I made. Early on, as you can see my reference photo's slightly different when you look at the edge, I didn't trace it. I just looked at it and painted with my pencil the way I saw it. So it's not exactly the same as the reference photo. Back to this part of the petal, I really feel like I need to do more work here. Finer lines just to really show that folded part of the petal. More darker color here. Because we're painting wet and dry, we have a lot more control. So we can paint those bits and pieces separately and then connect them if we feel like it. But the point is to use your base layers and guide and will really add more texture and detail to it. So you don't want to be correcting too much because you already have the base structure of the flower established. Base shape. So you adding more details within those shadows that you already painted. I'm going to put a few small details here again, painting from the edge and down, deepening the shadows. Here, I'm going to add a bit of blue to my purple. Really make sure I set that back visually. I want to make sure that it does appear to be like a shadow, rather than just a different color. I'm keeping the middle of the petal mostly light. So I'm working around the edges, defining the folds around the edges. This whole area should get darker. I'm going to really define that shadow with the tip of my brush and then paint the smaller shadows going towards the edge. This area underneath the folded part of the petal. Lets some details there. I'm going to let it have a bit more of my boost color. So it was becoming way to monotone and purple. So now I'm just going to go back with a light violet wash. You can also use pink if you don't have violet and just add a few complimentary brush strokes to warm up those shadows. Even in the middle, not afraid to put too much of a boost color in the middle because, it's going to keep it warm and visually it's not going to set it back too much because it's a warm color. But here towards the edge, I'm going to use a bit of blue and do an entire layer of blue over those folds. But not in the middle, just over the edges and the folds there. I want to keep the middle of the flower fairly light. I'm going to use the same colors here. We need to find the grooves in the folds on that part of the pedal. Now finish off this flower with some more color on the site pedal. I'm going to start with my boost color because, that part of the flower is closer to the source of light. That part is still facing the Sun, so you want to use too much purple. I'm going to start off with violet or you can use pink and as I move towards the edge, I'm going to use more purple. The back of the petal should really be darker. We can see it in the reference photo. It's almost black. So I'm going to make those shadows darker with my base color and my boost colors. So lots of purple, quite pigmented and lots of my violet. Now I'm going to switch to the top. Use my violet color and then purple, darker purple here on the reverse side. Again you've seen this before I'm making the edge of the darker. Back to that area of the petal that I feel should be darker. The reverse side going to put another layer of my boost color, make it even darker, and then the back, more purple. Now I'm going to paint this petal to the background. Going in with my purple color. Doing a nice solid wash first and then, I'm going to blend it into the background with a wet brush. This area underneath the petal on the half time, just going to darken it quickly with purple. Now, let's work on this petal. It barely has any texture, so let's spend some time here. I'm going to start with the shadows here, these grooves and folds so I'm going to slowly define them. Looking back at my reference photo, my strokes again are from the base end towards the edge. Following the natural progression of these groups natural texture of the petal. I'm going to use my violet now. This petal is facing the sun, so more violet less purple because it's warmer. We want to keep this warmer. Dragging my strokes from the base towards the edge and blending them. Keeping the middle of the petal quite light. We're going to keep the center of the petal quite light, and then the edges much more dark and saturated. This area here, little shadow under the beard, and then I'm just going to drag those lines. The masking fluid is helping us direct our brush strokes because we left some masking fluid there. That's nice. We have a bit of reference and his side, same idea. Painting very light mesh, with our brush. Lots of thin lines going towards the edge and a bit more violet on the edge. Now we're ready to paint our beard. Let's put some yellow. You can also use orange. I'm going start from the top and then drag those little strokes down towards the base. Keeping the base white. Here's another one. Just tiny little strokes real quick. Then the same yellow just so that it doesn't stand out too much. We want to tie it to the rest of our painting. I'm just going to put a bit of that yellow from these parts on the left will help keep our overall palette cohesive. Now let's finish off with this petal. Again, very straightforward process on building texture and defining our shadows by dragging my strokes, from the edge towards the base of the flower. Some of them will be longer than others, but the general logic of this exercises, we're going to make our darker areas darker with our base color purple or in some cases, we'll use our boost color violet. I'm just slowly going over every inch of that petal and looking at the reference photo, making my decisions around where I want to add those strokes. Let's repeat this process on this petal again, from the center towards the edge.Very tiny strokes. Thicker towards the edge, thinner when they're in the center. I'm quite happy with the level of detail, so I'm going to stop and do the very final part, which is completely optional. It has to do with our beard. What I think is happening here as we left the base of the beard white in each case, but actually this one is in the shadow. I'm just going to use a bit of blue and make sure that it looks more natural. Beard is on the shadows so, instead of leaving the base wide, which has its natural color, I'm just going put a bit of cold blue.That's it. Our iris is done. Congratulations, this was a really long class, and I hope you've found my tips and techniques helpful. European team will probably look slightly different from mine. This is exactly what we need to see. We need to see your interpretation of the reference photo. It's your colors, your palate, your vision. Don't forget to post your projects on Skillshare website. I can't wait to see them all if you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out. You can post a discussion in the discussion section of the class on Skillshare website or you can reach out to me directly. Enjoy the painting process and enjoy the purple color palette that we built and I'll see you in the next class.