How to Paint Peony in 3 Ways | Farah Bidin | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Part 1: Introduction


    • 2.

      Part 2: Supplies & Materials


    • 3.

      Part 3: Brush Strokes Exercise


    • 4.

      Part 4: Round Brush


    • 5.

      Part 5: Flat Brush


    • 6.

      Part 6: Chinese Brush


    • 7.

      Bonus Video: Painting Leaves


    • 8.



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About This Class

If you're a watercolor enthusiast and florals is your favourite subject to paint, you must know that Peonies are one of the most popular flowers to get started of with. Whether you have your own style in painting them or you'd like to bring your painting Peony game a step further, this class is for you!

In this class, I will be sharing with you how I paint the Peony using watercolor in 3 different ways, using 3 different brush; a round brush, a flat brush and a chinese brush. You will explore ideal brush strokes needed to paint the petals of the Peony from the variety of brush types and apply movement of expressive brush strokes to create interesting shapes of the flower petals.

By the end of the class, you will be able to paint the Peony flower by using all of the brush types or any one brush that you feel most comfortable to start of with. Along with practice, you will be able to find your own unique styles using the techniques that are taught in this class.

Here is the link to the list of supplies & materials I'm using in the class:

List of Supplies & Materials

For picture reference, you can follow my Peony Pinterest board or use whatever picture reference you like

Farah's Peony Pinterest board


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Farah Bidin

Artist, Founder of paintstobrushes

Level: Beginner

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1. Part 1: Introduction: My name is Farah and I'm a watercolor artist and designer here in my hometown in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, where I also conduct watercolor workshops for beginners. Some of you might also know me from my Instagram page, paintstobrushes, an account I set up back in 2016 to document my progress in watercolor and my creative journey. One of the first floral subject that I started painting is the peony. In the beginning, it was always some miss for me when painting this flower. But after a while of practicing, not only I discovered the movement of brushstrokes that is needed to paint this flower, I've also learned to enjoy the process of creating not to worry so much about the final piece. Welcome to my Skillshare class. In this class, I will be sharing with you how to paint the peony in three different ways using a variety of brush. We will be applying watercolor techniques such as blending, wet on wet, and discover brushstrokes that is needed to paint the peony petals. My approach in painting the peony is very simple and loose. This is great for beginners struggling to paint this beautiful flower and just discover brush types that you feel most comfortable to start off with. By the end of this class, you will learn how to paint the types of peony that are complex looking, but simple to paint. Most importantly, I want you to have fun learning and just enjoy the process of creating. I'll see you in class. 2. Part 2: Supplies & Materials: Before we start the class, you will need your basic watercolor setup, as well as a few extra supplies that you will need to prepare before we start painting. For papers, we're going to be using single sheets of watercolor papers that is cold press and is [inaudible]. I recommend you to tape your paper onto a wooden board. You can also use a clipboard, and you want to tape your paper edges with a masking tape. This is to prevent your papers from curling. You will also need a watercolor palette that holds your paint. You can use the normal round palette like this. These are the colors that are from my palette. Moving to the most important tools we need for this class is this three types of brush. I have here a flat brush in size 5. A round brush in size 10. I also have a couple of smaller round brushes and a Chinese brush. If you don't own a Chinese brush, you can substitute it with a Silver Black Velvet. I have here a round one in size 8. The Silver Black Velvet can mimic the brush strokes that a Chinese brush can do. Other supplies that you will need is two water jars to separate your warmer colors and your cooler colors. Some paper towel to rest brush or to remove some excess paint from your brush. Water spray bottle. This is convenient for you to wet your dried paints. A gouache. I have here in permanent yellow. I use gouache to paint the center peony details. Basically these are the supplies that you will need to prepare before we start painting the peonies. Now, you can use whatever watercolor brands or brush size that you already own and that you feel most comfortable using. 3. Part 3: Brush Strokes Exercise: We shall begin this class by doing some simple brushstroke exercise that is needed to paint the Peony petals as warm-ups. Let's start the first brushstrokes exercise using round brush. You want to load my brush with some paint. I want to make some Alizarin crimson and some lemon yellow to create a coral color. With your brush already loaded with the paint, you want to start from the bottom and you want to create this oval-shaped stroke. Starting from the bottom, moving upwards, you want to add some pressure and as you reach the top, you'll make a U turn and go back to where you started. Starting from the bottom while I make my U turn, I want to stop for a while and grab some magenta, and just continue on. I want to do some blending here to mix the two colors together. Loading my brush with the paint, starting from the bottom, add pressure, and make the first U turn, and then the second U turn, and go back to where you first started. You can also make some magenta and do some blending to fill up the blank space that you left behind. Let's now do some brushstrokes exercise using the flat brush. Using the similar technique as with a round brush. This time you want to create some waves in your oval-shaped strokes. Let me load my brush first. We want to start from the bottom. With this brush, we only want to use the tip of the flat brush. While you move upwards, you just want to create this with the strokes. Paint as if you only want to paint the outline of the petals. You can do this very slowly one by one, or you can do it in one motion. Last brushstrokes we need to practice is using the Chinese brush. Load your Chinese brush with paint that is diluted with water. I'm just mixing the coral color that I mixed earlier on. I just want to dip the tip of my brush with some magenta so that I want to create this total colored petals. You want to create this wavy up and down movement, while moving horizontally, and creating this half circle. Do you see the two tones here? Still a brighter one in mixing with a little bit of red to the other side. You can do some technique here, while the petals are still wet. I want to dip some red in the middle of my petal to create this very nice plan. You can also mimic the same strokes using the Chinese brush, using the silver black feather. Load your brush with a paint that is diluted with water, and just dip the tip of your brush with some paint. I'm dipping some orange here. Sometimes it's easier to do these strokes using the blacks. Black petal. Whichever you find most comfortable using. Let's do the other side. Practice the brush strokes movement with all the three brushes for a couple of times, or as many as you want. You may also want to practice painting the brush strokes in different angles. This will help you build muscle memory, and loosen up your strokes before you start painting the Peony flowers. I do this exercise all the time, and it has helped me build confidence in my strokes. As I practiced my strokes have evolved and become more looser. 4. Part 4: Round Brush: In this video lesson, I'll be using this painting as my peony reference. I'm going to show you how to paint all of these peonies using the three types of brush. Begin by loading your brush with your choice of color. Here, I'm using some scholar late diluted with water. Create an oval shape for your first petal. Right here, you can deep your brush in water and connect the second oval shape, allowing the two shapes to touch together. You might want to add in some petals at the side with water, or you can make some colors like I did here and just blend them in with the other petals. Create the appearance of the back petals with water. I like to pull out from the front petals that are still wet, so that I get some of the color into my water blends. You can dip some yellows or reds and blending it at the same time. We'll give your flower petals some color and a more interesting look once it dries. Continue to paint the back petals while blending it with color and water, only stopping for a quick second, once or twice, the second look at the flower shape and deciding whether you want to add more petals or drop some colors at the top. I like to make these stem wavy strokes using the tip of my RAM brush, just dipping it on the top of my petals that are still wet. Just enjoy washing the water color blends. Keep in mind the shapes of your old strokes. Vary them to shape your peony. The brushstrokes practice that we did earlier in this class will help you in shaping your peony. You also want to leave some white spaces in the middle to leave room for the peony details later on. I will now demonstrate to you painting the peony with the petals facing down. Again, begin by loading your brush with paints and mixing some of my reds and oranges. Start with painting the overshoots for the first petal and with water, painting the second petals, and the side petals, pulling it with water from the side to create the back pedals. Create more of the oval-shape petals and pulling some of the side petals out, and connecting them with the back petals. At this point, you want to create some of the wavy strokes at the tip of the petals, to give them some interest and some final touch. Leave some white spaces in the middle for the peony details later on, once the petals all dry. Once your peony petals have dried, you can add in the sensor details using a yellow deep squash for this, as squash is a pack and stays on the paint. You can always use watercolor, just mix a little water. 5. Part 5: Flat Brush: Begin by wetting your flat brush with water, then loading it with some paints. I'm just going to use some of my green mix I have here on my palette. I'm going to use this color mix to paint the center details of my peony. I'm only going to be using the tip of my flat brush for the centers. With your flat brush already loaded with the mix, you want to create the center details of your peony by making some marks that goes from the bottom to the top. It's like doing some [inaudible] flakes but shorter ones. Now, you want to load your brush with your color. I'm going to be using some lemon yellow for my petals. From the center details you want to create those oval wavy strokes for the petals, then loading your brush with some water and create the petals with just the water, and going back to your color and create more oval wavy stroke petals. You want to load your brush on and off with paints than water, and by doing this, you can create self color blends for your petals. Slowly, you work your way around by creating more petals. Sometimes I only paint the wavy strokes for the outer petals. Here, I want to make some yellow ocher and some orange just to blend into some of my petals that are still wet, and to give my peony some color and interests. I blend in the mix in other parts of my peony petals so that the flower look more balance and that I don't only have some yellows in one side of the flower. At this point, I'm already deciding in my mind that I'm just going to paint some final touches to my petals, highlighting some parts that I find maybe the colors are too soft, and I just want to, brighten it up a little with more colors and complete the flower. For the peony center details, I'm just going to add some more shorter strokes. I'm using a round brush here, in size four. With my yellow deep gouache, I'm just going to paint some dots on the tip of my green lines to complete the peony. 6. Part 6: Chinese Brush: In this video lesson we'll be painting the peony using the Chinese Brush. We began by loading our brush with paint that is diluted with water but this time we want to load some color on the tip of our brush. You want to start by laying down the first petal using the brushwork technique we learned earlier on this class using the Chinese brush. Loading your brush tip again, create another paddle next to the first one and connect them. You want to build more petals around, so keep on doing the up and then down brushstroke motion and moving around in a circle, we'll build the first central layers of your pyramid. Sometimes my hands get in an awkward position when painting the petal. I often shift my board around to make it easier for me to paint some petals. You can do the same or feel free to do whatever that makes you feel comfortable. Keep on loading your brush with paint and picking up some brighter colors on the tip. It's really interesting to see the two color tones on the petals. I usually make some of my choral pings and loaded with a lot of water, and for the tip, I pick up a lot of red or scarlet red. This will give a good contrast in your petals. Keep on building the petal layers around, moving in a circle. Shifting your board around will also help shape your peony. At this point, I'm just doing some final touches to the petals. I'm painting shorter, up and down strokes and I'm also leaving some tiny white space in the centers of my peony. You can also mimic the same brush strokes using the Silver Black Velvet Brush. Here I'm using around one in size eight, using the same steps with your brush already loaded with paint, you start by laying your first petal. I like to start from the bottom right and moving counterclockwise upwards and continue on building the petals around. You want to paint the petals just slightly above the petals that you have painted living white spaces in between. You can also build more layers to your peony petals. This will give your flower a fuller look. After the petals have all dried. You can paint the center details, like the center details that I painted using the Flat Brush. You want to paint some of this quick marks using a darker brown. Then with your yellow deep squash, you can paint some dots on the tip of the brand marks. 7. Bonus Video: Painting Leaves: To compliment your peony paintings, you can add in some leaves. We're are going to start by painting this light-colored leaves. Begin by painting the stem, coloring out some thin branches here and there. Then, I'm going to use the tip of my brush and pressing down, adding pressure to paint the leaf with one light stroke and doing the same thing on the other side of the leaf. Then, you can continue with painting more leaves on the branches, and you want to keep on loading your brush with your color mix on and off while you continue painting the leaves. You can add in more branches and leaves as you finish your leaf branch. To get the lighter color of the leaves, here I mix my Horizon Blue from Holbein diluted with water. Now, I want to paint my leaves with a darker green, and this time, the leaves will be much more longer and skinnier, so I'll be using a smaller one brush in size four. Again, begin by painting the stem of the leaves, and this time, you want to create the leaves by starting from the stem pulling out the first stroke, pressing down lightly, and then, do the same thing on the other side. Sometimes, I leave some white spaces in the middle of the leaf to add some interest. Continue painting the leaf upwards and you can angle you leaf in different direction, and you can also dip your brush in water to get the lighter hue and maybe create smaller leaves at the top. You can also add more leaves by adding layers. 8. Closing: That's end of how to paint peonies in three ways. You can now combine all the lesson learned in the class, and paint your own peony composition. I hope you are able to take some of the techniques in this class and feel free to drop me some questions if you have any. Do share with me your peonies in the class project. Happy painting and I hope to have you again in my next class.