Learn to Paint Complex Flowers: Watercolor Hydrangea Step-by-Step | Anna Bucciarelli | Skillshare

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Learn to Paint Complex Flowers: Watercolor Hydrangea Step-by-Step

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

14 Lessons (2h 4m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials & Palette

    • 3. Process Overview

    • 4. Outline and Mask

    • 5. Background Layer

    • 6. Definition Layer Pt. #1

    • 7. Definition Layer Pt. #2

    • 8. Definition Layer Pt. #3

    • 9. Accent Layer Pt. #1

    • 10. Accent Layer Pt. #2

    • 11. Accent Layer Pt. #3

    • 12. Accent Layer Pt. #4

    • 13. BONUS: Background - Key Steps

    • 14. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Level up your skills by painting one of the most intricate and beautiful flowers - hydrangea! In this class, we will practice a number of essential watercolor techniques so you can gain confidence to approach even the most difficult botanical subject. I will show you how utilize the full potential of watercolor transparency to create a realistic painting by glazing several layers of paint. In addition, we will go in depth on the following subjects:

  • Creating an under-painting layer - Your "map of color" using wet-on-wet technique
  • Defining light and shadow using wet-on-dry technique
  • Building texture on petals using negative painting technique
  • Capturing realistic light and applying glazing technique to build a sense of 3D volume on 2D paper
  • Extending your palette to include cool and warm variations of the base color

This class will provide an excellent training opportunity for intermediate  artists who are familiar with the basic watercolor techniques and want to progress to more advanced subjects. Advanced artists will also find this class enjoyable and will surely pick up some new tips for hyper-realistic botanical art.


Meet Your Teacher

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Anna Bucciarelli

Professional Illustrator

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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: Welcome to the class. Today I'm going to show you how to paint a hydrangea watercolor step-by-step. My name is Anna Bucciarelli. I'm a Canadian money designer and I specialize in highly detailed, intricate art. If we haven't met yet, you can find my work on Instagram, Patreon, and YouTube. In this class we're going to focus on a beautiful hydrangea. It's a fairly complex flower to paint, but I will break it down into simple layers, so you can learn how to recreate light and shadow on paper, and organize your watercolor washes to achieve a realistic effect. I will guide you through every single step in real time and we will practice the essential watercolor techniques: wet on wet, wet on dry, slow glazing to build a sense of volume on paper, and negative painting to create texture on the petals. All these pieces of the watercolor puzzle that you can apply in any of your watercolor work. I will explain my palette choices and also suggest a limited palette for those of you who want to focus on the technique without having to worry about matching my exact pigments. In the class resources, I've attached the reference photo of the hydrangea flower, a few handy outlines, and my own painting as a reference. So you can study my interpretation and create your own. This will be your class project, a beautiful hydrangea painting that you can frame or use as an element of a surface design. You will learn a whole lot about how to paint complex botanicals and how to combine classic watercolor techniques to create a realistic subject. I recommend this class for intermediate watercolor artists who want to level up their skills. So if you're ready, let's get started. 2. Materials & Palette: For this class, you will need good 100 percent cotton watercolor paper, and I'm painting on Arches cold pressed block, 140 pounds, two or three round watercolor brushes ranging from size 12 for larger washes and down to size 2 for smaller details. Of course, we will need some water. Some masking fluid would come in handy, but it is completely optional. Let's talk about the color palette now. I always bring out this diagram because it helps you organize your palette around one base color. In this case, I want to use quinacridone magenta for the base. From there, we will need some warmer and cooler colors. If you imagine the color spectrum just moving towards warmer hues and also moving from the warmer side of the spectrum towards cooler pigments. We will need to apply warmer pinks in the areas of the flower that get the most light. I'm going to be using two pigments, quinacridone coral from Daniel Smith, one of my all-time favorites, and more mild quinacridone red from QOR. We will need cooler pigments just a step or two away from magenta and closer to the blues to help us create some shadow areas on the petals. I used three, quinacridone violet from Winsor & Newton, dioxazine purple from QOR, another all-time favorite, and phthalo blue-green shade from QOR. If you want to use a limited palette, I recommend going just with purple. Lastly, I added a dark warm perylene violet for the darkest spots. It's a brownish-red violet. For the limited palette, you can simply add some deep dark brown or continue with your purple. It will be used for the darkest areas of our hydrangea. In essence, your limited palette for this flower will look like this, a basic trio of colors that you can glaze to build a very similar painting to mine. I want to stress this point because the main technique we're going to use is glazing, building values slowly using transparent pigments. That's what will help us achieve a sense of realism. Not so much, the variation in pigments, so don't worry if you only have three pigments, that's really all you need. If you want to extend your palette, it will look like this. This is purely a stylistic choice on my part because I just really, really enjoy extended variations within the same slice of the color spectrum. It adds some visual interest, but it's not essential to the success of our painting. Lastly, there are some optional colors that you may want to use for those small round stamens in the middle of the flower. You may want to apply very light yellow. Any transparent yellow will work. I ended up using gold ocher from Winsor & Newton. For those tiny fresh buds on the right-hand side, we need a bit of green. I used spring green from Daniel Smith. Any green will do, or you can skip the green altogether. Lastly, I used some perylene green from Daniel Smith, which is a very dark-blue ish green for some spots that are visible between the petals. I was thinking about tying the flower visually to the green background, which I eventually painted. In the bonus lesson, I will show you my step-by-step process very quickly. But if you plan to keep your hydrangea on white background, the green, this particular green is absolutely not necessary. Simply apply your darkest pigment like dioxazine purple. You will find the full list of pigments and some alternatives in the projects and resources section of this class. 3. Process Overview : Before we start painting, I wanted to give you a full overview of the process so you know what to expect as we move through the painting and understand why we're doing things a certain way. This is probably the most valuable part of the class, and the principles apply to any watercolor painting, not just this hydrangea flower. You will follow along with me for the next hour and a half, but the next five minutes will really lay the groundwork for deeper understanding of watercolor techniques, and how to combine them into a painting effectively. You can trust this process and I will also give you some key tips for painting hydrangeas specifically. Before we even start painting, we may want to block off the areas that we want to keep completely white. There's no true white watercolor pigment, although some use white gouache to paint white areas, but it's never as pure and realistic looking as simply leaving white paper. We want to preserve that white space. In order to do that, we use masking fluid. We will go over some tiny areas in the center of each flower and also on the edges of some petals, the ones that are facing the sun and are really visible. These tiny white accents would be difficult to paint around, although you can still do that if you don't have masking fluid on hand. After this optional step, we can begin painting, starting with a very loose and very light wash of colors just to establish the main color blocks. This step will also help us neutralize the bright white paper, and this way, we will be able to judge our values better later on. In step 2, we will define some key areas of light by painting our larger and medium-sized shadows. Here, our goal is to start creating a sense of 3D shapes, the flower clusters, and we will use a slightly more saturated mixture of the same colors we've used before, but just gently glazing them on top of the dry under-painting. This step is all about paint value, meaning your lights and darks, and the contrast between lights and darks. You will see me use several pigments, but you can limit your palette just to two colors; warmer, pink, and perhaps cooler violet or purple, and still get a very realistic definition as long as you control where you glaze your colors and where you only leave the under-painting lighter layer. Not every section of the flower will look exactly like mine, but trust the process and you will see the realistic flower shapes emerge on paper step-by-step. This will take about 45 minutes, and I broke it down into three smaller sections. By the end of step 2, our second wash of color, you will have something like this, much more defined, and you can actually stop right here if this is your first attempt at a large scale multi-layered work. Of course, I encourage you to continue with me all the way through step 3, through our third wash, where we will get really, really precise and work on each petal to add texture and also accentuate some of the shadows. In essence, this step is building on what we have already done in step 2, building on top of the larger shadow areas by accentuating the differences in values and making the overall composition come into focus. We will use much more saturated palette and focus on smaller shadows and texture details. The colors are the same as the ones used in the previous layer, and you may also add some darker green and a little bit of yellow for the center of the flowers. I hope you are ready and excited. I will see you in the next lesson. 4. Outline and Mask: You will find the black and white outline of the hydrangea flower in the projects and resources section of this class. Make sure you access it from your desktop. It will likely not download on your phone. You can use your favorite method of transferring the drawing onto a watercolor paper, whether you're using a light box, tracing paper, or simply free hand the way I do it. It doesn't matter as long as your lines are fairly faint, and I used 3H pencil, which is quite hard and doesn't leave a lot of graphite marks on a watercolor paper. Before we start painting, a quick optional step, let's block the white accents with masking fluid, and if you don't have masking fluid on hand, don't worry. Simply try to paint around the bright white areas. The highlights, which can roughly be grouped into three categories. First, we have the stamens in the middle of each flower. In many cases, they're white. They're getting a lot of light, and in some cases a light yellow. Let's cover some of them up so we don't get any pink on them while painting. The second area I would want to cover are a few very light petals facing directly towards the sun, and the third and most important detail, are those thin petal edges. Notice that our petals have some weight and thickness to them and capturing this will really add a sense of realism to your painting. In many cases, the edge of the petal is facing the light, so let's leave those edges white as much as possible. Just paint a line of masking fluid over them. No need to capture all the edges, you may see in the reference photo. Just a few will instantly add that extra sense of dimension to your work. I will show you what my masking fluid markings look like when I tilt my paper towards the light and I will also provide a map of my masking fluid markups in the projects and resources section of this class. Again, refer to it loosely. You don't have to follow every stroke. Just cover only the parts that you're sure will need white space reserved. It's more important that you study the values yourself and develop your own sense of how many white accents you want to include. Of course, you can always simply paint around those areas as you're covering your hydrangea with various pink pigments. But I'm showing you every stroke in this brief lesson, so you can decide for yourself how detailed you want to go. Having a rubber tip on my applicator helps tremendously. It's soft and acts like a brush but doesn't require cleaning. I can angle it in a way that will get me more coverage or I can position it with just a tip touching the paper to get a very thin edge. Now, let's let this masking fluid dry completely and follow to the next lesson so we can start applying color to our hydrangea. 5. Background Layer: Now it's time to put some paint on paper. In this brief lesson, we're going to focus on our background wash, our under painting layer. As I mentioned in the process overview section, our goal is to cover everything with a light wash of color using large soft color transitions, no details at this stage. It will look something like this, by the time we're done with this step. The technique is called wet-on-wet, meaning we're using a wet brush, adding color to wet paper and working while it's still wet. I will start by pre-wetting the surface of the flower using a larger brush in the middle and maybe a smaller brush to get more precise around the edges. I don't want my water to run outside the flower borders. In terms of the pigments, we're going to use purple, violet or both. I'm using quinacridone violet from Winsor and Newton, and dioxazine purple from QoR. We'll need some cool pink and we're going to go with magenta and a warm pink or warm red, if you will. I've used some quinacridone coral and quinacridone red, both are staining transparent colors, they mix very well together. The most important thing to remember when painting hydrangeas is that hydrangea is actually a cluster of flowers that you need to be able to imagine as a solid shape, typically a sphere. You need to treat your shadows and highlights, not according to the shape of individual flowers, but rather according to the overall shape of the cluster of flowers. Depending on how light hits the subject, you will have some smaller flowers that are more illuminated and others that are more in the dark. Of course, there is some variation within each, but we need to keep this general principle in mind in order to achieve a realistic result. This is why we need this initial under painting step. This is where we establish the overall color scheme of the flower cluster of this sphere, if you will, keeping in mind that the source of light is coming from the top on the right. We will adjust our colors accordingly, keeping warmer paints up on top and on the right and cooler, violets and purples at the bottom on the left. Now, it's okay to paint your smaller fully flowers one-by-one. We will definitely get to that stage in the next layer. But for now, let's be mindful of the overall tone and where your bit cluster's, mostly eliminated by the light and where the smaller flowers are primarily in the shadow. Now that I've covered the entire area of the flower with water, I'm going in starting from the bottom left. I'm starting to add very light color at the bottom left. Once again, the light is coming from top right, so let's adjust our color temperature accordingly. Overall, magenta is our base color for this flower but the palette on the right and up on top should be warmer, and that's where we're going to use quinacridone QoR. While the lower left and the bottom side should remain on the cooler side of the spectrum so that it will recede visually. I used a lot more purple and violet there. Once everything is covered with some light color, I use some medium temperature quinacridone red, and started adding a few slightly more saturated spots in the areas where I see the darker shadows. Roughly in the center here and you can inspect the reference photo closely, see where you notice darker areas of shadow. Of course we're going to come back and paint a lot more details there. For now, you can simply add a bit more saturated color, wet-on-wet. Notice that I'm also keeping some of the areas completely without any color because the entire surface of the flower is covered with water, eventually, some color will spread into those areas but keeping them without any pigment for now will help us keep them lighter. As the color spreads, you can move it around with your brush, adding more saturation in certain areas and lifting color in others while your paper's still wet. There are definitely a few petals, especially on these two flowers facing directly towards the sun that are very light. You may want to just keep those two without any pigment. You can see how warm I'm going up on top with my quinacridone coral. This is intentional. It may not be as obvious in the reference photo, but it's very important that we establish some color variation in this initial layer. Later on, we'll be able to adjust by painting shadows and other details on top of this layer. Now I'm finishing this off by adding my dioxazine purple on the left-hand side exactly in those areas where I see the deep dark shadows, maybe even some red right underneath the green leaf. In the last two minutes of this lesson as my paper was drying out, but there were still some water there, I've added a little bit more of my magenta in the areas that appear darker in the reference photo, the ones primarily in between the flowers that are facing us. All those tiny sections that are visible, that are more inside, towards the inside of the flower cluster. You can notice that your paper is completely dry at this point, creating sharp edges in this case, don't add these elements. We want them to still appear wet-on-wet, meaning with some smooth transition into the background color. If you see that your shapes are coming out looking too sharp, just leave it and we will come back to those areas in the next layer. But if your paper is still a little bit damp and you feel like you can add a few spots of magenta, just take a look at your reference photo and add those shadows in this stage. There were some areas that looked cooler to me, more dark and I dropped some violet as well. Let's leave it to dry. Give it a good two hours. I actually give it more time and I will see you in the next lesson when we start defining our petals and working wet-on-dry. 6. Definition Layer Pt. #1: Welcome to the second layer of color. This lesson is all about defining the areas of light and shadow and we're going to start with this and end up with something like this, much more realistic. Our goal here is to paint more saturated color on the darker areas of the flower and the technique we're going to use is wet on dry, meaning we want to make sure that the underlying layer is entirely dry. I waited a day. I think two hours will be sufficient. We're going to focus on one tiny flower at a time, one petal at a time, sometimes applying slightly diluted paint and in some cases, more than one layer of color will be necessary. Just follow along and trust the process. It may not look like a realistic flower right away, but I promise you, if you follow the steps and roughly apply your pigments in the areas of shadow, you will end up with something that looks like this. In terms of the colors, I will be using, the same purple, pink, and violet from before. But in addition, you can consider adding blue and this is entirely optional, some yellow and maybe even a brownish violet. I will be using perylene violet for those darkest areas of the flower, the deep shadows. You may even add a little bit of green in those dark areas. Considering that there's some greenery in the background, it will be a good choice. I'm going to start by giving you the full view of my table. You can see not just the part of the painting that I'm working on, but also the consistency of my paint. That's going to be very important for this step. We're trying to keep it light. I'm starting with my quinacridone magenta. You can pretty much use magenta for the majority of this wash. Just perhaps adding a little bit of purple for the lower tier of the petals. But I'm going to extend my palette and you will see how I will be adding a little bit of warmer corals sometimes and a little bit of violet. Those are optional. What you can see me do right now is I'm slowly building some value on that flower, on the top-left. I started with a pretty defined shadow and then followed with a much lighter wash over the petals that are facing up towards the sun. In a few seconds, I will zoom in and bring out the reference photo so you can see what I'm looking at as I'm painting. There is a cluster of shadows on those overlapping petals and so I'm using the tip of my brush to outline the shadow, and then I blend where I need to with clear water. So far I'm only using magenta. Notice that I'm painting just around that thin strip where I've painted some masking fluid. If you didn't use masking fluid, just make sure to leave a very thin line on the edge of the petal. Now you can see I switched to a cooler color, quinacridone violet, and I'm going to be mixing it with magenta as I'm painting around this petal in the reference photo, that area is quite dark, a few shades darker. So I'm going quite strong and then blending with more watery mix of magenta. Again, there are two overlapping petals and a pretty defined shadow there on the overlap. I just painted it with magenta. I'm finishing off the petal on the left. For the most part, I'm only using the tip of my brush here. Here's a closer look. I'm now going to work on this flower that's facing away from the sun and to the left. I'm going to paint the first shadow that's pretty obviously defined on that petal, and then everything else I will just cover with a very light wash and here I used violet adding a little bit of magenta into the area that's closer to the center. Now I'm going to work on the petal that's opposite. The whole idea is to build value slowly, painting one, maximum two petals at a time, and you can see here very clearly I'm using the tip of my brush. In some cases, you can blend with clear water and in some cases, you can do this sort of texture effect where you just drag the brush and leave very faint marks loosely following the direction of the petal. There are some areas here where several petals are overlapping, creating pretty strong shadows. You don't need to paint them strong right away, but let me just show you here. I'm using much more saturated magenta. You don't have to get it all right in one go. It's a lot safer to start light, see how the paint dries out, and then come back and add another glaze on top. But if you're feeling confident, you can go in with more saturated color. Now, let's work on this petal. Part of it is facing the light and closer to the center. It's actually in the shadows, so I think what I'm going to do is just add another glaze of magenta, blending with clear water towards the edges, and I will likely come back later on to add even more texture. This area over here sandwiched between two petals, is very dark. Obviously, we want to go in with a bit more saturated color. I'm using Dioxazine purple, and I will come back to it later. For now, I think this is enough contrast and notice that the petal immediately underneath, you can just see the edge of it and the petal itself, whatever's visible is quite warm, so I'm going to use coral here. Again, don't worry if you're using a limited palette, simply use magenta. I'm going to move down and continue working on this smaller flower using magenta. In the center, it actually has quite a lot of white, so I'm going to use negative painting technique, just painting around those white areas. You can see I left them blank and that is what negative painting technique is about. It's painting around the subject, leaving it lighter. You can see there is a flower peeking out from the back. Almost entirely in the dark. I see some variation in the two petals, the one that's closer to us is a bit more I used quinacridone red and then one in the back, I've used a little bit of quinacridone violet mixed with my perylene violet. I really want to mute that area. Then, we're going to continue on moving to the right. Just very lightly outlining the shadow underneath the petal. Here, I'm going to continue with my shadows. Again, this is perylene violet and I'm dropping a little bit of my gold ocher there, so if you're using a warm yellow, that's where it would go. The reason why there's some yellow there is I feel like there is a reflection from that bright green leaf. There is also the center of the flower, the stamens, so there's some warmth there, even though there is a shadow. Feel free to simply cover it with violet if you don't see the color variation, but make sure to focus on the value and keep it quite saturated, a lot darker than the flowers around it. In general, for a flower like this, it's much more important to get the values right, meaning lights and darks and focus on the different shades of pink as a secondary task. Now, let's move up and we already have a nice set of shadows in that area. That's what we started with. Now, I'm going to add even more definition using quinacridone red in the area where petals are overlapping. Just to explain the logic here, some shadows are large and they go across several petals and that's what we start with. Some shadows are smaller and only affect one petal at a time, and so you follow with those on top of larger shadows. Because with watercolors, we're working from light to dark, you have to follow this process because there's no way you can go back and erase something or make it lighter. Lifting paint is possible, but it's quite messy and you really don't want to get to that stage. That's why we're starting with larger, lighter shadows and then moving towards smaller, more intense, more saturated shadows. Here I'm painting another area in between the flowers, very dark. I went in with quinacridone coral, but then added my perylene violet, which is going to be my deep shadow pigment. Now, again, I'm just going down. It's still the shadow area, but you can see, I left a tiny strip of pink without any color and that immediately creates a sense of like there's a petal there. If you can do that, even if you didn't use masking fluid, and in this case, I didn't try to capture those edges because our petals are not completely flat. They have some volume to them, some thickness and those tiny little details, those edges will really help you create a realistic form on paper. By the way, I was using magenta there and then I just added a violet to make it even darker and cooler. I'm going down. Just finishing off that small section with my violet painting around a light petal and blending with coral to make the shadow a bit warmer. That's it for this brief lesson and we will continue in the next one. 7. Definition Layer Pt. #2: Let's continue with our definition wash. Very slowly for the next 15 minutes or so, we're going to tackle a few more flowers, and I'm starting with bottom left. Recall that this section is very much in the dark when we did our first layer, our background layer, we used primarily violet and purple. The underlying color is already quite cool, and I'm going in with my violet and purple. Just looking at the reference photo and adding more value to the shadows. Here you can see actually, I went all the way across from the petals that are in the background, and to this petal. It's called edge softening technique, meaning you glaze on top of two objects, making the border between them smoother. Also, by doing so, I'm taking care of the value differences, meaning I'm making these petals darker right now. I want to adjust the contrast and make sure that the ones behind them also become a little bit darker. That's why I've extended that color. After that initial wash of light purple, I've dropped a little bit more purple in the darkest area in between two petals. Now I'm going to let that paint spread and use my magenta, getting a little bit warmer here, and I'm going around the petal first with a pretty saturated magenta wash and then blending to make it a little bit lighter towards the edges. Here, I'm just going in with purple, and the petals that I just painted are still drying out, but most of the water and most of the paint should be sinking in by now, so there's still a bit of a border between these petals. We will come back and make it a lot more defined later on. Let's just continue, and now I'm carrying to the right, I'm carrying the color, and I'm extending it with quinacridone red. You can simply continue with magenta if you're using a limited palette. I'm going to make sure I paint that flower at the bottom before I move up. I'm going to make it a bit warmer but darker. By warmer, I mean, I've used quinacridone red and magenta as opposed to purple. Here, I feel like the petal on the reference photo is a bit lighter, so I'm just using the tip of my brush to smooth that edge. I'm going to continue with quinacridone red. Will definitely return to that area later once I have all the small flowers around it painted with my definition wash, I will come back and make it darker. But for now, let's keep it within the same range of values, and I'm moving back up using magenta. You can see here I'm being very careful to leave the edges, those very small, thin strips, the edges of the petals blank. Most of my color is concentrated on the right and on the left for that petal, so wherever there is an overlap and the shadow. Let's continue on. Remember, just a few minutes ago we left this petal blank, and now we can go in with magenta, make sure we leave the edge blank, and then the center, we can paint with more saturated color blending down. Now, this one will probably require a much lighter color. It's facing us directly, so I'm just going to blend with clear water on the top petal. This bottom one is perhaps in need of more saturated color, but let's start very light. I started with warm red on the left-hand side and magenta on the right. Let's see what it looks like next to all the other small flowers. Keeping it very light on the left pedal, just using the tip of my brush to do a few strokes, a little bit of texture. To really make it stand out and pop, I'm going to finish off the area behind it with magenta, maybe even add a little bit here just to create a better sense of volume. We left it blank, so I'm just adding a little bit of a shadow with magenta. Now let's leave this area to dry. We really need to see it when it's dry to figure out what type of work will be necessary to bring it to the next level. I'm going to move all the way up and let's work on shadow areas that are very obviously warm because they're right up on top there is more sunlight getting in between the petals, so I started with coral, continuing with magenta. Again, in the end of this process, it will be a lot darker. For now, I'm just establishing that first shadow layer, a larger shape without any detail. We will come back to it later, add more shadow, smaller shadows, lots of details. Now perhaps let's paint above this flower, we just painted below, let's paint above it with magenta. Some pretty defined shadows there, let's start with those and then see what else we have. A very large cooler shadows, again two overlapping petals create this large shadow in the area where they overlap, exactly where they overlap. Let's paint it first, then we can come back and further define that area. For now, that large triangular-shaped shadow is what we need. While they're drying let's move down a little bit and start working on this flower. I'm going with magenta, maybe a bit of a warmer coral on that side since it's facing the sun, and now let's switch to the top. I'm going to use magenta again, looking at the reference photo and simply painting the shadows where I see them. There's a little bit in the back visible, and here, having a very precise brush helps of course, another shadow. Notice that I've simplified that area a little bit. There are quite a few petals visible, but I tried to capture just the larger ones. Now let's switch to the right and find that area that I'm painting in the reference photo, again, just using magenta, gently blending with clear water. Another petal, again magenta, making sure that it's darker in the area where it's hiding away from us, and now you can switch to something cooler. I grabbed a little bit of quinacridone violet. That entire area in the reference photo is quite dark, and we're going to come back to it several times for now, let's just do a very light layer, leaving one of those petals sticking out blank because it's getting some light. I'm slowly transitioning back to magenta, maybe a little bit of quinacridone red as I'm moving down and trying to just cover the areas in the shadow with the tip of my brush, leaving the petals that are sticking out have visible highlights. I'm leaving those blank. Trying to simplify and not paint every single detail, just larger shadows. Now find again, the petal that I'm painting, it's on an angle and is a lot darker in the area that's closer to us so I'm going to do a wash of magenta and then blend with clear water. Careful not to cover the center of the flower. There is an overlap of two petals in this spot, and I'm going to use my quinacridone coral and just paint that shadow, a triangular shaped shadow. Now the back of this petal, using violet and feel free to just use your purple. You don't have to have both violet and purple, and maybe add a little bit of a shadow on the other side of this petal. Let's continue on the same flower, starting with a little bit of purple or violet, and notice that I'm painting the texture with the tip of my brush, just leaving some white spots untouched, creating a texture using negative painting technique. Now let's do this petal over here using just magenta and the back of this petal. Lots of petals visible from the side in this area, and we want to make sure that there's enough contrast between the back of the petal visible to us and the side that's facing away. Let's work on this front facing flower. More shadows in the areas where they're overlapping petals and just blending with clear water. I use magenta. Moving down a little bit. Painting a large shadow, just helping define that petal that's sticking towards us with some magenta around it, and those other petals are receding into the background now. Let's come back to the right. A bit more definition on those folded petals. I used quinacridone red because I see it as being a bit warmer, but feel free to use the same magenta, and moving down. Again, lots of overlapping petals. I see a warm shadow area and I paint it as I see it. Now moving down, I'm going to use a cooler pink, so violet blending with clear water. Notice that I use a lot of color variation when the petals have similar value but are very close to one another, and I'm trying to find that variation in temperature and color temperature. Looking closely at my reference photo and using the difference between cooler violet and warmer magenta and coral to create some contrast. Essentially, we have two main tools that create contrast. It's either value, meaning how dark or light something is, and temperature, meaning how cool or warm something is, and here I'm going with my cooler colors so lots of violet and even purple. Because these petals that are at the bottom are further away from us. We want them to be seen as being in the shadow further away, and I'm going to simply extend that very light purple over to the right. Now this petal is slightly closer but dark, so I'm using warmer color but more saturated violet, and the same violet on this petal fold. Moving to the left. Continuing with violet, you see I double down on that shadow that we initially painted with magenta and now I'm just extending the violet down. Maybe even more violet in that dark spot. Here I want to carefully paint around the stamens, the middle of the flower, and you can see I'm covering the petal fold and also the shadow in-between doubling down on that shadow, and I'm going to move up now, and maybe even add a little bit of my phthalo blue. You can continue with purple or violet if you're using a more limited palette. Notice here I decided to add some texture and I'm painting around light veins and adding some magenta as I move up. I have a nice transition from purple, a little bit of blue and all the way up to magenta leaving some veins blank. That's it for this lesson and we will continue in the next one. 8. Definition Layer Pt. #3: Welcome back. We have just a few minutes left in this section. Let's finish off our definition layer. We were working down at the bottom, but now let's move further up and work on this petal. I'm going in with magenta and trying to leave a few blank spots just to identify the veins again, switching to lighter magenta as I move to the middle. A little bit more light there. I'm going to add a little bit more up on top. Maybe with quinacridone coral. Extend that color all the way into the shadow area just to make it a little bit darker. Again, using the same glazing principle, I'm making a petal darker and I want the shadow next to it to be darker, so I'm extending that color onto the shadow. Let's work some more on these petals on the edge. I'm going with my dioxazine purple, simply covering the entire cluster there. No details, just helping them recede into the background. Maybe even adding a little bit of blue on the edges. Cooler blue will help set them back visually, even further away. For this petal that's really in the shadow, but has some intense color, I'm going to use magenta, outlining the two on top with the tip of my brush. Following up with more magenta, painting around the petal that's lighter, and on top, and extending that magenta to the right. Notice that I left a tiny strip of dry paper to indicate the edge of the petal. Here we have a tiny bud sticking out and I'm going to go with my gold ocher and add a little bit of warm quinacridone coral. It's one of those rare spots where we see a new bud forming. We really want to use a bit of a different hue there. I'm going to switch back to magenta and paint these petals right here extending onto other petals that are a bit darker and more intense. A fold that of magenta with clear water blending to the right. Now I'm going to go back to those petals at the bottom, do another layer of shadow using quinacridone violet. The more intense and dark the area is, the more often we will come back to it and glaze the colors on top, like in this spot here, in between the petals. Again, just using violet and blending with clear water. Let's allow the bottom part of hydrangea to dry and work on the petals up on top. We'll go a lot warmer now, starting with quinacridone coral. Petal is in the shadow, but we want it to be a bit warmer because it belongs to the top tear and I've blended with clear water towards the top. Moving to the right, just a little bit more coral, perhaps a bit lighter. Now let's move to the left with magenta. Again, notice the petal is slightly on the angle, and I left a tiny strip of dry paper to indicate the edge of the petal. We don't have to do this on every petal, but it helps those tiny details. They really add to the sense of realism and also help our magenta not to blend with coral. I'm going to continue to the left and down. Light magenta, and then maybe a little bit more saturated magenta into the more dark area, allowing it to spread. Two tiny petals on top of the coral petal. I'm going to just outline them for now. Maybe add a bit of magenta to one of them. Come back to the left. Now with some cooler color, I'm using violet. Again, I'm painting the tier that's lower, and I'm painting around the petal that's higher. Blending with light coral all around. You can simply use your magenta here if you don't see the color variation, maybe magenta with violet. I'm going to come back to that tiny petal and draw a small shadow with my violet. Now, let's switch to quinacridone coral for a few minutes. These petals over here have very defined shadows. I see them as being warm, but the shadow is very strong, so we want to go with slightly more saturated coral. On the first, leave a strip of dry paper. Do the next one maybe with coral and magenta and another one, getting all the way in deep. There is a tiny spot still visible, painting carefully with my magenta around the stamens, extending it all the way down and blending with clear water. Let's continue to the right. Again, a warm, strong shadow using quinacridone coral and blending with clear water. Let's continue to the right, but now with our violet, or you can use purple if you want. You can see in the reference photo, it's quite dark; the two overlapping petals share a shadow and there's not a lot of definition in terms of the value in between those petals. So for now, I'm just going to paint that shadow as one continuous block of color. We'll come back later and outline the edge between them. This flower is very light. I'm going to go with my magenta, but so diluted, and leave a lot of blank spots for the texture. Now let's move down, finish off this flower with some magenta. Just a little bit of a petal visible there. Another small shadow area, quite warm, I'm going to go with quinacridone coral and blend with clear water. We have about five minutes left in this lesson. Let's work on this flower that's facing towards the light. You can see the petals that are facing towards the light look flat and they're oriented towards us. They're going to be very light and the others are more in the dark. So I started with cooler violet blended with clear water and now the petals immediately behind, they're much more intense. So I'm going with magenta and just painting those shadows, creating a fair amount of contrast. Then when it's almost dry, blending with a light mixture of quinacridone red. Now let's add some definition to these petals. The folded part will have some magenta and then I'm going to blend it up with clear water. Let's move down, a cooler shadow I'm going to go with violet here and then blend with clear water towards the edges of the petal painting across the two petals. It's the same shadow, continuous shadow, so I didn't do it one petal at a time. Now again, that little bit of red, I'm going to paint over it one more time using quinacridone coral, and then using the same quinacridone coral, just add more color to those petals in the shadow, building value slowly over what we painted before. The last step in this lesson, I'm going to work on this large flower in the bottom-left, starting with my cool purple and extending it out with magenta. A bit more definition on this pedal using magenta and blending with clear water. A bit more purple, very light here, and some magenta in the area where there is an overlapping petal, just accentuating the difference in value between the two overlapping petals. Let's do the same thing on the right; I switch to warmer coral and I'm leaving the middle of that petal blank. A bit more definition on this smaller petal using magenta, and perhaps a little bit more definition on the flower immediately underneath. I'm going very bold with my magenta here, covering the areas we've already painted. But they're dry, so we're glazing up and building more color, again being very careful with the stamens, but now we can add a little bit of a shadow there, still leaving pure white highlight. Let's add some violet on the petal that's further away from us, since we just made the ones that's closer a little darker so we need to balance it out and a little bit more shadow on the right. Here we are. With this second layer, we've created so much definition on the petals. You can see how the highlights standout and you can even leave the painting at this stage; it already looks quite realistic with the work that we've done so far. But of course, there is an opportunity to further accentuate the areas of light and shadow by using the glazing technique. So if you're feeling ambitious, and I encourage you to follow me through the next step, we can boost our values in certain areas, add a lot more texture, and our hydrangea will look like this by the end of next step. 9. Accent Layer Pt. #1: Welcome back, and we're ready to finish our hydrangea by applying some accents to the previously painted areas. The whole point of this step is to add contrast, accentuate highlights, build more value in depth and focus on the smaller shadow areas. There's going to be a lot more vibrancy and detail by the end of the step, and one of the key things we're going to do here is petal texture, using negative painting technique. Meaning we're going to be focusing on one petal at a time with a tip of our brush and very light color. Either magenta or purple or violet and we're going to be painting around those light veins. This is what negative painting technique is all about, you're painting around a subject, not on the subject. By leaving markings on the petal around those areas that appear to be light veins, we will be creating that sense of texture and you will see me do it over and over again. Again, go very lightly don't worry so much about the exact placement of those veins. Just try to paint around a few of them on those petals where you want to add the texture. Let's get started and before we go in with our paints, let's remove the masking fluid if you have any. At this point, we're going to be working very precise painting around smaller areas of the flower, so we don't need all that masking fluid now. We can just focus on those areas that were covered and either leave them completely white or like in the case of those round stamens in the middle of some flowers, we're simply going to add some sections to them with the tip of our brush. Try to not touch your paper when you remove what you just erased. I use a dish cloth and just remove all that stuff from your page and let's get started. First thing I'm going to do is start with my quinacridone red, maybe some violet even and I'm going to work on this flower on the left, outlining the sections of the stamens, adding more pigment on the edges of the petals, where I see the shadow areas and then just very gently with the tip of my brush, I'm going to paint a few lines. Notice that the thickness of those lines, those veins in the center, I'm going to vary, so I'm going to press hard in some cases, and in some cases I'm going to go very lightly. Add more shadow and blend with clear water. Here I go again just with the tip of my brush. Again, I don't want those lines to be super straight. I want the thickness to be changing just to mimic the organic shape. Again, I'm working on the shadow, just trying to build more value in the areas that I see as darker in the reference photo. Just a bit of an outline on the left side of those stamens with my purple. You can see there are four of them actually, it's not just a little ball. Now I'm just going to add more texture with the tip of my brush to this petal on the left using my purple. Very important to keep the direction of those lines going from the edge of the petal and all the way to the center. That's probably the Number 1 thing and in terms of how precise they are and the thickness of them, just do what's comfortable for you. Simply make sure they go in the direction of the center of the petal. Here I'm doing a reverse thing, just going from the center and out, but again, the direction is the same. There's a very dark spot visible through these petals and you can simply go in with your purple there, but I decided to introduce some green because I do plan on adding some background later on, so I used perylene green. If you don't add a background, just keep it to your darkest pigment. The axis in purple or perylene violet would do. I'm going to continue up with my magenta just adding the texture. Here, I've painted some texture on the petal pointing up with more saturated magenta. In some areas, I actually gave it full coverage just because it's in the shadow and towards the edge of the petal, there's a lot more white space, those smaller white islands that I'm leaving dry and on these petals recall, we've used some coral. I still feel they need more of a boost, that's where I want to add some vibrancy carefully, leaving the edge of the petal blank. Important, especially as you go very dark, just so you don't lose that border between the two petals. I'm going to carry on with my magenta. This petal I want to get very detailed and really outline those light vein, so you can see what I'm doing with the tip of my brush, I'm applying negative painting technique, painting around those long veins with the tip of my brush and as I move towards the edge, I get a bit more loose and add more water to my magenta. But towards the center, there's definitely a few very precise lines that I left blank. I'm going to finish off by outlining the stamens and adding a bit more shadow on the left, perhaps even with my violet, if not more saturated magenta. This area quite dark in the reference photo, I'm going to add some definition to the smaller shadows between the petals, starting with violet, maybe some quinacridone red on this other petal. Being very careful to not blend those together, leaving some space between the smaller shadows and the small area in the center, just outlining those stamens with the tip of my brush. I feel like this area really needs more value, so I'm actually going to go in with my perylene violet, if you're using the brown mixed with violet that would work too and so you can see I've added a very strong shadow there. I'm going to carry it up and just finish that shadow, being very careful around the edge of the petal and add more definition on the border between the two petals, where there's an overlap creating another shadow. I'm using magenta here. Finish off this flower by adding some texture, I'm using violet here with the tip of my brush moving from the center of the flower and out, finding those opportunities to outline a petal vein and as I move down, I'm going to switch to a warmer color, switch to magenta. Just like that, we have more definition now on this flower, I'm going to finish off with the petal next to it. We did a really big chunk of work on this cluster on the upper left, and I will see you in the next lesson as we continue down into the right. 10. Accent Layer Pt. #2: Welcome back. We're going to continue with our accent wash. In this part 2, we'll spend about 15 minutes just moving through our hydrangea and adding more definition. Look how realistic it's already appearing, the top-left section where we spend some time in the previous lesson. Let's just move forward from here. The first thing I did is I added a bit more definition on that shadow area between the two petals that are sandwiched together. Now I'm just using my magenta to add more texture to the petals with a tip of my brush. You can see I'm following the direction of the petal. In any flower, for the most part, when you're working on texture, try to follow the direction of the petal from the center and out or from the outside edge towards the center. It will help you create a more realistic stroke. You can see I've added a tiny shadow underneath that petal with my violet. Now, let's work on that faraway dark area where the small flower is completely covered by shadows. You can see I'm using the tip of my brush, leaving some small areas from the center of the flower going out. I'm leaving them blank and I'm adding color all around, so I'm adding more value, but I'm also creating some texture. Here I'm using perylene violet, which is a brownish violet. You can just add brown to your violet or use warm brown there. The key is to get the saturation, the values correctly, and color is secondary as I mentioned before, I apologize if I'm repeating myself, but I think this is a very important piece of information because it might be overwhelming to be thinking about values and hues at the same time. Values are more important than different shades of pink here. You can see I've added a tiny bit of gold ocher to the center of the flower and you can use any warm yellow. Here, I felt like going with my perylene green. It's a very dark spot. If you decided not to extend your palette and not to use greens, just simply use your very saturated purple. Here I'm going to add another spot there. The reason why I wanted to introduce greens is because I'm going to be adding a background. Once I complete this painting, there will be green around. It's nice to have a little bit of green in the middle when you are planning some greenery around the flower just to have a tiny echo of that green in between the smaller flowers. Now, remember, in our second layer, I mentioned that we were going to come back and work on this large flower at the bottom, and we were going to add more definition there. Now is a good time to start building more contrast in the areas between the petals and also adding texture. I went in with quinacridone violet and painted a shadow underneath the petal. Then I continued on the lower petal just with the tip of my brush, some interrupted stroke, tiny shadows with my dioxazine purple. Now let's do the same thing going up. Violet shadow in the area between the petal, then blending with clear water. Here I feel like maybe warmer color, for texture I use magenta. Let's try to add a bit of texture here as well with magenta. Now I'm moving up again using very light magenta. You can see I'm trying to capture the texture, but I'm not concerned with the scientific accuracy of where I placed my veins. I'm simply going after the overall effect. Leaving some small islands of lighter color, and now with the tip of my brush, let's define the stamens in the middle so they don't look like just a white circle. There's actually four of them, and two of them are more visible to us. I use the tip of my brush and violet color to paint around the sections of that sphere, maybe at a bit more saturation around it. Let's continue to the right very gently now, outlining, the pedals, the masking fluid is removed, so be careful. Leave those white areas white, paint around them. Now that flower underneath, much darker, of course, so let's go with more saturated magenta. Being very careful to paint around the stamens and leaving that area blank, I started with saturated magenta and I'm extending it with a lighter mixture of magenta and water. Let's move on to the next petal. Again, I'm not blending here, I'm not covering the entire petal with color, I'm simply adding some texture, little islands of color. Let's outline the stamens again. Remember four small sections, it's like a tiny little cake. You just cut it in four and continue to the next petals still using magenta, tiny strokes, negative painting around what I see are the two large petal veins. Then maybe on the very top petal, I'm going to use quinacridone coral just to change it up. I have a bit of a warm spot there. Finish off with perylene violet, which blends beautifully, by the way, with coral. You may have seen me use this in other tutorials on roses in particular. It's a beautiful combination for shadows and petals, coral and perylene violet. Now, let's use the same perylene violet to make a very strong shadow behind this petal and blend with clear water. It's looking a lot better now. Maybe a bit more magenta there and blend it up towards the edge with clear water. A tiny petal that we never really addressed, left in the middle of those large petals that we just finished, so let's just cover it with a bit of magenta and now we can continue to the right. I'm going to use my violet right now, building more value in the shadow area, but leaving the edge of the petal blank. I still feel like that area appears warm to me, so I'm dropping some quinacridone coral. You can see it looks darker but warmer and I like it that way. We may come back to it maybe one last time and add a bit more value. But for now, I'm going to leave it. There's enough contrast now and every petal is well-defined. I'm going to move up, use perylene violet to put another glaze, make that shadow appear even darker. Here's that moment where I'm going to use blue. Again, this is an optional color, I mentioned it in the beginning. It will add a very nice variation, a splash of cool color on just a few petals. Here I've blended it with clear water. Now I'm going to add that same blue and this is very transparent color, so perfect for glazing. I'm using phthalo blue, green shade. You can find it in most professional watercolor sets. Like Winsor Newton, Daniel Smith, it may be called something different, but it's phthalo blue. I'm using one from Core. I'm just following up with some magenta around the petal that's up on top to make it stand out a little bit more. We only have a couple of minutes left in this lesson. Look how far we've come. This entire section has texture now, the shadows are much more defined. I'm going in with perylene violet again to deepen the shadows in this section right here. Every time you place a shadow, everything right next to it will pop and look a little bit closer to you to the viewer. I absolutely love this stage of painting. I'm adding some very light texture strokes on this petal using violet and blending with clear water where I don't want a lot of visual interest. Now, of course, in between those two folded petals, you can see in the reference photo there is a very dark shadow area and we need to take care of this section. It's very well-defined in the reference and we're going to define it using one of our shadow colors, so perylene violet all the way and maybe on the left, just to balance it out. I feel like the values are similar there in those shadow areas. I also did that detailed work on the stamens defining the four sections. I will see you in Part 3, and we can finish off the small flowers on the right. 11. Accent Layer Pt. #3: Welcome back. Let's work on the middle section of our hydrangea, and I'm going to focus on the shadow area underneath one one those flowers in the center, starting with my perylene violet. If you're using a limited palette, feel free to just apply your darkest purple, quite saturated as you can see by adding a darker color here. The petals that are facing us that are higher on the flower immediately pop and they look lighter. We're building some contrast in the areas with that we have already identified as shadow areas in the previous two layers. Now I switch to my Dioxazine purple and mixing it with perylene violet to identify the areas between the petals, so deeper, darker shadows within the shadow area that we've already painted. This kind of glazing we're just going to apply throughout the middle section of the flower. You can switch to magenta now for the smaller petal, maybe some violet. Again, if you're using a limited palette, simply stick to purple and continue building color. Notice that as much as possible, I'm leaving the petal edges without any color. Those thin strips that we've covered with masking fluid in some cases, I'm painting around them. Masking fluid is tricky to apply and sometimes the lines may look a little uneven, so this is our opportunity to fix and make those curves more smooth. I switch to magenta, and now I'm just gently applying some light magenta with the tip of my brush around the lighter veins using negative painting technique to create a sense of texture on this petal. Recall I mentioned that I position my brush in the direction of the petal from the center out. I'm going to come back to this shadow area in between the flowers and add another layer of magenta just to create more depth and contrast, transitioning from a smooth wash to more of a texture pattern on the petal. That silo blue is still visible underneath, and I'm just using the tip of my brush to create some lighter veins, painting around them with my magenta. I'm going to add a little bit of color on the smaller petal using magenta. You can look at your painting right now and decide for yourself whether more contrast is necessary in these areas. At this point, our main color areas have been established and so all you can do is just play around with contrast and add more saturation in certain areas. But if you feel like in your version the contrast is quite high, you don't have to overwork those same petals. Simply look at the values in your painting, in my painting, but more importantly in the reference photo and decide whether you want to add more depth and more vibrant saturated colors in some areas. I wanted to come back to these two folded petals facing each other and add a bit more magenta to one of them, the one that's definitely facing away from our source of light, and just to keep that logical so carry that color over to the petal underneath. Now I'm going back to the center and making that area between the front-facing flowers even darker using perylene violet, being very careful to paint around the edges of the flower up on top and blending with clear water. More perylene violet in the shadow area underneath that very light cluster of petals. Notice how it almost looks brown when I place it on top of my coral, and that's the wonder of glazing. The color you're using to glaze will change, shift in terms of the temperature depending on what color is underneath. Here I will simply go with my magenta and create another petal shape within that shadow area, leaving a tiny smooth line to indicate the edge of the petal, perhaps a little bit of violet in the darker area. Again, the colors, the hues are not as important as your values here. If you're using a limited palette, you can simply use magenta and use a variation of darker and lighter magenta to create a sense of depth. Notice that in the areas where the petals are receding towards the center of hydrangea cluster, my values are darker, and towards the edge of the petals they are lighter. I'm using both the values and the variation in color temperature to create that sense of depth. But if you're unsure, simply focus on getting your values, your lights and darks correctly. Another very dark area where I've added perylene green to make sure that it's a very sharp shadow. We still have a few flower stamens, those round centers that are blank that we have an opportunity to define by adding very tiny details. For now I'm just going to continue building more shadow in that area, and now I'm using a warmer red, my quinacridone red. You can see how the edge of the petal, the part that I'm leaving blank really stands out now, and I'm going to divide my little spherical looking bob in the center, divide it in four using the tip of my brush. Use negative painting technique to create a few veins by painting around them. Skip this step if you feel like you have too much value already in that area, it's not essential, you can add as much texture as you like, as you feel comfortable with. The main thing is to keep that area darker than the smaller flowers that are facing us that are getting more light. Again, the same principle, the value is more important than your color and your level of detail. By the way, this is why I've mentioned in the beginning that it's so important to keep it light, to start very light with lots of water. This way we have an opportunity to continue adding more and more value and more and more detail without overworking the paper. I struggled with this myself but as a general principle, I always try to go lighter than I think I should, give myself an opportunity to build more volume later on. This is that interesting area with a small flower bud, you can add a little bit of green there, like a fresh green, like a spring green, or hookers green on top of what we previously painted with warm yellow. It adds a little bit of freshness, an area of visual interest, and if you do plan on adding a background it adds a little bit of an echo, a green pigment echo that will tie your flower cluster to your background. I went in with a very warm green there. Moving down, I'm using quinacridone violet just to accentuate the two petals there and the shadows, and I carry that violet all the way down, adding more texture to that darker purple petal that's pointing down. These finishing touches, these final strokes, final texture details are really quite optional, and as long as you have some texture and high-contrast in the middle of the flower, you can skip this step simply leaving those petals at the bottom with their cooler violet or purple and maybe even blue. But I wanted to take it a step further and add a little bit of detail. This is entirely a personal choice, stylistic preference. I like to spend a lot of time on my texture. I enjoy this part of the painting quite a bit. But that doesn't mean that without the texture on every petal of the flower your painting can't be successful. In fact, if you leave them sort a simple wash, the petals in the middle will stand out a lot more. But I wanted to show the full cycle of the full process and add texture on most of the smaller flowers for the purposes of this class just to reinforce the learnings, the technique that we've covered so far. As you can see, overall our hydrangea is already shaping up to look very realistic compared to the very first layer, and I'm simply going up right now, adding a little bit more color using perylene violet. For the last section of this class, part four of this layer, that's all I'm going to do, just continue adding small finishing touches. If you feel like you still have some room in your painting, or you simply want to watch and follow instead of following along, join me in the next brief lesson and after that we'll be done. 12. Accent Layer Pt. #4: Welcome back. This is the last lesson that we'll focus on hydrangea petals. We're so close to being done. There are only a few minutes of painting left. If you feel like you're comfortable with where you're at in terms of your color balance and your values, you can wrap this process up. If you want to see how I apply the finishing touches, just follow me for the next 15 minutes or so. I'm going to start by looking at the center of my flowers at the bottom and just cleaning up those small stamen details, adding a little bit more definition around them. Then I'm going to move back to the right-hand side where we left off in the last lesson and just continue working on the shadows. We have this fairly large flower facing towards the light. I originally put some masking fluid on the two petals that are directly facing the sun, and now they're completely white, so we may add some definition there. But first, I was going to add just a touch of texture on the right-hand side. Now following with my magenta to add a few grooves on the petal in the middle. I may actually add a little bit of violet there just to make sure that shadow has high contrast. Next, I'm going to move up into the left. You can see there's a lot more shadow and texture on the small petal, just on the right side of that petal, where it's overlapping with another petal. I've added a little bit more violet there, just with the tip of my brush. Now I'm going to move to the larger petal with my violet and just paint tiny grooves, again moving from the center and out in the direction of the petal, creating a sense of texture by leaving some areas white, so painting around the veins, essentially, leaving tiny islands of violet color. On the right-hand side, I'm just going to switch to magenta, making sure that as I move towards the center, it's getting a bit lighter. I'm going to complete the shadow on the right-hand side. With magenta, you can see it's a continuous shadow that goes across the two petals and follow with a little bit of texture on the petal. What I noticed on the right-hand side here is a lack of contrast and a need for some darker values in the shadow areas. I'm going to pre-wet that area first and then add more saturated cornell codon red, maybe even some perylene violet to make that shadow a bit darker. While it's drying out, I'm going to come back and add a few details to the center of that flower with the tip of my brush, and I think this is ready. Now, moving up, and to the right. That section has a lot of light and we didn't add any texture there. If you want, you can add a little bit of very watered down pigment just to accentuate some of the details. I will definitely want to add some definition up on top. There's a cluster of petals there, only some edges barely visible, but it may require some work. For now, I'm just continuing to add petal veins with the tip of my brush, and very light magenta on this flower. Eventually, I will also add some details to the stamens in the center of this flower. I think for the stamens, I'm going to switch to my violet, just a little bit of a cooler color there, more shadow on the left. Again, our light source is coming from the right, so more shadow on the left and leave this flower, I think it's done. Recall, in the very beginning of this painting, I mentioned that we were going to come back and add more definition to the border between these two petals. That's what I'm doing right now. Glazing my violet on top of that large shadow. I'm going to carry my color down just to clean up the area around that super bright petal, adding a shadow with my magenta. Maybe some very thin strokes just to indicate some texture in those larger petals on the left. As I said, I was going to go up and just add some more definition. There are so many overlapping petals and I tried to simplify it as much as possible in my sketch and my outline. There's actually a lot more in the reference photo, but I felt like it wasn't really essential for the purposes of this painting to capture every single detail. But there's still quite a few of them overlapping and we need some extra contrast so they don't look like a one continuous blob of pink color. You can see I'm adding a little bit more shadow and texture using my magenta and making sure there is more of a sense of discrete petals there rather than just a continuous block of color. Shadows, of course, will be closer to the center, where the petal is sort towards the middle of the hydrangea flower cluster. Here I added a little bit of violet. Now, moving to the right we're almost done just a few more details. On the right-hand side very lightly, there's no need to use saturated pigment on this side. It's the lightest part of the flower. I want to define a few details and folds that I see in my pencil marks. I will make an exception for this petal though, because it's facing away from the sun so there's a pretty dark shadow there just on the part of the petal that's on the left, and so I'm going to use magenta there a bit more saturated and maybe a bit of violet on the right-hand side blending with clear water. The next petal is more turn towards the sun, so no need to add dark shadows there. Another flower that we didn't work on because it was secondary hidden away, but it has a pretty defined area around the stamens with some veins there, so I'm going to add some magenta and paint those as well. Adding a little bit of detail in the center. This dark shadow area right here could use a little bit more perylene violet, so I'm adding that warm shadow making it a bit darker and carrying it up around the petal. At this point I feel like the hydrangea is finished. I don't think there's more work to do. I think there's nice contrast in the center of the flower, good transition from warm colors on top to cooler colors at the bottom. I'm just going over some of the edges right now but as you can see with three washes we were able to achieve a very good balance of values and color, and at this point you could add a background. In the bonus section of this class I will show you the key steps that I used to create a background or you can simply frame it on white background, which I think actually looks quite nice. Would also work for surface design projects, you can make a pattern with it, anything you like really. The most important thing is this gave us an opportunity to practice some essential watercolor techniques and I hope you enjoyed this botanical subject. Use this last minute as an opportunity to go over some of the edges that you may have left untouched and see if you want to add some definition. Here are couple of things that I noticed in the last few minutes that I felt needed some work. This little petal over here I thought it could use a little bit of more value, so I went in with my magenta and left just a few veins blank by painting around them using negative painting technique. I've also added a little bit of quinacridone red and I also added some magenta behind on that leaf to mark up the shadow. In this cluster over here I, again, felt like some additional shadows, some value was necessary, so I went in with my magenta and also added some coral texture on the back of those two petals. That entire spot has a lot more warm coral, so I just added more detail and more value. We did it. It was a huge project. Even if you simply watch the technique overview some of the portions of the class noted certain tips or maybe painted a section of the flower. I want you to know that this is extremely useful for your practice and will contribute to your progress in terms of developing your understanding of the medium and expanding your comfort zone. Let me know if you have any questions. Now, if you want to see very quickly how I did the background layer I will see you in the next lesson. 13. BONUS: Background - Key Steps: In this bonus section of the class, I wanted to show you how I painted the background. Of course, the background is not necessary part of botanical painting, you can absolutely have a beautiful flower on white paper and leave it at that. In fact, it's probably more appropriate for commercial applications and surface design, but I felt like doing a classic painting with a background on it. I wanted to show you how I approached this process very quickly, just the highlights, the key three steps, just like we did with the flower itself. Because I wanted you to see how the glazing principles we just went through apply to any painting, including the background elements. My first wash was loose and featured a large blocks of green and pink where I see the main leaf shapes and large hydrangeas in the background. All this was done wet on wet, notice the value is quite a bit darker compared to our initial underpainting of the flower and this is because I can see now how darker hydrangea ended up looking not very dark, but I want to go even darker on the background to make it pop out of the background, so immediately I'm applying more saturated color, wet on wet. I followed up with large blocks of darker greenery, and I hope you recognize again that this approach is exactly the same as the one we took with hydrangea, defining larger blocks of shadow. I went in as dark as I really wanted with my perylene green, I also introduced some indigo to markup the darkest spots, and in the final step, I've added a lot of texture, not too much as I want my hydrangea to be the center of attention, but some texture I felt was necessary. Notice that on the flowers, I barely identified the petal shapes. The final thing I wanted to note here is that I've extended my green and purple, sometimes blue from the background and into the hydrangea flower that we just painted. That's the difference between painting something on white background, and positioning the same object against some background elements, you really want to tie the background and the foreground together around the shadow areas especially, so that's why I've carried my cooler greens and blues all the way up into some hydrangea petals just to create a smooth transition, a sense of depth. In the reference photo, if you see the one without the background, know that there's still some greenery on the lower petals because that's what it ended up looking when I scanned it with the background colors. Give it a try using the reference photo, try to add maybe just a few leaves to see how it changes the overall look and feel of your painting, and if you want to see a more detailed tutorial on painting backgrounds, I have one on my YouTube channel that you can watch right after this class. Up next, final thoughts. 14. Final Thoughts: Thank you again for joining this class. This was not an easy subject to paint. Congratulations on going through with it. Don't forget to post your project in the project section of this class. If you have any questions, just leave a comment in the discussion section. Follow me on Skillshare and social media for a more in-depth tutorials. Have a beautiful day. I'll see you soon.