Watercolor florals - Learn to paint purple wisteria flowers against a brick wall | Adi Khandadi | Skillshare

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Watercolor florals - Learn to paint purple wisteria flowers against a brick wall

teacher avatar Adi Khandadi, Watercolor Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

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

Watch this class and thousands more

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

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (39m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Materials

    • 4. First Wash

    • 5. Learn to paint bricks

    • 6. Learn to paint flowers

    • 7. Second Layer - The Bricks

    • 8. Second Layer - The Flowers

    • 9. Pen and Ink

    • 10. Final thoughts

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About This Class

Do you find it hard to paint from photos? This class offers you tips and tricks to simplify and demystify the painting process to bring your photos to life with watercolors.

What’s this class about:

You’ll learn how to paint elements such as doors, bricks and loose spring flowers and put these together into a scene that tells a story. We will break down the process into:

  • Breaking down the photograph to find the point of interest and simplify the composition into basic shapes
  • Creating different textures through easy step by step brush techniques – for the bricks, doors and flowers.
  • Working in layers and understanding how to do a first and second wash.
  • Adding pen strokes as a final touch for that sophisticated finish.


Who is this class meant for:

This scene (and my painting style in general) is suitable for all levels – whether you’re a beginner who’s never picked up a paintbrush before or an experienced artist looking to explore a new direction with your art that’s more loose and free.

You’ll be creating:

A beautiful 5x7” painting of a brick house door in springtime surrounded by purple Wisteria flowers. This can be framed and hung on your wall or even sent as a postcard to family or friends!

About your teacher:

Adi is a graphic designer and self-taught watercolour artist based in London. Her work ranges from custom house portraits, evocative landscapes and semi abstract expressionist work. You can find her on Instagram visit her Etsy store and subscribe to the studio newsletter.

Meet Your Teacher

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Adi Khandadi

Watercolor Artist


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1. Introduction: Hi, can you please get out of the frame? Thank you. Hi, I'm Abby. I'm a London-based graphic designer and a self-taught watercolor artist. This is my foster care, Dalia. I work as a graphic designer during the day and by night, my superpower is painting bricks. I started my Etsy store last year and have sold over 200 custom watercolor house portraits. I have recently been fascinated with creating portraits of brick houses, along with my all time favorite subject, flowers and trees. Your project for this class is to create your own loosely painted watercolors scene with gorgeous bricks and loose florals. Feel free to experiment with different colored flowers and door shapes or choose to follow along with my instructions. Do you find it hard to draw from reference photos? I did too before I discovered some tricks to simplify the entire composition. I'll be spilling the beans on my process and what I do, that you can apply in this class. You can also take this knowledge forward when you're painting from your own reference photos. This scene and my painting style in general is suitable for all levels, including beginners. I have broken this class into elements like the sketch and the first wash, how to paint the flowers, how to paint the brick textures, and then finally, using your pen to tie the whole composition together. This class is useful for someone exploring a new direction with their art that's more loose and free, or if you're simply looking for some tricks to strengthen your skills. I always take my brush and paints when I travel. I love painting from my own vacation photos. You can too after this class. I'm excited. Come join me in the next video where we'll jump straight into our class project of painting the exterior and bricks. Me and Dalia, can't wait to see you in class. 2. Class Project: Do you find it hard to draw from photos? I chose this project demonstrate how easy it can be to draw from your own photo. I'll be sharing my tips to simplify and demystify the composition of your pictures, and that way you can bring your pictures and memories to life. Welcome to your class project. Spring has finally sprung, and I've been fascinated with all the listeria blooms. In this class, I will guide you and teach you step-by-step on how to paint from this reference photo. This is actually a picture I took while I was cycling around London, and I found the contrast between the purple flowers and the bricks really nice. We will break down the process into breaking down the photo and finding the point of interest and simplifying the composition into basic shapes. Simple brush techniques for creating different textures easily for the bricks, for the door, and for the loose flowers. Working in layers and understanding how to do it first and a second wash. Adding the final touches with pen and ink to give a sophisticated finish. This class combines the wet-on-wet technique as well as a loose approach to inking to enhance your painting. On the right just here are the project resources, the actual photo reference we'll be painting from. I've also included some videos of the listeria flowers for you to get a better idea of their structure. There will also be a Pinterest board of additional photos to be inspired from. By starting with a very simplified sketch and a free, loose, and expressive approach, beautiful, unique results can be achieved. With this lesson, I want to show you how simple it can be to paint something beautiful. My only tip here would be to let go of all your inhibitions if you're new to painting, or even have never picked up a paintbrush before. Tell yourself that you're not replicating the photo, you're only being inspired by it. My paintings don't look like the references sometimes, but that's the whole point of being an artist. It's all about expressing your unique take on that memory. The finished project would be a five by seven inch watercolor painting that can be framed and hung up on your wall, or even be sent as postcards to family and friends. I would love to see your work below in the project section here. I promised to give feedback to each and every person. See you in the next video and let's get started. 3. Materials: Let's talk about the materials we'll need in today's class, but feel free to use alternatives. I'm going to let you in on a little secret about watercolor painting. The only material you need to get right is the paper. Don't worry about the brushes, don't worry about the pens. Just make sure that your paper is thick enough because you're going to be applying a lot of water on it. The paper I'm using is 300 gsm. I like to use loose sheets and this I've cut into five by seven inch. Or you can even cut it bigger or smaller depending on how big you want your painting to be or feel free to use a sketchbook if you prefer. The brushes; you primarily need just two brushes for this class, one round and one flat. For the round brushes, here I have Princeton Heritage and Princeton Velvetouch. One is a size 4 and one is a size 6. You just need any of these brushes so you can go with a 4, 5, 6, and make sure that it's rounded. Now for the bricks, here is my secret. I use a flat brush. What does a flat brush mean? Instead of the tip being round, it's flat. These are, what are they? Pro Arte 1/8 inch and Raphael 2, but you can get a thicker or a thinner one depending on how thick you want your bricks to be. I'm using a mechanical pencil because I'm lazy to sharpen and then you need waterproof markers. I have a 0.8, but you can feel free to use 0.5, 6, 7. Then I also have a brush pen. Here you can see that it says it's water-based and water resistant. This part is important just because you're going to be painting over it maybe, so it needs to not bleed into the whole painting. This is a brush pen which is completely optional. It's by Shoreditch Sketcher. You can just use one pen. I also have this white Posca pen, which I sometimes use for highlights. But don't worry about it, this is not necessary. I have palette. This is a ceramic palette. I have a glass of water that I filled. This is an old olive jar. I have some paper towels. I sometimes put this paper on something and then I use washi tape and then I tape the edges. This is for me to get a nice white border. You need also a surface to back your painting on. I have a cutting mat, so I'm going to be using that and then some washi tape. Now let's talk about the paints. Here's when you can find all alternatives, so feel free to not use exactly what I'm showing you and I'll talk you through how to mix these colors for these paints if you don't have these exact paints. My travel palette is just this Winsor & Newton set. So you can make purple and there's no purple here. All you need is any pinks that you have or we need blue for the sky. This is cerulean blue. We're going to need yellow ocher for the building and the bricks. This is yellow ocher. We're going to need a brown. This is a burnt sienna and you need your neutrals, blacks and white. This is water color white, and then you need a gray. This is Payne's gray. But if you don't have gray, black will do, so you need a black and white. Now let's talk flowers. For the flowers, it's basically shades of purple, because we're painting the Wisteria. Right here I have, it's called ultramarine violet by Winsor & Newton and, perfectly called, I have this color called wisteria by Daniel Smith. How perfect is that? But if you don't have an ultramarine violet and a wisteria, don't worry. You can make them. All you need is a blue and a red to make purple, and if you have a pink, that'll work too. We can mix these colors along with the white and we can make our own purple. That's all you need. I will see you in the next class and we'll jump straight into the painting process. See you. 4. First Wash: Okay guys. Who is excited to get started? Before we start, what I have done is I've taped my literal five by seven inch watercolor piece with washy tape. Now let's begin sketching. If you look at the picture, you'll realize that it's really simple composition. What do we have? We have a line that comes down like this. Then we have a diagonal line for the roof that goes like this. Then we have the road in front of the house that goes like this. Then we have the door itself. I'm going to stick to a simple rectangle shape, but here's when you can play and change the shape of the door to make it different if you want. If you notice, there's also this other part in the drawing which is covered in a shadow, which I want to include as well and that's literally it. That's all you're going to be drawing. Remember to have your jar of water handy as well as the palette. Let's start with the sky. Here I have my cerulean blue and I am going to squeeze just a tiny, tiny bit of it and then mix some water with my brush. I'm using my number 6 brush. But like I mentioned, feel free to use whatever brush you have. I'm going to make it a nice watery consistency. You can see how watery it is in my palette. I also have this scrap of paper here just to test out my colors. I'm going to test it out. Yes, I'm quite happy with that. What I'm doing is I'm just using clean water on my brush with no color and I'm just wetting this entire portion. I'm going to pick some paint, load my paintbrush up. I'm going to start at the top and then move my brush down towards the bottom. You can see that the water, that layer that we've placed below makes the color really, really smooth. You'll notice that the sky is often darker towards the top and lighter towards the bottom. What I'm going to do is load up some more paint and just go over the top one more time in about this much. Then I'm going to get my paintbrush another wash in the clean water again. Dab some off with my paper towel here. Again, with just clean water blow this bit again so it doesn't look like a line. Remember watercolor always dries lighter, so don't be afraid to go dark in the first wash. For the road, here I have a Payne's gray and I'm going to do exactly what we did for the sky. I'm going to start off with just water. I'm going to mix this guy up with some water and make sure that the road is light. You don't want to go too dark. Then you're going to simply paint the road and because of the water layer beneath, it's going to blend really beautifully. Now I'm going to wait for this and this to dry. I'm going to give it a couple of minutes. I can see now that the paint has dried, so what I'm going to do is bring it in my yellow ocher. The picture is not really yellow, but I like yellow bricks. First step is water and just be sure to leave the door white because I think that I believe in the door white in my painting. But here again, you can use another color for the door. Just be patient with this process and just be careful on the edges here. Here's my yellow ocher. I want this first wash to be light because there's going to be bricks I'm going to paint over it. If you want to check the color, which you can do is you can always do a wash. Look how light this is, this is perfect. This is exactly what I wanted. I'm going to load my paint brush with paint and I am going to begin. Here's where you need to work fast because the water and the layer below is drying. Be careful along the door, just the edge of the door. You can see the paper slightly buckling, but don't worry about that. This is why it's also good to mask your paper on the corners. Here for the shadow, I'm going to darken it. What am I going to do? I'm going to add one more layer of this. I'm actually going to darken the entire thing because I think that my first wash was a bit too light. This is the advantage of working light that you can always make darker. But if you start dark, it's harder to go light after. You can keep changing the direction of your brush. It doesn't matter because this layer is just the first wash and is going to be covered again. There we go. For the shadow, because now this is the same color, what I'm going to do is I'm going to add a bit of my burnt sienna here. I'm going to mix with a little water. Load my brush up, and I'm going to just go over this when it's still wet. Let this layer dry now. While this layer dries, join me in the next lesson where we learn to paint the flowers and bricks. 5. Learn to paint bricks: Before we start with the second layer, let's understand the concepts of how to paint the bricks, as well as how to paint the flowers. Then we can put it all together when we approach the painting. While the first layer is drying, I have this new sheet of paper in front of me. It's just a scrap piece of paper. I'm going to start with my yellow ocher. That's the same color we used on the first wash. I'm going to mix it with some water and make a small square here that we're going to practice the bricks on. Then we're going to let it dry. Now that this is dry, here's where your ultimate magical flat brush comes in. This is a number 2 Raphael, but feel free to use any brand and any size brush as long as it's flat. Here's the secret to painting bricks. As long as you have the flat brush, it's super duper easy. I'm mixing a bit of burnt sienna and yellow ocher for a kind of reddish brown bricky color. You can test the color out. I quite like it. Make sure you take time to load your brush with lots of paint. What are we exactly doing? Just remember these three tips. That you are holding your brush at an angle. That you're pulling your brush gently from left to right, and don't hold your brush too tight. Let's take a closer look at that process. The brush is basically doing the work for you with these gorgeous flat edges. Let's see that again and remember those tips. What I'm doing here is a pattern. If you notice, I'm alternating where you stop the bricks. When I start a brick, I start it from the middle of the other two bricks and I'm ending in the middle of the other two bricks. But don't worry, this isn't an exact science. Even if you make mistakes, go on because the brick wall is viewed as a whole and it really doesn't matter. You're dragging, dragging, drag, drag, drag. Don't worry about your brick colors varying slightly with more or less water and more or less pigment. In fact, I recommend varying the colors so it looks more realistic. Some bricks can have more burnt sienna and some more yellow ocher. Now I like to take a diluted mix of Payne's gray and go over some of these bricks to make them darker in a very random way. Also, don't worry if your lines aren't exactly straight. It doesn't matter when you look at the brick wall as a whole and nobody is going to zoom in 300 percent like us. Why don't you try this process again without the yellow background. You can notice how the same bricks look so different against the white and how it looks so different against the yellow. I find painting bricks really calming and therapeutic after a long day. I really hope you're enjoying this process as well. Remember to take your time and to do this as many times until you feel super confident. You can see these two bricks are touching, but it doesn't matter. The gaps don't have to be uniform, the lines don't have to be straight. Brick walls are my favorite because they're so forgiving. You can also vary the brick lengths. There you have it. My secret to painting bricks is finally revealed. Join me in the next video and we will break down and simplify how to paint the loose flowers. 6. Learn to paint flowers: Before we get into the painting, I want you to observe the shape and structure of the wisteria bunches up close. What you'll notice is that they are grouped up together and almost look like a bunch of grapes. You can see that they have gaps between them and they also taper off towards the end. I can see three distinctly different colors. There's a light purple, there's a dark purple, and there's a purple that's almost white. When we, as artists observe something, we're merely breaking down the complex information into simple shapes and colors. This loose watercolor style is so freeing when you take the pressure off from yourself. We're painting flowers as loose blobs in today's class. We are going to learn step-by-step how to paint these blobby flowers on a separate piece of paper before we get confident enough to paint on the final layer. Something I like to do is watch out my colors before I start. This is how we make the purple by the way. I'll talk through more in detail soon. The color I'm starting with is this light purple color called wisteria. You can see how I'm holding the paintbrush almost halfway or more than halfway up. The higher you hold it, the looser your strokes are going to be. Notice how my brush moves. That's basically it. Wallah, mysterious. I know what you're thinking. It doesn't look like much. Just looks like a blob. The more loose and free you are with this approach, you will see that it will eventually look like wisterias when you finish them all. Please notice how wet the paint still is. Now go back in with a darker violet and blob it up randomly over your first layer of light purple when it's still in a semi-wet state. I'm careful not to cover the entire first layer. I'm using random dots and changing it up with every little bunch. My third layer is basically a mix of the violet along with ultramarine blue. I'm going to only blob this on the left side because I want the shadow to fall on one side of the picture. This quinacridone magenta and white are going to mix together with a bit of water and this is going to form your first lightest purple. If it still looks pinkish, add just a tiny bit of ultramarine to it. For the darker purple, we're mixing just the ultramarine blue with the same magenta or you can even use a common. You're going to use more blue and less magenta so it's more purple and not more pink. For the third darkest color, I'm going to add a tiny bit of Payne's grip, a lot more ultramarine blue into the mixture. There you have it. You have your three different shades. Don't worry if it's not the exact same, as long as you have three distinctly different colors. In the last two lessons, we've learned how to paint the individual elements of the bricks and the flowers. Now come join me in the next lesson, where we will apply what we've learned to the painting. 7. Second Layer - The Bricks: In this class, we're going to apply the techniques we learned and paint the final layer. Now, this layer is nice and dry. I'm mixing a bit of yellow ocher and burnt sienna. I'm testing out the color on my scrap paper. Load your paint brush up and just start. Don't be afraid. It's exactly like how we've practiced. For now we're leaving this portion blank, but we are going to be coming back to it later. You can see the wall color gently peeking through the bricks. Don't worry about your brick colors changing. In fact, I encourage you to vary the color of the bricks. That's all it is. It's just this exact same process with every new row of bricks. This process is a lot of repetition, so remember to take all the time you need with the painting of the bricks. This is a slow process to really enjoy it. This is basically the gist of it. Row by row, you can see this brick wall slowly coming to life. You basically get the hang of it. right going to speed up this process. I personally find painting bricks so calming and therapeutic. There's just something so nice about this repeated pattern, the strokes and the feeling of the brush on the paper. I sometimes turn my brain off and I can slowly see the brick wall coming together piece by piece, one by one, and it's so lovely. I think it's coming together really well. Now for this part here, it's facing this way. We want the bricks to follow the angle of the roof like this. We're painting the bricks following this angle. I've added a bit of Payne's gray to the mixture so the bricks here look a bit darker. Now it looks like this part of the wall is facing away from us because we've painted the bricks at an angle. Now here's my secret to making the wall look more realistic. For the final touches of the bricks we're adding some Payne's gray to the burnt sienna and yellow ocher mix. I'm going to go over some of the bricks with this darker color. Here I'm not planning ahead, I'm just randomly darkening few bricks here and there. The addition of these darker bricks add so much character to this brick wall. Just make it random and don't make it uniform. Also, try to not overdo these black bricks. Now look at this brick wall as a whole. It's really come together so well. Now I'm switching to my round brush. I'm taking some burnt sienna mixed with some Payne's gray and I'm going to paint the roof. I start with a simple diagonal line, following my pencil sketch. I then come back to paint the spiky triangular-like things for the roof. I've also painted this entire section with some Payne's gray. I might have to go slightly darker with these bricks. If your Payne's gray layer is light enough, you don't have to go over this. Please, excuse me while I escort my studio assistant to somewhere that is not my painting. We're going to use our pencil again and draw a smaller rectangle within the door frame. I'm dividing this into four smaller boxes or rectangles inside. I'm taking my eraser to lighten these pencil lines so that they are barely visible. Now, I'm loading my paintbrush with a very light Payne's gray mixed with a lot of water. I'm going to try out the color. Yes, I like this. This is light enough. Then I go over the four rectangles with this light gray. Now let this layer dry and come join me in the next video, where we'll paint the loose expressive flowers. 8. Second Layer - The Flowers: In this video, we're going to learn to paint the flowers directly on the brick wall. Let's start with the flowers. Like before, we're going to be applying the techniques we've learned in the previous lessons. All we're doing is painting the flowers directly on the bricks. Make sure the brick layer is completely dry before you start painting the flowers. Always start with your lightest purple. Start blobbing away. Be loose and free, and remember to not hold your brush so close to the tip and more towards the middle. You'll notice the wisteria going over the door, so don't be afraid to do this. Through the gaps of the wisteria, you can see the brick wall peeking through. You need to work slightly faster as this layer still needs to be wet when we come in with our darker purple next. Enjoy your swift movements and blob away. Remember to have fun when you are blobbing. This whole technique is so different from the careful precision of the bricks in the previous layer. In this layer, you let your paintbrush dance freely without thinking. After patiently painting the bricks with such care, this part of the painting is going to be extra fun. So please express yourselves. I'm quite happy with this layer so I'm going to do the exact same thing with my darker purple next. Notice how the light and dark purples are blending together in some places. This is because the paint is still slightly wet. Some places can have less dark purple than others. It doesn't all have to be uniform. I'm going to speed up this process because it's the exact same technique as the previous layer. This is how the painting looks with two layers of purple. We're going to come back in now with the third layer, which is your darkest purple, made up of ultramarine blue and less purple. You're going to keep your last mixture slightly thicker than the first two layers with more paint and less water. Remember, for the third layer, we're only focusing on the shadows on one side. You're moving your brush swiftly and making marks on one side of the wisteria bunches. Make sure you don't cover too much of your first two layers. This part is completely optional. Just for fun, why don't we add a few splatters and splashes. Take a paper towel and cover your door area first. Then mix your purple with a lot of water and use your fingertip to tap the brush to splatter the pink. Splatter, splatter, splatter, tap, tap, tap. Now, cover your sky and splatter the paint towards the top as well. Cover the door again and splatter towards this side. I think these platters add some fun and character to your spring scene. We're coming back in with some white paint now. What you're going to do is add little dots to show areas of highlight here and there. These dots are random as well. These little white dots make the wisteria pop and stand out even more. You can even come back with some light purple and add some more dots and dashes. Now for the subtle door shadow, we're coming back with the Payne's gray mixed with a lot of water. We're going over these bits of the door like this. Now let's paint the flower petals on the road. I always love the spring carpet of flowers on the curb. I wanted to include it in this painting, even though it's not there in the photo. These are light purple strokes mixed with a lot of water. We come back in to add a darker purple, and it's absolutely fine if they blend together. Now, let's go back for the flower shadow. We're going to paint the shadow along here. We use the same Payne's gray mixed with a lot of water. Keep it really light and merely outline the bottom part of these bunches like this. It looks very light, but you'll notice it once you finish. You can actually notice the shadow more on the white door as compared to the brick wall. There you go. You finish with the painting part. Come join me in the next video, where we learn to do the final touches with pen and ink to complete this painting. 9. Pen and Ink: In this video, we're going to do the finishing touches with pen and ink to tie the entire composition together. This is going to elevate the whole painting's vibe. I'm using my 0.8 and also my brush pen. Feel free to just use one or the other instead of both, like me. I'm using my 0.8, and I'm just outlining the lines that have already been painted here but also outlining this part and the roof. I'm now switching to my brush marker. But this will work with your 0.8 as well. What I'm doing here is just rough strokes. I'm also outlining the roof part again. I'm going near my darkest purple and drawing these little squiggles like this. Here's a closer look at the squiggles. I'm careful not to overdo the squiggles tool much and add too much black into my composition. Sometimes it's not even full squiggles, it's just curves and dots. I'm coming in now with my white POSCA pen. This is optional too, by the way, for even more highlights. You know the drill, random dots and curves here and there. I'm coming back in with some extra dots. I think I'm happy with this. For the leaves outline, I'm using my 0.8 for a few curves and a few dots. I'm also adding some dots and curves with my white. There you have it. We're done. Now, how fun was that? Here's a look at your final painting. Notice how loose and expressive the composition is. Now, this is my favorite part, removing the washi tape. Voila, you're done with your final painting. I love the white sharp edges so much. They frame the paintings so well. Look at these edges and these gorgeous details. Now your watercolor painting is complete. I really hope you enjoyed painting along and I can't wait for your projects in the project section below. Join me in the next video for some final thoughts. 10. Final thoughts: Thank you so much for taking this class with me and I hope you had fun. When we break it down, isn't the whole process so simple? We learned how to simplify the basic shapes and colors, and then we learned the easy trick to painting bricks, and then, how to paint interesting and expressive flowers, and finally, how to finish it off with pen and ink. I can't wait to see what you create. Put them in the project section below, and I'll be happy to give feedback to each and every one of you. Also feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Remember to express yourself and have fun. That's the most important part. Let's connect on Instagram. Follow me @adi_khandadi and tag your work and also be in the loop for when my next class comes out. Thank you so much for being here. Until I see you in my next class, enjoy painting. Bye.