Healing Herbs: Painting Helpful Plants in Watercolor | Kelly Johnson | Skillshare

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Healing Herbs: Painting Helpful Plants in Watercolor

teacher avatar Kelly Johnson, Connecting humans and nature, creatively!

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

    • 1.

      Healing Herbs intro


    • 2.

      Healing Herbs herb history


    • 3.

      Healing Herbs parsley


    • 4.

      Healing Herbs sage


    • 5.

      Healing Herbs lavender


    • 6.

      Healing Herbs thank you


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About This Class

Herbs are wonderful plant allies. They provide us with visual beauty, aromatherapy, culinary excitement, and even help us heal our bodies. 

Learning the cultural history of nature through the arts is fun and connects us more deeply with our natural world. 

In this class we take connecting with nature through herbs a step further when we learn to draw paint parsley, sage, and lavender in an expressive loose watercolor nature art journaling style.


Basic watercolor painting skills

Watercolor paints, any style

Watercolor paint brushes, any style

Watercolor or mixed media paper

Pigma Micron pen

Either springs of parsley, sage, and lavender from your garden or grocery store, photos of these herbs, or you can simply draw from the examples I provide in the class.

In the class projects section, you'll find a bonus PDF with a more detailed supply list with the exact colors and materials I use, as well as a delicious organic vegan lavender truffle recipe!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Kelly Johnson

Connecting humans and nature, creatively!


I'm your guide into nature inspired drawing and painting, Kelly Johnson!

If you drop by my world on an average day you might find me gardening, making art, snowboarding, surfing, vegan baking, traveling, or helping humans build deep relationships with nature through art and organic gardening!

I have a BFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design, an MA in environmental studies from Goddard College, an AMS 6-9 teaching credential & 10 years in the classroom, + 20 years experience teaching art & 11 years teaching nature-study to children and adults in a wide variety of settings.

I've painted everything from huge murals in Mexico to tiny paintings in Virginia to tropical plants in Florida to veggies in Europe and I love how art builds community and connections in e... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Healing Herbs intro: Hello. Welcome to the world of wings, Worms and wonder. I'm Kelly Johnson, your Creative Nature Connection guide. Thank you so much for joining me today. Here in this class, healing herbs painting helpful plants in water color in this class will creatively explore parsley, lavender and sage through painting and a bit of cultural and culinary history. So this class is not a photo realistic er painting class will be painting expressively how the herbs sort of for feel to us, how we feel about the herbs. Very loose, very expressive feeling off these herbs and not a represent a representation, but a very whimsical representation. So for this class, all you need is basic watercolor painting skills, watercolor paint and brushes, any kind that you like watercolor or mixed media paper, and then a few sprigs of each herb or spring of each herb from the garden from the fridge from a nursery anywhere if you like, or you don't have to have fresh herbs, you could use a photograph that you find in a book or the Internet, or you can abandon that and just draw what I draw using my videos and the herbs and photos I provide in those as references. So I hope you have fun with it. And I look forward to you joining me in this creative exploration off these three delicious , aromatic and healing 2. Healing Herbs herb history: lo. Welcome to the healing herbs Purple History. We will get to know the curbs. We're gonna pain a little better culturally in their extreme, this'd flat leaf parsley parsley is so much more than just a simple garnish to be ignored. It's great for cleansing and digestion, and it tastes delicious. Fresh juices and salads have been used for centuries. In that way, in the garden personally attracts swallowtail butterflies as a host, and its name comes from the Greek meaning rock celery, because in ancient times it grew wild out of rocks and stone walls in the Mediterranean area. Parsley also has quite a bit of ancient superstitions surrounding it, including the belief that transplanting it will bring you bad luck so planted abundantly. But don't move it after you plant it. No, that's the way that the parsley leaves grow in lows. Sort of symmetrical type three lobed leaves, um, and flat leaf parsley. You can see this very well. Tips on the end start to really observe your parcel and noticed that green color has little yellow in it. It's very lush, right? Notice all these things. Preparation for drawing. Hello, sage Sage is used in cooking and teas, and it's especially high in Vitamins K and in the garden. Sage is a fragrant plant that pollinators love and historically sage has been used to treat everything from snake bites to nervousness to inflammation toe even morning off evil spirits. Its botanical name, Salvia, even comes from the Latin word meaning to be saved. And that's how valuable sage has been to humans for thousands of years. Staging come in many colors and varieties that this is the basic culinary sage. Notice how the leaves almost have a white Haiti's. It's a little fuzzy and soft as you observe them and notice how that haziness or white, almost for on the leaves, gives almost a bluish look to the So while the buds here you can see have a little yellow and the blue leaves definitely. Obviously green has yellow in it, but when we paint sage, we're gonna add a little blue, and we're going to use a less yellow green to do that. So notice how the flowers grow in spikes with lots of flowers and different shades of purple. Take a minute to observe before you pain, because seeing is key to drawing lavender might be the most commonly popular, but for good reason, and not just in modern times. Lavenders, delicious, relaxing and even antiseptic. It's oil, and its flowers have been soothing humans for 2500 years. Its name lavender comes from the Latin LeVar or toe wash, and it's been used for scenting bath and body items, bed sheets and linens since Roman times. Lavender is a cousin of Minton's in the mid family, and this herb adds it sent and flavors toe everything from perfume toe, bubble bath, Teoh, even cookies. I personally love fresh dried lavender flowers on top of chocolate ice cream. It was a little problem. So plant lavender in your garden and enjoy the leaves and flowers across your life. This year is might look a little different to you. This is the butterfly or boysenberry or ruffled lavender, so notice it has. Non serrated leaves are smooth skin leaves that grow in little clusters and notice. How about flowers are a little different. They're a little more fuchsia, and there they also grow almost a little spikes. So if you observe the way they grow there but almost looks great, and then the flowers pop off the side more similar to a salvia. Notice these little subtleties at the top of the flower how the pedals are lighter. That's thes for when you pay. So now that we've gone out into the garden and observed are herbs and the next videos will head inside and make these three healing herbs. 3. Healing Herbs parsley : way leaves are a little more complex on parsley than they were on stage. Really take your time to observe, believes and no worrying about every single little photo realistic detail of the leaves, really capturing that feel off the parsley leaves. Presley lives feel kind of wild, really fresh, growing, so captured that feel of the leaves. But making sure you're getting the different lobes and the serrations on the leaves in your drawing and then coming in care, using an olive green to first come in with the stents because I want in the veins. I want to let that dry first and then working my way around the leaves, darkening, semi mixing with the hooker's green. So olive green and hooker screen knicks working in layers, leaving a little white line to keep the definition between the leaves and the way the leaves are curling, too, because definitely will have some leaves. A flat leaf parsley that are folding in or over on themselves filling in, leaving highlights near the veins as you see fit. Working your way around Sprague. Whether you're using your own straight from the grocery store from your garden photograph or using photograph using the ones in this video just copying mine. It's all fine working, kind of kind of tight here, so wild, but it's type at the same time and coming in with layers of pain. Really capture that look of the leaves. Leaves aren't flat. They have variants in their dreams, shadows for where leave is folding in on itself, filling in believe, leaving the vein. I'm not painting over the vein because the veins on the personally do stand out there a little more yellow. So by painting that first and then coming in around it, it it leaves that yellowish, continuing to work your way around the plant, adding layers coming in again. Another layer. This one is a little more yellow in it, so little more olive green top, depending on the leaf. You know whether it's a little more hooker screen a little more olive green. It's just depends on the position of belief. And then, you know, working some shadows across those stems and and the main stem as well, just partially has a little curve in the main stem, almost like a teeny tiny with silvery curves, you could add more leaves, parsley, obviously has are more veins or veins in that, but I don't feel the need to. It's busy enough as it is. So once you're parsley is how you like it and dry coming back in that c p a. 01 pig. Move my trump in and adding some details. This is a lot of information, and as parsley, you don't have to add the pen. Name is optional. I think it looks nice with water color and the brown. It's soft. It's not, as contrast is using black. Use black, too, if you want. It pops the veins a little bit, crops the shadows a little bit and also show the the curves and leaves. Evens flat leaf parsley. But it does curb in on itself, just working your way around not with coloring book, but just sort of adding, you know you can leave gaps. It's not a total outline until you partially looks good to you. Now it's your turn to paint your parsley 4. Healing Herbs sage: Okay, Look at your spring of sage. Photograph one in my picture and begin to draw. Start with the flowers in the center and then at this stamp and finally at the leaves behind, begin painting in purple flowers. I'm using a low violet, a little purple here and doing a lighter wash and then coming in darker towards the centers , coming in with a more saturated paint, first getting the buds and leaving little white for the highlights. Now let that dry completely before you start your green and I'm using the terra earth green color because it's a little up gives that hazy look, and it's a little bluer than some of the other greens. So filling in the outlines of your leaves coming in around your flowers, painting that center line, leaving a little white, actually as a highlight around that center center line in vain of the flowers painting. And I like to leave a little white around the fires just to pop them forward, working your way around in layers, bringing in shadows once you get that made toned down. But remember to leave, leave your highlights looking in your leaves, darkening the leaves behind adding their stems now coming in with a little bit of a darker green, even using hooker screen there to come in for a little more shadows to add definition to believes and depth. Painting little leaves off the stand, taking a small brush and painting the buds and the stems that attached the flowers to the main stem, working away around bringing in a little bit of purple and the shadows here coming back in with more of that terror. Earth green. Now I'm coming in with indigo that keeps that bluish haze in the shadows toe. Add some darker darks once you've got your leaves to a point where you like and let it completely dry. And then I'm using a C p a colored pigment, Mike Rompin and 01 size toe. Add some sketchy outlines just to pop things for fun. Whimsical. Look on these herbs, finishing up with your flowers at some dark in the center on. There you go. So now you try it. Go paint your sage and I'll meet you in the next video 5. Healing Herbs lavender : wait A sketch of the main stem in general position of the flowers. But we're gonna come back in and straight with me, painting in your stone, using all of grain and then just going straight paint to paper for the clusters of like, very flat little needles. Needle shaped leaves. So there really nice and lose to paint so that I'm coming in with some olive and sap green mixed together t dark in my leaves, and I'm gonna build up a lot of layers on this. Now I'm coming in with that terror Earth green from that, but because a lavender leaves air also a little frosting that is much as this age but one of the buds, especially frosty. So coming in from the terror working and working layers and layers back in on top of each other and say I'm not necessarily worried about the definition of every little leaf here giving the gesture feeling off a lavender Sprick, which has Bunches of leaves and the flower at the top, I made mine a little more compact than the actual one. So once you're leaves are completely dry coming back in with, um, using a lake purple here, which is a little more fuchsia and adding the first layers off flowers and then coming necking with Taylor violet dark in up at their faces and add depth and dimension to the flowers and very loose. This is by no means photo realistic to this lavender, this feeling of lavender sports while those flowers dry, I'm gonna come back in with another layer, and this has sort of a terror earth and hooker's green combo blend. Now that doesn't drive, coming back in to my butt and adding some darker greens in there. Add depth to the but working around us, things dry, working on something else, coming back to it again, adding more shadows, really creating depth within those clusters now adding some little highlights. And now come back into that same C B A pen, just very subtly on this one. Very loose. Not gonna add center vein on each leak. Just a couple pops off pen here and there. I remember how that but was kind of operated sort of accentuate that, and there you go under. So now it's time to paint your sprig of lavender, which is hopefully as relaxing his lavender smells 6. Healing Herbs thank you: thank you so much for joining my healing herbs class. I hope you enjoyed learning about parsley, sage and lavender, both historically and artistically. So I'm really looking forward to seeing your herbs and your version of parsley, sage and lavender, your expression of them and how you relate to them. So be sure to click. Start your project below, share pictures of your herbs, both painted. And if you have them growing in your garden, I would love to see. And then, once you're finished here with healing herbs, you might want to check out some of my other classes here on skill share and on my website Wings, worms and wonder dot com. I have lots and lots of nature painting classes and tips and tricks over there, as well as two more classes here on skill share. So there's a link to that in my profile. If you like to check that out, and, um, I hope you enjoy it. If you do decide to check it out creatively, connecting with nature, the wings, worms and wonder way while you're there. So okay, thank you so much for watching quickly. Project button below and half fun painting your healing herbs