How to Paint: Watercolor Loose Florals | Audrey Moon | Skillshare

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How to Paint: Watercolor Loose Florals

teacher avatar Audrey Moon, Watercolorist and Modern Calligrapher

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.

      Intro NEW


    • 2.

      What is the Loose Floral Style


    • 3.

      Supplies Overview


    • 4.

      Six Basic Watercolor Techniques


    • 5.

      Color Theory


    • 6.

      Color Schemes


    • 7.

      Painting Leaves


    • 8.

      Painting Flowers


    • 9.



    • 10.

      Project 1: Complementary Colors


    • 11.

      Project 2: Analogous Colors


    • 12.

      Project 3: Monochrome


    • 13.

      Your Project


    • 14.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

This class is perfect for beginners who want to dip their toes in watercolors and paint some pretty florals! 

We’ll start with the basics of watercolor, supplies, color theory, basic brush strokes. Then paint some leaves and flowers. You'll also get to paint three projects in real-time. 

By the end of the class, you will be able to combine these floral elements to create a stunning watercolor floral bouquet in the loose style!

Meet Your Teacher

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Audrey Moon

Watercolorist and Modern Calligrapher

Top Teacher

I'm so glad you're here! Whether you're new or a long-time student, I hope there's something for you in my classes.

My creative journey started with the bullet journal. Since then, I picked up watercoloring and calligraphy. It's been a bit of a whirlwind, to say the least! I published my first class on loose florals in September 2017, and have been steadily adding new classes. 

I love meeting new students and making connections. I hope to see you in one of my classes soon.

Thank you, and let's make the world a more beautiful place!


Website ][ Instagram ... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Intro NEW: Painting loosely seems like a scary concept because you don't always sketch or have a plan. But painting this way helps me break free from my perfectionism and develop my own style. Hi there, my name is Audrey. I'm a watercolorist, calligrapher and educator in the Chicagoland area, and I've been teaching on Skillshare since 2017. My journey with watercolors started in 2016, and loose florals was my first love. In this class, I want to teach you everything you need to get started on your own loose floral journey. We're going to learn watercolor basics such as techniques, color theory, and easy floral elements, and then we'll apply that knowledge into painting three unique floral arrangements. This class is perfect for beginners who are just starting on their journey. By the end of the class, you'll be able to paint all kinds of floral arrangements, whether they're inspired from photos or from your own imagination. Grab your supplies and let's dive into the world of watercolor loose florals. I'll see you there. 2. What is the Loose Floral Style: What does a loose floral style mean? While painting loosely can look different from one artist to another. To me, painting loosely means that you don't color within the lines and actually there are no lines to begin with. Usually there isn't much sketching involved. There may be sketching as in planning a composition, but no sketching of actual floral elements on your watercolor paper. Since you're not coloring within boundaries, you're able to rely on brushstrokes and gestures as you paint. Instead of using your brush like a coloring tool where you hold it like a pen, adjust your grip such you're holding it more like a painting tool where you'll have more movement with your wrist. Any style of painting is always founded on basic techniques such as observations, sketching, and color theory, which we will discuss later in this class. Now, I won't be covering any observation or sketching in this particular class but the more you're able to study the flower, the better you'll be able to deconstructed into simple brushstrokes. I'm hoping to come out with another class that will help you do just that. Lastly, painting loosely means that you're capturing the essence of the subject. The aim isn't to paint realistically or accurately, instead, you're just hoping to capture the impression, so certain details may be left out and only the most crucial details kept in. If this sounds like your jam, let's look at the supplies that we're going to be using and get painting. 3. Supplies Overview: In this video, let's talk about the supplies you're going to need. First, let's talk about brushes. Now, brushes come in all types of shapes and sizes, and even the quality might differ depending on if you have real animal hair or synthetic. I like to use the synthetic brushes because they are more affordable. The shape that you'll need for this class is the round shape. I find it to be the most versatile and great for beginners. In terms of sizes, start with a size 2, and a size 6 or eight. The two will be great for small details, and the six or the eight will be great for broad strokes, as well as the fine details. Round brushes tend to have a nice full body here in the middle, and then they come to a point which will help you get really fine lines if you need it. The brand that I'm using is the Creative Mark and it can be found at Jerry's Artarama, but really any reputable brand is good. Some other brands that I own are Winsor& Newton Cotman series, the Princeton Heritage brushes, and Grumbacher. Once you have your brushes, make sure you take good care of them, wash them out frequently, don't leave your brushes inside your water cup and every once in a while, wash it with mild soapy water. The paper that I'll be using for this class is the Canson XL watercolor, and I have a large 11 inch by 15 inch pad here. These pads are nice because they come just as single sheets and so you can just easily rip it off and cut it down to size if you need to, or just paint right here if you want to. Watercolor paper comes as cold pressed, hot pressed or rough. I've personally never used a rough type, so I can't speak to that. All I know is that it has a lot more texture than cold press paper does. Hot press paper has a very smooth texture, so it's great for very detailed type of work like botanical painting. But for general purposes and for the beginner watercolorist I think cold press is the best place to start. Some of the brands that I've used before are Canson, Strathmore, Arches, and the Moleskine journals. Paper really plays a role in how your paintings are going to look because depending on what the quality of the paper is, it's going to affect the absorbency of the water and paints. While the Canson is affordable, I generally don't use it for final pieces or for commission pieces, for that, I usually use the Arches. Watercolor paper usually comes at 140 pounds and 300 grams per square meter, and that's pretty standard. If you go any lower than that, you'll notice that your paper starts buckling and warping because there's too much water. If you can go a little bit thicker, that'll be even greater, but 140 pounds is pretty standard. Let's talk about paints. The brand that I'm using is the Lucas brand, and you can find that at Jerry's Artarama as well. Paints can be found as student grade or artist grade. Student grade just means that it has less pigments and more filler elements, so it can be made cheaper. Artist grade, even though they might come in smaller packages, they have a lot more pigment, so you actually use less. I found that the Lucas brand is a nice medium. It is on the artist grade, but it's affordable. Paints can come in pan form like they are in my palette here, they can also come as tubes or liquid. If you are a beginner watching this course I do recommend maybe buying a pallet of 12 colors or so. Any water colors will tell you that less is more, so don't feel like you have to buy every single color of the rainbow. Start with the basic colors, like the primaries, maybe a green or two. I like to have a brown, like a burnt umber or burnt sienna and having a black is also nice that you don't have to keep mixing black. Some of my favorite colors in this palette that I use quite often are carmine red, gamboge yellow, chromium oxide green, cerulean blue, burnt umber, permanent red and ivory black. As you can see on my palette, I've used those colors the most. I've had this specific palette for over a year. I don't paint every single day, but I do paint quite often more than the average person, and it still lasted and I haven't had to refill any of my pans yet, but I'm definitely running low on some of these colors, so soon I will have to buy some more, either two paints or the individual pan paints so that I can refill these. The type of palette that you have can vary from plastic to metal to ceramic. This one is a metal palette. You will see that it does stain over time. This is all just dry paint, but even if I were to wipe it down, you will see a little bit of color on it. Ceramic is really great if you don't want any staining. Ceramic is also great if you use two paints. That way you can squeeze out fresh paint right on the plate and then mix it right there. You can also use an enamel tray, a butcher tray, or really any ceramic plate that you have lying around the house. Just don't use it for food later. For my everyday types of paintings, I like to use my pan paints just because they're easy and convenient, but if I'm doing a really special project where I have to have very fresh colors or I need more of that specific color, or I need to create a mixture, but I need a lot of it, then I'll probably use two paints so that I can custom mix colors and then do it on a large ceramic plate or butcher tray so that I have more room to mix. In general, try to keep your paints as pristine and uncontaminated as possible. I know over time it's going to happen and that's okay, and that's why a lot of artists will use two paints for other special projects that need fresh, clean colors. Let's keep going. I also have two jars of water, and I tend to use larger jars of water because I don't like to fill up too often because once you start painting, you get into a flow, and then if I have to pause and then dump out my water, then it interrupts that flow, so I like to use large jars so that I don't have to empty it out as a often. Next, I use a small spray bottle filled with water so that I can spritz my paints and keep them wet. That way I don't have to always use my brush to put water in there because sometimes if I do that then I might have to wash out my brush and then I lose my paint. I also have some paper towel to blot my brush. I think one of the most common mistakes that beginners have is they either have too much water on their brush or not enough, so the paper towel will help you mediate those problems. If you have too much water, just give it a quick blot, and then if you don't think you have enough water, then give it a quick blot and see if any moisture comes out. Lastly, just have a pencil and an eraser on hand in case you want to take notes or sketch. Well, these are all the supplies that you're going to need for this class, so go ahead and grab them and let's look at some basic painting techniques. 4. Six Basic Watercolor Techniques: In this video, we're going talk about six basic watercolor techniques. There are definitely more techniques than just these six. But as a beginner, it's good to just start with the basics and then build your knowledge and skills from there. First, I'm going to rip out a clean sheet from my watercolor pad. Now for this exercise, you don't have to worry about which color you're using. I do suggest using a slightly darker color, so don't do a very light yellow or white. Choose a blue, a green, or a red. The first technique we'll look at is wet on dry. To prepare my paints, I'm just going to use my spray bottle. Then just choose any color. I'm going to be using a red-orange type of color, so you can see it while on your screen. Then I start out by using my size six brush. Go ahead and wet your brush. Then you'll notice that there's a large blob of water forming at the end of the brush. That means you have too much water, so it's saturated. Go ahead and touch it to your paper towel and then watch the water leave the brush and soak into the paper towel. Now once my paint is pretty wet, I'm going to take my wet brush and then rub it in the palette or in the pan, and then just coat my brush with it. Now, wet on dry means that we are going to apply wet paint on dry paper. With that wet brush, go ahead and paint a one inch square. That's it. Wet on dry. Fairly simple. Now from here, we're going to do another technique called a gradient wash. Basically a wash. We started with a pretty thick and dark color. What I want you to do from there is wash out your brush little by little, blot it, and then paint another square. Here's how that works. Here's my water. My brush hasn't changed. I'm going to swirl it around in the water just for a second and then blot. Let me bring my paper towel over, so swirl just for a second. You saw that some of the paint just left my brush into the water. When I blot just for a second, just to remove the excess water and paint, now paint another square and you're going to notice that it's visibly lighter. Just by changing the ratio of the water versus paint on your brush, you've changed the color. Let's do it again. Swirl just for a second. Blot another square. Now if you don't see a lot of difference happening, that's okay. It could just be a very pigmented color or maybe you need to wash it out just a little bit more. You might notice that as you're removing the paint, but then adding water to your brush, the consistency of the paint on the paper might be runnier, it might be watery. That's why we're going to blot so that we don't have too much water or too runny of a consistency of our paints. Maybe you'll have to blot just a hair of a second longer. So that when you're painting these squares, they're not turning out so runny. Just keep doing this until you run out of color, and you've gotten the lightest color possible. If you only did a couple of squares and then you run out of color, that's okay because we're going to do it again. Again, to start out with the darkest color possible, start with a fairly dry brush, so blot it really well. Then in your pan, hopefully it hasn't dried up too much, but just wet it just a bit. Then coat your brush with it. Let's try it again. It's another square. It should be a fairly thick color. Swirl, blot, paint. This exercise also helps you determine how much water you should have on your brush versus how much paint. It will also help you be able to quickly get to a certain color, because you now you understand how much water versus paint you need. Another term that I want you to be aware of is value. Basically, we went from the darkest value here on the left to the lightest value. Value basically means the relative lightness and darkness of a single color. The great thing about watercolor is its transparency. If you started out with a lighter value, you can put a darker value on top of it and still see a little bit of the lighter value underneath it. Or when you layer a light and a dark or a light and a slightly darker layer on top of one one the overlapping area will be even darker because of this transparency. We just learned a lot in just this one lesson. Let's let that dry and then we'll talk a little bit about layering later. But for now, let's go on to our next technique, which is wet on wet. I'm going to stay with my size six brush, wash it out completely and then blot it. Then I'm going to pick up clean water. I'm going to use that clean water and "paint" a one inch square. Now the key key wet on wet is that your paper isn't too wet. It just means that we're applying wet paint on wet paper. In order to make sure that your paper is not too wet, you can hold up your paper and angle it towards a light source. Then if you see the texture of the paper shining through and you just see a thin sheen of water, that's perfect. If you see a dome of water happening, that's too much water. In that case if you're patient, you can just wait for it to dry. Or, you have two options, you can use another dry brush and then soak up that water or you can use your paper towel to soak it up too. In my case, since I was talking, it was starting to dry up a little, so I'm just going to move that water around so that there's a nice layer. Nice, thin even layer. Now blot your brush, get it as dry as possible, pick up that wet paint. Any color. You don't need too much of it. We're just going to drop a little bit at a time and then just drop it in this square and then watch how the paint spreads. Now this is quite a controlled wet-on-wet because sometimes if you have very wet paint, very runny consistency of paint, so you have a lot of water and you put that on wet paper, then you're going to notice that the paint tends to spread out very quickly. When you have thicker paint, you're going to notice that it doesn't spread as quickly. It's great if you still want a nice soft painted, feathery look, but you want to control the value of the color. I use the wet-on-dry technique probably the most often. Then I use the wet-on-wet sometimes after I've already done the wet-on-dry. Maybe I applied a lighter value of a color, and while that color was still wet, then I dropped in some other paint colors. That's pretty common too. Wet-on-wet can mean wet paint on wet paper or wet paint on wet paint. I like to use the wet-on-wet even for animals. It tends to give that soft edged look that's great for painting animals. The next technique is called dry brush. Dry brush is exactly what you think it might be. Again, dry your brush as much as possible. I'm still staying with my size 6. Then I'm going to use just the tip of my brush to pick up the paint this time. I don't want too much paint and I want very thick paint, so don't re-wet your paint. Essentially, what you want is we're going to create these streaks. You want to be able to see the texture of the paper show through. That's why cold press paper is perfect for this exercise. I'm just doing these quick streaks and look how I'm already seeing the texture of the paper showing through. This technique is great for adding any final details. If you needed to add a rustic look to brick or stone, or if you're adding whiskers or hair fur, if you're adding grass to a landscape. We're going to look at two more techniques, the variegated wash and layering. Now for the variegated wash, we're going to start just like the gradient wash above. But as we're painting that color, we're going to quickly switch to a new color, and where the two colors meet, it's going to have this nice mixture, nice blend that's happening. Think of the two colors that you want to use. I'm going to use my permanent red. I'll start with that and then use my gamboge yellow. Go ahead and freshen up your paints if you need to. Your brush should be semi dry or so. Pick up that color. You don't need too much. But let's start just by painting like this. It's a fairly dark value. I'm going to wash out my brush quite a bit just to get rid of some of the paint and then make it a lighter value so it looks like we're doing a graded wash. Now I'm going to wash it out completely. Pick up my gamboge yellow, and then come up right up against that, and then blend that nicely, and then continue on. Then I pick up some more of the gamboge yellow to get a darker value. This technique is great for painting the sky and landscapes. Let's try it again. If you want to keep experimenting, try using multiple colors instead of just two. Next let's talk about layering. I'm going to go back up to my squares up here at the top. I'm going to add layering. I couldn't use one of the lighter values. I'm going to pick up a blue color because if I layer a light-blue on top of this light red, then I should get a light purple where the two colors overlap. If you painted a blue color, you could layer a red on top of that and it might be a little bit harder to see, but it's still possible. If you did a green color, maybe layer a purple or orange or red and just see what happens in the overlapping section. I pick up my civilian blue and I try to do a lighter value as well. Pretty runny inconsistency. I'm just going to paint a small circle right here in the corner, just so you can see the overlapping and the pure color. The color is still drying a little bit, but you can already tell there is that blue right here on the right. But then in the area where it's overlapping, it is slightly purple, just slightly. The key to layering is that the next layer shouldn't be too wet because if it's too wet, that water could mess with the under painting unless you wanted to mix the under painting with the new layer, otherwise, keep your new layers quite thin inconsistency, it can be runny, don't get me wrong. It can be runny, but then make sure that you only paint a very thin layer of it and that you're not scrubbing your brush into it because that's how you're going to mess with the under painting. These are the six techniques that we looked at, the wet-on-dry, the wet-on-wet, dry brush, graded wash or gradient wash, variegated wash and layering. In the next video, we're going to use mostly the wet-on-dry technique and talk about color theory and paint a color we all together. 5. Color Theory: Now let's talk about our color wheel. Painting this together is really going to help you learn how to mix your colors and you'll get really acquainted with your colors. This printout is available in the class downloads, and you can either print directly onto your watercolor paper if your printer can handle it, or you can print it on regular paper, place a watercolor paper on top, and then sketch it out, either way, go ahead and get your blank color wheel ready and let's talk about the colors that we'll be using. Now I have a slightly different palette than what I used earlier. This is the same brand, but it has 48 colors instead of the 20 or so that I have on my smaller palette. I got this palette just recently and the reason why I brought this palette out is because I created this large swatch grid and I just wanted to demonstrate or just show you how different the yellows and the blues and the reds can be. Those are our primary colors, and those are the only three colors we're going to use to paint our entire color wheel. If you look at this swatch grid and the yellows, there's a whole range, but I want to just focus on these three, so we've got lemon yellow, cadmium yellow light, and permanent yellow light. Each color or hue has a temperature to it they're either warm or cool. If you'd look at the lemon yellow and the cadmium yellow light, the lemon yellow is definitely on the cooler side and the cadmium yellow light is on the warmer side and because I want my color wheel to look as neutral as possible and not really veer towards warm or cool, I'm going to stick with my permanent yellow light. Let's take a look at the blues over here. If you also look at the blues, some of these are multiple pigment colors and that's not always a bad thing, but usually when you have a single pigment, usually the color is more, is richer and more vibrant. For example, the indigo color over here, it's very similar to the paint gray down here, but it has three different pigments in it. That means if I were to mix that color with another multiple pigment color, then that's a lot of pigment in one mixture and usually, the more pigments you have, the muddier the color is going to look. I definitely don't want to use indigo plus it's not quite the blue that we're looking for. We're looking for a true blue, so that brings us to either the ultramarine blue. This is a deep and this is a light color but I also have a phthalo blue down here. But for the purposes of today's color wheel, I'm going to go with the ultramarine blue deep. Now let's look at the reds, I have a permanent red over here, which is a color that I used in our earlier practice and you can tell it has a warmth to it. It looks almost red-orange than just a red. The cadmium red deep almost has a dark brown warmth to it. The cinnabar red is more on the cool side, so I'm going to go with the alizarin crimson color. Those are the three colors that I'll be using. If you don't have those exact colors, that's okay but look at the pigment names. For example, the permanent yellow light is PY155, even though in my palette it's called permanent yellow light. In your palette, you might have the same pigment name, PY155, but it might have a different color name if that makes sense. Don't worry so much about no, I only have a cool yellow or I only have a warm yellow, that's okay just stick with whatever yellow you have for now but just be aware that there are nuances to the paints and the varieties that are available. Once you have your color wheel ready, let's just label them so that we don't get lost. I'm going to start with the red up here, if you look at this like a clock, it's going to be the space between the 12 o'clock and the 1 o'clock. Then I'm going to skip three and then the yellow will be down here between the 4 o'clock and the 5 o'clock, then skip three, and then the blue will be over there. Now the reason for the multiple sections within a little pie slice is that we're going to show the different values. We're going to start with the darkest value at the outermost section of the circle and then wash out our brush gradually and then get to the lightest value towards the center. Let's get started. I'm going to start with the blue and just move my way around because I'm right-handed, if you're left-handed if you want to start with the yellow and go around, that's okay too or you can always just turn your paper around no worries. I'm using the ultramarine blue and I want a pretty thick mixture so my brush is like semi-wet, I'm really working my brush in there in the pan and I'm just moving some of it into a different mixing area because I'm going to be using it for mixing later. I'm doing double duty. Let's start with the blue or whatever color you want and don't worry about painting it fully up to the line just doesn't have to be perfect. After you do that, just wash out your brush a little bit, do the next section. I'm going to move on to my red, which is the alizarin crimson and again, I'm going to move just some of it over. Our last primary color will be yellow, and I'm using the permanent yellow light. From here, we're going to mix our secondary colors. Those are made by mixing two primary colors. If you mix red and yellow you get orange, yellow and blue will make green, and then blue and red will make purple. We're going to put our secondary colors right in between the primary colors. If you have your two colors all laid out like this, just go ahead and mix them together. Just all completely. You may need to adjust just a little bit. Maybe you need to add a little bit more of the blue to get a more true purple. I feel like this is pretty good in the middle, so I'm just going to work with that. That's going to go on the outermost here. Make sure to wash out your brush every time, so you have a clean brush. I go ahead and start mixing up the green. That's a nice color. Again, your colors might look just a little bit different depending on the primary colors that you started out with. Don't worry so much about trying to color match. The last primary color will be this orange. This one I definitely have too much red. I'm going to wash out my brush, pick up some more of the yellow, and the work that in there. How are we doing so far? With the remaining parts of our color wheel, we're going to fill them with tertiary colors. Tertiary colors happen when you mix a primary color with a secondary color. If we mix the red and the orange here, right here is going to be the color red orange, and the primary color name is going to be first. Over here, it's not going to be orange yellow is going to be yellow orange. This will be yellow green, blue green, blue purple, and red purple. We're going to take the mixture is that we just made here. If you need to make more of it, that's okay. But on either side, that's where I'm going to add that primary color. To this purple here I'm going to add a little bit of the blue on one side into that purple, and then paint that here. Then I add that same blue to this green here. Looking great so far. I'm going to add yellow to this green here. Next, let's make the yellow orange. I'm going to add some red to that orange. Last but not least, add some red to our purple. 6. Color Schemes: Awesome. Great job painting this color wheel. Now let's talk about color schemes, because when we paint a floral arrangements, color schemes are really going to help you figure out which colors you actually need, and which colors go well together, and which colors should be more dominant. First, let's start with monochromatic color scheme. That's pretty basic. It's just one color, one hue, and you might use the different values of that one color. Complimentary is when you use colors on the opposite ends of the color wheel. If you use this pure red over here, you might use this pure green. Orange and blue are complimentary colors. Now, when you use complimentary colors, it's important that only one of the colors is more dominant. For example, in this painting where I used both orange and the blue, I used the orange flowers but I used all sorts of values of the blue and it takes up more of the reef area, so it's not as harsh to the eye. A great example of using red and green is in any Christmas or winter type of reef. You can use mostly greens for the Holly's and the pines, and then drop in just a little bit of red for the berries. That balance when one color is more dominant will actually help enhance the other color and vice versa. A triadic color scheme is when you use three colors that are evenly spaced. If you look at all the primary colors, they are evenly spaced as well as all of the secondary colors. Now, just like the complimentary colors, even the colors in a triadic, you want some balance. Maybe one color is more prominent than the other two, whether in value or just the sheer amount of it. A rectangular color scheme is when you have two colors that are right next to each other and two colors that are completely opposite of the first two, thus making some kind of rectangular shape. Then a square, it would be four colors that are evenly spaced on the color wheel. The last color scheme is the analogous, and those are three colors that are right next to each other on the color wheel. For example, the red, red orange, and the orange. Using analogous colors is really cool because you can seamlessly transition from one color to the next, kind of like what we did for the variegated wash. We'll come back to color schemes when it comes to painting our floral arrangements. In the next couple of videos, let's actually practice painting leaves and some flowers. 7. Painting Leaves: One of my favorite things to paint whenever I get a new pink color or brush or even paper is to paint leaves. I could seriously paint leaves all day. Let me show you just several different ways that you can paint leaves that you'll be able to use in your floral arrangement later. I'm going to use my size 6 brush primarily and you can use whatever color that you have. Feel free to use whatever paints you have in your mixing areas or use a color that you don't normally use. As for me, I will be using a green color just because it's appropriate. We're going to start by creating some small skinny leaves. Start with your size 6 brush with a tip to the paper, and then paint a very thin short line. That'll be basically our stem. Then from there, you're going to bend your brush down and then fan it out, drag it for a little bit, and then start lifting up to another point. Let's try that again. Just the tip of the brush to your paper, drag a little bit and then press down, folding out or fanning out the bristles of your brush, then drag and start lifting. Do this a few times until the motion becomes a little bit more fluid, not thinking about it too much. Observe how you're holding your brush. Then once you do a handful of these, try to manipulate how wavy it looks or how curvy it is. Now, let's try to put two of them together. The first one is going to look very similar. But now let's pretend that that is only one-half of the leaf. We're going to paint the other half, but as we do, I want to leave it just a sliver of white space between the two and that's going to tell the viewer that that's the vein of the leaf. Then I'm going to start my second stroke right about here and that's about the point where I started pressing down on my brush in the first stroke. I'm just going to come around to the side, leave that sliver of white space, and then meet up in the middle. Again, that first stroke and a second one, I'm going to start right about here, leave a sliver of white space, come together. Now, it's okay if your white space isn't perfectly throughout the entire leaf, that's okay. Even just a hint of it is all we need. Without that white space, that leaf is going to look a little bit like a blob. We don't like blobs here. Again, after you do a couple and you feel comfortable, try to manipulate how they look because if you do one that looks like this, it looks like we're looking at the leaf at profile. That means the other side of the leaf is going to be pretty skinny, and that's that. So far we've only painted single leaves. Next, let's paint a stem with multiple leaves. I'm going to start by painting just the long stem first. I'm using just a tip of my brush to create a long stem and then paint a leaf at the end of it. As I come down on the leaf, you can have them overlapping. Try to vary the direction of your leaves. If I want to make one of these leaves look like it's hiding behind or in front, then I might have it curve around like that. Let's try it again. Again, long stem. You can even have a little baby leaf right there. Let's do one more time. Now, if you're left-handed your leaves might be facing the other way. It might be veering to the left and that's totally okay. I forgot to mention. I'm right-handed, so that's why all of my leaves are leaning towards the right. Next, let's do some C curves. These are rounded leaves. Again, even as you do these, try to leave that sliver of white space in between. All I'm doing is just creating a nice thick round stroke and then filling it in as I need to. I'm using like a very round, the letter C shape. Now I'm going to use that and paint a eucalyptus stem. Now some eucalyptus leaves, especially when you look at it in profile, it looks just like a line. I'm going to have some of those as if we're looking at it from profile just like that. Then have some more leaves coming out. Now, some leaves have like a jagged edge to them. For those what I like to do is use a multiple strokes to create one side of the leaf. If I have this thin line acting as the vein or the center, then I'm going to use multiple really short strokes like that and then try to have them slightly overlapping each other to create that jagged edge, or even a rose leaf is slightly more rounded and pointed but still jagged. If I think about that, then I have to think about how to make my strokes follow that same vein. Make this side a little bit wider and then come to a point. In general, as you're painting leaves, really try to think about the brush stroke or the gesture that you're making instead of trying to create a specific type of leaf. Because when we're painting loosely, we're not really focused on the anatomy of the flower or the plants, we're really focused on creating color harmony and compositional harmony, and so what you want to focus on more is in the technique of the brush strokes and your gestures. Lastly, let's look at some pine needles and it'll be very similar to these jagged leaves, but we're going to use even skinnier strokes. This is where you can use your size 2 brush if you'd like, but I'm going to stick with my size 6 and just use even skinnier, very short strokes and space them a little bit further apart. They're facing all generally the same way, but I have a few that are crooked and facing the other way. That just gives the pine needles a little bit more life and it seems more natural. They're not all the same length, notice. The pine needles is fun because this is where you can mix with different colors. If you painted a couple of these pine needles and then you added a little bit of brown to the tip of your brush, then that brown and then the green that's already on your brush is going to spontaneously mix and then come out on the paper too. Feel free to mess around with that and explore. Feel free to do another practice sheet before moving on to the flowers. But if you are ready, let's paint some flowers in the next video. 8. Painting Flowers: Hope you're excited. We're going to paint some flowers in the loose style. Let's start with a sunflower, which can also be slightly tweaked to look like a daisy or a cone flower. Let's start with the sunflower. I'm using my size 6 brush, picking up some burnt umber and just dotting just in the middle. That's where our sunflower seeds or the head will be. I'm going to wash out my brush, pick up some yellow, mix it in with just a little bit of orange, gamboge yellow, yellow ocher, something like that. Just so it's not like a pure bright yellow, but I also want a little bit of the pure bright yellow just to show some variety in the colors using those analogous colors, if you will. I'm going to use that same brush technique that we used for the leaves where we start skinny, go wide and then come back skinny. Just like that. Then just go right next to each other. As you're going around, play around with the value, add in some colors in there. This is a pretty basic flower shape where all the petals are just facing one direction. I'm going to pick up some more of that burnt umber and just darken that center, that's it. If you wanted to do a Black-eyed Susan or even a cone flower, I'll use that same yellow color. But let's say that we have the middle section like that. The petals that are going to be in the foreground are going to be longer and more droopy. The petals that are going to be in the background like up here are going to be really short and curved. I use that same yellowish color, but have the long petals down like that. As I come up to the top, they're going to get considerably shorter. Then just a little bit curved either to the left or to the right. If you did the purple or the pink cone flower, it's the same concept, but just use a different color. I love painting tulips. I'm going to use a red, orangish color for this. If you think about tulips, especially if you look at it just straight on. I have one large section on to the side like this. Then just because I want to show a little bit of value or difference in value, I'm going to wash out my brush a little bit, do the other side, and then meet in the middle, then maybe just have another petal right there in the middle. If you want it to be even looser, you could just give the impression of the shape of the petals and then fill in some of that space with a lighter value. But the easiest way is just to create that one half shape and the other half shape. Dahlias also have the same shape as the sunflower. I use a purple color for that. For dahlias, there's just so many layers. I'm going to start with the starburst formation. Then as I go out, I'm going to periodically wash out my brush and then paint the petals in between. As I go out, I'm starting to make more pointed petals. I'm also playing around with the value. Not every petal is the same value. Some are going to be a little bit lighter than others. I'm just going to add some dark green just to the center there. Next we've got some poppies. I'm going to start with the dark black center. Pick up my red, orangish color. Depending on how you look at the poppy, the petals are always going to look a little bit different. But let's start with a pretty basic shape. We have two large petals on either side, like that. We usually have the petal that's sticking out towards you, and then maybe some overlapping petals like in the back. If you look at it in a different way, you could have one large petal like that. I'm just using those C curves right from earlier. You can have a lighter petal coming out on the other side. Maybe you have another petals which are sticking out like that. It really depends on how you're looking at the flower. It's really important to observe the flowers that you're wanting to paint, and just paint the shapes that you see. Let's look at the anemone. I'll use that same purply color again. So anemone, I'm going to come back and do that black center at the end. Anemones also have very light petals. I'm just using those C-curves again to fill this out. Painting a series of four to five petals, and then I'll come back at the end to paint the center. I have some more florals in my other classes like lavender, lilacs, magnolia, and cherry blossoms. But in this class, I just want to go over to more flowers, which are the rose and peony. For the rose, I want to start with the darkest values. I'm going to blot my brush as much as possible and then pick up my paint. You can use any color for this, but I'm going to do that red-orange color that I've been using. We'll start with the center of the rose as if we're looking into it. Do some short strokes right here in the middle, and then do a C-curve like that, and maybe another one then wash out your brush little by little as we paint the next set of petals. As we're painting the next layer of petals, make sure that you're overlapping them with the previous layer and not just painting the petals right next to each other. See how that overlaps right there? Then again, wash out your brush periodically just to show different values of your rows. As I go further out, notice how my petals are getting longer as well as lighter. Feel free to turn around your paper like I just did. As I feel like the rose is getting to be complete, I'm going to make my lines really skinny, basically like thin lines just to help fill it out. It doesn't have to be a perfect circle per se, but the thin lines make it seem like all those thin layers are petals. Let's try it again. Start with the darkest value, right there in the center, a couple of C-curves, and then start working your way out, and then wash out your brush. As you're overlapping these petals also keep in mind to leave some whitespace. Next, let's paint our peony. The peony can be quite complicated, but we'll paint a more simpler peony. I'm going to have three layers of petals. Two layers are going to make up the upper part of the peony, then the third layer is going to be at the lower part. The upper part is going to have this cup shape to it, and so all of my petals have to come verging to this imaginary central point. Notice how my petals are pointing to this imaginary center right here, and even this center petal is going to come right down and meet up with it, same thing with this side petal. Now, I'm going to make up the other side of the peony. Now the bottom part of the peony, I'm just going to have the petals flaring out like that. But again, notice how it still comes to this middle point. I'm going to do another one where I leave the space in between. All right, now let's add some of the details that we need to add to our anemone and this peony right here. For this anemone, I'm going to use my black color and just dot it in the middle, but have some really thin lines coming out from the center, and then dotting the end of it. For the peony, I'm going to use my gamboge yellow. You can use a yellow ocher or something too and then use my size 2 brush to paint some short straight lines and then dot the end of it. If it's not really showing up, that's okay. Maybe add just a little bit of black or even burnt umber so that it'll stand out just a little bit. All right, there you have it. Those are some of the flowers that we're going to be working with in our floral arrangements. Now let's start putting them together. 9. Inspiration: Let's talk a little bit about inspiration. Some of my favorite places to get royalty-free stock images are Unsplash and Pixabay. On these sites, you can type in almost anything, wedding bouquet, or you can search for something really specific, like a lavender bouquet, sunflowers, poppies, etc. Royalty-free images usually don't have any restrictions on how you can use these photos. So if you were a photographer, you can manipulate them, edit them, and it's totally okay. You have all the rights to do that. Even if you were to paint from the source and then make it your own, you can still sell that as your own original work. Now it gets a little bit hairy when you don't use royalty-free images and just search for something on Google. When you use Google or Pinterest or other search engines like that, you have to be careful not to paint exactly what you see. You can take inspiration from it, for example, just pick out a couple of flowers from this one or a couple of other elements from another one, and then put them all together to create your own unique arrangement. So while you can create a Pinterest board for inspiration, just be really careful not to paint exactly what you see, especially if you're going to use it for any commercial purposes where you're profiting monetarily off of it. For the floral arrangements that we're going to paint today, I'm going to use my Pinterest board as inspiration, but I'm going to show you how I take some of the elements, whether it's colors or the specific floral elements to create something unique in my own style. So let's get started. 10. Project 1: Complementary Colors: The first floral arrangement that we're going to do is this beautiful lamb's ear wreath with some bright peonies. As you can see in this wreath, we have basically complimentary colors. The lamb's ear has a variety of greens, somewhere between the blue-green and a regular green, and then the peonies are this beautiful, red-orange, almost coral type of color. They're basically opposites on the color wheel. I like how in this wreath, the lamb's ear takes up the majority of the wreath, but then the peonies are so bright. That's what I'm going to take. Even though there is more of the greenery, it's more of a muted color. I want to make sure that my leaves are softer or lighter in value, and that the peonies really have space to shine. Let's get started. I'm going to use my jar of water, and I'm not going to trace the entire circle. I'm just going to trace maybe just parts of the circle, just to give me an idea of how the circle looks, but I'm not going to sketch the entire thing. I just sketched some faint lines around, and I definitely left this area blank so that I could add the peonies right there. Now, since my paper is fairly small, I'm going to use primarily a Size 2 brush. If your paper is a lot larger, feel free to use your Size 6 brush. Since I don't want to paint exactly what I see, I'm going to paint just the three peonies, the lamb's ear, and then I'm just going to add some branches coming out just randomly, just so I can vary it and make it my own. Let's start with the peonies. I'm going to have this bright red-orange color. For me, it's my permanent red. Then I'm going to have some genuine rose on the side because I want that corally color to come through too. I'm going to put that genuine rose on this side. I'm also going to practice a little bit of the yellow, because I see in that center peony or that middle peony, it has a little bit of yellow tinges in there. I'll just prep that. Now, these peonies are going to look a little bit different than the ones that we painted. Again, you can paint the ones that you see here, or you can paint whatever peony is comfortable for you. I'm going to do a variety. I'm going to start with the center peony. I have a little bit of that yellow tinge in there, and now I'm going to add some of that pink. It's looking more like a rose, but that's okay. Now, the other peony, I do want it to look more like the peony that we did before. I'm going to have it facing this way. The other peony up here as well, bringing some of that pink in here too. All right. Now, I'm going to make some of that green. That's going to be a mixture of a regular green plus a bluish-green. Let's go and do some simple leaves, all going in one direction. I'm going to start with just single leaf for now. As I go, I'm going to mix in some of that regular green and regular, and I'm going to mix in with the blue-green, and this is just helping me just establish a shape. I know there's going to be some bald spots, and that's totally okay. I'm also trying to keep in mind, trying to make it a little bit more mute color, so slightly lighter. But at the same time, I don't want them all to be too light. Still play around with the value a bit. I keep going around and adding some more leaves. As you feel comfortable, if the layer is already dry, feel free to layer your leaves on top of each other. I'm going to start to fill in some of those gaps, and I'm also going to add some leaves in between my peonies, and I'm going to add just one more layer of leaves, a little bit more skinnier ones this time, just to help fill out some of the emptier spaces, and I have a couple of leaves poking into the center of the wreath. That makes the wreath just a little bit more organic looking. Lastly, I'm going to use some burnt umber and paint some branches. I'm going to weave the branches in between the leaves and have some poking out as well. I'm using just the tip of my brush, so that the brown doesn't really look like anything. I just want the branches really just to blend in with the leaves. You can also use the brown color to cover up your pencil lines if you want. There is our first flower arrangement using complimentary colors. 11. Project 2: Analogous Colors: The next floral arrangement we'll do is this beautiful poppy display. What I like the most about this is the analogous colors. We've got that red orange color fading into a light Quirrell into a yellow, into some pure oranges. Then we've even got some white and yellow flowers. You don't have to do all of those flowers, but I want you to use that analogous color scheme into your painting. I'm going to start by establishing the center of my arrangement. I'm going to use that black color. Water it down just a little bit, so it's not so harsh because I really want the flowers to shine. Then paint the vase down here. From here, I'm going to add my red yellow flowers first. As I do this, I'm making sure that I leave room for the center of the flowers. Now right here I see that orange flowers as I paint that right there. Then I paint some of the other orange flowers that I see. Now we've got some of these coral flowers over here. Random flower all the way up here. Then there's some yellow flowers off to the side. Because I want this to look a little bit more balance, I'm going to add some more of the yellow, orange flowers right here in the center. Now I'm going to add the leaves and stems. Make sure to add some leaves in between the flowers that will also help break up where the flowers are. I'm going to start adding the center of the flowers. Let's start with a ring of yellow green. From there I'm going to use my gamboge yellow, which is similar to a yellow ocher, and add another ring in the middle and just outside of it. Then I'm going to add just a very thin ring of burnt umber right in between that yellow green and the yellow section. It's a very thin line. It's okay if it's not a perfect circle. It's really just to show the distinction between the two colors, and just make that center of the flower that much more distinct. 12. Project 3: Monochrome: The last floral arrangement that will do is painting flowers within a circle shape. It's not really an arrangement per se but it's just a unique way of capturing your painting within a specific frame. I have my random coaster here. I'm just going to use it to trace a circle. I really liked the anemone flower. I want to do mostly the white ones. It sounds challenging, but I promise you, you can do it. The easiest way to do a white flower is just to paint the shadows. I'm just going to use a very, very watered down black color and use that to paint the anemones. I need to keep track of where they all are because I need to create that center. Once you create that center of the anemone, that's when it's going to just really pop. Now I will add some leaves in there to, again, just help fill out that shape, but for the most part, it's going to be mostly anemone. We're going to use mostly a monochrome color scheme. It's really watered down, this black. Now it might be hard to see it here on the screen but I'll try to make mine just a little bit darker just so you can see. But the trick is obviously don't go beyond this circle frame. I might add just a little bit of green just to the center of these just so you can tell that it is a flower just a little bit. I'm using a little bit of the wet-on-wet technique to do that. Now, some of that's going to be covered up by the black center anyway. But at least for now, I can tell where the flowers are. Right now, I'm just establishing where my largest flowers are going to be. I'm going to have three fairly large ones. Then maybe the rest of the circle frame, I'll fill in with leaves. I come in there with some large leaves here. Adding just another anemone right here, a smaller one, as if they're peeking from behind the leaf here. Add a second layer of anemones. Add some smaller leaves. Just filling out this shape. Now if your flowers are dry, let's go in there with your smaller brush. Make sure that it's a very dry brush and the darkest value of your black. I'm going to start with the center and then start dotting the other end of that straight line. I've got one more anemone center to paint. Okay. I'm going to just fill in the spaces with a little bit more of the greenery just so that when I erase the pencil line, you will clearly be able to see the circle shape, and just because I want to fill in some of these blank spaces a little bit more. But I'm using as light of a value as I can. That's it. Just erase the line and then you're done. 13. Your Project: Now that you've painted a couple of these with me, I'd love to see your own floral arrangements. For your project, I want you to create three floral arrangements using different color schemes. Actually, it is okay if you do all three paintings using complimentary colors, but then use different complimentary colors. Same thing goes for monochromatic. All of your paintings can be monochromatic, but then just use different colors. The main purpose is for you just to get comfortable using different colors and also be strategic about how you use them. Feel free to post the paintings that we painted together and then create your own too. I can't wait to see what you create. 14. Final Thoughts: Congratulations on finishing this class on loose florals. This class was actually first published in 2017, September, and then it was remade in May 2021. The main reason for that, was because in 2017, it was really at the start of my watercolor journey, and since then, I've grown so much as an artist. I wanted to remake this class, sharing more tips and tricks that I've learned, and more of my knowledge, more of my flower painting tips, so that you can be the best artist you can be. I think knowing color theory is such a huge advantage. Allowing yourself to explore and have fun is so important. I'm going to leave you with just a couple of tips. Number 1, be okay with messing up. I think this is one of the first lessons that every artist really needs to learn and conquer. It's totally okay if you have more paper ending up in the trash, just make sure to recycle it. Each brushstroke, each paper thrown away, it's really just a lesson of your growth as an artist and it's a step of you improving. The best way to reframe your mistake is to look at them as learning opportunities. If you messed up or you don't like it, try to figure out why. Is it because the colors aren't coming together? Is it because your paint quality isn't good enough? Is it because your paper is peeling and it's too thin? Try to troubleshoot and figure out why something went wrong. Number 2, take lots and lots of photos. Like I mentioned before, it is okay to use reference photos and royalty-free images. But your inspiration really just comes from within you. As you are walking around in your neighborhood, in the gardens, in the forest reserve, wherever you are, just take lots and lots of photos. Notice how the colors are coming together. Even create a little swatch grid of that particular photo. Maybe you can start creating color palettes for different seasons of the year. You can use them for whatever purpose you desire, whether it's personal or commercial. Lastly, just practice. In order to improve, in order to get better, it really does take practice. Remember the leaves that we did earlier? I mentioned how I love to paint leaves. I've probably painted like a million leaves by now and yet I still love to paint them. You might have some kind of subject or a color that you just love, and that's totally okay. That could also be just a sign of how you are honing in on your preferences and maybe even your style. If you've practiced one of these color schemes or one of these flowers, try it in a different color, try it with a different brush. When you tweak one factor at a time, you might get completely different results. Going back to tip number 1, when you factor in those different variables and you mess up, it's okay. You just got to be okay with it because you're seeing that as practice. Next time it'll be better. Don't forget to upload your project. If you're on Instagram or Facebook, please feel free to tag me @Audreyradesign, and use the hashtag: paint with Audrey. Painting with loose florals has really changed my life and made me become more free as an artist. I hope it does the same for you as you start or continue on in your watercolor journey. Thank you so much for taking my class. Can't wait to see your work. I'll see you next time. Bye.