Less is more - Painting a Cotton Flower in Watercolor | Camilla Damsbo Brix | Skillshare

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Less is more - Painting a Cotton Flower in Watercolor

teacher avatar Camilla Damsbo Brix, Teaching Whimsical watercolors

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.

      Welcome to class


    • 2.

      Tools and Materials


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Grab your brushes


    • 5.

      Wrapping up


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About This Class

Sometimes we need very little to create a lot. With spring cleaning around the corner, simplicity is the thing for us. And there’s no better medium for this - than watercolor. So let’s create magic with a few tricks in this short and sweet class.


  • Why less is more
  • Painting with few colors and clean water
  • Splatter technique

So grab your brushes and come paint with me.




Oh yeah and I would love to see what you create! You can do that in several ways:

  • Share your project in the project gallery
  • Share your art on Instagram (tag me @camilla_damsbo_art and use #camilladamsboartinspired)
  • Share on Facebook and tag me there too (@camilladamsboart)

Meet Your Teacher

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Camilla Damsbo Brix

Teaching Whimsical watercolors


My name is Camilla and I’m a danish watercolourist. Mostly I paint whimsical flowers which I share on Instagram as @camilla_damsbo_art. Here on Skillshare I love to share my knowledge in fun and easy classes on watercolor and ink and I can't wait to see you in class.

I would deffinitly say that watercolour is the most magical kind of paint, and all you can do is just know a little technique, loosen up your brush and trust the process.



If you plan to watch one class this summer I advice you make it this one. It will launch very soon and you will learn the very best technique for your summer vacations or staycations - Watercolor and Ink! you will learn to draw 5 flowers and then bring them into a s... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Welcome to class: hi guys, and welcome to class. I'm Camilla and Army watercolorist from Denmark and today is going to be all about the painting. Less is more paintings. Ah, or minimalism, if you like. And of course, painting. Cutting flowers like the title said, And you can see the coming flower here in the wooden window behind me and we're going to paint. This will achieve here and you can see it's very, very simple but powerful. And if you're like me and ah, paint, especially floor over it floral arrangements. You know that they tend to be a little ambitious and little too over the top often, and that can take away from all painting. So I hope to apply some principles from minimalism to create a very powerful piece. And then I'm going to take you through step by step, painting this coven flower, which has some super nice texture and and a lot of white, and we're going to paint it white without white paint. So that's also always a fun challenge, and I would love to see your work on Instagram and in the Project Gallery, so upload your your class projects there and and Tigray on Instagram. You can new see my hashtag here and I tried to comment on anything you post. I'd love to see it, and that is why I'm teaching. That is the most fun apart, fun part about it. So please have Lauren and I'll take a look at it and I think that is it for now. Let's just start by looking at some materials and get going. 2. Tools and Materials: so that start out by looking at the materials we're gonna use here. And first we have watercolor paper and this is, uh, Kansan. It's 300 grams, so it'll hold a lot of water and I cut them into this nice small square. So it's easy to to work with you Can you can use, ah, bigger pieces. Well, of course, I just like to work with smaller ones. Then I have brushes him. It's a four and eight synthetic round brush and a eight, um, natural hair brush and I I like the the two different types for this, and I'll explain it later. Why? And I have four different paint. You have burned number and a Winsor Newton yellow deep and even Dik Browne and my always trustee pains. Great. I'm going to use a few colors, and I'm gonna explain why in a second, but that's why I took them out like this. Then, of course, I have my water and tissue as always, and then I have my my reference here, and I was super lucky to find a coven flower in my local grocery store so we can look at it and figure out how to paint it the best way. I really love to have ah, natural reference like this. You can really get in close and see it from different angles. And look at all the details of off the flower. You can see it has this Ah, hot branch and then it goes out in these the smaller branches with the flowers there actually quit, textured and uh, and has a very rough etch. And I think that's the most characteristic about them, besides from the fact that they have very soft and they're beautiful. 3. Minimalism: So now that we're going to work with a less is more approach to this painting. I wanted to briefly talk to you about minimalism as a art form, because that's actually what we're going to to mimic. Ah, minimalism is from the beginning in the sixties, and it's a school for abstract painting and sculpture. Uh, and as you can see, I just wrote a definition here or I borrowed it from free dictionary dot com. Uh, it emphasized extreme simplification of form. Ah, and it uses basic shapes and the monochromatic palettes off primary colors. Um, so we're talking red, yellow and blue mostly, and the basic basic shapes. So circles and, uh, and the squares and shaved like that. And you might think, Where's our cotton flower or sweet and soft cotton flower in this very simplistic art? But I'm going to go in and look at the principles off minimalism and how we can apply to our our project to create some very powerful art. Now, first, we have qualities off minimalism as the traditional form, and it's very focused based, uh, so you kind of get rid of everything else. All all the confusing elements and just have one focus. And that creates kind of a higher truth on a pure form, purified form of beauty, Um creates, actually a very harmonious in the simplistic piece of art, which is very focused. And there's only one message here, and we can totally create this, um, less is more painting out of these principles. And we're going to do that by using a very simple motive. We're only going to focus on our current flower. We're going to use a few colors and I say road a few colors of monochromatic because you're gonna apply it into other painting his wealth. But the as a years old in our materials lesson, we're going to use four colors that are very close. Then we're going to only focus on shape and texture off this cutting flower. And hopefully, by using this method, we're going to create a very powerful piece. I know we were. So let's get focused and stop painting 4. Grab your brushes: So now we've come to the fun part, and that is painting the cutting flower. And I'm just going to put a reference here so you can see it. And of course, you can download this as well. Uh, and I'm going in from the top here. And when looking at a reference like this other a photo or a natural reference, it's good to take a nice, long, lucrative and actually see what it is we want to paint, and we don't have to to replicate it totally. Don't and I never really seemed to copy it, but I do want to get the basic shapes and the catcher restrict characteristics of the off them achieve. And especially when we are painting very simplistic painting like this, we want to to figure out what it is that makes this motive. Ah, special. And I think the special thing about the cutting flower is those. It's not the pedals. It's kind of the the very dry leaf shape that cups the the cotton. It really gives it a nice contrast between the the rough edges and the cotton. So we want to focus on that, and, as you can see I paint it a few dots of color on the top, and that's because most of the top flower is white. Um, and I'm just going to wait a little before I add clean water. It's that mix and then I'm going. I just painted this second flower while waiting a non going very, very clean water to see. I'm renting my brush very thoroughly, just stepping most of the water off and just painting with clean order and then, um, touching the color in a few places. Not very much. We don't want the brown to bleed into all the water. We just want a few spots, and I'm going to Suman in the second Sercan. You can see the next one up close, but the principle is that you paint with with the clean water and just touch in a few places. And then I'm just going to very lightly Deb in us a little bit of Payne's gray just to give it. And I said, Definition and a little bit of shadow. Now you can see assumed in here, and, uh, hopefully you'll be able to to see the next one here a little bit easier and see the clear water just bleeds very smoothly into it. And because we waited a little, the pain is not entirely wet, and we can control it a little better. We do want the pain to be kind of, uh, not dry, because then it wouldn't bleed, but not very wet, so it would bleed all over just a little. Payne's gray here as well, and tried to make the water. It's just a little fluffy, so we can mimic that softness of the of the coven. We're going to go in and add details a little later. But but the cotton, it's harder to do at the details. It's easier with our, oh, dry leaves. And I'm just going to add in the stem here. Um, and I'm constantly looking at my my reference, and I'm I'm doing that not to copy it. You can see it's not the same, but I am going to look at it, too. Two references shape and how the hell pick the the flowers are India just I just felt that the tough one was a bit smaller, Uh, compared to next one to try to make it a bit better, bigger? That happens all the time when I'm painting. So if you feel like you're making mistakes, don't get discouraged. You can You can fix it on the way. And I'm just working my way down here, uh, and trying to to figure out where I want my cutting flowers to be behind the stem. Um, and where I want them to overlook, especially with them achieve like this. We want a little bit of excitement. I'm just stabbing a little more color in in the ones that I already painted just to give it a little more depth. And I I just waited a few seconds for it to dry so we can add the third flower here on the left, and that is one that's going to be behind the other ones. And you can see I'm being very loose with my strokes here. Just trying to get a road rough bitch. Um, with my my burned number here. And I'm using burn number for most off the off the leaves and stem and just adding in some lemon dik Browne to give it a nice contrast and and shadow, I'm just trying to work behind this Demas. Well, here and just dabbling in a little more color food, Foot depth. And this is actually a super relaxing way to paint. Don't have. You don't have to think too much. Just look at your reference and and paint what you feel You You see, you can see em. My paint is already drying a little bit here, but I'm going to add in my water doing it loosely and trying to see how far you get with my my Payne's gray here just stepping it in the places. But I want my shadow to be. And I felt that that the stem here was a little bit too narrow. So I just added in, uh, a bit of pains. Great, actually. But also someone deck. And remember, we're going to add a few details to thes the use afterwards and now I let this dry a little bit more and then we can work on our fourth flower here, which is going to be an overlapping one. And that's why I'm starting further down to stem here and didn't paint to stem all the way down. And I'm actually at this point realizing that I kind of overestimated my the size of my paper. So instead of off painting this this flower in the angle that it's actually, uh, positioned in in the flower, I'm just going to angle it a bit more so we can add in one more because I really want my this composition to consist of full five flowers and not for I think that's that creates a more harmonious composition. And I added a little bit off yellow once a yellow deep. So this one and I actually did that to the second floor as well. And I'm just doing that to create a little more. A little highlight on the little, just a little excitement in the Browns so it won't get, you know, only Brown. Um, even though we're going to going this minimalistic and less is more approach, it's okay to Teoh. Give all motif some excitement. Yeah, I'm adding in a stem as well. And as you can see, the stems have a lot of of textures. Well, so don't just focus on on the flowers. Focus. Under the branches world, it's actually super interesting and has a lot off small bumps and textures. And now I'm just waiting a few seconds for it to dry a little. And the the reason I'm waiting here is because I want my my last flower to be behind the flower just painted and just to prevent it from from bleeding into my last flower, I wanted to be fairly dry. And you can, of course, estimate. How long do you want it to dry? And since we're not painting the whole Brian's here, we only painting the top. Actually, I'm just going to finish it off by by making a nice, pointy stick here. I think that's a nice way to end in the brains broken. Do it however you like. And I'm just going to loosely put in my my final sour here, and this is very much a testicle license, and that is our privilege as painters and artists. And otherwise it wouldn't fit our paper. Um, perhaps you can calculate your motif better than I can, and then the heads off to you. But I'm doing it this way. Is the totally same procedure. I'm just pending with with my clean water and letting it touch a little. And here I'm just adding a little more paint just to make sure that bleed, because it was actually drying up really fast. Um, you have to probably play around a little with the water paint ratio just to get it. Just get it right. Um, I painted this motif several times before I filmed this just to get a feeling of how the paints would move in, especially the coven. And now I want to create a little movement. You know, motif. You don't have to do this, but I do like my splatters. So I'm just filling up a little brown in my brush. You just stepping and I want my movement to go from the bottom to the top. So I'm only going to put my splatters up there so we can of move the eye up there And also because my top flower is very, very white, and I want a big contrast. Bit of contrast with my most letters and I do feel like this platter is not quite enough. It's all very small. So I'm going to add my and the most blood on the blade bigger splatter with this bigger and natural brush. Uh, because it holds more water so it can make some nice biggest letters and that actually creates is a very small detail, but it creates more texture and more movement when you have different sizes of off off splatters. And now that it dried, we can go in and add a little I need a little bit of detail and I'm using my eyes more brush, No before and the nice thing about these synthetics are that the, uh, very pointy. And I love that, uh, this is a golden brush from my my local crafts store. The, uh, very nice and I'm not. As you can see, I'm not adding a lot of texture, but I am going to add just a tad to make it more interesting and just a little more shadow on the branch. And since it is such a simple motive, it's it's, uh, it would be a shame to totally over work it with with the details. But as you remember, the important thing about the Matif as I So it was the the rough edges and the softness off the coven and comparison. So the most detailed I'm going to add is actually roughing up poets. It is a bit and just, uh, make them stand out a bit more and see I did it with the top one, especially in. I really love that. But where you can see on all leaves that they have some very nice texture as well. And I want to just add in a bit of that as well. And I'm mostly doing this with my Ventak Brown, So there's not much color mixing here. We are just working with our pants at the morning. Of course, you can color mix in. That will be totally fine as well. But I do like to sometimes just, you know, turn off the brain and just go with whatever's in my pants. Um, and especially with the motive like this, where we don't want too many colors. See, I'm just roughing up those edges here. A swell and such. It's such a beautiful motive. Uh, this couldn't flower. I just started painting it this year in the seriously. Can't figure out why. Haven't done it before because they are so amazing, beautiful and just so soft. And that contrast between the hostages and softness are amazing. I love it. You see, I'm not doing that much. I actually didn't speed this video up at all. So it's not a emotive ticks. A lot of time. You can do it in half an hour easily, and I think that is it, actually. So let's assume out. And look at the the fun result you. And here you have it, our coven flower in a very minimalistic but super powerful style. 5. Wrapping up: Thank you so much for taking this class with me. I really hope you got inspired souping a little more simplistic. We don't always have to have super elaborate motive. Teoh. Create something powerful. I hope I got through with that message in this class. I love to see your projects and you don't have to paint cotton flowers. Of course. Use the Perak principles on any motive you like. But I've loaded to the project gallery and I come on. Anything on everything. You, your posts. I'd love to see it. And if you posted on Instagram is well, do tech me and use my head stock And you can see that in just a second. And if you like the class, please leave a review. So other students confined the class easier. It helps him a lot and it always makes me happy to get a review. So thank you so much. And I think that is it for now. So grab your brushes and stop painting some simplistic motives and we'll see you next time