Modern Anemones - Painting White Winter Flowers in Watercolor and Ink | Camilla Damsbo Brix | Skillshare

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Modern Anemones - Painting White Winter Flowers in Watercolor and Ink

teacher avatar Camilla Damsbo Brix, Teaching Whimsical watercolors

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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.

      Painting White flowers


    • 5.

      Painting the Bouquet


    • 6.

      The splashy Background


    • 7.

      Final details in ink and glazing


    • 8.

      Let's wrap up


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About This Class


In this class I’ll show you how to paint beautiful white anemones. We’ll cover: 

  • Sketching different angles
  • Painting white flowers
  • Painting the splashy background wash

I teach in a fun and relaxed style to make the process accessible to everybody.

So grab your brushes and come paint with me.


Oh and if you have trouble finding my Pinterest account - then it's right HERE :)

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: Intermediate

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1. Welcome to class: Hi guys, and welcome to class. I'm Camilla and I'm a watercolorist from Denmark. Today, we're going to cover the very tricky subject of watercolor, which is painting white. As you probably already know, there's not much white paints that goes well in water color unless you want something very opaque. We're going to paint white without painting white. We're going to do that by painting these white anemones. I'm going to take you through the whole process, from sketching, to painting at your flower and doing some final details in fineliner and glazing. To top it off, we're going to paint this splashy background. Both for the very cool modern effect, but also to make the flowers really stand out. This is also your class project, and I would love to see your projects. Please find me on Instagram and check me there. Of course, upload your project to the project section. I always comment on student projects, so please do that, and I'd love to see your work. There's nothing much more to say, then let's get started. Let's start by looking at some materials. 2. Tools and Materials: Now let's start by looking at some materials and first of all, we have some pencils for sketching. These are 2B, 3B, and 6B, but you can use whatever you have. I like to have something that's fairly light and a pencil that's pretty dark to make some shadows. Then I have copy paper and this is regular thin paper, you can use whatever you have In the Carbon machine. Then we have watercolor paper, it's a little more important you have to have something that's fairly heavy and it can hold a lot of water, I use 300 grams and it's from Canson. Then I have three round brushes here, they are a small, a medium, and a large, and the small one is a 2 and the two other ones are 8, but they are different sizes because of the brand. So small, medium, and large, and make sure they have a nice tip to them. Then I have a pallet here, just a plastic pallet with three paints, Payne's gray and Lemon yellow, and a SAP green. These are Winsor and Newton paints and these are all we are going to need for this exercise, and I'm just going to mix them up in the pallet as we go. Now of course, we have water and tissue as always in watercolor painting, and finally we have our two fine-liners here and this is a 0.05 and 0.1. They are different brands, and the brand is not important. The important thing is that they are waterproof, so they can withstand all our water splashing and that is it for now. 3. Sketching: Let's start by finding some reference photos to sketch from. I just found Pinterest here. As you can see in my own profile here, you can find that easily. I'm just scrolling down the feet here and just giving you an overview of how it looks. If you go to the top of my profile here, there's boards. I created a board with pitches of anemones for inspiration. If you go to the board that's called Pretty florals, this one, there's a section, All Anemones and they are beautiful. Remember we're not going to copy these, but we're going to use them as a reference so I'm going to find one that I like and I like this shape. In the sketching process, we're just going to look at different shapes and try to sketch that out and just get a feeling for the flower, how many petals are there and how do they curve and what lines do we see in the photos? We're not going to copy this photo and I think that's very important. We don't want to copy anyone's art. We just want to be inspired by the flower and then create our own art. As you can see, I'm being pretty loose here. I'm just trying to see whether the petals fall thus these petals in front, and then there's petals in the back as well. That creates a lot of dimension in the flower. I think that's pretty nice. It's always good to look at the imperfections of the flower as well because imperfections really create any unique piece. Now I'm just going to draw the middle of the flower here with my 6B, and you can see it's a lot darker than the other sketch strokes then I'm going to roughly sketch out where the petal flows, which direction. We're going to use this later on where we are not going to use a reference photo besides from this sketch. We're going to use the sketch from then on. These strokes are very nice to have and we are just going to do a couple of como. It's really nice to have sketches of the flower from different angles. We're not always looking at a flower from direct, we're always looking at them in different shapes and different angles and when we want to create a composition like we are going to do later, it's really nice to have a variety of angles. This one is from the side and you can see the middle is just peeking out and creating a lot of interests. Then you can't see as many petals in this flower as you could before but we still want to go to get that feeling of the enough petals and the outer pedals. Here I'm just going to do the center again and these small strokes in the center is really characteristic for the anemone as you can see in the reference photos and we want to capture that. Again, I'm just doing some light strokes here to show the direction of the petal. Here you can see the setup. I have my reference photos and Pinterest and just doing a lot of sketches and also did some sketches of the leaves so we can use that later on as well. 4. Painting White flowers: Now, the moment we all been waiting for. Let's try to paint some white flowers. I'm going to use this paint gray and it's a cold gray. If you have any another gray, you can use that. I'm just going to put some in my pallet and then I'm just going to put some water down here. We're going to water this down a lot. There's a lot of pigment in the paint gray. As you can see, I put a bigger amount of water in one side of the pallet and a little less water in the other side so we can get some shadows. I am going to paint this loose. Right now, I'm just putting down some water, it can be a little bit difficult to see. I'm just going to put up the sketch we did earlier here. Now, you can see I just dab in a little of the water down paint gray here. Now, I'm going to draw the shapes with my brush in water and just dab in a little gray as we go along. When I do these petals, I'm not going to paint the middle, not yet. I'm trying to make the petals touch a bit so they bleed into each other and look like they belong together. But you can see I'm mostly using water and then just adding a little gray where I think there might be a little bit of a shadow, or I just want to define the petal a little. Here in the middle section, I'm just going to add a little darker tone to the petal. As you remember from the photos and you can see it in the sketch, we have a very dark middle and we're going to paint that in a little later. But we're going to leave it now because this is fairly wet. If we painted it right now, it would bleed a lot. That could be a style choice, but for me, I'm just going to wait a little. Now, I just zoomed in here to show you a little closer, how I'm painting this flower from this side. Again, mostly painting with water but just dabbing in a little color. As you remember, water colors do dry a lot lighter than one we paint. Even though this looks pretty dark or pretty gray, it is going to dry up lighter and be a very nice [inaudible] hopefully colored or at least white. We want the paper to shine through, that is the most important thing, that is after all white. Now, I'm going in with a thicker paint here and I'm just dabbing with the tip of my brush here. You can see, I'm letting it bleed into the wet petals. If you've did this a couple of minutes ago, it would have bled a lot. Here, I'm mostly letting it bleed in the top because the front petal is in the front, so we don't want that to bleed too much. You can see the top one did actually bleed a lot, but I've really liked the effect of that loose effect. Now, I'm just going to do a little green and yellow mix here. Because as you saw on the reference photo, we have a little green on some of the petals. I think, that makes it a nice contrast and helps define the flower even more. Even though we have a white flower, you can easily use colors. Often, white flowers are actually colored by the surrounding flowers or the leaves so you can use that too to your advantage. I'm just doing a small pulp here. As we talked about before, it's nice to have a variety in shapes and angles, so it's also nice to have some pulps, of course. This is only practice you can do as many as you like. I'd love to see your practice work as well. Upload that in the project gallery as well, that could be super fun. If you have questions to ask them and I'll try to answer them. But be loose, that is definitely most fun and I think it works really well with these type of flowers. Now, it's dried a lot more. I'm just going to add even more dark to the middle. It is really dark and we wanted to stand out especially because the dark color makes the white stand out even more. It's even more important in this type of flower than if you were, let's say, painting red or a blue flower. Remember, this is still a little wet. I'm just going to paint a little detail in water color just to shape the flower a little and create some interest. This is a style choice, you could do this in fine liner. I'm going in with my fine liner afterwards, and you can choose to just do that, or you can do like this. I like to mix it up. I think, it creates some interest and some texture in the flower. You can see now that the petals actually get a little shape. I really like that because when you're painting loose like this, it can turn a little blubish, and we don't want that. We're just trying to define it a little. Now, I'm just going in with my green here as well. I'm going to mix it up with some of the Payne's gray that we used for the flowers to create a nice dark green for the leaves. The leaves are funny on anemones. We're going to paint them loose like the flower. They're, I'm not sure how to describe this, whimsical, might be the best word. You can just paint them lightly and have fun with it. If you loosen up your stroke, it's easy to get these wiggly painted lines here. Paint as many as you like. It's super fun, and I'm actually really in love with these leaves. I'm going to use them later on in some other project, I think, because they are so fun to paint. I'm just going in with my small brush. Again, adding more paint here to the middle. It bleeds a lot so it's good to keep adding color till you get the result you like. Then I'm going to paint the small stamens here on the outside of the middle here. As you remember, they are really defining for this flower so it's important to have them. I'm just going to swim in a bit here. If you're not confident with using this, you can do a fine line as well. That will totally look amazing as well. I'm just going in to do the same but only on the top of course, because we have the front leave here in the front. You can see it's just small strokes really. It's super easy, and I'm just going to check if it's dry. I did let it dry in the middle. It didn't dry like in an instant. But now, I'm going in with my fine line. First, I'm going in with a very fine liner thing, and just defining my petals here. I am going to look at the sketch. It's nice to have your sketches close by. I have them right next to me when I'm painting, and I'm not going to do an exact copy of my sketch. I could do that, and that would probably be great as well but apparently, I just don't do it. Tend to forget to do it. But I really like the looseness of the strokes when you just let go of the process. You can see I'm not doing the exact outlines. I'm just winging it and defining it a little. Now I'm going to do the the strokes that show the petals shape. You remember we did this on the sketch and they are super important, you can see how it really makes the flower a little three-dimensional, and I really like that. I think it makes the piece pop a lot more. Even though it is a loose painting, we do want a bit of definition. These strokes also, of course, help when it is a white flour to make it stand out from the paper. Now I'm just going in with my little thicker fine line just to make some of the strokes a little bigger. I'm going to do that because it does define them a little more and does create some hierarchy in the strokes. You can see it's mostly where you want shadow and wants the petals to stand out a little more. Mostly, we want the foreground to stand out more than the background, and I think that we did it with this piece. That's pretty cool. Now for the final detail, and that is a little bit of glazing just underneath the petals here. In places where we want shadow, and that is again just to make the petals lift a little from the paper. You have to work fast, and you can see I was actually a little slow here. But when you're glazing like this, you want to put damping and then you want to water it down with a damp brush to get rid of that edge. I'm not going to do this a lot. I'm just going in a little with some small details and you can do how much you like. But I think this is enough. We're just going to do the same here on the bottom flower here, just roughly sketching out the petals. You can see it's super helpful to have this sketch close to you. It's so nice to have something to look at, and it's really nice to know that it's your own and not something you are copying from somewhere. You see again, I'm going to do my defining strokes here. Just darkening the middle a little too, and I'm just going to do the same here with the bulk as well. I'm mostly going to do my strokes in the button because that's where my shadow would be, and then I'm going to do it with the leaves as well. Don't outline it. You can actually hold your fine line super loose in your hand, and just do some weakly lines, and it'll look really cool. Just going in with the bigger one here. Just defining a couple of edges here. I hope you get the point of this. Otherwise, just ask and I'll try to explain it a bit better in the comment section. Now I'm just going to zoom in here so you can see the finished results. 5. Painting the Bouquet: Now that we learn the starting technique of painting white flowers, I'm just going to do a little demonstration here of painting a white bouquet with the anemones we just learned. I'm going to use the same techniques, but I'm going to speed it up a lot, so you can just follow along in the process, and hopefully you'll get inspired to do the same. You can see it is really a lot of the same. It's the same shapes as well. You can easily follow along by using the shapes we just learned before. But I just want to put on some music now and let you enjoy it. This clip is about five minutes, so it's not that long, and I hope you'll enjoy it and get inspired, and we'll get back to paint the background in a second. I hope you enjoyed watching this process come along, and hopefully you got inspired to paint it yourself. But for now, we're going to look at the splashy background that's really going to make the painting stand out. I'll see you in the next lesson where we're going to have some fun. 6. The splashy Background: Now before we are going to jump into the background, I'm just going to show you a little technique on hard and soft edges. What I'm doing here is hard edges. I'm just going to put my brush down and use the tip of my brush to create a very nice hard edge in my stroke. You can see I'm painting a shape here, just a regular circle shape. Just to show you the effect of the hard edge. With the tip of my brush, I'm just going to touch the line of the circle here. You can see I get a nice crisp line for the circle and actually painting the negative space around the circle. That is a hard edge. Now I'm going to paint a hard edge as well here. Very nice crisp line here. But I'm going to soften it. I'm putting a lot of water and you can see I'm holding my brush a lot different now and I'm just softening the edges here. Just soften it with nice water wash here. You can really see the difference in the hard edge and the soft edge. Here you can just add more paint in wet and wet. You can easily do that to the wash as well. That is actually the technique we're going to use in the background. Hard edges and soft edges. Now I am just going to soften that because it's always fun to soften those edges. I love that. It looks amazing, you can use it for a lot of things. I just wanted to show you that. Now we're going to jump into the background. Here we have emanates from before. I'm going in with my big brush here. It can hold a lot of water. I want to create like a direction here of my background. I'm just going in drawing with my brush, I only have water on it at the moment. You can see I'm trying to do a hard edge around this right flower here. Now I'm just going to dab in color. This is my a Payne's gray. I'm doing it a lot darker than I did with the flowers, because we want the flowers to stand out as white. A great way to do that is to make the background darker of course. I'm just putting in a little sap green here as well. I'm using the same colors as I did in the flowers, but just more saturated. It can be a little difficult to get in here with the finer details. But use the big brush for the bigger, of course areas. You can switch brushes in the process. As you saw, I just splashed a little color as well. I do that during the process, I'm not doing it only in the end because I want some of the splashes to blend in with the background and have some of them to stand out. You can see I'm really just softening the edges and now I just switch brushes here. That is because there's a lot of detail here. I'm just painting with water right now and just letting the paint flow with the water and just painting around this different shapes that we painted already. This is actually negative painting, which I taught in my last class, which was only on negative paintings. You can check that out if you like, I painted a mistletoe. That sounds very Christmasy, but you can easily use the technique even if it's not Christmas. So no worries there. It's a very nice technique to know, especially when you are painting white flowers, it just makes it pop a lot more. You can see I'm splashing here and it blends very nicely in with the background, but still creates a texture that's different from the wash. Here again, I'm just going in using the tip of my brush to paint the negative space here. I am doing it pretty wet because then I can dab in a little color and make it look like it's not painted directly on dry paper. I want that wet on wet technique because that's part of the look that we're going for. Try to make sure that you have the same colors on each side of the flowers. It looks the same. It's not broken by any of the lines. Don't be too precious. Again, this is a loose style and we embrace whitespace and all the love that comes with it. Don't worry too much and just have fun with this. This is a super fun technique and I'm really loving this. You should really just enjoy it and just watch the colors bleed into the water. It's magical and really what makes watercolors so fun. Now I'm just doing the same here as I did down below. Just doing a very nice loose wash with my brush here and adding a lot of color. I really want to have a lot of dark colors. More splashes, always more splashes. I want my dark colors because that really creates some dimension. If the wash gets to light, it just doesn't make sense. We want to create a nice dark wash and use the colors that we used in the painting. You can see I'm splashing a lot and that is because it creates a lot of texture and some movement to the painting as well. I really love that when can I get some movement here. Now I just looked at the painting I wanted a little more of this background down here and you can just step away from your painting once in a while just to see if your composition is right. If you want to take down the background a little in the sides, or if you want to do something else, but be courageous and let the water do the work. I think that's the most important thing. We have to embrace that looseness of watercolor. Now I'm just going in with my very fine tip here and doing a little detail work around the edges just to make them stand out even more as those hard edges that we just discovered or just practiced before. As you can see, the hard edges really makes the flowers stand out from the background. They really come out as being white now. Even though they are actually, most of them are grayish with a little green, but still they're gray. But this background really makes them pop. Make sure you don't. You can see I'm just softening some of my edges because they did turn out a little hard and I don't want my hard edges to be in the wash. I want my hard edges to be around the flowers. You can go into the temp brush and just softening some of the edges there. Now we'll let it dry and go in with some final details. 7. Final details in ink and glazing: Now that we painted our background and made sure that it is really dry, we can go in and do our final details in fine liner. I have to really emphasized that it has to be super dry. This background does get very wet and if you try to paint with your fine liners on a wet surface, it will be super weird and just stopped working throughout way too many fine liners because I thought they just stopped working and it turned out I just painted on a wet surface, so don't do that. Learn from my mistakes. I'm just going in and just especially my outer edges here are important because they help define the flower from the background but we don't want to outline it completely. You can see the part of the flower that is outside the background. I leave it like that because I think it has a nice flow to the flower and makes them softer. But you can get a more graphic look if you outline a completely that is totally up to you. You can see I'm just doing my defining strokes here just to show which direction the petals have and keep your sketches close-by, even in this part of the process. If you can just drop in a little curve or a little bent to some of the petals. It looks really nice and creates some interests to the flower. You can see this really helps to make the flower stand out even more from the background. Just create some dimension. But we can't outline and we shouldn't outline everything. With this flow is style. We really want to be super loose even with with our fine liners. Though it is an intimidating media because we can really do it over. But I think that is enough with the fine line. I'm just going to go into the final glaze here and just trying to define a little shadow when the petals overlapped. You don't have to do this. That's totally up to you. I just liked that it just creates a little more pop of a flowers and just a little more dimension. it's just putting down a little color and using a damp brush to even it out and make soft edges. Yes, you can use it here as well. You can actually try to touch the background a little to make it a bleed, a little into the flower that would look really nice as well. I did that by accident and that is well, an accident and you can just embrace it, have embraced the happy accidents. That's often when grayed out happens. Just have to be happy about that. You can see it's very little paint that I put down at this stage. We don't want to overwork it and do too much and we don't want to get rid of that white look by putting down too much paint. A little goes a long way. But just defining the shadows. I think that is it for now. I'm pretty happy about this. Let's just have a look at the final process. Here you have it. We started sketching and a lot of flowers from our reference photos. Then we painted some flowers and did a little exercise in hard and soft edges. This is the result, and now it's your turn. 8. Let's wrap up: Thank you so much for taking this class with me. It's been super fun and I hope you learned a new technique to make you more confident in painting white or at least white flowers in watercolor. If you like the class, please leave a review. If you have any questions at all suggestions for my next classes, please write them in the comment section, I'll be happy to answer anything. If you want to know when my next class is out, which is probably going to be something about flowers, definitely watercolor, hit the ''Follow button' and I'll notify you when it's outs. Now, it's your turn to paint. I can't wait to see it, so please upload it in the project gallery and check me on Instagram. I'd love to see and comment and probably share some of your gorgeous works. Grab your brushes and get started. I'll see you next time.