Watercolor Herb Garden, A Guide to Painting Expressive Herbs and Florals | Katrina Pete | Skillshare

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Watercolor Herb Garden, A Guide to Painting Expressive Herbs and Florals

teacher avatar Katrina Pete, Watercolor Artist

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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 to Herbs Watercolor


    • 2.

      Welcome to my Studio!


    • 3.

      Supplies Herbs


    • 4.

      Water Control


    • 5.

      Leaf Practice


    • 6.

      Brush Techniques herbs


    • 7.

      Lavender First Layer


    • 8.

      Lavender Leaves


    • 9.

      Lavender Second Layer


    • 10.

      Sage Part 1


    • 11.

      Sage Part 2


    • 12.

      Sage Part 3


    • 13.

      Closing Thoughts


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About This Class

Welcome to my class! 

I’m a watercolor artist and surface pattern designer. My subjects often feature botanicals, florals, landscapes and all sorts of creatures.

Today I want to focus on painting herbs straight from the garden. We will be working with an expressive style while emphasizing brush technique often called ‘dancing with the brush’.

This in depth course includes complete voiceover while I paint in real time.  We will create a pair of paintings of lavender and sage while I teach some basic foundations of watercolor painting including brush technique, layering, wet into wet and dry brush painting.

I hope you can bring a piece of the garden indoors with you, and have a pair of beautiful paintings ready to hang on your wall.

Feel free to trace the attached images if it helps my paintings if it helps!


  1. N0. 6 or 8 round brush. A ten would work too. I’m using a princeton Neptune round number 8 and another natural hair number 8 (it’s an old brush so the brand is wiped off the handle, but I’ve been using it for over a decade.)
  2. Princeton Neptune 1/2 Oval Wash (This brush is part of the Princeton Neptune Starter Set, it’s a great brush for florals and botanicals.
  3. Winsor Violet by Winsor&Newton( a highly recommended purple shade of paint, as it has a wide value range ) but other brands will work great too. 
  4. Holbein Lilac (not a necessary color for this course, but it’s a softer paler hue. If you have just one purple tube of paint, you can also mix a bit of white watercolor paint or white gauche with it to create a paler hue. 
  5. Touches of cobalt blue
  6. Sap Green by Winsor&Newton, but you can mix this shade easily with permanent green and raw sienna or another shade of yellow. Sometimes I add a bit of blue to make my greens lean a bit more sage.
  7. Any shade of a darker brown, I’m using Vandyke brown, but raw umber, or burnt umber would work too.
  8. Paper : cold pressed 140lb watercolor paper. It has some texture and works great with loose and expressive brush techniques. I’m using Arches, but waterford, fabriano, and other brands are great too. I’ve used Canson , but I’ve found that it dries unevenly sometimes. I use it mostly for color studies and practice.
  9. White artists tape, but masking tape will do too. Artists’ tape is acid free so it won’t cause discoloration of your paper over time. But I often use masking tape and just remove it promptly once the painting is dry.

Any palette will do, I’m using a ceramic palette with wells and some room for mixing colors. I prefer ceramic because the water doesn’t bead up on the surface while mixing.

Paper towels or a cloth for dabbing off excess water.

A cup of clean water and a cup for dirty water

I will provide a sketch if you’d like to trace the herbs before painting them. Sometimes this helps to build confidence before attempting to paint without a sketch.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Katrina Pete

Watercolor Artist


All of my paintings and illustrations are dreamed up in my happy little home studio in Minnesota. My painting career began with my Etsy Shop, and soon turned into commissioned work and illustration for a large card company. I love teaching, and I love helping other artists improve their skills and techniques. Please contact me if you have any questions. I hope you enjoy my video tutorials!

I love the way the colors blend into one another, hard and soft lines on textured paper, the luminosity of the pigment and the meditative state that happens with good coffee, sunshine and a paint brush.

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1. Intro to Herbs Watercolor: Hello. Welcome to my class. My name is Katrina Pete. I am a watercolor artist and surface pattern designer. I live in Minnesota with my two small children and husband. I love painting in my backyard during the summer months, with the birds chirping in the background and leaves rustling in the breeze. My subjects often feature botanicals, florals, landscapes, and all creatures. In this class, we will focus on painting herbs straight from the garden. We will be working with an expressive style while emphasizing brush technique, often called "Dancing with the brush". Painting [inaudible] on watercolor is a great way to capture movement and life in your botanicals. In this class, we will cover a variety of techniques, including wet into wet painting, dry brush. This is a beginner-friendly course where we will practice making different brushstrokes with our pointed round and becoming really familiar with just the different ways you can create movement and leaf shapes in your paintings. We will be working in layers that really show off the beautiful, transparent nature of watercolor. We will also practice water control so that you can become really comfortable with your paints. By the end of this class, we will have two finished paintings of lavender and sage. I hope to inspire you to bring a piece of the garden indoors with you. In this class, I provide complete voice-over from start to finish and painting real-time so that you can watch the techniques come alive on the paper. I go over each step in-depth so that you can acquire an understanding of watercolor in this expressive style of painting. I will also show you how to embrace some of the unique qualities of watercolor that can't be found in any other way of painting. Thank you for joining me in this class. I can't wait to see your finished paintings. 2. Welcome to my Studio!: Hi. My name is Katrina Pete. I'm a watercolor artist from Minnesota. Today we will be painting lavender and sage. We will go over some basic techniques in this class, it's very beginner friendly. We will also practice brushstrokes, and different layering techniques, and wet-into-wet just so that you can get a feel for how to capture the essence of botanicals and watercolor. This class is really about capturing the essence of the florals and botanicals that you see in your garden. It's not necessarily a class that's about painting any realistic style, it's more about using the expressive qualities of watercolor. In this class, you will have two finished paintings of lavender and sage to hang on your wall or to give to a friend. We will talk about color harmony so that your two paintings look cohesive and look great together on a wall. We will talk supplies. We will practice different brushstrokes and different techniques to achieve this expressive and loose style of painting that's so popular these days. Thank you for joining me in this class. Just remember, no matter where you are in your watercolor journey, whether you're a beginner, intermediate, or you're advanced and you just want to learn some new techniques, or maybe you've never painted botanicals before, this is a great way to practice your observation skills in nature. I encourage you to walk through a local garden or maybe even grow some herbs of your own outdoors or in little pots in the kitchen. It's just a really great thing to have in your house when you wake up in the morning, and you have your tea and your coffee, and you have these lovely smells of lavender in your kitchen. These days I am a mom to a toddler and a baby, so I definitely have some other smells in the mix. Thank you so much for joining me today. I wish you all the best in your watercolor journey. Remember to share your paintings with me and the rest of the class either on Skillshare or Instagram, just tag me. I love to see your work and I would just love to follow you in your watercolor journey as well. Have fun, and let's get started. 3. Supplies Herbs: Let's talk supplies. Now, these are the colors that I used for this lavender piece. I used Winsor violet by Winsor and Newton, and it's a beautiful color. It has a wide range of value. That means, it can go pretty dark, and it can be diluted with water to be very light. I also used Holbein lilac, which is a paler shade. I also used just a tiny bit of cobalt blue. Now for my brown, I used sepia and I also would recommend Van Dyke brown or raw umber, any sort of dark brown will work for this. For my green, I used sap green, but you can also mix this green with yellow ocher, and permanent green is just a yellowy olive green. Now for brushes, I used a number 8 round by Princeton Neptune. It works really well for botanicals. It's pretty versatile. I also have a natural haired brush, that's a number 8 round. I've had this one for a decade, and I use it quite often. I also used a ceramic palette. I just like how the water doesn't beat up the way it does on plastic, but you can use any sort of pallet with a mixing surface. Always keep some paper towels handy, or you can use any dry cloth. I use an ultra fine mist spray bottle to wet my palette, and I also use it quite often when I do really wet-into-wet washes. It's not something I used for this particular painting, but I just think it's something that is worth purchasing, and I believe I got it at Hobby Lobby. For paper, I used ocher's cold pressed. It's 140 pounds, and you can use any 100 percent cotton watercolor paper, but I'm just used to this particular brand. I love it. It's very consistent, and it provides just beautiful surface for washes, and wet- into-wet technique. For the second painting for this sage piece I've been working on, I'm using my oval wash Princeton Neptune brush. This brush is really nice for botanicals, it's great for painting leaves, and petals. It's just really a wonderful brush. There's a special technique when using this brush. It's flat on one end, and when you tilt it to the side, it becomes really narrow, so you can get these broad leaf shapes and then as you turn your brush while you're painting, you can end in a beautiful point. Now, this is just a short demonstration of using this brush. Again, if you don't have an oval wash, I didn't have one until just this past year and I've been painting for about over a decade in watercolors. I've come to use my round brushes all the time. If you don't have an oval wash for this particular piece, you can use your pointed round brush and that would work perfectly. I'll just show you another technique in order to get those broad leaves pointed end. 4. Water Control: In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to control the water to pigment ratio with watercolor. Watercolor is such a beautiful medium to work in when you're painting expressive florals and botanicals. In order to paint expressive florals, I love to work in layers, so this exercise is a perfect way to practice that. This painting came together in two layers. A lighter first wash, which dried completely and then a second darker wash. Typically, my first layer of paint is lighter in hue, and once that dries, I move on and paint darker hues directly on top and you can see here the difference between my first layer and second layer. This is a quick and simple exercise to practice the water to pigment ratio. First you start with completely saturated pigment. Here I'm using my Winsor and Newton Violet, Winsor violet, but you can use any lavender or purple hue that you have. I'm starting with completely saturated pigment with just a tiny bit of water, just to show you how dark you can get. You'll see it's almost as thick as the paint straight out of the tube and it's so dark, it's almost black. This is what I would call close to 100 percent saturation. Next little square we will be painting we'll have just a little bit more water, and you can see it's already a lot more paler in color. With each square, just add a little bit more water and you'll get a lighter and lighter hue. Now you can make these simple color charts with any paint that you have, and I'm going to show you the difference between my Winsor Violet and this Holbein lilac color. Now my lilac tube of paint is more opaque, so it's got a little bit more white added to it, and you can tell the darkest color that you see the most saturated isn't all that dark, it's rather light compared to my Winsor Violet. I'd say the range with this particular color is narrower as far as value goes, but I do use it quite a bit when I paint lavender because it has a nice warm hue. Now here's another little quick exercise to practice the wet into wet technique. You can just take one of your colors. Usually, I would start with a lighter, paler wash of lavender and just create a little section on your paper. Then I want you to take more saturated color and I want you just practice dropping in some color or maybe painting a few little details. I just want you to see how the more saturated color can bloom into your wet wash. I often use a combination of wet into wet and dry brush technique when painting botanicals. You can see here that I'm dragging more saturated color up through my blooms, and it just creates a beautiful soft effect. 5. Leaf Practice: Now, this is a good warm-up exercise to do before you start painting expressive botanicals. I'm using my number 8 pointed round by Princeton Neptune. I'm just going to experiment with different brush strokes. You can practice making straight lines by using your entire wrist and arm and your brush as one movement. I also like to press my brush into the paper to get a thicker stroke and then release at the end to get a pointed leaf. This is great for leaf shapes and petals. Just practice making different movements with your hand and your arm. Another technique I like to do is I press my brush into the paper and just release. You can see a variation. It'll leave a darker area near the base of a leaf or a petal. Now, these are just a few examples of the different effects you can get by painting loosely and varying your brushstrokes. You can start practicing connecting different leaf shapes so that they are one unit so that the color blends evenly into each leaf. By practicing these directional brushstrokes, you can get movement and flow in your paintings. If you have an Oval wash brush, this is a technique I like to use where I turn my brush as I create each leaf stroke. You can start by using the narrow end of the brush and push down to get the full base of the leaf and then lift off by turning your brush again. I really like this brush for florals. You can get lots of different broad strokes for petals too. While your leaves are still wet, we can drop in some color. I'm going to drop in a bit of brown here just to create some variation. Now, this technique of dropping in saturated paint only works if your leaves are still damp. Just go around and practice and you'll find that some of your leaves have started to dry. You'll get different effects if you drop in color on leaves that are nearly dry. This is just a great way to practice water control until you become familiar with how much pigment to water ratio you have on your brush, and also how it interacts with the paint already on the paper. I often use this technique when I'm painting stems that connects to leaves and it just creates a nice flow so that the leaves aren't just a solid green color, they more or less blend into my brown stems. Now right here, I don't have quite enough water in my brown paint, so it's not blending into the green. Here, I just added a little bit more water and there it's flowing nicely into those leaves. 6. Brush Techniques herbs: Now, before we get started in our painting, let's just start with some brush techniques. I'm using my pointed round by Princeton Neptune, and it's that number 8 pointed round. Again, if you don't have an oval wash, you can use any round brush, and with these techniques, you can get those broad leaf shapes and those pointed ends. The important thing is to remember to use your whole arm, especially when you're painting a stem. When you're painting leaves, start by gently putting just the tip of your brush down and then pressing the entire brush onto the paper so it flattens out, and then lifting up to release it, and then you'll get a beautiful pointed end. I'm just going to show this again. You'll be putting just the tip of your brush down and while you drag it, then you push the entire brush into the paper so it flattens out, and you'll get a broad leaf shape, and then you pull up at the very end to release it. Now, once you feel more confident using your entire arm and your hand as almost one piece with your brush, you can start varying your brushstrokes, and this is the fun thing about watercolor and painting botanicals, especially loose botanicals. I want you to try and make just small little expressive marks. Just see what types of leaves and shapes you can make with your pointed round brush. You'll be surprised to see the variety of different shapes you can make just by tilting your hand or your arm a different way. If you're using an oval wash brush, this technique in order to make leaves is very handy. You start by angling your wash brush so that the narrow part of the brush touches the paper first. Then as you drag, as you create that broad leaf stroke, you're going to turn your brush at the same time so that it flattens out, and then as you come to the end of your leaf shape, you're going to lift up so that your brush again comes back to a point. It's very similar to using the pointed round brush technique as in the previous lesson, only this brush is just wider so that you need to turn it in order to get the narrow section and then the wider section. Now, because I want all my leaves to look a little bit different, so they're not just copies of each others, I often just start using this brush on the flat side and then drag it up and release it to a point, and sometimes I just create little gaps, little pockets of whites, and this just gives you the illusion of movement and maybe light sparkling off of the leaves. Now, here's just another technique I use with the oval round. You can use this with a pointed round brush to, it works very similar. I'm making these really narrow stems with my brown, and I'm holding the brush upright so that it just comes to a really fine point, and I'm just doing little small stems that connect into the wet leaves, and you can see how the brown just diffuses right into those wet leaves. That's the look I'm going for. I want it to have a faded watercolor effect. By keeping the brush very upright, almost vertical, you can get extremely tiny lines and fine detail. 7. Lavender First Layer: Whenever I begin a new watercolor painting, I like to start with my four main colors. It can be 3 ,4, 5, whatever you prefer. But in this particular piece, I'm using two different shades of purple and I'm just going to make puddles of color. I've got my Windsor violet in the top-left, and I'm mixing up my cobalt blue. Now that one looked a little bit muddy. I think my blue got a little bit dirty, so, I'm going to start over and just mix a little clean puddle of blue. In the beginning, I try and keep these puddles separate from each other, but it's inevitable that they end up mixing in with each other and that's just fine too. But for now, I'm just creating little areas and I'm not very concerned how dark they are because I can always add more water and make them more dilute. Each of my puddles is leaning a little bit more saturated. I'd say it's probably the second square from the left in each of these rows and that's just because I can always dilute it with more water and make it paler. I'm just going to add some green and a little bit of my lilac in the bottom left. I'm just going to add a little bit of cobalt blue into my green just to make it a little bit less yellowy since the leaves of this lavender plant have a bluish sage undertone to them. Now I'm going to begin by using my round Number 8 brush, and I'm going to start with my paler lilac shade. Now if you don't have this shade, I know it can be hard to find. You can just add a little bit of white to your Windsor violet and make it just paler in color. Now this first layer of paint I'm keeping very light, and pale, and very loose. I'm holding my brush in the middle and sometimes toward the outer end of the handle. This just allows you more freedom of movement, a little bit more of a wilder effect with your watercolor. I'm not too concerned about getting realistic right here because these are expressive botanicals. The lavender plant has these tiny little flowers on each stem, and I'm just painting a cluster of them as though I just plucked them out of the garden. When I paint these flowers, I'm keeping a light end and I'm just dappling the brush under the paper. Now lavender has very tiny, tiny little flowers and they're all spaced out. It's very delicate. I'm just making little irregular spots and creating whitespace between the blooms. Whitespace is really important when you're painting watercolor because it can give you the illusion of light movement. Now while our paint is still wet, we're going to be dropping in some darker purple just in a few areas. I like to create a gradient of value, so we have some dark parts of our flowers and I drop in some of my cobalt blue and just let it mix naturally with your lavender. If you look closely at the lavender plan, the buds have different shades of purple and blue in little bits of silvery white reflecting off their petals. I'm just going to blend a small area here. I just think it looks a little bit too choppy, so, I'm going to add just a little bit of pale lavender. 8. Lavender Leaves: Now I'm going to be using my pointed round number 8, it's my Princeton brush. This one just comes to a finer point than the previous brush that I used for the flowers. Now using your hand and your brush as one unit, just paint one skinny stem going all the way up to the base of your flowers. Then we're going to be making some leaf shapes, just as in our practice video. You're going to just vary the width and the angle, and just make several random little leaf shapes. Now lavender flowers come in bunches along a central line. I'm going to take my green and drag it up through some of those bundles of flowers, and then I'm going to add in just touches of brown. I just want to add an important note here. As I'm painting my central stem, I'm skipping some of the bundles, so you'll see me lift off and then go back in again, and create some space between each bundle of flowers. I don't want to have just one big green line going through the flowers. When I paint expressive botanicals, I like to vary my brushstrokes, and I like to also create contrast between softer areas of color, and bolder brush marks. Here you'll see that I don't always connect my leaves to the stem, I just like to create some white space. It creates the illusion of movement, maybe the lavender is blowing in the wind, I just think it adds some more life to the painting. As I move toward the end of these bundles of flowers, I might add just a few little skinny stems here and there but again, not throughout the whole plant. Now I'm going to mix up just a little bit more darker green and add it to a few areas that I see that are still a little bit damp, and the green again will just flow into those colors. Some of my leaves are a little bit pale, so I'm going to add just touches of darker green here and there, and some of the leaves have already dried. Once this layer completely dries, then we will go over it and add a few areas of darker contrast. 9. Lavender Second Layer: Our first layer has completely dried, and now I'm going to be going over some areas with a darker color. I'm using my Winsor violet mixed with just a little bit of my lilac, but you don't have to use those exact shades of purple again, it doesn't really matter. The whole purpose of the second wash is just to be a little bit darker to create some contrast. I'm using a round number 8. This is my natural-haired brush, and it's just a little bit wider at the end, but you can use a pointed round. It doesn't really matter. I'm just careful to leave some parts of the first wash visible because I really like their contrast. When you use a transparent paint like Winsor violet, you can see the layer underneath and some of the hard edges. I think that's the beautiful thing about watercolor. Now my goal here is to keep this second layer loose and free and airy so that you can still see the layer below. Now overall, I think I want to keep this darker second layer closer to the base of these floral stems, I want to keep the flowers at the very top of the stems, light and pale in color. Now there's just a few areas here that I think I'm going to soften up. They got a little bit too dark. I'm going to use a technique called thirsty brush. I'm just going to go in here and soak up a bit of that color and maybe spread it around a little bit. I just want to soften up some of these areas that got just a little bit too dark. I'm happy with the way it looks right now. Now I'm going to add some even more saturated purple and just drop it into some of the wet areas. Now the bunch of flowers that meets the greenery, I want that to be a little bit darker. I have a more concentrated mixture of green and I'm going to just carefully add it to the base of those flowers. My green leaves are dry, but I'm still going to go over some areas with darker green just to add some more depth. I'm going to add just some darker green directly over these dried green leaves. Some leaves might overlap the layer below and some might not, I just like to create a little bit of contrast so that you can see the first layer and the second layer. I'm going to add a little bit of brown into some of those purple areas that are still wet. Just some of the stems of lavender has a little bit of brown to it. I'm going to strengthen the base of those flowers with some darker brown going into the leaves and into my purple mixture. Now I'm nearing the end of my second layer and I'm just adding a few more tiny details here and there while it's still wet. I painted this piece without a drawing, but I will provide a traced drawing that you can trace yourself and use. 10. Sage Part 1: For this sage piece I used sap green and I used a little bit of raw sienna. I didn't go off of this sketch but you can use a sketch of this piece. I'll post one in the attachments section of this class. Now, I'm just testing out a few brush strokes on a scratch piece of paper. It's really helpful to have a scratch piece of paper nearby so that you can see the strength of the mixture you just made. I am using two wells of color. I'm using more of a saturated green and a little bit paler green. I'm also using a pretty saturated brown and you can use any shade of brown. I'm using Van Dyke brown and I believe burnt umber is a good one to use. CPO is also a good brown to use. Any really dark brown will work well for this. I'm going to start by using my oval wash brush. I've got about a medium saturation mixture of my green, so it's in-between, completely saturated and super light if you refer to your chart. One of the techniques when using this brush is to start by pushing the brush into the paper to create the broad part of the leaf. As you move toward the tip of the leaf, you can rotate your brush so that you're left with just a very fine tip. One thing to keep in mind when you're laying down your first wash of leaves is to do it probably within 10 minutes so that they don't start to dry, but chances are they will and that's okay. Again, this is a loose botanical painting. I'm not trying to be super realistic here, but it's going to have some movement and the brushstrokes are going to be expressive and that's what we're going for. One of the keys to painting expressive botanicals and florals is to just focus on your brushstrokes. You're focusing on using your hand and your arm and your brush almost as one unit. The moment you lay down a brushstroke, try and leave it there. Don't try and go back in and fuss over it too much or you'll end up with a painting that might be too tight. Now since these leaves are still wet, I'm starting to connect them so that they flow into one another. You can see in some areas I've already dropped in more saturated green, just to darken up some of the tips and give some contrast. Now, when I'm looking at this sage plant in front of me, the leaves are in different directions. Some are going toward me and some are away. Some are broad facing and some I just see a sliver of leaf. They reflect some light so I'm leaving some gaps in the leaves, some white space on my paper, and that just gives the illusion of light reflecting off of the leaves. I just painted a little green stem at the base of this sage plant. While it's wet and while the leaves are still wet, I'm going to drop in some darker green and some darker brown mixed with migraine. I'm also going to drop in some brown into my other leaves that are still damp. This will just give a cohesive look to the entire painting by mingling that brown and letting it just blend right into that wet green onto the paper. I'm going to add a few more stems. The beautiful thing about this oval brush is that it comes to a very fine point. When I hold it upright, I can get very fine lines. If you don't have an oval wash, you can use any pointed round brush or skinny rigger brush will work. Again, I love working wet into wet and connecting different shapes. I love when my my darker colors blend right into my paler hues. I'm going to strengthen some areas with a little bit darker brown because when this dries, it always dries later. I'm going to add just a little bit more saturated color here and there. 11. Sage Part 2: Now, we're going to be starting our second layer of paint after the first one is completely dried. I just want to emphasize again that this isn't a realistic botanical painting, this is a painting using expressive brushwork. One of the things I love about watercolor is the ability to embrace some of the happy accidents that happen. Now when I painted this first layer, some of the leaves had already started to dry. So when I dropped in some darker paint, some darker brown in certain areas, it created these blooms and hard edges. Normally or traditionally in watercolor it's often viewed as a mistake. But in a lot of my paintings I've learned to embrace those happy accidents and I think they enhance the medium and they differentiate it from acrylic or oil. Now, let's get started on our second layer. Our first layer has completely dried and I'm just taking a pencil and lightly marking some areas of some leaves that are in the front. This will just help me decide where to place my darker paint. There's a few different ways to place your second layer. What I'm going to do first is just paint one leaf by using a technique where I drop in color directly onto damp paper. I'm just going to take a clean brush with just clean plain water and I'm going to wet one leaf, get it damp, not soaked. I just want it to be slightly damp and then I'm going to drop in some green mixed with brown. I'm looking at my pencil lines and I'm seeing where this leaf meets the leaf in front of it. Now this one is behind that leaf in the front, so where it meets that foreground leaf, I'm going to add my darkest mixture of brown and green, and this will just push that leaf directly in front of it forward. You'll also see I'm using some dry brush techniques here. This leaf is folded in a way where there's a darker part in the middle. So I'm just going to take my mixture and just add some more texture to that leaf. Again, I like to combine different techniques with watercolors. I'm not going to pre-wet all areas with clean water, I'm going to do a lot of dry brush work to get some expressive brush strokes. Now, if you look at a sage plant or pictures of sage leaves, you'll notice they have a central vein down the middle of each leaf. Depending on how the leaf is folded, it'll reflect the light differently. One one of the leaf might be darker, the other will be lighter and it'll have variations within each individual leaf. That's why I use expressive brushwork. I like to just dab in a little stroke here and there just to give some sparkle to my leaves. I'm going to darken up this area a little bit while it's still wet, the darker paint will just drop in and flow into that leaf. This pushes the leaf in front of it even more forward. Now if you are painting from the sketch I provided, you can follow along. Otherwise, if you paint freestyle like I did with these, you might have your own leaves that are in different locations, so it might be a little bit different from mine. Don't worry about it. Just choose some leaves that you want to stand out and others that you want to recede, and the ones that you want to be in the background, darken those up just a little bit. 12. Sage Part 3: The sage plant has a woody brownish stock. I'm going to darken that up in this painting. I just want to take a break here and show you some of the things that I've learned to really appreciate in watercolor. See this edge here? It's a hard edge that dried a little bit unevenly, but I really like the way that looks. I like the way it has an organic look, a feel, and you can see the brushstrokes over the first layer pretty clearly. Since this is the second layer of paint, I want to add a lot of contrast. I'm going in with some very saturated brown. These darker tones will really offset the paler leaves in that first wash. At this point, I think I'm nearing the end of this painting. It's important to always take a step back or to take a break from your work and just look at it from far away, look at it with fresh eyes, and decide where you want to place any more contrast. These two leaves at the top, I want to define a little bit more. I'm adding in just a layer of brown and green paints just over top. I'm softening the edge by taking a wet brush and just erasing that hard edge. Now, that leaf in front is starting to really pop now that I've darkened up the leaf behind it. I'm just going to do a little bit of dry brushwork on top of these leaves just to give the illusion of light and reflection. I'm not going to soften all of these hard edges because I like to be able to see the different layers. I'm just going to do a few light brushstrokes on this leaf and just leave it at that. Maybe at the end, I'll just add a little spurts of paint across the entire painting. You can do this by soaking your brush in that watery paint mixture and then just tapping your brush lightly until you get a spray. Just make sure that you turn your brush every time you flake it on your paper so that your spray is random. You can try different-sized brushes to get different-sized droplets. 13. Closing Thoughts: Working in my garden is another activity I absolutely love. I like bringing fresh herbs and veggies into the house. There is nothing better than homemade ranch dressing with fresh dill. The winters are long and cold here in Minnesota, so every spring I get re-energized in the garden and inspired by the different things I grow. The practice of learning watercolor and advancing your skills doesn't happen overnight. I think of it as a metaphor of plants in the garden. Planting a seed, developing roots, and establishing basic skills is a strong foundation to grow and bloom in your watercolor journey. Each season I renew and try painting different flowers and different botanicals and I approach them in fresh styles. My hope is that you come away from this class with a fresh set of skills and approach to painting the natural world. I hope to inspire you to take risks and move forward in your watercolor journey with confidence. Thank you so much in joining me today in this class. I can't wait to see your paintings, so please share them with me on Instagram or Skillshare. I love to see your work and I'd love to hear where you're at in your watercolor journey. Thanks again.