Watercolor Magnolia: Painting a Stunning Flower with a Smooth Dark Background | Chris | Skillshare

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Watercolor Magnolia: Painting a Stunning Flower with a Smooth Dark Background

teacher avatar Chris, Watercolor artist

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.

      Watercolor Magnolia


    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Introduction and Masking


    • 5.

      The Importance of Tonal Values


    • 6.

      Background - First Layer


    • 7.

      Background - Second Layer


    • 8.

      Removing Masking, Fixing Mistakes


    • 9.

      First Petals


    • 10.

      Bigger Petals


    • 11.

      Darkening the Petals


    • 12.



    • 13.

      Initial Layer on the Twigs


    • 14.

      Leaves and Buds


    • 15.



    • 16.

      Finishing Touches


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About This Class

Welcome to the Watercolor Magnolia class on Skillshare! In this tutorial, we will explore the art of painting a magnificent magnolia flower with a beautiful, smooth dark background. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced artist, this class will guide you step-by-step in creating a realistic and captivating painting of this stunning flower.

Throughout the class, we will cover a range of important aspects of watercolor painting. I will demonstrate how to create a smooth, dark background, providing you with valuable techniques and insights. We will also delve into common mistakes to avoid, ensuring your artwork turns out even more remarkable. Additionally, we will explore the use of masking fluid and I will provide guidance on its application.

One of the highlights of this class will be capturing the mesmerizing play of light on the magnolia petals. I will show you how to bring out the delicate nuances and highlight the beauty of these flowers. The simplicity of painting magnolias makes them an ideal subject for practicing various watercolor techniques and honing your skills.

Moreover, we will focus on painting the twigs, guiding you in capturing their rounded forms and adding depth to your artwork. By the end of this class, you will have gained confidence in painting both the flowers and their accompanying elements.

Throughout the tutorial, you will learn and practice a wide range of skills, techniques, and concepts that will enable you to create your own stunning paintings. To aid you in getting started, I have included helpful resources such as a list of the supplies I used, ready-to-print line drawings in various sizes, and reference photos. You can also draw inspiration and find guidance in my finished painting.

Whether you're an aspiring watercolor artist or simply someone who loves flowers and wants to explore the joy of painting, this class is perfect for you. Join me in this creative journey, and let's bring the beauty of magnolias to life on paper!

Meet Your Teacher

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Watercolor artist

Level: Intermediate

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1. Watercolor Magnolia: Hello there. Welcome to my Skillshare class, where I will be teaching you how to paint a magnificent magnolia flower with a beautiful soft, dark background. My name is Chris and I'm a watercolor and digital artist as well as a teacher. I've been working with watercolors since 2012 and since 2019. I've been sharing my experience and knowledge with others through teaching. Now I'm thrilled to share my expertise with you. In this class. Our focus will be on painting a wet on wet background. And of course, the stunning magnolia flower. I will guide you step-by-step in creating a realistic representation of this exquisite flower. Throughout the class, you will learn and practice a variety of skills, techniques, and concepts that will help you in producing your own beautiful paintings. To help you get started. I will provide you with valuable resources. This will include a list of the supplies I used for the painting, ready to print, line drawings in different sizes and reference photos. Additionally, you can refer to my finished painting for inspiration and guidance. As you work on your own masterpiece. If you're ready to create something beautiful, Then let's jump right in and get started. 2. Class Project: For your class project, I recommend that you paint the entire painting because it will give you lots of opportunities to practice various techniques. However, I know that some of you may prefer white backgrounds, so you can also paint just the flower itself, maybe even without the tweaks. However, because the petals of this flower are almost white in the upper part, I think it would look nice if you add a little bit of some abstract background, at least behind the lightest petals. It will definitely help to bring a sense of light to your painting. I encourage you to share your process shots and final painting with the class. You can upload them to the projects and resources section by clicking on the Create Project button. Adding a short description of your process and any challenges you faced during the creative process can help other students, as well as myself to provide feedback and support. If you have any questions or concerns throughout the process, don't hesitate to ask in the discussion section. I'm here to assist you in any way I can. I also highly recommend that you watch each lesson before diving into painting. This is really important. It will help you become more familiar with the technique and better prepared for what to expect, leading to a more confident and comfortable painting experience. 3. Resources: To help you start your project, I've prepared several resources that you can access in the projects and resources section. Please note that these resources are only available on the web version of Skillshare, not the app. Among the resources you will find the PDF file that includes a list of all the supplies I used for this painting. While you don't necessarily need the exact same supplies, I recommend using 100% cotton paper. For best results. Feel free to use your preferred paints and brushes. In addition, you will find reference photos and my finished painting for reference. I've also provided line drawings in different sizes for you to choose from. You can print the one that suits your needs and transfer it onto your watercolor paper using your preferred method. I painted the magnolia in a 12th by nine size, but you can choose to paint it in a different size. 4. Introduction and Masking: Hello everyone and welcome to my watercolor tutorial on painting magnolias. In this tutorial, we will cover several important aspects of watercolor painting. I'll demonstrate how to create a smooth dark background and share some common mistakes to avoid, will also explore the use of masking fluid and I will provide guidance on its application. I will show you how to capture the beautiful play of light on the Magnolia pedals. This particular flower is relatively simple to paint, making it an excellent opportunity for you to practice various techniques. Lastly, we'll focus on painting the tweaks, and they'll guide you in capturing the rounded forms. I've already prepared my sketch. I almost always prepare it exactly the same way. I start by printing a reference photo and transferring it onto watercolor paper using a light part. Next, I wet both the front and the back of the paper and allow approximately 2 min for the water to soak into the paper. I securely fastened the paper to my gator board using staples and let it dry overnight. The following day. I tape the painting on all four sides, which creates a nice white border around the final artwork. Let's begin our painting process by starting with the background. However, before we dive into painting, we need to mask out our flower. When I work on backgrounds like this, I prefer to mask the main subject in about 99% of cases. It simply makes it more convenient to paint the background without worrying about accidentally covering the flowers with paint. By masking the flower, we can focus only on painting the background without the added stress of carefully maneuvering around the main shapes. I'll be using Winsor and Newtons masking fluid with a yellow tinge. This particular masking fluid contains a yellow pigment that tends to settle at the bottom of the bottle. Prior to using the masking fluid. Gently rotate the bottle instead of shaking it. Shaking it will create unnecessary bubbles. By rotating it gently, you can distribute the yellow pigment evenly. Here I have an old cap from a masking fluid bottle that I like to use as a container. It's convenient to pour a small amount of masking fluid into the scalp and use it from there. It's really important to minimize the exposure of the masking fluid to oxygen because prolonged contact can cause clumping inside. So it's best to keep the bottle open for a short time to avoid this issue. In addition to the masking fluid, we will also need water and a small piece of soap. I have a piece of soap in this container here. When applying the masking fluid, it's essential to use an old brush or a dedicated brush solely for masking or a different tool. Avoid using your good brushes because masking fluid can easily damage them. To prepare the brush, start by dipping it in water and rubbing it on the soap. This thin layer of soap on the bristles will prevent them from sticking together when in contact with the masking fluid. Now you can dip the brush into the masking fluid and begin applying it to the edges of the petals. Take care to apply the masking fluid as carefully as possible. When working along longer edges such as here. You may notice that holding the brush perpendicular to the edge can create a jagged masking line. Instead, try holding the brush at a lower angle and the running it parallel to the edge like this. This technique should result in a smoother masking line. Remembered to rinse your brush and re-apply soap from time-to-time to keep it clean and prevent the masking fluid from drying on the bristles. I'm applying a width of masking fluid of approximately half an inch. In the resources, you can find an illustration showing exactly where I applied the masking. Here's another helpful tip. If you are right-handed, tried to position the edge you are going to mask on the left. Feel free to rotate your painting as needed. I've discovered that when the edge is on the right hand side and I'm right-handed, I tend to make more mistakes and find it more challenging to apply the masking fluid with precision. Continue applying the masking fluid to both the flower and the twigs. At this stage, here's how it should look. Once you finish rinsing your brush and clean it again using soap. Without the soap, the dried masking fluid would cause the bristles to stick together. Using soap helps prolong the lifespan of the brush and they always use it when working with masking fluid. Now let the masking fluid dry completely. In the next part, we'll begin painting the background. 5. The Importance of Tonal Values: Before we delve into painting the background, I would like to share some information about the reference photo. Here is the original reference photo, and as you can see, the background is quite complex. I sell them paint and create tutorials with such intricate backgrounds simply because they require a significant amount of time to complete. Here you can see a painting I did a few years ago that features a similar background with various blurry shapes and lights. It took me around three months, of course, on and off to finish this. Instead of tackling the complexity, I preferred to simplify the background often all I do is blurred the background further. To achieve this, I use Photoshop or in this case, the Procreate app on my iPad. I select the background and apply the Gaussian blur filter, which blends the colors and simplifies the shapes. This type of background works exceptionally well for watercolor painting using the wet on wet technique. It's important to remember for both myself and everyone else, that painting is not a precise science. Our creations don't have to be an exact copy of the reference. We are not aiming for a hyper-realistic painting. While we aim to paint, what do we see? We are always free to make changes as we please. Additionally, It's crucial to note that tonal values are more important than colors. Let's take a look at how tonal values can change a painting. To assess tonal values effectively, it's best to convert an image into black and white. By eliminating colors, we can focus on the lightness or darkness of each tone. In this painting, you can see a broad range of tonal values, ranging from nearly white on the petals to very dark tones on the tweaks. A wide tonal value range contributes depth and realism to a painting and helps to distinguish various objects within the composition. One crucial aspect of tonal values is their ability to create a sense of light through contrast. This effect is particularly evident in the petals, which appear white and radiate a glow in sunlight. This illusion is achieved by surrounding the light tone petals with a dark tones, establishing a stark contrast between light and dark. Understanding and effectively using tonal values is essential for capturing the play of light and shadow and adding depth to our paintings. Let's keep this in mind as we proceed with our artwork. In this version of the painting, it becomes apparent that something isn't quite right. While we can recognize the flower and identify the tweaks, the colors appear washed out frequently when you're not sure of what's wrong with your painting. Incorrect tonal values are often the reason of that. While painting, it can be helpful to take a photo of your art work and convert it to black and white on your phone. This allows you to focus on the tonal values. You can also do the same with the reference photo and compare which areas require further darkening. In this particular painting, the lack of dark tones is evident. Although there are plenty of light and middle tones, the absence of dark tones results in weak contrast between elements. The Magnolia loses heat, vibrant glow present in the original painting. There is no light without darkness. When painting the Magnolia or any others subject, always prioritize assessing your work in terms of tonal values rather than just colors. Continuously, ask yourself, is it dark enough? Should I darken it, or should I make it lighter? Additionally, there is unimportant related point to consider. Avoid going too dark too quickly. If you apply a really dark tones early on, there's no turning back. It's better to exercise patience and gradually build up the tones with a few thin layers instead of immediately applying a dark tone. The reason behind this approach is that when you layer thin washes over each other, you can slowly adjust not only the tone, but also the color of your painting. It's always possible to darken something by, becomes challenging to make it lighter. Now that we've emphasized the significance of tonal values, Let's move on to apply the first layer to the background. 6. Background - First Layer: Now that our masking fluid is completely dry, we can begin painting. The background will be using the wet on wet technique and applying two layers to the background. The first layer will be painted now, and the second layer will be applied once the first layer has dried completely. We'll do this in the next part. Let's start by wetting the entire background. I'm using a flat one-and-a-half inch brush for this step, typically, I will prepare my colors before wetting the background. However, this time we'll be using a technique called the priming method. This method allows you to keep your paper wet for much longer, giving you more time to work on the background. In the priming phase, we apply a layer of water and wait for it to soak into the paper. Preparing it for the subsequent layer, begin by applying a glaze of water evenly over the entire background, ensuring thorough and even wetness. If you notice any puddles of water forming near the masking fluid or edges, use your brush to distribute the water evenly across the surface. Now, let's leave this layer for a few minutes, allowing the water to soak into the paper. During this time, we can prepare our colors. For the background. We'll need quinacridone, magenta, which will also be using for the Magnolia. We also need a nice green tone, which in our case will be a mix of transparent yellow with Winsor blue, green shade. By using these three primary colors, magenta, yellow, and blue, we can create a wide range of colors for this painting. Mixing yellow with blue will produce green. Magenta with blue will give us purple. Magenta with the yellow will create a warmer pink and red shades. And finally, mixing purple with green will result in various neutral tones. And also magenta with yellow will give us orange and with an addition of blue, we will get brown. Take note of how I've arranged my colors on the palette, rather than directly mixing the green in one area. I have placed separate perils of yellow and blue and mix them in the middle. I do this to keep the color ingredients distinct. This way if I need to adjust the green towards a warmer shade, I can simply add more yellow. Similarly, if I need a cooler or darker green, I can add more blue. It's just more convenient to have them readily available on the palette. Now let's return to our painting. I can see that the first water layer has soaked into the paper and the surface is not as wet and shiny as before. Some puddles of water may have accumulated along the masking fluid. But that's perfectly fine because we are now going to apply another layer of water. I like to think about it this way. The first layer has now soaked deep into the paper fibers, keeping the paper moist from within. As we apply the second layer of water, it has no place to absorb to soak in because the previous layer is already inside the paper and it's still wet. So the second layer will remain on the surface for a slightly longer period. This is exactly what we want to prolong the wetness of the paper and allow more time for painting. This is particularly helpful during hot days or in hot climates when the paper tends to dry quickly. Once again, ensure that the entire surface is evenly wet. Remove any excess water and if possible, wipe off any water droplets from the masking tape. I have a personal habit that I strongly recommend you develop as well. Tilt your painting in different directions to encourage the flow of water or paint on the surface. This will prove incredibly valuable when we begin applying the colors. For this step, I'll be using a size 12 brush. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of using a larger brush at this stage. Pick up the first color. In my case, it will be yellowy green, and start applying the paint. Notice that the consistency of my paint is also watery. It's not super watery. It's not a T wash when you barely see the color. It's somewhere in the middle. The color has a middle value. Now things are going to happen very quickly and I hope you're just watching it and not painting. I highly recommend that you watch the process first. Then begin painting perhaps following along with me. The key idea now is to strategically place the colors in specific areas of the background and allow them to naturally blend on their own. I like to think of my brush as merely a tool for transferring the paint from the palate to the paper. I use it only to transfer the paint from my palette to the paper. But I don't really paint with the brush to achieve those beautiful soft color transitions in the background. It's crucial not to overwork it. A common mistake at this stage is using a brush that is too small. Using a large brush that can hold a significant amount of paint allows for applying it with just a few brush strokes. This step may initially appeared challenging as everything may seem chaotic. However, please be patient. Just follow these steps and follow some rules. And it will all come together nicely in the end. So there are a few rules that I would like to mention. The rule number one was to use a big brush. This is really important. Rule number two is to maintain a wet surface. The paper should remain wet throughout the process because we are using the priming method. However, if any area dries up where you intend to apply paint, either reword that spot first with clean water or use more watery paint consistency. Ideally, the paper's surface should stay wet throughout the entire application of this layer. Rule number three is to constantly tilt your painting. I strongly advise against attaching your paper directly to a table surface, for instance, find a support that allows you to freely move until you're painting. This is particularly crucial at this stage. By tilting the painting. We encouraged the paint to spread on the paper and blend with other colors. Notice that I'm not actively trying to blend the colors with my brush. Instead, I'm painting some areas of different colors and relying on the tilting process to naturally blend those colors together. Gravity does the work for me, resulting in those beautiful, smooth color gradients. Rule number four is to be mindful of how much the paint spreads. Remember that at this stage the paint does not remain in the exact spot where you applied. It will spread so it's good to know. So keep that in mind. E.g. if you want to have a small area with pink, apply the pink on an even smaller area because it will eventually spread and cover a larger area. Rule number five is to pay attention to the edges. If you notice any hard edges forming, take a clean, damp brush and immediately soften those edges. We want to avoid any hard edges in a smooth background like this. Once you have applied all the colors and the entire surface is covered with paint or not. As you may choose to have open areas for different background, that's up to you. Give yourself about 3 min to tilt the painting. As you can see, the paint is still in motion on the paper. And there are also some puddles of colors. As I mentioned, tilting the painting allows the colors to blend and create those smooth color gradients. This effect would be nearly impossible to achieve if we tried to paint these backgrounds with a brush. Continue tilting your painting until the paint settles down and is no longer in motion. Remove any paint from the masking tape and clean everything nicely. Now, the first layer is complete. I'd like to draw your attention to a specific area. Here we have a small leaf that separates a bluish green color above it and the pinkish white color below it. This is a mistake that needs to be addressed in the second layer. A similar situation is below this stem, where it divides the background into pink on the left and green on the right. It's important to avoid this. In reality, this stem or the leaf wouldn't divide the background like this. If we use one color on one side, we should continue using that color on the other side to maintain the continuity of the background, e.g. here, behind the tweak, there is pink on the left and pink on the right, indicating that it's the same background behind it, perhaps with additional magnolia flowers in the distance. Now allow the painting to dry completely since a significant amount of water was used in this stage, I highly recommend leaving it to dry overnight, which is what I'll be doing as well. 7. Background - Second Layer: The first layer is now completely dry, allowing us to proceed with the second layer. In this corner, you may notice a bloom which occurs when the paper is unevenly wet. It is likely that there was a puddle of water in that area which pushed the drawing pigment and created the bloom. I have also observed that depending on the type of tape used, blooms can be caused by dissolved glue or water seeping under the tape. Some artists considered blooms as mistakes, while others intentionally incorporate them into their paintings. Personally. I don't mind if it happens, unless it becomes really obvious and distracting, which will be the case after applying this second layer, you will see, and I'm sure you have already noticed that in the final painting, in the previous layer, we use three colors that are staining. This means that they are quite difficult to remove from the paper. But that's an advantage in this case because when we'll be applying the second layer, there's less risk that we disturb the previous layer. However, every time when I apply another layer on bigger areas, I always make sure to do this gently, because sometimes unexpectedly we can disturb the previous layer. The colors will mix and we'll get muddy colors and weird splotches, which we don't want. So for applying the second layer, we also need a big brush, especially for applying a water layer. It can be the big flat brush that we used before. It can be a squirrel mop brush, which can be a really good choice because it holds a lot of water. It's very, very soft and gentle and it will not be too harsh for the paper's surface. Or we can use a regular brushes in beak size. The idea is that we don't want to wrap the surface of the paper too much now because we don't want to disturb the paint that we have applied earlier. So the bigger the brush, the better because we will use fewer brushstrokes. There is actually one more method of applying water layer now using a spray bottle with clean water. And that's what I'm going to show you just so that you know, that we can do this too. This is also a great opportunity to demonstrate how we can protect larger shapes in our painting. Instead of using masking fluid to cover the entire shape, we can apply it only along the edges as we have done here on the flower. And for the rest of the shape, we can use cling film as a protective barrier. This technique comes in handy when we want to paint the background while preserving certain big areas. Since dry the masking fluid can be slightly sticky. We can easily attach the cling film to it. However, it's important, important, really important to seal the edges with masking tape. Once you've attached the cling film to the masking, take small pieces of masking tape and carefully seal the edges. I will not do this now because I want to show you what may happen if you skip this step. So now the main flower is protected. Before I'm wetting the background, we need to prepare our colors first. It's important to have them ready to go because we want to be using the priming method this time. And the paper may dry quickly to activate my paints, I'm spraying them with water and I'm using the same colors as before. Quinacridone, magenta, transparent, yellow, and Winsor blue, green shade. Make sure to prepare an ample amount of each color more than you think you'll need. In the lower section, I'm mixing all three colors with more blue and yellow to create a dark shade of green. By adding magenta as a complimentary color, I can make the green even darker and slightly less saturated. Now that the colors are ready, we can wet the entire background. I'm using a spray bottle to evenly spray clean water across the surface. This method allows me to quickly wet the paper without disturbing the pigment since I'm not touching the paper with a brush and because we're spraying bigger areas. That's why we have protected the main shapes with cling film. Next, using a large brush, I apply the colors to the wet background. At this stage, I'm repeating the colors from the previous layer. Following the roadmap, I established. The goal here is to darken those colors. So I'm aiming to apply similar colors in the same areas. Here, I make sure to place the same color above and below the leaf. This stage, we can also make adjustments to the colors. If I applied to yellowish green previously, I can add more blue to shift the hue slightly. The most important thing to remember is to keep everything wet at all times and tilt your painting to encourage the paint to move and blend. If you notice any areas starting to dry out, such as the one I noticed here, spray those areas again with water. When applying a lot of paint in certain areas, especially the darkest areas, try using dabbing motions with the brush instead of brushstrokes. Dabbing the brush on the paper surface, it releases more paint onto the paper. Here I need to spray this area again because it's trying out. Notice that the previous layer remains intact. Now the background is covered with our colors. It's time to tilt the painting. Notice how the pink color is placed on both the left and the right sides of the twig to maintain continuity in the background. Tilting the painting like this for a few minutes is crucial because it helps create those beautiful gradients. Once the paint settles down, clean up the masking tape, and try to remove any paint from the masking fluid. Leave everything to dry. And in the next part, we'll remove the masking and analyze some of the mistakes I made. 8. Removing Masking, Fixing Mistakes: The background is completely dry and now the big, ugly mistake is revealed. You can see a bloom here, which was most likely formed by a drop of water that was on the cling film and accidentally dropped onto the paper. Fixing blooms like this can be tricky. One approach is to gently lift up the paint from the darker areas from the edges of the balloon. However, I personally find it challenging because it's easy to remove too much paint and end up with a lighter spot. Then in an attempt to fix it, you may add too much color and end up with a spot that is too dark. It can quickly become a cycle that worsens the issue. So in this case, I choose to leave the bloom as part of the process and I accept it as it is. There is something even worse beneath the cling film. Let's remove the masking. Now, I'm using a rubber masking pickup tool, which is really helpful for this task and I highly recommend using one. Now, here comes the big reveal. Can you see those dark spots in the middle of the petals that we're supposed to remain white goods, something worse have happened. These things are there because as I mentioned before, when using cling film to protect larger areas, it's essential to seal the edges with tape. If you'd done seal the edges properly, paint may seep underneath the cling film, resulting in these unwanted stains. So always remember to seal the edges with tape when using cling film to protect larger areas in your painting. Now the question is, can we do something about it? The stain is a very dark blue as it contains a Winsor blue green shade, which is known to be one of the most staining pigments. One approach, especially for lighter colors, is to use a scrubber brush by wetting the stain and scrubbing it with the brushes, stiffer bristles. We can activate the paint and attempt to rub it out. Then we can use a paper towel to dab and remove the paint. However, as you can see, this method is not ideal because it doesn't completely remove this thing. The unfortunate truth is that we cannot remove everything without damaging the paper as the paint has already penetrated into the fibers of the paper. So we're not truly removing the paint, but rather the painted fibers of the paper. Another solution which is more invasive but yields stronger results is to use magic sponge eraser. If you haven't had the chance to try it yet, I highly recommend it, not necessarily for the watercolor painting purposes. Simply wet a piece of the sponge and gently rub the stain. Look at that. It's like magic. The magic sponge can effectively remove this stain. But the downside is that it also damages the paper. Later on, you will notice that the paint behaves differently in those areas. I'd also like to mention that if you're using a plastic palette that has become stained with various colors and you're unable to clean it. The magic sponge can be a helpful tool for cleaning it. Simply wet the magic sponge and gently scrap the stained areas on the palette. And you'll be amazed at how effectively it cleans away to stains. After removing the stains, it's a good idea to use the back of a spoon to create a smooth and even surface on the paper. This technique is known as burnishing. Burnishing helps to flatten the fibers of the paper. By using the back of the spoon, we can gently press down on the paper to create a more even and smooth surface, allowing the paint to spread more evenly. I'm now going to use it in this case, I will show you how the paint behaves if we leave it as it is. Another technique that I often like to apply after removing the masking fluid is smoothing out the edges of my shapes. To do this, I run a damped scrubber brush along the edge, activating the paint and then lifting it out with a paper towel. This helps create a smoother edge, which can be particularly useful if you have unsteady hands. The masking fluid has resulted in a jagged edge. By cleaning and smoothing it out, we can achieve a more polished and refined look. During this process, some of the background color may bleed into the shape. However, I don't mind that as the town is very late. In fact, I believe it helps to harmonize the main subject with the background, creating a more cohesive appearance. It also contributes to a smoother and more natural overall look. Now that the background is prepared, the masking fluid is removed. Mistakes are fixed, and the edges are prepared. We are ready to begin painting the flower. 9. First Petals: We are going to start painting from the smaller petals, the ones more in the back. I will be using a brush size for this step. Before we begin, I'd like to apologize for the temporary absence of my palette on the recording. I must have forgotten to click the Record button on the phone, but rest assured, it will be visible again shortly. I'm sorry for that. We'll be using the wet on wet technique now to start wet the petal you wish to paint. Although this petal is relatively small and could be painted using the wet on dry technique. I've chosen to paint wet on wet because of the smooth gradients from pink to nearly white. Wet on wet makes it easier to achieve such gradients. Once the water has been applied at pink to the left side of the petal. This pink color is a mix of quinacridone magenta with a touch of transparent yellow. As you can see, when painting wet on wet, we don't need to do much to create the gradient. The paint naturally spreads in the water, creating the transition almost effortlessly. I simply use the tip of my brush to soften the edge. While the paint is still wet, we have the opportunity to add additional colors. For instance, in the upper part of the petal, I can see a hint of purple. So I'm introducing a mix of quinacridone magenta with Windsor blue-green shade. Next at the bottom of the pedal. I'm adding a deeper shade of pink. After a few minutes, the paper becomes less wet, which means the paint won't spread as much. This is the ideal moment to add a purple shadow in a triangular shape at the bottom. Since the paper is now slightly damp, the paint remains more in place where we apply it. Though the edges will still blurred to some extent. Now we cannot paint the petal directly adjacent to the one we just painted because they touch each other. If we were to wet the second pedal, at this point, the water would likely flow into the first petal, causing a bloom. So we need to skip one petal and proceed to the next section where it is safe to paint. Once again, begin by wetting the entire area and then apply the colors. Please note that at this stage I'm using colors that I can see in the reference photo. But the tonal value is much later. This is because even if I tried to match the tonal value exactly, the paint tends to dry, lighter. However, there is no need to worry about it. It's better for the paint to be lighter. As we can always add another layer to darken the tone. In fact, as I compare my painting to the reference photo now, I noticed several areas that could still be darkened. However, it's important not to be too hard on yourself or too fixated on exactness. Art doesn't have to be perfect or meticulously measured like chemistry. While there may be some areas that could have been improved if the overall appearance of the painting is pleasing and nothing stands out to permanently, then there's no need to worry about the details because they are not really noticeable. The overall perception of the painting is much more important than those small details. I personally appreciate details and could spend hours perfecting a painting. Not necessarily because it would look better. It might or might not, but because I just enjoy the process and find it relaxing. One technique I often use is starting with a light shade of the color and then gradually adding a darker tone in the same layer. There are two reasons behind this approach. Firstly, by starting with a light tone, I can assess if the color looks good in a particular spot. If it doesn't, I can quickly remove it while it's still wet and light in tone. Secondly, the initial light tone acts as an additional water layer, giving me more working time. Unfortunately, I made a mistake with the pencil lines in this area. However, because I wet the paper after making this sketch, the pencil lines have become permanent, making them almost impossible to erase. So it's crucial to ensure that your sketch is accurate before stretching the paper. Moving on to the next petal, it has a bluish tone. I use mainly a light tone of Windsor blue with a touch of quinacridone magenta for the bluish color. Starting from the dark corner. I blend out the blue color. While it's still wet, we can add a darker tone of the same blue, perhaps with a bit more magenta. And in this little section, we should technically skip it for now. But I'll take risk and quickly apply some pink and blues. Finally, you can see my palette. Here I have a mixture of magenta with transparent yellow. And below that, I have magenta mixed with Winsor blue. Now let's wet the next peddle. Make sure to evenly cover the entire petal with water. Here you can see a terrifying water droplet. That's the droplet hanging from the brushes feral, ready to fall. If you're not careful, it's best to remove it because it might unexpectedly drop. A very inconvenient moment in place. Begin by applying a watery, warm pink and mix of magenta and yellow to the upper part of the petal. As you move downward, transition to a cooler pink quinacridone magenta. Now wait a moment until the paper is slightly less wet, and then paint the shadow on the left side. You need to gauge the right moment. Find that sweet spot when the paper isn't too wet, but also not completely dry. In general, the dryer to paint, the less it spreads. So if you want to keep the color in place where you put it, use a thicker paint consistency compared to the dampness of the paper surface? I know it may sound a bit strange, but when you think about it, it should make sense. The reason why it's very challenging to describe the exact paint consistency that you should use is that there is no good answer for that. It depends on the current wetness of your paper. With practice, you'll develop an intuitive sense of when to use a particular paint consistency based on the wetness of the paper to achieve the desired result. Now we can paint any of the larger petals here because they are all in contact with the steel wet or damp petals we just painted. So the only section we can currently paint is this petal on the right-hand side. So once again, start by wetting this pedal. Then pick up a purple mix of Windsor blue and magenta and begin applying it from the tip of the petal. Notice that my paint consistencies now more watery. This gives me a bit more time to paint and go back and forth between the painting and my palette for more colors. At the bottom of the pedal use quinacridone magenta tried to paint around that yellowish area at the bottom that highlight. Now we've applied the first layer to the petals. And before we proceed to paint the larger petals, It's crucial to ensure everything is completely dry. Since these petals were relatively small and didn't contain much water, we can use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process. Once everything is fully dry, we can move on to the next step. 10. Bigger Petals: In this part, we're going to apply the initial layer to the three large petals. Since these petals are bigger, it would be better to switch to a larger brush. I'll be using a brush size six. Take a look at the wetness of my paper here. It's not overly wet. There are no water puddles, but the surface is evenly damp and we can see that nice glossy sheen. I might go over the same area with water a few times just to ensure it's evenly wet. Begin with a yellowish pink tone. I can see more yellow in this part. We'll still be using the same colors. Quinacridone, magenta, and transparent yellow. Prepare a clean purple mixture of Windsor blue and magenta, and start painting the prominent shadow with it. You may want to wait a few more seconds until the paper is slightly less wet. We don't want the purple to spread too much. While painting the shadow transition to quinacridone magenta at the bottom. There is also a shadow on the left side of the petal, and it has a distinct hard edge. Now that the upper part of the petal has lost its Shane and is almost dry. We can paint the shadow. Feel free to rotate the painting if it's easier for you to paint. Now I'm adding here more magenta and more purple to darken this area. But at this stage, it's not really a good idea. The paper is no longer wet and you can see that my brushstrokes are more visible. This indicates that I should stop adding more paint and let it dry. Before moving on, we need to ensure this petal is completely dry. So I'll use a hairdryer to speed up the process. Let's now paint the middle pedal with a very light, warm pink. I'm applying a very light tone to preserve the whiteness of the paper. The widest white that you can achieve in a painting is the whiteness of the paper itself. No white paint is whiter than the paper, even though the paper is actually creamy, not white. But in watercolor painting, if you want something to be truly white, you need to leave that area and painted and it will maintain its natural whiteness. In the middle, there is a strong pink area. I'm using pure magenta where the pink is cooler. And magenta with a touch of transparent yellow, where the pink is warmer. Again, we need to try this pedal before moving on to the next one. Now let's repeat the process. Start by wetting the pedal and then apply the colors starting from the lightest tones. You can see. Here I can see yellow, so I'll begin with this color. This petal also has more texture, so I'll use a warm pink and apply short, irregular brush strokes to suggest that texture. At this stage, you should assess the wetness of your paper and determine whether you can paint the cast shadow or efficient, wait a bit longer. I can see that with this paint consistency and the current wetness of the paper, the paint is not spreading too far, so I can move on and paint the shadow. I'll apply darker and darker tones until I achieved the desired tonal value. It's not necessary to make it as dark as it appears in the reference photo. As I can darken it further with the next layer. However, I want to get close to that tonal value. Now take a look at this area where I used a magic sponge eraser on a larger section without using the back of a spoon to smooth it out. As you can see when I apply the paint over it, we can see some texture. The fibers of the paper absorb more paint and become darker. This effect is less noticeable with lighter tones. At the bottom of this petal, I can see shades of blues and yellows and purples. So I'm adding those colors into that area. There are also small sections that we haven't painted yet, but they don't contain anything particularly unique. They consist of our basic colors, which create nice and smooth gradients, allow everything to dry completely. And when you're ready, we can move on to the next step. 11. Darkening the Petals: Now that everything is completely dry, it's time to enhance the colors and work on achieving the right tonal values. In this second step will be repeating the process we followed in the previous step, but with a focus on achieving accurate tonal values. Let's start with the largest and darkest petals. By establishing the darkest tones of these petals, we will have a solid reference point for the rest of the tonal values. To begin, I think I'll use a slightly larger brush, a size eight, for better coverage. Now let's prepare. Our colors. Will definitely need a very deep dark purple. We won't be adding any new colors, so we'll simply makes our three basic colors. Let's combine quinacridone magenta with the Winsor blue as our base, and then add a touch of yellow. Yellow being the complimentary color to purple, will help us to darken the tone while also reducing the saturation slightly. We'll also need pure quinacridone magenta, as well as a cleaner version of purple without the addition of yellow. Start by applying a water glaze over the shadow area. Our goal is to darken the entire shadow on this petal. Applied the paint to the larger shadow area. But we don't have to cover the thin part along the edge. It's thin enough that we can quickly painted using the wet-on-dry technique. However, the larger area needs to be wet so that we can blend the colors more easily. Now let's begin applying the paint to the shadow along the edge. Start with the purple, and then transition to magenta. Once you reach the larger area, use more of our dark purple mix. Next paint the wet area. Begin with a bluish purple at the top and gradually shift the color to magenta and then to the dark purple. Use dabbing motion with the brush to release more paint in the darkest areas. After applying the paint. Tlt your painting and allow the colors to blend naturally. Now let's keep the middle pedal for now and move on to the one on the right. When it's dry, it appears quite pale, so we need to darken it. In fact, I could have darkened did further as compared to the photo. But if you didn't have the photo for reference, you would likely find it acceptable. The key is for it to look good within the painting as a whole. Don't stress if every detail isn't perfect. Here I also want to darken the shadow. As you can see, I'm repeating exactly what I did in the previous layer. Applying the same colors in the same areas. With the build-up of colors, the tonal values become darker, which is our objective here. Once we're done, we can use a hairdryer to dry everything. And then we'll be ready to make adjustments to other petals. Now and everything is dry. We can paint this petal. Repeat the steps from the previous stage following the same process. However, this time will only apply a water glaze to the shadow area instead of the entire petal. As our focus is on darkening the shadows. Begin by applying the dark purple. Start from the darkest areas and then more magenta to the upper part. While the paint is still wet, drop in more dark purple until the town becomes truly dark. I've noticed some reddish blue tones at the bottom, so I'm adding a mix of transparent yellow and magenta in that area. Now using a clean, damp brush, I'm trying to lift out some paint where I see more yellowish tones. I'll also add more yellow in those areas, as well as on the right side where there is a bright highlight. In the meantime, I'm darkening the pedal on the left. To finish the petals. Let's dry them out and add one final detail. We'll add some yellow, orange to the bottom part of the petals and to that highlight on the right. In retrospect, I should have applied one more layer to darken the two larger petals because the steel appear somewhat flat, lacking depth and vibrancy. So that's my mistake. Make sure your petals are dark enough. The last step in completing the flower is to use a scrubber brush to clean up some of the edges. This time, I'll be using the Princeton's snap shader brush. I rarely use it, but it's smaller than my other scrubber brush and offers greater precision, which is what I need now. I simply want to remove paint from a few areas and perhaps soften some of the edges. When there is strong lighting on the pedal and the cast shadow, I typically soften the edge of the cast shadow as they believed that it enhances the glowing effect of light on the pedal. Okay, Now let's move on to the next section where we'll paint the bud. 12. Bud: This part is quite short, since we already have purples on the palette, we can use them to paint the bud, which shares the same colors as the main flower. Afterward, we can clean up the palace to prepare different mixes. Let's wet the bed in the purple area, being careful not to go over the green leaf. Although the bud isn't very large, we'll paint it too wet on wet because there are colored transitions, making it easier to create them while the paper is wet. We'll also try to paint it with just one layer. Keep in mind that water colors appear paler when dry compared to when they are wet. So when applying the paint, we want to use colors that are darker than we think they should be. This way when they dry, they should have the correct tonal value. Of course, you can paint it with two layers, just as we did with the background and the petals. Start with magenta and shift the color to purple at the base. Now that it's all wet, we can begin dropping in more colors observed the reference photo and try to build the form of the bud with your colors. I added more yellow to shift the color to a warmer pink. And then I'm adding my dark purple in the darkest areas. You can go over the same area multiple times with increasingly darker colors until you reach the desired level of darkness. If needed, switch to a smaller brush for more precision. Remember to check the consistency of your paint. With each subsequent layer, the paint you apply should be of the same consistency or thicker than what's already on the paper. If it's too watery and you add more water than what's on the paper, you may create a bloom as the excess water will push away the pigment and will cause the bloom effect. Once the bud is completely dry, we can use a scrubber brush to lift out some paint and create highlights. 13. Initial Layer on the Twigs: Our next step in this never ending story is to apply an initial layer on the tweaks. Let's start by preparing some colors. It should come as no surprise that we'll be using the same colors. We need greens. So let's mix transparent yellow with Winsor blue. This will give us a warmer green tone. Additionally, I have a lighter, more diluted version of this green below, but it contains more blue than yellow. We need a light tone of a cool, bluish green shade. For this part, I'm switching to a spotter brush size to however, if you don't have a spotter brush, don't worry. You can use your regular brush, just opt for a smaller size, maybe. Take a tiny amount of that bluish green, a very light tone, and apply it to the first leaf. Then add a touch of warmer green at the tip and a darker green closer to the bottom of the flower. I'd like to quickly mentioned that regular round brushes and spatter brushes differ in their bristle length. Spotter brushes have shorter bristles, hold less water, but offer greater control over the paint and the area you're working on because of their small and precise nature. Spider brushes are great for wet on dry and detailed painting on small areas, but they are not as suitable for wet on wet technique or covering larger areas. Now let's focus on the stem. Begin with a cooler green and gradually transition to a warmer green. Scenes the light source is likely coming from the right. The right hand side should have a slightly warmer tone. At this stage, avoid painting the highlighted areas. Our goal is to apply lighter versions of the final colors. Think of it as creating a roadmap, establishing which colors go where tonal values are not a major concern. At this point, we're using light tones as a base, which will help us build richer and darker colors later on. For the leaves on the right, primarily used transparent yellow. It's an excellent color for depicting warm light on the foliage. I've noticed the hint of brown or orange here, so I'll take some transparent yellow and mix it with magenta. This combination gives us orange, which when mixed with blue and green on the paper, can create browns as well. Now for the next section, I want are less saturated green. To achieve these saturated version of any color, we need to add its complimentary color. In the case of green, it's compliment is red, so we can mix magenta with a touch of yellow. Keep in mind that green itself is a mixture of yellow and the blue. As you can see, we're still playing around with the same three colors. And we can achieve almost any color needed for this painting. I'll start with more muted green and gradually shifted towards a warmer green on the right side. This area requires a bluish green. So I'll pick up more green with an increased amount of Windsor Blue. Depending on the desired shift, I can easily lean more towards blue or yellow by adjusting the proportions of my green mix. Now for the next week, I've decided to switch to a size four spotter brush. The bud at the top of the twig has a variety of colors. I'll need a more orangey brown, so I'll mix transparent yellow with magenta to get orange. Adding just a touch of Windsor blue, we'll create brown. Brown is a more subdued, these saturated version of orange, which is why we introduce blue, the complimentary color of orange. To add to it. I'll start with the cooler green at the bottom and work my way up, switching to various colors that catch my eye. There is warm green, yellow, brown, and even purple. To add a touch of purple at the top, I'll mix, you guessed it, magenta with Winsor blue. Don't worry, if you don't achieve a smooth look with this layer. Some texture is actually desirable. Here, will be adding another layer which will darken the overall appearance anyway. Continue applying the basic colors on the top of the tweak. But for now, let's leave the highlights untouched. Now, for the part of the tweak with Barack, we need a neutral color. Mixing blue and the brown will give us a neutral brown tone, which we can darken later. When painting the tweak or the bark tried to avoid painting the edges. There is reflected light on the edges that helps create a rounded form for the tweak. However, if you accidentally paint up to the edge, don't worry. We can always lift off the paint from the edges to recreate that light effect. And we're going to do this anyway. Here are some smaller leaves applying the basic colors, yellow, green, and brown. Continue painting the tweak, allowing yourself to play around with the colors. Since this element will eventually be quite dark, we don't have to be overly specific with the colors. Simply referring to the reference photo and applying later versions of the colors I see there. So there will be various shades of brown screens and some blues. Finally, we come to the last element, a small tweak. Once again, apply a lighter version of the final colors visible in the photo. Don't focus on the details for now. Instead, think in terms of larger color areas and the main colors. The leaf may have a partially yellowish green and partially cooler green appearance. So tried to replicate that. Don't worry about the shadows and details at this stage. We'll address those in the next part. Once you've finished, allow it to dry. When you're ready. We can proceed to the next part, where we will add more details and dark and the towns of the leaves and buds. 14. Leaves and Buds: In this part, our focus will be on the leaves and the buds, with a small exception. I'll continue using a size four spotter brush for this part. The main objective here is to darken the colors where needed and paint the details. In the previous layer, we established our roadmap by determining which color goes where, providing us with a solid foundation. Now we'll build upon that foundation. Will be using the same colors as before, our three main colors in various proportions. So nothing changes in terms of colors. However, this time will be more focused on tonal values. It's important to find a good balance between color and tone. At this stage, we have the opportunity to make slight hue shifts if necessary. E.g. if a green area appears to cool, you can add more yellow to warm up the green. Since we are applying thin layers, we can easily adjust the tone and color with each subsequent layer. On the left-hand side, we can now add a light bluish green color to reduce the whiteness. We still want to preserve the highlights on the edges. Just add a touch of color to enhance the area. With a darker green tone, introduce some texture and interest by painting vertical stripes with jagged edges. Under leaves on the right side. Paint darker green shadows. If you feel that the yellowish green of the leaves isn't rich enough or it's too yellow. Apply another layer to deepen the color and perhaps change the hue a little bit. But don't go too dark because we want to keep that light effect on the leaves. Now we have an unexpected visitor. I'm sorry for that. He's learning how to mix colors. I'm mixing transparent yellow with Winsor blue to green. And I'm adding a touch of magenta to make it appear more natural and less vibrant. I also need a dark orange, so I'll mix yellow and magenta. I'm blending all these colors in this area. On the edge, I'm adding a yellow stripe using clean transparent yellow. This helps create a warm illusion of light. I'm still leaving the very edge of white in unpainted to maintain the strongest highlight. Now for the next section, we'll need a darker green. Once again, mix all three colors until you achieved the desired green. Start with a lighter, warmer green, and then transition to the dark green mix. While it's still wet, add more dark green until the town becomes really dark and blend it with the warmer green. Once again, add a touch of yellow to the edge. Now let's move on to the bug. Once again, we'll need brown, which can be achieved by mixing yellow, magenta and muted down with Winsor blue. It's not necessary to achieve the exact same mix every time. If your mix leans more towards yellow onetime and more towards red another time, that's perfectly fine as long as you stay within the same color family. In fact, having some variety in color is even better as it adds interest. Plain colors tend to look boring and flat. So always aim to incorporate variety in both tone and color. The bud is quite colorful and I should have applied one more layer to darken it further, but I just noticed that now, do I worry about it? Not at all. Why? Because apart from you and me, nobody knows that it should be darker. It is what it is and it's exactly how it's supposed to be. Continue applying more colors, especially darker shades. Notice that I'm applying small amounts of paint here and there, and I'm trying to blend the colors straight away or at least soften the edges were painting wet on dry now so the colors won't naturally blend like a wet on wet painting. We need to work on them. The challenge is to avoid overworking. To achieve a non overwork, the look, it's crucial to apply small amounts of paint and quickly blend or soften them. This way, the paint will dry quickly, allowing you to add more paint and color while maintaining a smooth look without any splotches. Moving on to another leafy area. Keep in mind our goal, darkening the colors and making them richer, deeper by using the same colors as before. Feel free to add more colors if needed, or adjust the color temperature. Focus more on the details. Continuously, add darker colors until you reach the desired level of darkness. Then blend everything away and soften the colors. Here use and deep bluish green shade close to the bud. Try to achieve a similar tonal value as that deep purple, creating a seamless transition from the bed to the leaf. Then soften the green color. Lastly, for the last twig, add the darker green shadows. Add more colors where you see them in the blend everything nicely together. 15. Twigs: This will be a very short part as switch to using regular round brush size six. As I want to quickly paint larger areas without focusing too much on details. The objective in this stage is to darken the bark on the tweaks will need a dark neutral color. So let's mix our three main colors until we achieve a shade that's between a dark blue, green, and gray. Start lightly with a light brown. And while it's still wet, add the dark mix. Even though the black, let's refer to it as black will cover the brown. The brown will still shine through slightly because we're using transparent colors. Do the same on the larger area. Begin with a light brown on the upper part. Transition to blue closer to the bud and use dark brown on the opposite side of the tweak. Then apply black color and blend everything together. Instead of applying the black with a single long brushstroke, try quickly dabbing the brush along the middle part of the tweak. This will release more paint, resulting in a Richard dark tone. Apply warmer brown tones to the edges. Repeat the process on the small tweak. The general idea here is that tweaks have a round form, much like cylinders. To achieve this round form, we need to distribute light and shade in a specific manner. Typically to create this form, the middle part should be darker while the edges should be later. Now allow everything to dry. And in the final part, we'll add some finishing touches. 16. Finishing Touches: Take a step back and examine your entire painting, determine if there are any areas that still require some adjustments. For instance, I find that my tweaks now that they are dry, are still too light. I also feel the need to darken certain other areas. So I will add another layer using the wet-on-dry technique to deepen the towns in those areas and perhaps even add more details. I'm making numerous short brushstrokes placed closely together. It's almost as if I'm drawing with a pencil or using a fine liner using a cross hatching technique. My intention is to darken only the middle part of the tweak while leaving the edges lighter in tone. Lastly, the very last thing I want to do is to lift out some paint from a few areas. First, I want to leave that out from the edges to create a pleasing effect of reflected light. Notice that when I'm lifting out the paint, now, I'm removing the uppermost layers and revealing the color beneath. That's another advantage of working in layers. I am also using just the corner of the bristles of my brush to lift out tiny spots of paint. I often like to add these spots because I believe they make the bark appear more natural and realistic. Even if I don't see these spots in the reference photo, I would likely still add them because they appreciate the way they enhance the overall look. And with those tiny spots we have completed the painting. Don't forget to sign it. And now you can celebrate finishing this piece. Well done. I will now remove the masking tape to reveal a clean edge. Later, once everything is completely dry, I will remove it from the gator board and trim the edges with staples. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and have learned something new. Please share your results with me and with others. Tell us whether you are pleased with your painting or not, and let us know which parts were the most challenging for you. Thank you for following along, and I'll see you in the next tutorial. Bye.