Mingle Colors for Outstanding Flower Paintings in Watercolor
…plunge yourself into it. That’s the advice artist and instructor Soon Warren gives. We have to jump in even if we don’t feel “ready” because our struggles will bring insight, and our mistakes are simply lessons learned. But that doesn’t mean you need to blindly attempt something like flower paintings in watercolor with no guidance or technical help.
A subject matter that is near and dear to Soon, watercolor floral painting is an exciting one because it is mostly about shape and color. But color in watercolor is all about layering. Layering different colors results in brilliant and unexpected hues and brings life to your two-dimensional, white surfaces.
Layering starts with your basic wash. The very ﬁrst drop of color to hit your paper is the beginning of your basic wash. Use this ﬁrst layer to establish your base color and values for the ﬁnished work. It can be as rough or detailed as you like, but apply your basic washes to your flower paintings with your end result in mind—what will it look like with other colors on top of it?
After that you have two choices: glazing or charging. Glazing is the application of thin pigment over existing layers of color. You can put down any number of glazing layers but the most important thing to remember when glazing is to wait for the previous layer to dry before applying the next glaze to prevent blossoms or backruns.
If you don’t want drying delays when making your flower paintings, charging is the answer. This creates a soft effect with no hard edges. Using clean water, generously wet the area you want to charge. Apply color to the top of the area and let the water distribute it over the surface. Completely saturate a brush with water, squeeze out the excess with a dry rag, and use it to smooth out the lighter areas. You cover a large area with no pressure, and there are no hard edges–often giving your marks an organic feel that are ideal for flower paintings.
For more ways to make your flower paintings come out right, look to Soon directly in her DVD or video download of Vibrant Watercolor Techniques – Painting Flowers. From drawing and masking, to underpainting and adding layers of color, you’ll watch your painting bloom right before your eyes! Along the way you’ll learn painting techniques for color mixing, brushwork, edge control, shape making, and more. Enjoy!