I painted these cards for a party we attended this weekend for a graduate in our church. I sat down Friday night with no inspiration of what I wanted to make. What I ended up with an hour later was easy watercolor flowers YOU can paint. I didn’t start out to make a tutorial (the party was the next day), so I don’t have pictures to share of the process, but I want to talk you through what I did, because these really are Easy Watercolor Flowers YOU Can Paint!
I painted this whole thing without a pencil drawing. This makes it easier for me because I don’t have to worry about getting the petals just right when the time comes.
The first thing I did was to paint yellow dots where I wanted my flowers. If you are making a greeting or verse card, give some thought to where you want your flowers, if you are practicing, just put them anywhere. They would be cute in a semi-strait line across the middle of your work space. Remember to leave space between the centers for the petals for each flower.
Let the yellow paint dry.
When the centers are dry, you can begin to paint the petals. I chose a color palate ahead of time and thought through where I wanted them. I begin by painting the outline of the petals where I want them, sometimes 4 petals, sometimes 5. You can do what you like.
If the petals aren’t exactly the right size or shape, just add more paint and change them a bit (this is why I like painting with pencilwork first.) When I am filling in the color on the petals, I try to leave white spaces for a little textural interest.
While allowing the petals to dry I worked on the stems and leaves of this card. I am careful to leave a little gap between the still trying flower and the green of the stem, otherwise the colors will bleed together. I simply used the very tip of one of my size 7,8, or 9 brushes (though you could use a smaller one if you are more comfortable with it.)
I dragged the tip downward from the flower to the bottom of the card. Be careful to draw an imaginary line from the center of your flower through the petals so your stem placement is realistic. Go back and add paint to make it darker, or more water for thicker stems as needed.
I first added leaves to the stemmed flowers because they are further removed from the wet paint of the petals. I chose a very traditional leaf shape and deliberately left them running off the edge of the paper and behind a nearby flower (though you need to make sure the flower it touches is dry first).
For the leaves on this card, I waited for the petals to dry and added leaves coming from behind the petals. Do you see the faint leaf behind the others on the purple flower on the left? That was the original leaf for that flower and it was way too big. I added a bunch of water and tried lifting the already dry paint with a paper towel, but it didn’t lift all of it. I was a little disappointed that I’d ruined the card, but I moved ahead and added the smaller leaves instead, just for practice.
I set it aside to dry while I worked on other details, and while was working I had an idea. I decided to paint very faint large leaves all over the background of the card. I painted with a lot of water, let it sit a moment or two, then dabbed it up with paper towel. Not only was the card not ruined, it was the one I decided to use for the graduation party. When you find that you’ve made a mistake of your own, set it aside for a bit and see if you can brainstorm a way to make it part of your design. You may just like it better than your intended design! 🙂
Another layer of color
When everything was dry, I went back in and added another layer of color to each of the elements. For some of the flowers I went around the edges with a darker color (see the purple flower on the bottom card). For others I made streaks of darker color coming out from the middle (the purple flower on the top card. For others still, I gave an extra layer of color on half of each petal. For the leaves, I added another layer (or two) of green on one half of the leaf. There are so many ways to do this, just experiment and see what you like!
This is when I add my pen work. I usually do this the next day, since I do most of my painting late at night. The trick is to make sure your painting is completely dry! For the leaves I think a pointed version of a spiral is fun. For the petals, I trace each one twice, sometimes staying right on top of the first line, other times leaving a gap all around or even just on the end. I think this makes it look like the petals are curved around on the ends. I add some squiggly lines at the base of each petal and a spiral at the center.
My goal for these finishing touches was to make the painting cute and whimsical. If I wanted them to look a little closer to realistic, I may have used dots in the centers and simple vein like lines on the leaves. Go with what you like and have fun! Shayda Campbell once said, if I want it to look exactly right, take a picture. Painting is about giving it your own creative interpretation.
When all was said and done I added the verses I had in mind and the border. Since I was short on time, I just did a simple lettering and added the verse reference into the border as I like to do. I think it worked though. The flowers dressed it up enough and the lettering style didn’t distract from the painting or the message.
So will you try it??