Painting for the book: “Must Paint Watercolor Flowers” – Part II

Starting orange flowers; softening an edge

Starting orange flowers; softening an edge

Continuing on from Part I, here is a close up as I began to paint the yellow and orange flowers. For the first layer of this flower I painted the darker sections and then used clear water in a damp brush to pull/feather the color out into the flower so it didn’t make a hard edge.

Yellow underpainting of some flowers

Yellow underpainting (click to enlarge)

For the three large zinnias, I outlined all the petals with Holbein Cadmium Yellow Light. Then I brushed a ring of clear water around the center of each of those flowers and painted a narrower ring of yellow inside that so the paint would softly spread in the water to not quite the edge of the water, producing a soft edge. When that dried I painted the flower’s very dark center with a mixture of Winsor Newton (WN) Burnt Sienna and Winsor Violet. Then I painted the gold ring between them with WN Cadmium Orange mixed with Daniel Smith (DS) New Gamboge.

Painting one petal at a time

Painting one petal at a time

I began applying mixtures of WN Cadmium Orange, WN Permanent Rose and DS New Gamboge to one petal at a time while avoiding painting over the yellow outlines on the petals,. You can see the juicy puddle of color I like to put down. I’m careful to let it dry without shifting the tilt of the paper to avoid backwashes.

Orange flowers completed

Orange flowers completed

I worked all over the paper, turning the painting sideways and upside down instead of reaching across, to complete all of the yellow and orange flowers. Some of them will get touch-ups before the painting is completely finished.

Next time: more greens, the dark background, and the finished painting. Meanwhile, I’ve been assigned the next painting to do: a lovely orchid which I will approach in a completely different manner.

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About Jana Bouc

I am an artist who loves (and lives) to sketch and paint in watercolor and oils. I teach watercolor classes in the San Francisco Bay Area.
This entry was posted in Art theory, Flower Art, Painting, Published work, Still Life, Watercolor and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Painting for the book: “Must Paint Watercolor Flowers” – Part II

  1. Libby Fife says:

    I do enjoy the process and it is helpful. As silly as this sounds I just recently learned about working from all sides of the piece, just as you described. Even with painting on fabric you can still get the back of your hand wet with paint!

    Thanks again:)

    • Jana Bouc says:

      It took me a few minutes of working on getting a stiff neck trying to see what I was doing at the top of the page to think of turning it. Nature being the mother of invention and all that. I do like working upside down though (the painting not me) since it helps to focus on shapes and colors and turns off that left brain that wants to override what I SEE with what it THINKS should be right.


  2. Alex Zonis says:

    These two were very informative posts. I am sure the book will be fantastic. Hope to see more “process” posts in the meantime.

  3. Nel says:

    Oh, Jana, those zinnias (maybe?) are gorgeous! Thanks for the setp-by-steps, it’s so cool to see the work in progress. This is going to be atunning painting!

    • Jana Bouc says:

      Thanks Nel, I couldn’t for the life of me remember what those flowers were called. You are so right that they are ZINNIAS! Yay! I guess I’ll go edit the posts now. It’s not like me to not even bother to try to figure out what kind of flowers they were. It just goes to show how much too busy I was at the time! I’m so happy to have some vacation time this week. Jana

  4. Jana, these step by step instructions are amazing, lucid and inspiring. I have to say, though, that the complexity of the image induces a sort of sweaty-palmed anxiety in me. So many details! Still, I look forward to more.

    • Jana Bouc says:

      Hi Sherry, I’m curious why the the complexity makes you nervous? Is it the drawing or the painting? To me the more complex, the easier because there are more chances for success with all those individual little shapes ot paint, and less likely “mistakes” will be noticeable. Now if I had to draw it freehand from life, I would definitely have sweaty palms too and would have simplified a lot. But the publisher wanted a high level of fidelity to the photo so that’s why I mostly traced the photo instead of drawing or simplifying. I’m a lot more nervous about the next painting which is going to be just a few shapes and close-focus which means I will have to get it right or do it over. (eek)


  5. annie says:

    So much fun to see the process, Jana, and you are giving us such a lovely tutorial as well. But I hear Sherry, the complexity of that pencil drawing made me dizzy and I was ready to look somewhere else– of course, I couldn’t, and have been drinking it all in– but deliver me from ever having to do it!!

    • Jana Bouc says:

      Annie, It’s true, the complexity makes it more time-consuming but in some ways a complex painting is easier than a simple one since it’s like making lots of little paintings — each petal, each stem is it’s own little subject and with so many of them, if one goes wrong it’s not nearly as noticeable as it would be if one large shape isn’t quite right. It is rather dizzying though, isn’t it, with so much going on all over the place. Jana

  6. Jana, your series look SO good!! Congratulations on doing a great job!

  7. Derek McCrea says:

    Thanks for sharing your technique this is a beautil piece.

  8. This painting is going to be beautiful! I love the orange flowers against the blue container. I think watercolors are so hard to work with. I love seeing your process.

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