A guide to: Watercolour Floral
“My name is Malgorzata Zdanio, I live and work in Belgium, and I’m a self-taught artist. My style and practice are influenced and inspired by nature, so for me, the translucency, luminosity and pastel qualities of watercolours help bring that inspiration to life. For my floral tutorial I’ve used Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolours and brushes.”
I start by making a light sketch using a hard graphite pencil (2H). The goal here is to draw in a loose way, mimicking the natural movement and shapes of the flowers. Once I’m happy with the general appearance, I’ll use a kneaded eraser to lighten my marks as much as possible.
Then I’ll move onto painting the shadows with Dioxazine Purple. In areas where the shadow is strongest, I’ll mix Dioxazine Purple with Ultramarine to add depth. I use a round brush at this stage (Cotman size 6). The belly of the brush covers large areas, while the tip is good for precision.
It’s time to add some colour! Permanent Rose is a beautiful pink shade to add as a second layer on the flower. I’ll add dimension by colouring one side of each petal with a double layer so it appears darker. To create highlights, I’ll use a clean damp brush to remove some pigment from the paper.
Next, using a flat brush, I’ll add an intense wash of Sap Green mixed with Ultramarine to frame the flower with leaves. A trick I love to use is scratching a bit of the pigment off the paper’s surface in the middle of a leaf. This technique makes the leaves appear a bit rougher and more lifelike.
With a small round brush (Cotman size 1), I’ll paint the delicate lines on the pink petals. As the arrangement continues to take shape, I’ll try and add a few lighter leaves to create a fuller final piece – for these leafy features, I mix Sap Green, Dioxazine Purple, and a touch of Ultramarine.
Now I’ll add another layer of Permanent Rose to the folds of the biggest petals. This makes the chrysanthemum appear more flowy and natural. This stage is all about observing and building; adding details and deepening the shadows until I’m happy with the results.
The center of the flower needs a light wash of Lemon-Yellow hue mixed with Sap Green to imitate the look of fresh petals. I’ll add the same colour in few other places to make my artwork more cohesive. To anchor the flower and paint the stem, I use a saturated wash of Dioxazine Purple with Sap Green.
As a finishing touch, I like to apply Chinese White Watercolour with very little water on my round brush. I’ll load a lot of pigment and use it almost like an opaque gouache. The goal here is to bring back the highlights and enhance the contrast of the final piece.
Formulated for transparency and lightfastness, Cotman Watercolours are accessible without compromising on quality.
Perfect introduction for students, beginners and hobbyists wanting to experiment, hone their skills and work with large quantities of paper.
Mixed fibre widths give excellent spring and superior paint loading In a wide range of shapes and sizes. Perfect with Cotman watercolours.