Thursday, August 2, 2012
WATERCOLOR WORKSHOP: Painting Red Poppies
Follow along with me in this step-by-step project -- painting some red poppies that really pop!
To download a PDF of this tutorial, for $6, click here.
Gather some poppy references, or use my drawing . . .
Draw the poppies onto your watercolor paper, with some leaves and buds. Then, draw a "frame" around your drawing, but inside some of the petals and leaves -- so it looks as if the flowers are bursting out of the frame. . .
Now, prepare your paints. For the poppies, you'll need a yellow, a warm red (like Cadmium or Winsor Red), and one or two cool reds (like Quinacridone or Permanent Rose, and Permanent Alizarin Crimson).
Working on one petal at a time, mingle these colors -- wet-in-wet. Wet each petal with clear water, and then start with the yellow on the outer edge of the petal, then add the warm red, and then finish painting the petal with the cool red . . .
Don't dwell on any one petal -- just mingle the colors, and then move onto the next. With some of the petals, start with the warm red and then add the cool reds to the mingling.
You'll notice as you're painting, that the colors will dry a little "duller" than when they were wet. Don't worry about that -- and don't go back into it, at this point. Just keep painting working your way around the blossom, until all the petals are painted. . .
Now that the paint is dry, do another mingling on those petals that you think are too dull. This time, paint on dry paper, starting with your cool red where the petal "under-laps" the petal on top -- then, add your warm red, then finish the petal with clear water, out to the edge.
While painting, try for the following: 1) Keep it transparent with lots of water, 2) Don't cover up all the yellow from your first layer with the red, 3) Leave some of the petals that are on top, as is; and, 4) Try not to "blot" your painting with a paper towel or rag, as you work. Even if you have little puddles of paint, try to let them dry naturally. Since you are working on a level surface, the puddle isn't going anywhere, and if you let the watercolor do its thing, you'll get some interesting results. The trick is to be "out of control", within a controlled shape.
To set some of the petals back, or under the other petals, paint them now, using Alizarin Crimson or Magenta or Maroon.
Then, mix up some dark colors -- Alizarin Crimson mixed with Maroon or Burnt Sienna, a Purple (Alizarin Crimson plus French Ultramarine), and a Black (French Ultramarine plus Burnt Sienna plus Magenta or Maroon). Paint the dark middles of the flowers -- paint onto dry paper with your juicy mixtures. First red, then purple around that, and a little black around the edges. This will all mix together, but you will see each of the colors.
Now, paint a yellow underpainting on your leaves and stems. . .
Paint the leaves and stems with a green wash (Sap Green, or a mixture of Cobalt Blue and Aureolin Yellow). Drop in a little Cobalt Blue . . .
Now, we'll finish by painting the background. We're going to paint WITHIN the frame, and leave the outer frame white. Mix up a dark blue, using French Ultramarine with a little Burnt Orange to darken the blue. Paint the background shapes, wet on dry. When the paint is almost dry, mist it with clear water, to get a little texture. . .
If you'd rather have a PDF of this tutorial, for $6, click here.
The tutorial PDF is nice, because you can print it out and have it next to you as you paint. There is one step and one image per page. The PDF also includes my "Ten Things to Know about the Color RED".