WATERCOLOUR “ Purple Iris” example step by step
Step 1: Preparing reference art and drawing it on your watercolour paper Develop your composition into a working sketch , or select a photo for reference. Tape your paper to your support with masking tape on each of the four corners. Using at least 140 gr/m2 paper avoids any problems with warping as the paper expands and contracts from the moisture in your paints. Following your reference art, lightly pencil the key elements on your paper . Use a grid if you want.
Step 2: Start painting Using a large flat paintbrush, paint clear water over the background of the composition, being sure to paint around the basic shapes in the foreground . In this example, a mixture of Cadmium Yellow and Sap Green is worked into the wet paper . While the first wash is still wet , using a large brush, flow in darker tones mixed with Hooker’s Green Dark and Cobalt Blue.
Step 3: Undercolor and accenting After the background wash is dry , use small washes of Raw Sienna to indicate the browning portions of the irises. Then begin adding some darks to the foliage with a mixture of Hooker's Green Dark and Cobalt Blue.
Step 4: Raw Color As the irises are so intense in colour, underpaint some of the petals in pure Permanent Rose. Be sure to use clear water and soften any edges that are not sharp before your wash dries . On the upper portions of the flowers, flood the area with clear water and use a wet-in-wet technique of Permanent Rose to create the soft blushes of color in the white areas of the flowers.
Step 5: Muted in shadow Using Cobalt Blue with a touch of Dioxazine Purple, paint the basic shadows of each flower. Pay close attention to the original photo to get the correct shapes and combination of soft and hard edges . Then use Dioxazine Purple to start adding the shadows on the red petals.
Step Seven: Altering reality (artistic license) Step 6: Painting the background Use a dark mixture of Pthalocyanine Blue and Burnt Umber to indicate a deep shadow area behind the entire group of flowers and foliage. Vary the mixture as you paint the background .
Step Eight: Chasing the light Step 7: Chasing the light Work intensely on the patterns of light and dark within the foliage. Using various mixtures of Cadmium Yellow Light, Sap Green, Hookers Green Dark, Pthalocyanine Green and Cobalt Blue, model the leaves until you achieve the effect of sunlight traveling through them. It casts some in shadow , backlights some, and makes cast shadows across other leaves. All the while pay close attention to the photo so you can get enough of the detail to make it believable . Also work on the stalks of the flowers with Sap Green, Raw Sienna and Burnt Umber.
Step 8: Making it real Final modeling on each flower is done with Dioxazine Purple, Permanent Rose, and Cobalt Blue. Use the point of your brush to add veining and texture to each flower. After making some minor adjustments in contrast and shape , the painting is finished.