Watercolour Plant Art
In this project, muted purples and greys are used
to capture the subtle, wintry colours and textures
of dried poppies, seeded eucalyptus and teasel. A bouquet of dried flowers can translate the delicate beauty of nature in its fragile and decaying form, especially in those winter months when the leaves have fallen and the colours around us are more muted. In this project you will be using
a combination of wet-on-wet and dry mark-making to create the unique textures of dried flowers.
For this project it is especially important that you test your colours on scrap paper to ensure you are not mixing muddy, sludgy browns. Judge how the colours work together on paper, and experiment with values to confirm they are not too rich or strong, and that they work harmoniously together.
Venetian Brown + Ultramarine Blue
Venetian Brown + Cadmium Red
Venetian Brown + Cobalt Violet
Venetian Brown + Ultramarine Blue + Cobalt Violet
Cadmium Red + Yellow Light
Venetian Brown + Sap Green + Gamboge Yellow
© 2019 Nikki Strange / Search Press · Reproduced with permission. · ‘Watercolour Plant Art’ by Nikki Strange ISBN: 9781782217183 RRP Price: £15.99 Publisher: Search Press Available from www.searchpress.com
You can use the predrawn sketch by tearing it from the pad and moving straight to step 2. To draw your own arrangement, start with the most prominent flowers at the top of the page, leaning out in different directions. Position the wild eucalyptus on the left and a teasel head between two poppy heads on the right. Frame these with smaller teasel flowers lower down and coming out on either side to give an even composition. You want the stems to lay across one another as if they are being held in a vase.
Starting with the eucalyptus, use the No. 4 round brush to wash the first, light purple mix onto all the leaves, starting from the top and working down. Working wet on wet, shade the leaves with the second, warm red mix, concentrating on the base and tips of the leaves and the top edges. When the sprig is fully formed, use a clean brush to apply dots of water where the seeds will be, then drop in a diluted mix of Cadmium Red for the seeds. Use the light purple mix and the No. 00 round brush to paint in the stems.
Load the No. 4 brush with dilute Venetian Brown and wash it over the first poppy head. Working wet on wet, add the poppy colour mix. The change in value should be dramatic. Move the paint around to create soft shadows and the mottled marks on the pod. Add more pigment to the base of the pod. Dip the brush in more concentrated Venetian Brown and hold it upright to add dots of pigment. The paint will disperse and bleed. Allow the page to dry a little and add smaller dots, which will be more defined. Allow to dry a little more, then add darker, more defined tones to the top of the poppy head and its edges. Use Venetian Brown for the stems and to make the marks at the top of the seed head. Repeat for the other poppy head.
Use the same wet-on-wet technique with the teasel colour mix for the teasel head. To recreate its texture, let the page dry a little and hold the brush upright as you dab on the paint. Let it dry fully, then make quick, rushed brushmarks with a little water and pigment on the brush to replicate the leaves surrounding the teasel’s head. Use the No. 00 round brush to paint in the stem with the same mix.
Use the No. 4 brush to put a wash of clean water over the teasel flowers. Drop in a diluted mix of the light, dusty pink teasel flowers mix. Shade these flowers in the same way that you did the poppy heads. They are a similar shape, but have little spikes on top of their heads. Increase the value a little more and shade further until you achieve a lovely tonal, muted shape. Use the second teasel flower mix for the stems.