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".

_________________________________________________________________________________









37 comments:

  1. I've always pondered taking a watercolor class. . .I believe I will! Thanks for my first lesson, Pat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great, Carolyn! Maybe we can do one better than that. I'll be teaching a 2-day watercolor workshop in Ohio, mid-October of this year (for beginners!) I will let you know the details, soon. Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
    2. Do you think you might be in Oregon any time soon?? :) I have so enjoyed doing your tutorials for a few months now-I've done the negative space leaves one, the irises, the tulips, the gray wash mountains, the sunset behind white trees, and now the poppies. I was a little confused on this one though. I guess I need to remember to read through your instructions a couple of times before getting in over my head-I noticed that at the point you said to paint some yellow on the leaves, the outer frame was looking a little bluish-purple-ish, and there was a bit of pink in the leaves as well. So I added those...later you say to leave the frame white...sigh. I like how mine turned out for the most part, with a light purple frame but I do plan on reading the instructions a little better from here out! Thanks for all your information and lovely paintings.

      Delete
  2. Thank you for posting this! It's a beautiful painting. I followed along with this demo and enjoyed every bit of it, and learned some things too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Stacy -- Glad you enjoyed it and found it helpful!

      Delete
  3. how would you do it in acrylic ? j. spoering.......jjspoering@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How would I do it in acrylic? Well, John -- I would switch to watercolors!

      Seriously -- you could try using your acrylics more like watercolors; that is, using more water with them, so they will flow and mingle like watercolors.

      Delete
  4. Thank you for your blog Pat. I have been in a lull for the past year. I am loosing my vision to a rare condition and each time i sit to paint i am 'afraid'. I have painted the exercise on negatives using trees and my beloved quinachrodones, Thank You Thank You!
    I feel joy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry it has taken me this long to reply, Suzy. Thanks for your comments, and I'm hoping that you are continuing to paint for as long as you can.

      Delete
  5. Thanks for this blog, Pat. It's really gotten my painting juices flowing! I've been playing around with watercolor for the last 2 years, taking classes along the way. And I have to say, I've gotten more out of your blog. I really appreciate you taking the time to post such great ideas and information. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Belinda -- glad to hear that you are using the blog and painting along with it. I will continue to add new information and tutorials -- probably more often in the coming year. It helps to know that people like you are getting something from it!

      Delete
  6. I came cross your blog, it is very instructive, you are a very good teacher too. I followed your step by step instructive and my painting came out much better than what I have done previously. (I started water color about 2 months ago), thank you very much for this sharing and pls keep it on. Thank you! - Rosie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your kind comments -- so good to hear that one of my tutorials was helpful to you. Keep painting! It takes a little while to get comfortable with watercolor, but eventually something will "click" and you'll be hooked.

      Delete
  7. Hi Pat. .....thanx a lot for sharing your techniques...i am a beginner with watercolors and i just came across your blog..you have been my teacher and i follow your step by step tutorials ...i hope you keep on posting such valuable lessons so that we can learn from you.....thanks again ....Anamika Parashar

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, Anamika. Thanks for introducing yourself. I'm so glad to hear that my blog and the tutorials have been helpful to you. I will be adding more step-by-step projects in the new year, so I hope you keep checking back in. Also, let me know how you're doing with your painting! I'd love to hear. pat

      Delete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Pat. Thank you for a wonderful site. I have only just found you and I am so thrilled. I have painted the poppies as a birthday card and it came out very well.
    I love the way you set everything out with the easy to follow tutorials.
    Can't wait to try some more of your projects. Many thanks once again. Jill Bernard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on the blog -- I appreciate it, and am glad that you are finding the tutorials helpful and enjoyable. (Hope the birthday card was well received!)

      Delete
    2. Thank you again Pat for allowing me to copy your lovely poppies. The card was received with great Joy. Took a while to get to Spain from Adelaide South Australia. I have since painted a few more, ready to send to friends.

      Delete
  10. I just finished the poppies! What fun. I've now completed 4 of the"workshops" and feel like I'm learning so much on each one. In fact, I'm going to do a couple over just because I get it now, more than I did at the time.. Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you're having fun with the workshop projects -- that's what it's all about! And, if you can learn something at the same time -- wonderful! Thanks for letting me know, Susan!

      Delete
  11. Maravilhoso!!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Parabéns pela sua linda e delicada pintura e também pela sua boa vontade em nos orientar passo a passo por todo trabalho.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I really enjoyed this workshop, your instructions are so clear and gave me confidence to be more 'loose' with my use of colour. Thank you! Really enjoy your blog

    ReplyDelete
  14. No I am not anonymous I'm Juanita from High School. Just wanted you to know that you are doing a great job teaching. It has helped me to improve and learn new things and it has reminded me of things I had forgotten. Thank you so much. I love your paintings as well. If you ever want to do a workshop near Pensacola or Destin Fl I would love to help you work it out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Juanita!!! Thanks for leaving this great comment -- I appreciate it. And, I'm glad that you are getting something for the blog. My workshop schedule is filled up for 2015, but I'm always interested in going new places. Florida would be nice! Thank you for the offer of help -- that would be helpful. Let's stay in touch about that . . .

      Delete
  15. Replies
    1. Thanks!!! More demos to come in 2015 . . .

      Delete
  16. I'd love to try this demo, thanks for sharing it. When I visited France years ago I noticed their roadside poppies were more red then the ones we see most often here. To accomplish this would you suggest that I eliminate using yellow entirely?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Laura -- sorry I'm just now responding to your question. You've probably already painted this, by now. If not, I would suggest not eliminating the yellow entirely -- just use less of it in the underpainting. It would still be nice to have that warm glow on a few of the petals. Painting with cool reds only can be tricky in watercolor -- they can look dull so easily, no matter how bright it looks while it is wet.

      Delete
  17. Thank you very much from Russia!!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. The last thing you say to do is mist the background with clear water for texture. Should I mask the poppies and leaves when I do that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good question, Lynn! If the poppies and leaves are dry when you paint the background, there is no need to mask them when you mist the background.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for the reply. :)

      Delete
  19. Thank you so much for this tutorial! Mine isn't as nice as yours but I learned so much about mixing colors! Thank you again!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Such gorgeous, colourful poppies! Fantastic work.

    ReplyDelete