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In this step by step watercolor poppy tutorial, you will practice what we have learned previously.
Specifically, you will
- paint soft color transitions (like the little red pony) on dry paper.
- soften edges to create a round form
- the white flower show you how to “paint white” using light color washes.
If you get bleed backs, they will be useful as more crinkles and texture in the poppy petals.
If you need a line drawing of this exercise, send me a comment and I’ll get one to you.
Paint Colors I used:
You can also use your watercolor paint palette.
Just match the color transitions or refer to the little pony tutorial for help
- Holbein Permanent Lemon Yellow.
- Cadmium Yellow Light
- Daniel Smith Pyrrol Orange
- Holbein Cadmium Red Light
- Permanent Red
- Permanent Alizarin Crimson
- (Da Vinci Permanent Rose)
- Daniel Smith: Cobalt Blue
- Quinacridone Gold
- Ivory Black
You also need:
- 140 lb cold pressed watercolor paper (Fabriano CP)
- Small rounds that you like
- Scrubber brush
Step by step watercolor poppy tutorial:
- Begin by putting yellow in the lit areas of the red poppy.
- Start with the oranger yellow (cad yellow light) near the red body of the poppy.
- Add yellow lemon to it as it moves toward the outer edge of the poppy.
- Finish the poppy edge with yellow lemon.
- Use less color on the right side of the lit poppy edge.
- Let dry completely.
The left red petal.
- Lit by the sun, this side of the poppy is a more orange red.
- Start with Cad Red Light close to the poppy center and paint out to the edge with less paint.
- In the creases add some Permanent Red to the Cad Red Light.
- Paint the lower petal with Alizarin crimson closest to the poppy center.
- Add Permanent Red as you move toward the poppy edge
- Paint the outer edge with slightly more dilute Cad Red Light.
- The color transitions are smooth.
- You accomplish this by painting into the wet edges the previous paint.
- Note: If your petal is all splotched up, you have uneven amounts of paint concentrations.
- Let your petal dry, and go over the whole area with a clear wet wash.
- See if this smooths things out for you.
- If not, let dry again and go over with a dime layer of each paint.
The upper right petal
- transitions from Cad Red Light to Permanent Red then to Alizarin Crimson.
- Let dry completely.
Now paint the creases in the outer edges of the poppy.
- Use Permanent Red and Alizarin.
- Dry completely.
With very dilute cad Red Light, wash over your left petal’s yellow area.
- Go over the creases and the red edge also.
- This will soften all of the hard edges.
- The petal is a curved or round form, so even at the edges of shadows, the edges are soft.
Repeat this with more dilute paint on the upper right petal.
Finally, paint over the white area of the lower right petal.
Notice how the red painted over white looks cooler than the red painted over the yellow.
This warm/cool temperature difference helps us to see form.
The center of the poppy:
Start with the center ball.
- Model the shape using sepia in the lower shadow area
- Transition into quinacridone gold.
- If your values are too dark, use a piece of Viva paper towel and press firmly onto the paper before it dries.
- This will pick up color.
- Reapply color if you pull off too much,
- Let dry.
Now paint the black into the shadow of the center ball and into the beginning of the poppy flags.
- Transition from black to sepia as you move from the middle of the flag into the belly of the poppy.
- Add some small black dots around the poppy center.
- Lightly carry paint over the saved white area using a damp brush
Watercolor Poppy Tutorial: White Poppy
- Paint the white poppy center with Cad Yellow Lemon.
- Use Cad Yellow Light in the shadows of the yellow center area,
- Transition to the outer petals with less yellow on your brush.
The white petals
- I painted with three primaries (Cad Red Light (red), Cobalt Blue (blue) and Cad Yellow Lemon (yellow)) in the youtube demo.
- In the larger painting, I used Permanent Rose as my red
- Permanent Rose makes a lighter grey color and a richer purple.
- Keep all of the white petals very light in value.
- Under the red poppy petal, paint a light diluted red.
- Start the lower white poppy petal with a light wash of cobalt blue.
- Paint the right white petal with a light wash of yellow.
Second Paint Layer
- Add a light red wash over the lower blue petal.
- This will make a lovely light purple.
- Add a dilute pyrrole orange over the edges of the yellow petal.
- Add a little blue to the right side of the red petal.
- LET DRY ( so you don’t make green here)
- Soften any hard edges and the small dots with clear water.
- Overpaint the red petal with yellow.
- Paint the center of the white poppy with quinacridone gold.
- Use sepia for the shadow.
- Paint the surrounding spots with quinacridone gold and water.
- Let dry.
Add a stem.
Admire your work.
This is getting easier (and more exciting) isn’t it.
Remember, let me know if you want me to send you a line template of the poppies.