Painting Morning Glories with Watercolour

Photography or living flowers are fine subjects. Click on any image for a fullscreen view.

I am using a ‘dry’ stretching method for the paper. This can only be used with lightweight paper 90lb. or 140lb. Mount the paper on a panel and fix the edges well with tape. When using thicker paper staples should be used.

Soak the paper thoroughly with a large soft wash brush.

After the paper has dried back to a matte finish, the first colour wash can be placed where you want. Here I am cutting around the area where I need white for the flower petals. Remember, the white of the paper is the whitest you will get. White paint can be used but it will not be bright as the paper.

These first washes have very little pigment in them.

While the paper is still damp other colours can be added to begin placing the shadows around the flower.

Here the colours for the flower are added on wet paper.

These steps all take time. Having other pieces of paper ready to work can be helpful while you wait for the drying process. Or you can try a hair dryer, I know it works. Or try the oven on low temperature as I did.

Although the paper is still warped and cockled, if its a flat or matte finish dry brush techniques can be used.

As each layer of colour is added they get deeper and darker. Prior to this the washes were to create the lighter shades where the light may hit the flowers and foliage. These dry washes are to create shadows and depth.

There are only so many layers of colour you can add before the layers start to mix and turn muddy and flat.

To finish I’ve used watercolour pencils. This is an inexpensive set from a thrift shop. I think it was $2.25. I like the case. I’m not sure of the quality of these, but they work fine for this. Like most art supplies you can spend a lot of money. But you don’t have to, spending more money will not make you more creative.

Details on the flowers with watercolour pencils.

Shading behind the flower brings up the white of the paper.

More colour added to the flowers with watercolour pencil.


Shading behind the flower brings up the white of the paper. Part of the reason to use the pencils is to have better control over placing colour on a painting that is close to finish.

There are many techniques for painting with watercolour. I prefer to say there are no rules, just different ways of discovering what the materials can do for you.

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