If you are anything like me, watercolor painting can be a little, well, confusing. There are so many techniques available and there is so much advice out there, it is difficult to know where to start. This abstract watercolor flowers tutorial will demonstrate a technique that is a simple and cost-effective way to experiment with watercolor painting and is guaranteed to give you fabulous results!
Materials and Tools:
- inexpensive watercolor paper cut to 8″ x 8″
- watercolor paints (tip: you can use the cheap kids’ paints and achieve great results on this project)
- painter’s or washi tape
- 1″ paintbrush (you can even use a foam brush)
- #6 round watercolor paintbrush
- spray bottle of water
- glass of clean water
- piece of cardboard or chipboard to tape your paper to
- black gel pen
How to Make Abstract Watercolor Flowers Instructions:
- Tape your paper down to the cardboard, making sure to burnish down the edges of the tape. This is to make sure your paper stays put, as watercolor paper ‘stretches’ when it is wet. Using your spray bottle, spray enough water into your paints so they have a good layer of water on top of the paint. Take your 1″ brush, dip it in the clean water and cover your whole paper with it. It is important to make sure the paper is really saturated, but not so much that you have standing water on top of it.
- (Note: steps 2 & 3 must be done quickly so your paper doesn’t dry out. If it does get a bit dry, you can *lightly* spray water onto the paper as you work.) Load your round watercolor paintbrush with your first color and place drops of color onto the paper. The paint will ‘bloom’, spreading the pigment out into the water on the paper.
- Continue to add drops of color, keeping to a maximum of 5 colors or so, trying to avoid too much color mixing, or you will end up with brown everywhere. Hint: watercolor paint will fade significantly as it dries, so don’t worry if your paint seems bright, and don’t be tempted (like I always am) to add too much paint. Less is more with this project.
- When all of your colors are added, set your paper aside to dry completely. I ended up using red, purple, turquoise, green and yellow in my painting. Once your paper is completely dry, remove the tape and grab your pencil.
- This next step is where you get to use your inner Monet to ‘find’ the flowers in your painting and lightly outline them in pencil. Take your time and really look at the shapes you have in the paint. You will be surprised to find that the flowers will make themselves known to you as you continue to look at the page. This process is part of the beauty of the project.
- Once you have sketched in your flowers with pencil, outline the sketches with your black gel pen using a light hand to do so. Remember that this is an abstract painting, and the lines shouldn’t be too heavy or exact. As you can see, I didn’t do a whole lot of detailing, and the colors spill over the lines of the flowers, but that is what makes the finished painting special – beauty from imperfection. The finishing touch is to very carefully tear around the edges of your painting to add some interesting texture to the picture:
Here are some examples of other paintings I made using this abstract watercolor flowers technique:
The key to success with this abstract watercolor flowers technique is not to expect perfection out of your sketches. I’m not a fantastic sketcher, but I really love how these pictures turned out. I would love to see the pictures you make, so leave us a comment with a link to your painting so we can see your masterpieces!