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How to Watercolor Beautiful, Simple Flowers

How to Watercolor Beautiful, Simple Flowers

When you are learning to watercolor flowers, starting out with flowers that have simple shapes makes it so much easier. Multi-layer petals fall in the hard category. This tiny, yellow Bird’s Foot Trefoil flower is an easy one.

The simple petal structure means that you don’t need to consider shadows and depth. Still, you can paint something that looks quite real. Follow the step-by-step tutorial below. 

A couple of summers ago I visited the far north of Norway with my family, and the reference photo is from that trip. Bird’s Foot Trefoil is a cozy, tiny plant that grows abundantly by the wayside, in meadows and on lawns. I love its delicate shape and cheerful, yellow color. 


Photo of yellow trefoil flower

I’m a big fan of the decorative arts and my flower drawings are always skewed in that direction.  You can download the drawing for this tutorial in One Tree Art Club so that you can focus on painting, not drawing. Print it out, and either trace it or paint directly on the printed drawing. 

Step 1
Paint the petals with plenty of water

Painting the yellow flowers with water first

Step 2
Paint the petals with bright sun-yellow. Add egg-yolk yellow on some parts of the petals, letting the colors flow freely into one another.

Adding yellow watercolor on the flower petals

Step 3
This is the palette I used. Some colors come ready-made, some I had to mix.

Watercolor swatches used in the paiting

Step 4
Let the yellow petals dry. When dry, apply plenty of water to the leaves with your brush. Paint leaves with dark green, blue-green and apple green. The water will allow the different greens to flow into each other.

Painting the leaves green with loads of water

Step 5
Paint the decorative stems with moss green, and the receptacles with the light green.

Adding shades of orange and green

Download the flower drawing as printable line art

Step 6
With abundant water, add some brown to the receptacles and stems.

Carefully adding brown to the stems

Step 7
Let the whole painting get completely dry. Draw the veins of the leaves with a light green colored pencil. With a grass green pencil, draw on random areas of the leaves to enhance the variation in green color. Add brown to the stems.

When the watercolors are all dry, draw in the veins of the leaves with colored pencil

Step 8
You’re done! Don’t worry about color that has flown outside the outline. Let it be. It only makes the artwork more interesting. 

The watercolor of the yellow flower is all done

Happy painting to you!

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