I’ve been so inspired lately by the expressive artwork so many of you are making.  I’m feeling the need to loosen up and make something with a bit of punch.  I searched “loose watercolor flowers” on YouTube and found this link from Deb Watson.    Hub grows purple coneflowers, but they’re not yet blooming, and at Deb’s website, she was kind enough to share her reference image.

Here is my first background wash.   I kind of liked it, until I went on in the video and she reminded me to make sure the background is quite dark, to have a good contrast against the fairly light flower.

0619 first

So after letting it dry (ahem, helping it along with a hair dryer), I wet the paper again (all but where I’d drawn in the flower) and laid in a deeper, darker wash.  It’s not quite as psychedelic, but I do like the deep tones of M. Graham’s aureolin yellow, cobalt blue and phthalo blue together.

0619 2

My end product is quite different from hers, but mainly because I wanted the texture in the petals.   Not sure if I should go back and soften them off a bit with clear water?    The lines there may be a bit hard, but at this point, I’m happy with it.   We’ll see what happens in the morning.   The pink/purples I used are Graham’s quinacridone rose and Cotman’s mauve and a bit of dioxazine purple and a bit of WN Rose Madder.

0619 final

Who wants to dance??  I’m ready!  Happy Friday, everyone.  Tail feathers were meant for shakin’!   Thanks, as always, for your visits and comments.

55 thoughts on “Expressive

  1. Great job on this Laura! It is really beautiful! I watched the tutorial by Deb Watson. What a great one – how she walks you through every step so calmly and makes it look so easy. Thanks for sharing that resource. I want to spend more time on her website. You really aced this one. KUDOS BRAVO – hope you are happy with it, because it is amazing. I’ve been thinking of doing coneflowers too! They are just made for painting! 🙂

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    1. They really are perfect subjects. I’ve done a few before with watercolor pencils and I think one of those is in my top ten all-time posts here. Thanks for your comment; I really do like this little painting. I think you might be right about larger paper making it easier, particularly when painting around the petals such as with this one. This is 4×4 and I’m thinking about making it the centerpiece of a small quilt. But then I think maybe I should frame it. It’s very rare for me to be happy with any watercolor, but I do like this one. I’m glad you do too. I still feel like I need to find my own style. And I need to be more expressive. When I set the challenge to be more expressive, I was envisioning a much more expressive piece than this. Really working on loosening up, and you’re a big part of that, as I see the beauty of it in your work. Watercolor painting can teach us a lot about life, I think. As strange as that sounds, I think it can be quite a teacher. Much like the ocean. Water rocks! Happy Friday to you. 💜

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      1. It is such a pleasure to share this journey with you my friend. I will never forget you were such a big part of what inspired me to even begin! I imagine we will spend our lives “trying to find our style,” improving, learning, teaching, growing. Loved the primer you reblogged! Such thoughtful insight! Learning every day! Happy Weekend! Happy Father’s Day to your Hubs! ❤

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  2. It’s so much fun to see the process. I like the idea of drying the paint with a hairdryer…(now where is that thing, I know I have one) as I am usually too impatient to wait. Great flower texture, especially as a contrast to the dreamy background.

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    1. Thank you, I appreciate that! Yeah, patience is a real problem for me too. Half the time I keep painting when I know I should stop and wind up wrecking the thing. Summer definitely helps, but the hair dryer is a valuable tool, even still.

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    1. Thank you Sue! Watercolor backgrounds are fun and it’s easy to make them beautiful as long as the colors you choose play well together. In this case the tutorial gave me great colors. I’m glad you like it!


  3. Oh, it’s beautiful! It’s funny how at the previous stages, I’m looking at it thinking “well, that’s pretty nice, but…” and then I get to the last image and am wowed by the beauty both of the flower and the flower against the blue-green background!

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    1. Thanks, Teresa! Best part is it was so easy to do. I’ll be really glad when I feel like I can compose my own paintings without the help of books, tutorials, etc., but at least I’m getting the result I want while leaning on a tutorial for help. Switching to good paper is making this process soo much easier.

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      1. Nearly all the art instructors I’ve had say to buy the best quality paints and papers (canvases, etc) you can get because you may get discouraged with your results and give up if you use poor quality materials. 🙂

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        1. Yeah but that paper is $$ and I wasn’t even sure I’d like WC. Or art lol! It took me a loooong time to make that “commitment”. I actually was told by an artist at Open Studio and I asked his opinion. Or else I may still be painting on that other stuff. But you’re right. Shouldn’t have waited.

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  4. Excellent!! I can see the fantastic progress and quantum leaps you have made. wow 🙂
    and yes indeed, artists paper Does Help!!
    Your soft blurred background helps to create illusion of distance… perfect
    then you have enough variations of light, mid, dark tones on the flower to make it Just Right!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Debi! I really appreciate your visit and comment! I’d feel better if I could compose a painting like this with no tutorial for guidance. I probably need to reread your lessons. 🙂 Backgrounds especially are troublesome. I will try a few more flowers like this, I think. Thanks again!

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  5. WOW, Laura, this looks great!!!!! I have to watch that tutorial and try it out too!!! Love the contrast to the background and the colors. I think you should not change the flower, it´s perfect as it is!!! 🌸❤️

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    1. I’m so glad you like it, Ann! You should definitely check that video out. I just wish I could compose my own paintings without the help of a tutorial. Every time I try, it doesn’t turn out well. I do feel that moving to larger paper will help, and maybe working on a painting in stages rather than working in under an hour to have it ready for daily posts might help too. I’m sure you could do such a painting without any tutorial to guide you, Ann, but I’m glad you like this and it inspires you to do something beautiful in your own, unique style. (Something I also need to work on – finding my own style.)

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      1. I love your style!!! It´s playful and colorful! Working bigger can help, that´s for sure. And starting on the weekend. You still have your art journal for your daily postings. Maybe you can make a new category for the stuff that takes longer than an hour. 😊Thank you that you think I have some kind of style – I always think there´s not much unique in it. Working on it too! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! If you feel like it, watch the video – she really does make it look easy, and I think for anyone with a little bit of WC experience, it is! That flower is also pretty easy to draw, which really helps.


    1. Thanks, Rachel, but it’s all down to the youtube I referenced. I don’t feel like I can do backgrounds without guidance. I get all kerfuffled. Or whatever that word is. I wish I could feel like I was ready for the next stage….. I appreciate your comments, as always!


      1. I find backgrounds so much easier if I extend the subject out to some of the edges, in essence dividing the background into chunks. Then i mix plenty of the colors in puddles that are similar in consistency and have fun mingling them in the various sections.

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