How to Paint a Rose – Step No. 1

Rose Drawing on Watercolor paperIt has been quite a while since I posted a complete  lesson with the references available, so I thought this would be a fun lesson to do. This is a very small, simple painting with no background – great for beginners!

If you would like to purchase the drawing and reference photo for $5.00, please contact me or visit my etsy online shop and click on the ONLINE LESSON icon. Just let me know that you want the Rose Lesson. I will email the pdf file of the photo reference and the completed drawing to you. Then you can return to this blog entry via my Lessons Tab (a link at the top of this page) and view each step of the lesson and paint along!

To Begin: Using either graphite pencil scrubbed onto the back of the drawing or using a sheet of graphite transfer paper (do not use carbon paper!), transfer the drawing onto a small sheet of Arches watercolor paper, 140 lb. is fine. Eight by eight inches is a good size since this is a very small painting.

Beginning strokes on Rose paintingI used Quinicridone Magenta, New Gamboge and Permanent Alizarine Crimson for the starting pigments. If you haven’t viewed my YouTube links on brushwork, you can find them on the Lessons page tab above. Preview the brush work techniques, then give it a try on the flower.

I started with the petals. Using both the Pull-Push Stroke and the Softened Edge Stroke, I worked around the petals, avoiding edges that touched one another until they were dry. Looking for shadow areas, I applied the Alizarin Crimson, and added Quin Magenta and New Gamboge depending upon the color and light called for. Some areas of the petals have a white/blue spot where the light is striking them directly. These areas are softened with water only, no pigment is needed here as the white of the paper becomes the highlight. Moisture is needed, though to keep the edges soft.

Rose Petals in WatercolorYou can see on the bottom rose petal here where I painted the Softened Edge Stroke. I applied very wet, fairly concentrated pigment, then rinsed my brush, dabbed it lightly on my blotter (paper toweling) and brushed clear water alongside and INTO the wet pigment that was just applied. Pushing the water from the white of the paper INTO the previous stroke creates a soft edged transition from light to dark. This stroke pushes the pigment particles to the darker side of the stroke and keeps the soft edge very smooth. It takes a little practice to master this one, but it is a very useful brush stroke.

I’ll be adding some more to this lesson very soon. Stay tuned!

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