Painting A Rose in Watercolor


Painting a Rose in Watercolor

This is a definite departure to what you are used to seeing but a very important part in drawing.  For most of you that only like to draw cars or transportation related items, then you are definitely missing out.  Today’s demonstration is going to be about painting a rose using watercolors…..or is it?  It’s important to note that despite not being a full expert in watercolors, my background and focus on fundamentals allows me to create a believable rose.  Why is that?  This is due to how I OBSERVE reality around me.  If you are able to sharpen your observational skills, then you can apply certain techniques using ANY medium.

This is the magic  you will discover when you learn to visually communicate visiting Driven to Draw on a daily basis.

You have to constantly remind and talk to yourself by asking the critical questions:

  1. “Why am I doing this in the first place?”
  2. “How do I make myself better?”
  3. “What are the steps that I need to take in order to progress?”
  4. “What is my end goal?”

About the Rose

So painting a Rose is not your thing huh?  Think again.  I found painting this rose pretty liberating!  The rose in itself has several symbolic meanings such as:

  • Beauty

  • Love

  • Devotion

  • Passion

  • Sensuality

  • Honor

  • Faithfulness

In Greek Mythology, the Rose is associated with Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, wearing roses around her head, neck, and feet.  The rose was also symbolic of trust among a group of people.  In Rome, conversations that occurred at a table with roses hanging above, meant the conversation was forbidden to be repeated elsewhere.  So to make things interesting for yourself, you can consciously ask yourself questions about the rose in itself.

It’s really quite interesting the perspective you gain as you grow and mature as you get older.  You just see things differently.  You find purpose for the amount of time you want to spend on a project, drawing, painting, etc..  So when I first looked at painting the rose, I wanted to remind myself what the rose is about before I mechanically break it down to a set of steps to paint it.  Will my observational expertise be able to capture the subtleties and beauty of the rose represented by the known symbolic meaning of the rose?  How do does one communicate “Passion,”  “Love,” or “Sensuality?”  To be honest, this is sort of an advanced step separate from your initial observational study of color, shape, and form.

It’s not about the Rose

So now that you understand a little about the rose, I’m going to tell you this.  The rose in itself as an exercise or  “painting” is not about the rose at all!  Remove the idea that you are painting a rose in the first place.   What you are doing when drawing or painting subjects is to improve your  OBSERVATIONAL skill sets.  How well do you observe details? Do you understand the shapes that are involved? Do you understand the color shifts and the hues? Do you know how to mix colors to match what you see?

Painting Technique:

1.  Start with lighter colors and saturate the background

2.  As you paint the petals, start using a lighter base colors

3.  Where there is a form change and color shift, gradually increase the saturation of the color.  

4.  Continue this process for all other petals and try to compare the variation of color and value.  Ask yourself questions, which color is darker?  Or is this red dark enough?

5.  Once the overall painting is completed, add some finishing touches with color pencil to tighten or sharpen areas or to give the painting some “texture”

6.  Be sure to add the highlights to the petal to show the brighter spots.  DO NOT add highlights similar to that of car renderings.  Roses are soft and subtle.  They’re not metal so adding a nice shiny “dot” will make it look like plastic.

7.  ENJOY the process

As always…tell me what you thought about the video and whether you found it helpful.  What struggles are you having? Let me know and comment.

Remember, I believe in you, I know you can do it.  Just take consistent action and you’ll see improvement.

See you here on the next post! Now go out there and do something creative 🙂 Thanks so much for watching!