I met the lovilee Catherine from Caterham Co. on Instagram and was so chuffed when she agreed to share a Floral wreath watercolor painting tutorial with us as part of our ‘Getting Creative’ month. I am totally in love with wreaths and have shared a how to make a wreath using a wire hanger before that you might also love.
Floral wreath watercolor painting tutorial
Hello, Lovilees!! I’m so happy to be here with you today. If there’s one thing that I’m passionate about (besides paper + ink…) then it’s sharing the creative vibes! Today, I’m going to show you how you can dance in those creative rhythms yourself with a demonstration on how to paint a simple watercolour wreath to hang on your wall or fridge to inspire future creations.
The first thing that I’m doing is gathering all the equipment that I’ll need and setting up my work space. I like to make sure that my work surface is nice and clean and that I have everything that I might need on hand.
A basic watercolour supply list runs like this.
- A set of paints (I’m using the more opaque gouache here).
- 2 jars of water (one for rinsing brushes, and one for clean water that we’ll use to dilute colours).
- A paint palette and white saucer.
- A set of round brushes.
- Lots and lots of kitchen towel!
- A good waterboard (around 330 gsm).
- An old towel or rag to wipe the brushes on.
I’m starting off with drawing my guidelines in. I know that I want this to be a circular wreath so I’m using a saucer to act as my guide. This watercolor wreath is going to have a mixture of flowers and foliage, which I lightly pencil in around the circle.
When it comes to numbers, an odd number of flowers/element is more visually pleasing. I’m going with five. (you can download a guide template in this link)
Now that I have my general layout, I’m mixing my colours. I’m using paint from tubes here, but you can just as easily do this with pans.
Alright! Flower time! Fill your big round brush with paint and begin painting in a circular motion, then fill in the spaces. Allow some areas to be darker or lighter than others. With these simple flowers, the dark and light parts are what give depth and form to the flowers.
Then next part is probably one of the longest — waiting for your watercolor painting flowers to dry…! Have a cup of tea or go take a squizz at Instagram. This might take a while, but it’s better to be patient now than to smudge your pretty flowers while painting the rest of the wreath.
I’m going to start adding foliage next. Using a thinner round brush, I’m going to paint in two different types of leaves in different shades. I’m using a darker green to paint little leaf shape around the flowers. Only 2-4 leaves around each posy, filling in and completing the arrangements. Then I leave them to dry as well.
The next type of leaf is a more vine-like one. Using a lighter green, trace a curvy line: using a very light pressure at the start, gradually adding more pressure, then lighten your hold again. You’ll end up with a wavy, tapering frond to which you can now add leaves. The leaves are created in the same manner. Go around the frond, adding shorter leaves.
Make your way around the circle, adding fronds with leaves as you go. Change the direction of some of the fronds to create some differentiation in the layout. Allow to dry.
Alight! So, once the leaves are dry, we’re going to start painting in the little finishing details.
I’m using the same darker green that I used for the little leaves and painting little stalks all around the wreath, grouping them is twos and threes. These are going to be our berry stalks, so we want to keep them light and delicate. As always, allow to dry.
Paint your berries in over the ends of the stalks using circular motions. Using a black or dark brown, finish off the flower posies by painting the centres with short spiky movements.
Our wreath is done! You can now fill your wreath with whatever message you like — in keeping with our theme, I’m going for a motivational “Don’t stop Creating”.
You can also download a finished version of this tutorial that you can print out here.
Catherine Dawes is the owner and graphic artist at Caterham Co. a handcrafted paper goods studio operating from a dusty farm on the edge of the Kalahari. Quirky humour and bright colours brought together with ink + paper, Caterham Co. produces bespoke paper goods such as greeting cards, invitation suites, art prints, and party goods using a mixture of traditional painting and calligraphy, together with digital and screen printing, and a whole lot of coffee.