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Paint a spring tulip

I have tubs of tulips in my garden and they are truly spectacular when they start too flower.

So beautiful that I can forgive them for only really being productive for one year.

I always end up painting them and thought I would share my process with you.

This step by step tutorial will show you how you can paint a beautiful spring tulip with a few materials and very little drawing.


I used watercolour paints in:

Opera Pink

Sap green

Cobalt teal Blue

Phthalo blue

A round size 10 paint brush

A piece of 140 lb watercolour paper

Swatch out the colours you are using and try mixing some of them together to give you a wider range of colours that will all be harmonious with each other.

2. Sketch

Create a simple drawing of your tulip (I used a photograph of a tulip in my garden which I have included below if you would like to use it.)

Don't be tempted to add too much detail you only need outlines.

3. Paint

I painted this by adding clean water to each area and painting them separately.

Eg paint water into a petal then drop in the paint whilst the area is still wet.

This will give a nice loose effect whilst keeping the colour inside the wet petal.

Hopefully the image below shows what I mean.

4. Work more petals

Then work around all the petals of the tulip using the same technique.

You can do the same in the stems.

You can also use some of your mixed colours to add variety.

Don't forget to leave some areas free of paint to show white areas and bring light into the painting.

Don't worry if areas run into each other - you will create some beautiful effects as you can see below.

5. Assess

Step back and work out where you want to add more colour - use your reference photo to help you.

Don't overwork your painting.

I added a couple more tulips into the background for added interest.

I used the same colours but a more watered down version, to suggest these flowers.

6. Background

I tend to add the background when the image is still wet but you can wait until it is dry if you prefer.

I use clean water to paint all the background then add the various blues to suggest a sky.

I work quite loose and use watery paint so the background doesn't take over.

Again I don't worry if areas and colours intermingle.

7. Final Details

Once I'm happy with the overall colours I allow the image to dry and start to add a few details with my brush.

Again be careful not to overwork the image.

I add a few shadows and pick out a few details - certainly not everything.

In this image I also added a little detail with some watercolour pencil.

8. Ta Dah

And there you have it your very own spring tulip.

Let me know how you get on - I would love to see your work.

And here is the reference photo as promised.

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1 comentario

Miembro desconocido
25 abr 2023

Love the tulips tutorial..thanks Jo. Gonna get myself some materials and have a go one of these days. The Snowdrop workshop was really fun and inspirational 😊

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