Painting – Peony – Step By Step

Campbell has seen extraordinary success from first picking a paint brush up in 2009. Helen’s work is contemporary and often larger than life.

Painting flowers is always a joy, but who could argue that attempting to capture all of the different colours and tones, can be a daunting prospect? Here, I have put together a seven step tutorial on how to paint this vibrant, blousy peony so that with a little practice and patience, you too can create a work of art!

I will show you that watercolour need not be just weak and watery, but with careful application and by slowly building up layers, you can produce strong, vibrant colours.

I have purposely kept colours to a minimum, so if you are completely new to painting, you need not buy lots of paints.

It is important that as you work through the tutorial, you allow each layer to completely dry before attempting the next. It is also vital that the thicker washes are not too thick as they can become “muddy”. Throughout the guide I refer to washes as being watery (ie have very little pigment but a lot of water) or “creamy” (ie a lot of pigment to produce a stronger colour).

The pencil drawing should be “clean” and not sketchy. Make sure you have a good strong outline to trace if needs be.

I work from photographs that I take myself, either in situ, or in my studio – the reference photograph for the peony was taken from a sunny spot in my garden.

My Materials:
I use hot pressed paper with a particularly smooth surface. For brushes, I only use one Rosemary brush which is a pure sable “spotter” Series 93 in a size 3 on the shorter handle. This gorgeous little brush has shorter bristles, than regular brushes and has a strong, resilient point. I use it in a way similar to that of a felt tip pen, rather like colouring in. These are made by Rosemary herself, and I would be lost without them!

Colours Used:
1. Permanent Rose
2. Scarlet Lake
3. Perylene Violet
4. Sap Green

Images courtesy of Helen Campbell.
See more of Helen’s work at:
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