We took a trip to the garden store and bought some flowering plants.  I chose ones that I thought would be good subjects for my students to paint.  In class I demonstrated how I would paint a composite flower like this Gerbera daisy.

Seeing Red Makes Me Happy, watercolor, 7" x 5"

Seeing Red Makes Me Happy, watercolor, 7″ x 5″

My first decision was where to place the flowers on the page, and how many of the flowers to include.  Noting that the centers were lighter than the petals, I painted the entire petal structure of both flowers as a single shape, using a variety of reds to create some areas that were darker and cooler than other warmer, more orange-y areas.  After this dried, I painted the centers yellow and splattered some red and green into them.  More splatters on the dried centers added texture.

The leaves were put down as a single wash of yellows and blues, allowing them to mingle on the paper to make a variety of greens.  When this dried, I used the shapes in the wash to decide where the leaves would be, and painted around the edges of some leaves (negative painting) while painting other leaves directly.

I’m looking forward to seeing this plant bloom in our garden this summer, and for now, I’m happy to see it blooming on my paper!