WHITE FLOWERS IN watercolour
Artists & Illustrators|October 2020
WHITE FLOWERS IN watercolour
PETULA STONE shows how the luminous quality of magnolias can be captured with the help of masking fluid and dark backgrounds

Petula’s materials


Lemon Yellow (Nickel Titanate), Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine, Cobalt Turquoise, Naples Yellow, Burnt Sienna and Neutral Tint, all Winsor & Newton Professional Watercolour; Undersea Green, Daniel Smith Extra Fine Watercolor; Permanent White, Winsor & Newton Designer’s Gouache

•Brushes Winsor & Newton Pure Squirrel pointed wash brush, size 1; Raphaël Series 8404 Kolinsky sable brushes, sizes 0, 2 and 6; Raphaël Series 8711 synthetic chisel brush, size 12

•Paper Saunders Waterford 300gsm HP watercolour paper, 41x30cm

Masking fluid

•Tracing paper

•Graphite transfer paper

•Putty rubber

•4H pencil

•White pencil crayon

Flowers have always been a great source of inspiration for me, offering such wonderful shapes and colours to play with. The large waxy blooms of magnolias are quite spectacular and make a beautiful subject for painting.

By depicting them against a dark-coloured background as I have done in the demonstration below, I was better able to capture the shapes of the flowers and their almost luminous colour.

I decided to work from photos as the flowering season was practically over. Experience tells me that even if you are working from live material, it is always a good idea to take a few photos for reference. Flowers can wilt or stems move, so a reference image is useful.

I chose my favourite paper, Saunders Waterford hot-pressed watercolour paper, for this painting. As well as liking the surface, it comes in a gummed block so there was no need to stretch the paper prior to painting.


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October 2020