Paint A Pink Peony On Hot-Press Watercolor Paper

This lesson is about creating an impressionistic floral painting on hot-pressed watercolor paper. Peonies are beautiful and fragrant. We can’t re-create the fragrance, but we can capture the beauty without trying to make a photo-realistic painting. This lesson shows how to manage the tricky Hot-Press paper while more “glow and flow” from the medium.

Painting For Impression

Subjects like this peony tend to lead us toward photo realism. There is so much going on in this one single blossom and we want to catch every bit of it.  Instead of that, I like a more impressionistic approach that allows for some interpretation and addition of our own sense of the subject while still getting the character and beauty of the subject.

We’ll work loosely in this project, applying wet-into-wet and dry-into wet technques to try to pull this subject together, capture the light and the character of this beautful subject.

Hot Pressed Paper

Hot-press watercolor paper has a smooth surface that enhances the transparent glow of all colors and allows washes to flow very freely.  These two characteristics are highly desireable in a watercolor painting. But, the smooth surface has its own challenges, beginning with the ease of flow. Since the paper truly is pressed, the fibers don’t absorb much water. That makes managing washes somewhat difficult.  This effect can be lessened by using less water – but not too much less, as the brush strokes will tend to sit where they are placed and not move around – reducing the looseness and transparency. It’s a delicate balance that we’ll explore in this lesson.

Transferring the Drawing Layout

The downloadable layouts are done with heavy lines to make it easy to see and copy onto your watercolor paper. It is best not to draw the lines too heavy on your paper, especially in the sky, since there is a good chance the lines will show through the paint. It’s not a deal-breaker, but those heavy pencil lines are sometimes a distraction.

What you’ll need

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