Paint Day Lilies On Hot Press Paper

This lesson is a sketch exploration of day lilies

We’ll try to capture the look of day lilies with only their silhouette and some color information.  The characteristics of hot press paper will help us get subtle blends of color and allow us time to work on some of the intricate parts of the  unique contours.

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Sketches For Exploration And Effect

There is a very blurry line between a sketch and a painting.  It is often the case that a casually approached, loosely executed “sketch” ends up having more life and energy than a finished painting of the same subject.  In my thinking, the casual approach relaxes our thinking and frees our vision and creative flow. The result is certainly a more honest and open expression of our personal feelings about the subject.

Whatever the result, the sketching process is certainly about exploration and discovery.

Economic Expression

In this sketch lesson – as, really, in all of them – we’ll be trying to express the simple beauty of the day lily. Flowers and floral subjects seem to demand a realistic, and even photographic, approach.  One of the benefits of sketching is that it develops your ability to express a subject by including only limited information about the subject.

We often recognize a subject when only seeing a silhouette or part of the silhouette. The addition of other bits of information without adding every detail is usually more than enough.

In this lesson, we’ll capture the essence of the day lily with only  some shape and color information.  The buds, blossoms and stems all have unique silhouettes that we’ll use to depict the flower.

Another interesting characteristic of this beautiful flower is that the various colors shift and move and blend into each other.  To help capture those subtle blends, we’ll use wet, fluid washes on hot press paper.  Water and color tends to sit on the surface of hot press paper, allowing more time to blend washes, colors and edges together.  We’ll use that characteristic to our advantage in this lesson.

Drawing Layout For Any Painting

One note on 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


Get ready, turn on the video and let’s jump in!

Related Lessons

Sketching and Sketches

Flower Painting Lessons