Tulips: The Sign of Spring

Tulips in Watercolour

My first botanical project was of my favourite flowers. Nothing says spring like these bright, colourful bulb plants.

The subject matter was Jacob Marrel’s Tulip watercolour painting.  The objective was to replicate Marrel’s work using the dry brush technique.

Just like a pencil drawing, where you have a limited number of shades of lead to bring out details and depth.  Dry brush watercolour painting is very similar in that you use a faint amount of paint (mix of payne’s grey, alizarin crimson) and water, and slowly add a bit more over already applied areas (layering). Bit by bit, the image takes form, details are in enhanced, one layer at a time. However, unlike a pencil drawing, there is no eraser to take away mistakes or lighten areas that are too dark. You have to pay very close attention to maintain the light parts of the painting by not painting over them or just doing one very light layer of paint. Sometimes, if you’re quick, you can correct a mistake with a paper towel and a little water.

It was very hard to stop myself from adding too much water and paint. I’m so used to washes and the wet on wet technique. I really do like challenging myself to try something new like dry brushing.

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6 thoughts on “Tulips: The Sign of Spring

    • It took about an hour to sketch it out and transfer it to watercolour paper. 6 hours to paint it. Not too long since the subject matter is pretty compact. I’m glad you liked it.

  1. This is lovely! I have recently borrowed some books on botanical drawings from the library just to gawk at them and get some inspiration as I love flowers and plants very much. This form of drawing and painting is too way out for me now as I have just started learning to draw and paint. You really do such a great job of it. I hope to learn to do this eventually myself.

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