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Step 3: Instead of painting the veins on directly as we did in the previous example this time we
paint the whole petal with a transparent wash of color. Then while the wash is still wet I use a
stylus (or an empty ball point pen) to draw in the vein patterns. By using this tool (or something
similar) and applying gentle pressure on the wet paper, an indention or scratch is made in the
wet paper and the paint settles into this mark.
Similar to our own fingerprints, most flowers have
distinctive vein patterns. It's these unique characteristics
that add interest to our floral paintings, but even more
importantly, this detail and the direction of these veins will
help us to as contour to the petal shapes and keep them
from looking flat and lifeless.
Adding Veins to Flower Petals
Step 1: Draw or trace your flower's basic shape on a piece of tracing paper or clear transparency
film. Avoid adding too many details at this stage. Step 2: To transfer the drawing to your
watercolor paper, place it behind or under your wc paper, then using the light from a lightbox or a
window lightly trace the outline you see on your watercolor paper.
(Save your drawing for future paintings.)
In the 5 x 7 painting above titled "Orchids for Marilyn" © 2003 Susie Short All Rights Reserved
I illustrate the use of both of these methods. Using a stylus is also a great way to sign your paintings! Try it!
|Alternative Method ~ Making an
impression in wet paint ~
Step 4: As the paint dries the scratched vein markings will become more obvious.
Before moving to the next petal, determine how wet the previous petal is. If it is still very wet,
painting another next to it will be ok. If it only partially dry, you may create a water mark or
"blossom" if the two wet areas overlap. In that case skip a petal and allow the previous one to dry.
Remember, the direction and placement of these veins is critical. You may need to pencil them in
at first. After some practice you should be able to draw them freehand.
This method can be combined with painting the veins on directly for added variety.