Spring sky in watercolor – ENGLISH VERSION

For this week, i’ve prepared a video with quite a different subject frome the couple last ones and much more darker : a spring sky.

With a very cloudy and cold spring here in Stockholm this year, i have a bunch of inspiring pictures of dark skies. So today my reference picture is coming from one of my favorite spot, the botanic garden. I went there with the intent to sketch on location some flowers, but i prefered to paint this dark sky. It was moving very fast, there were a lot of wind this day but i loved instantanely the dark clouds but with still some blue sky peaking through.

To paint on location is quite complicated for me, so i have a tendency to over simplifiyng everything, even more than i’m used to. It was 16ºC this day with wind so i didn’t want to stay sitting for a long time and i try to paint very quickly. You can have a look to the result in the picture below. It was a nice start like a study but too much simplifyed. This study was though very useful for this week’s video ! I had already a good idea in mind, i did know what colors i wanted to use, what kind of brush marks i wanted…

Watercolor spring sky in video

Supplies :
Brush : Escoda aquario nº18.
Paper : Canson Héritage rough.
Colors : Cobalt blue (Schmincke), Cerulean blue (Daniel Smith), Yellow ochre (Daniel Smith), Rose madder lake (Sennelier), Lunar blue (Daniel Smith), Indigo (Winsor & Newton), Payne’s grey (Sennelier).

And here you have the finished painting (click to enlarge) :

Dandelions in watercolor

If you follow for quite a while, you know that i like to paint weeds, those weeds we see every day and nightmares for gardeners… But i love them ! So this week i show you how to paint dandelions !

My reference picture is far from pretty, it’s just a fiel of weeds. So before i rush and paint it, i have to think about composition in order to make this picture interesting and dynamic. I need also to create a little bit of depth so that my painting doesn’t look too flat. I choose to create some sort of diagonal with the flowers and they are overlapping in some area to get that sense of depth.

The hardest part in this picture is the gradients. In the first two layers, i’m using lots of gradient technique. But with a warmer weather it can be difficult to get a flawless gradient. The keys : working fast (but not too hasty), have a plan of action in mind so you know what to do and when to do it and maybe a bit more water than usual ! i’ll try this summer to make a video explaining my best tactics to get gradients.

Watercolor dandelions in video

Supplies :
Brushes : Escoda aquario nº18, Rosemary & Co série 39 1/2″, Raphaël petit gris le “803” nº2.
Paper : Canson Héritage rough.
Colors : Indanthrene blue (Sennelier), Nickel Azo yellow (Daniel Smith), Aussie red gold (Daniel Smith), Lunar blue (Daniel Smith).

And here you have the finished painting (click to enlarge) :

Discover Aussie red gold

I’m talking about two new colors i bought in a couple of past videos now : Nickel azo yellow and aussie red gold. So this week i’ll talk a bit more about the second one et i’ll show you how i test a new color.

Even if i’m testing a new color, i need a reference picture ! and i choose this one with quite a nice flower. I can’t remember the name at all, but the color is kinda like this aussie red gold. And like the last video, my goal is not at all being realistic and make the flower recognizable, it’s more about having fun and paint what i see with also what i feel. And it makes the perfect subject for color testing !

In this test i’m looking at three capacity that interest me the most : color transparency, gradient possibility (getting highly saturated color, but also very soft and subtil one) and mixing capacity. And while painting thiw watercolor, i was able to check all this capacities ! Aussie red gold is a very transparent color very similar on that point with quinacridone gold. I can get very soft gold tones and when i’m saturating the color way more i get a powerful orangy gold tone ! I love that kind of color where the tone evolve with the saturation. I’ve tested only two mixes : a green with indanthrene blue and a neutral color by adding some violet. And it’s a great success ! I like in particular the different light i get with greens. It’s like the orange hue is piking through the color.

Discover Aussie red gold in video

Supplies :
Brush : Escoda Aquario nº18.
Paper : Canson Héritage rough.
Colors : Indanthrene blue (Sennelier), Quinacridone gold (Daniel Smith), Rose madder lake (Sennelier), Aussie red gold (Daniel Smith).

And here you have the finished painting (click to enlarge) :

Yellow improvisation with watercolor

This week i wanted to paint something more fun and less thoughtful. My picture library is full of beautiful images (mostly flowers) so i decided to take one of this pictures and create a kind of improvisation.

On my reference image, there is a lot of information and i will just take some of them and integrate them in my painting. So i’m taking first the color, this yellow and all the tones of it, and second part of the structure of the picture and last the rounded shape of the flowers. For once i do not care if the flowers are recognizable. My goal here is to render an impression of bursting yellows.

I’m able to love all shades of blues but i’m very picky about yellows and i can find lots of flaws when playing with the shade of yellow i own (except quinacridone gold which is totally perfect). So i decided to try more yellows, and i choose a Daniel Smith color Nickel azo yellow. This new color has every qualities i love in quinacridone gold (transparency, subtility and also powerfull) but in a colder hue. Exactly what i was looking for ! And the painting in this video is also a test in order to see what i can obtain with this new color. I’m not testing mixing colors in this one but i’m testing if i can be soft and subtle in some parts and powerful in other. And next time maybe i’ll try mixing ! Step by step !

Improvisation à l’aquarelle en vidéo

Supplies :
Brushes : Escoda aquario nº18, Raphaël petit gris le “803” nº2.
Paper : Canson Héritage cold pressed.
Colors : Phtalo turquoise (Daniel Smith), Nickel azo yellow (Daniel Smith), Quinacridone burnt scarlet (Daniel Smith) and Aussie red gold (Daniel Smith).

And here you have the finished painting (click to enlarge) :

Rhododendron in watercolor

This week, i’m working again with hot pressed paper, but this time i’m painting flowers ! Rhododendrons are in blooms right now in Stockholm and even compete with lilacs flowers !


Above, my reference picture taken in the botanic garden in Stockholm. It was a very sunny day, so the flowers looks almost white against their green foliage. This means that i will have to work with lots of negative painting in order to define the background ! I remember when i started with this technique, i was very anxious. To paint around the main subject of your painting is really not the easy way at first. It’s messing with you brain. But with exercise and practice it appears easier and easier each time. So i you are like me, keep hope : repeating this technique will give you more confidence in it !

This painting can look quite messy when you look very closely at it. The use of hot pressed paper makes all the layers of colors slightly visible and every flows is magnified. But when you take some steps back, the picture is revealing itself. This effect make me thinking that i’m not taking this step back enough when i paint. I’m often very concentrated and leaning over my paper. But taking this step back can help to see some flows in contrast or details.

Watercolor of rhododendron in video

Supplies :
Brushes : Escoda Último 1″, Raphaël petit gris le “803” nº2.
Paper : Canson Héritage hot pressed.
Colors : Cerulean blue (Daniel Smith), Indanthrene blue (Sennelier), Yellow ochre (Daniel Smith), Quinacridone gold (Daniel Smith), Rose madder lake (Sennelier), Lavander (Daniel Smith), Nickel azo yellow (Daniel Smith).

And here you have the finished painting (click to enlarge) :

Japanese pond in watercolor

This week, i’m painting landscape again ! And i choose a vue of a japanese pond in Stockholm’s botanical garden.

A lots of my reference picture are coming from this botanical garden ! It’s a very peaceful place, well maintained et totally free ! So i’m going there quite often. But this time, i’m not painting flowers but a landscape from this garden. The japanese pond is a very peaceful place and maybe spring is not the best season for it but it’s beautiful nonetheless !

Étang japonais, inspiration

I’m quite obsess with this reference picture you can see above. I’ve painted it first with gouache and then with watercolor (video below) and then again with watercolor two times but in smaller format… and i’ve the feeling that i’m not done with it ! The area of gravel/beach was very hard for me. The shadow of the trees against a very textured background but with no details… That’s hard to paint without making them taking the lead in the painting.

Japanese pond in watercolor

Supplies :
Brushes : Escoda aquario nº18, Escoda Último 1″, Rosemary & Co serie 39 1/2″.
Paper : Canson Héritage hot pressed.
Colors : Cerulean blue (Daniel Smith), Indanthrene blue (Sennelier), Yellow ochre (Daniel Smith), Quinacridone gold (Daniel Smith), Rose madder lake (Sennelier), Burnt sienna (Schmincke).

And here you have the finished painting (click to enlarge) :

One subject, two color stories

This week, i wanted to record a similar video than the one with the brushes but all about colors. So i will try to explain to you that it’s not a necessity to have all the beautiful colors from your favorite artists. No matter the colors the result can be also interesting !

This video idea came to me because i was myself very influenced by all the artists i follow on Youtube and on Instagram. And that’s a good thing in itself, i was able to discover lots of colors. But i also wasted my money on colors that i don’t use on a regular basis. So what i want to say here is that colors don’t really matters at the end. Of course the feeling of the image could be different with other color, but i don’t think it’s a bad thing !

I love to buy new colors and i’m the first to say that i own too much colors ! But to have a limited palette with colors you like truly is a really great help for beginners. If you are used to a scheme of color it will be easier for you to mix colors and it will get easier and easier with time. No matter the color you have you should try and paint ! Maybe there is this color from this particular tutorial that you don’t have… well i’m sure you can find a mix that will be similar in most cases ! And for me it’s really very fun to try to recreate a color !

Before recording this video, i painted this two sketches and even one in plein-air ! And the colors in this sketches are also different from the ones in my video. So you see, no matter the colors, the result is still interesting, don’t you think ?!

One subject, two colors stories in video

Supplies :
Brush : Raphaël petit gris “le 803” nº2.
Paper : Canson Héritage cold pressed.
Colors : Left picture : Indanthrene blue (Sennelier), Permanent alizarine crimson (Daniel Smith), Mayan yellow (Daniel Smith), Burnt sienna (Schmincke). Right picture : Manganese blue (Daniel Smith), Rose madder lake (Sennelier), Quinacridone gold (Daniel Smith), Payne’s grey (Sennelier).

And here you have the finished painting (click to enlarge) :

Abstract blue in watercolor

For this week’s video, i wanted to paint something quite simple and mainly abstract, because i have the feeling that i haven’t paint abstract in a while.

In fact this abstract watercolors are the paintings that push my creativity for more realistic subjects. To cut the constraint of realism (in the sens of painting a recognizable subject) allows me to focus on textures, effects and colors. It’s like a sandbox where everything is possible. When i paint like that i know i’ll learn something each time. And this little something i like, i’ll be able to use it for another watercolor painting !

For this abstract painting, i decide to limit my color palette to blues. This limitation helps me to focus on what i paint and not going in every direction. But as this color palette is cold i like to add some bits of warmer colors to balance it.

Watercolor abstract blu in video

Supplies :
Brushes : Escoda Aquario nº18, Rosemary & Co serie 39 1/2″.
Paper : Canson Héritage rough.
Colors : Cerulean blue (Daniel Smith), Lunar blue (Daniel Smith), Burnt sienna (Schmincke), Indigo (Winsor & Newton).
Other : Neocolor I white (Caran d’Ache), Watercolor stick cobalt turquoise light (Winsor & Newton), Watercolor pencils Albrecht Dürer Dark indigo, Green gold, Indanthrene blue and Earth green (Faber-Castell).

And here you have the finished painting (click to enlarge) :

Carnations in watercolor

This week i treat myself with a bouquet of carnation and eucalyptus. And of course i painted it ! Perfect subject to exercise my observation skill.

Carnations and eucalyptus

My picture is isn’t showing the full beauty of it… It was such a nice and long bouquet to have at home ! I had to fight a little bit with Arya (my cat) because she wanted to snif and chew it… But anyway, it’s quite a simple bouquet in terms of colors so i focused my work on the shape of the flowers and leaves. Carnations have a very specific shape with lots of crumpled petals united by a long and bulky calyx. All those information i can see in my observation of the plant should be on my paper too so that the viewer is able to recognize the flower. Of course i don’t want to be realistic, that’s not my style, but i still want to add the right details to my painting in order to identify the carnation. Just enough details !

For the flowy effect of the flowers, i paint them with hard edges and soft edges. And i add different layers of red, because for me (i do not like to paint with red), it’s easier to build reds layers after layers and intensify the color slowly. The sucessives layers, always worked with soft and hard edges, will also add to the vaporous effect.

Painting carnation in video

Supplies :
Brushes : Escoda Aquario nº18, Rosemary & Co serie 39 1/2″, Raphaël petit gris le “803” nº2.
Paper : Canson héritage rough.
Colors : Indanthrene blue (Sennelier), Lunar blue (Daniel Smith), Quinacridone gold (Daniel Smith), Winsor red (Winsor & Newton).

And here you have the finished painting (click to enlarge) :

Expressive sketch in watercolor

Now that i have experimented a lot with my watercolor pencils and i know what they are capable to do, i wanted to just draw and paint a quick sketch with their help.

For my subject, i’ve choose one of my last picture i’ve taken in Stockholm this past few weeks. And you can even see on this one a little patch of ice in the foreground… But this picture is quite representative of what i like in this city : warm color buildings against blue sky, nature, and simplicity. This particular building is in fact an observatory. It’s not in fonction any more but there is still a meteorological station in it wich mesure the temperature every day since 1756 !

For my sketch of this place, i wanted to have a lot of energy and spontaneity. That’s why i didn’t start with a previous sketch with just pencils. I was aiming here for painting a first impression without any filter and a bit raw. So i’m aware that this style will not please everyone but it was just freeing for me to paint without thinking about anything but the present time.

Sketch of the old Stockholm observatory in video

Supplies :
Brush : Raphaël petit gris le “803” nº2.
Paper : Saunders Waterford rough 190gsm.
Colors : Indanthrene blue (Sennelier), Verona gold ochre (Daniel Smith), Quinacridone gold (Daniel Smith), Quinacridone burnt scarlet (Daniel Smith), Burnt sienna (Schmincke).
Extra : White Posca, Watercolor stick cobalt turquoise light (Winsor & Newton), Watercolor pencils Earth green, Chromium green opaque, Caput mortuum violet (Faber-Castell).

And here you have the finished painting (click to enlarge) :