Paint Sunflowers and Venice – Free Live Watercolor Workshop

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Paint Sunflowers and Venice – Click ‘play’ above to watch the free live workshop.

Paint Sunflowers and Venice – Overview

Hey everyone, today I decided to paint some sunflowers and a Venice landscape as part of my free live workshops that I run.

What do you struggle with most in learning watercolors?

It’s frustrating learning how to turn a reference photo into a painting. You need to reduce subjects down to simple shapes. For example, a flower can be broken down into circles, long oval-like shapes.

A building into rectangles and triangles.

I take measurements by eye and note where features begin and end. For example, a building may start 1/3 of the way through the page, and end 1/2 of the way through.

Also, take note of the light source, observe which parts of the reference photo are lighter or darker. And try to replicate that in the painting.

You just need to use a higher concentration of paint to pigment to get a darker tone! Some colors are naturally darker than others, e.g. ultramarine vs. Hansa yellow.

If you want to learn how to paint these sunflowers and Venice landscape, you can watch the free live watercolor workshop here.

Paint Sunflowers and Venice - Free Live Watercolor Workshop
Sunflowers – 1/8th Sheet

Sunflowers – Reflection

I liked how the purple contrasts with the yellow. This is due to them both being complimentary colors and also because I went darker for the background. The bit I like most though is the dark shadow on the right-hand side of the vase. It really brings out some much-needed sharpness and shadows. Also, those subtle shadows on the petals also make a world of difference by adding some sharpness and darker tones to the table.

If I were to do this scene again, I’d like to attempt a more complex still-life with some fruits and objects on the table. This scene is really just focused on the sunflowers/shadows.

Paint Sunflowers and Venice - Free Live Watercolor Workshop
Venice, St Mark’s Square – 1/4 Sheet

Venice – Reflection

This landscape was based on a photo I took when I was in Venice back in September 2019. I was quite pleased with how this one turned out. I managed to preserve a lot of the lovely wet-in-wet effects in the buildings and still managed to draw out some sharper areas.

I probably would have gone easier with the gouache if I had a second chance with this one – felt I added too much into the tower. But it’s not too noticeable.

The figures are quite simple but work nicely to bring some life into the scene. I think I’ve captured the feeling of light and shadow well here, a busy and hot day in Venice. That’s how I remembered it anyway.

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