How to Paint a Peony in Watercolor

Hi friends! In this post, we’ll go though the process of painting a peony with watercolors step by step! If you missed the first part of this 2-part blog post where we drew the peony, you can click here to read it: How to Draw a Peony.

Alright, onto the tutorial!

how to paint a peony in watercolor

How to Paint a Peony in Watercolor:

how to paint a peony in watercolor
I start by giving all of the petals an all-over wash of light pink, and let that dry.

 

how to paint a peony in watercolor
Using my main pink color, I start at the darkest areas, wherever one petal lays over the other. I lay down the paint at the darkest point, then blend it out with water.
how to paint a peony in watercolor
Here’s my brush blending the paint out. It’s the gradient that will give the peony a realistic look.

 

how to paint a peony in watercolor
Here’s how it looks after my first layer.

 

how to paint a peony in watercolor
I then go back with the same color, going over all of my spots again, making sure my most saturated areas are where the shadows are.

 

Here's my peony after this second layer is finished.
Here’s my peony after this second layer is finished.

 

how to paint a peony in watercolor
I then use a more reddish color and go into the darkest ares, right in the crevasses, and blend that out into the pink.

 

how to paint a peony in watercolor
Here it is after my red layer. I’m also not worrying about whether my layers are fully dry or not. If the colors mix it’s fine.

 

how to paint a peony in watercolor
Now I’m using a dark purple, and I’m only putting it at the darkest of the dark areas. Look for the deeply shadowed areas and just put a tiny bit of purple, then blend it out.

 

how to paint a peony in watercolor
Here’s how that area looks after I blended the purple out.

 

how to paint a peony in watercolor
And here’s the whole flower after this step is done. The purple and red touches really give it life!

 

how to paint a peony in watercolor
And finally, I add a bit of black to the darkest areas, making sure I blend it out well. This bit of contrast will help our peony pop.

 

how to paint a peony in watercolor
So here’s my finished petals!

 

how to paint a peony in watercolor
For the leaves, I do a similar technique, laying down a wash of light green first.

 

how to paint a peony in watercolor
Here they are after my second layer.

 

how to paint a peony in watercolor
And my final layer. I added a bit of paint to the veins after the leaves dried to give a bit of definition.

 

how to paint a peony in watercolor
For the flower’s center, I paint a wash of yellow to start.

 

how to paint a peony in watercolor
Then I add various yellows and yellow ochre while it’s all wet. They’ll blend together on their own and give some variety to the colors.

 

how to paint a peony in watercolor
I use a bit of light brown along the bottom to give the center some form.

 

how to paint a peony in watercolor
Here’s my finished center.

 

how to paint a peony in watercolor
And here’s my finished flower! Painting a peony isn’t so hard if you break it down and work layer by layer.

 

how to paint a peony in watercolor
Here it is sitting on my desk. I hope you give it a try!

So that’s it guys! I hope this post has helped you if you’re unsure how to go about painting a flower like a peony.  It’s all about building up those layers!

Leave me a comment below if you enjoyed or are going to try this for yourself, and till next time, keep creating!

-Ashley <3

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