Spring is in the air! Get inspired for longer and warmer days ahead by making a beautiful cherry blossom painting in watercolor. This simple tutorial is accessible for artists of any level. Even better, it requires minimal supplies and yields beautiful results.
Artwork via CakeSpy
Try out this simple method for how to paint a cherry blossom tree, and then take it further by experimenting in your favorite style or medium. While the tutorial is shown using watercolor, this method could easily be adapted for whatever your favorite painting medium, including acrylic, gouache or oil paint.
How to paint a cherry blossom tree
- Watercolor paper or vellum-finish Bristol board
- Watercolor paint in red, brown and green (I used Cadmium Red Pale Hue, Burnt Umber and Sap Green)
- Palette for mixing paint
- Water for mixing and cleaning paint
- Watercolor brushes, one larger and one smaller (I used a #5 round brush and a #2 round brush)
- Paper towels, for drying brushes (if needed)
Assemble your work space, and have your paper, paint, palette, water and brushes at the ready.
Place a large dab of your red paint on the palette, and mix it with plenty of water to get a nice pink hue.
Using your larger brush, make feather-like dabs on the surface of the paper. Make them quick; this ensures that they’re irregular in shape and have a slight gradient within each dab. Continue making dabs of paint in a roughly oval shape, but don’t worry about making it too perfect in shape. Part of the prettiness of cherry blossom trees is their irregular, cotton candy–like shape.
Note: Let your grip on your paint brush be loose, and have fun! It’s fine to overlap dabs, and it’s fine to load the brush with more paint on some dips and less on others. This will give your cherry blossom tree a nice texture.
Once you’re satisfied with your sea of pink dabs on paper, let it dry completely. This can take a few minutes, particularly if (like me) you were heavy handed with some of the paint. In the meantime, wash your larger brush and set to the side; don’t worry about cleaning your palette yet, though, because you might want more of that pink color in a little bit.
Once the paint has dried, it’s time to add your tree trunk. Dab brown paint and green paint on your palette, and mix each slightly with water (not as much as you did with the red paint). Using your smaller brush, paint a tree trunk emerging from the bottom of your pink blossom form. If desired, you can add bits of branches peeking through in certain spots between the blossoms.
Step 5 (optional):
Still using your (washed) small brush, add dots of green in irregular intervals on your tree, and if desired, to form grass by the trunk.
Evaluate your work, and see where you might like to augment or add more detail. Sometimes I add another batch of pink dabs on top of the tree, to give it a little more dimension, or maybe add some darker brown detailing to the sides of the trunk.
Enjoy your simple but lovely cherry blossom tree painting!