If you’ve been following the watercolor trends, you’ve probably noticed that floral wreaths are big right now. You can a watercolor wreath for wedding invitations, logos or even as a framed piece of art for your home.
Because flower petals are translucent, watercolor is the perfect medium to capture their essence. Watercolors are a great medium for portraying light, freshness and the fluid nature of living things, like the flowers and leaves in a wreath
There are two directions you can go when painting your own watercolor wreath: realistic or semi-abstract.
The realistic style requires more time, as you will need to paint each flower realistically, which can produce stunning results. However, I prefer to go the semi-abstract route because it’s quick and easy to improvise the elements of the wreath. Painting more quickly also allows the paints to mix and blend a little, which is an effect I love!
Here are a few tips to get you started with your own semi-abstract watercolor wreath:
1. Choose a color palette first.
With the floral wreath above, I went with analogous colors of flowers in pinks, reds and oranges. Then I painted the leaves and stems shades of green.
Don’t feel confined by realistic colors — your leaves do not have to be green! You can be as creative with the colors as you want. Just plan ahead what colors you want to use.
A good way to make sure your colors will work together is to paint little dabs of paint on a scrap piece of paper. That way, you’ll be prepared when it’s time to paint the real thing.
2. Practice painting leaves, greenery and flowers beforehand.
Before executing the final painting, give yourself some time to practice the flowers and leaves you’ll include in your watercolor wreath. The more you experiment with different flower shapes, the better you get. After a while, you build up a little mental visual library that you can use when you are painting on the fly. Building up this visual library is well worth the time.
One way to build up your floral knowledge is to paint samples of the different kinds of flowers and stems and keep the samples out for reference as you begin work on your wreath.
3. Start by drawing a circle in pencil.
When you are ready to start on your flower wreath, use a bowl or round object to trace a circle. Keep the circle small enough that you will have room for flowers and leaves to extend over the edges and still not touch the edge of the paper.
4. Plan the placement of your flowers.
You could choose to place the flowers evenly around the wreath or keep the flowers bunched to one side. Whatever you choose, make sure that the leaves and stems balance out the flowers. That way, you maintain the circular shape of your wreath.
5. Paint the flowers first.
I find it easier to paint the flowers first, then the stems and leaves. I also find it better to work in sections. Before you get too far on the flowers, take the time to add some stems and leaves next to them, allowing the wet paint to blend a little.
6. Vary the values of your paint colors.
Make sure to paint some areas darker and some lighter, to give some depth to your painting. The center of a flower is usually darker than the outer edges of the petals.
7. Finish and frame!
When you are finished with your wreath and your painting is dry, you can frame it or scan it into your computer to use on cards or as a logo. There are so many uses for a watercolor wreath!