Let’s Paint the Waterlily!

After visiting Mr. Green Frog at the swamp, I was in a good summery mood, wanting to take some of that swamp home with me. What a better way to have a souvenir than to paint one! I decided not to paint Mr. Green Frog, but to paint the beautiful place he rests on, the waterlily.

The first picture shows my set up. On this particular day the weather was perfect and I couldn’t resist painting outside on my patio table. One note when you paint outside with watercolors….everything dries super fast! Make sure when you start to paint you have all of your supplies readily available. There’s nothing more frustrating than to be in the “flow” of a painting and realize you’re missing a thing or two and have to stop at a critical moment!

The first step is to draw your waterlilies with a 2B pencil and mask out the lilies with masking fluid.

This is my most favorite part! Make a runny background with much water and 3 colors: mostly sap green, then ultramarine blue, and finally spots of lovely alizarin crimson. Be free. Let the watercolors do what watercolor do, drip, merge, float,Ā  and puddle. Who cares if the paint runs off and drips on the floor! Let it do what it wants to do, that’s the mystery of watercolors.

Next, take some dark color and flick some droplets onto the background with a saturated brush and the tip of your finger. It will cause your finger to get messy, don’t worry it won’t fall off. It’s rather fun actually. After the background COMPLETELY dries, take the masking fluid off.

Next, with yellow and a little green gold, fill in the waterlily pads….remember to leave some white space for breathing room! Add a few blobs of rose for the flower. Just a blob, don’t cover the whole flower. With a clean brush and just water, move the rose color around to form petals.

OK, it still looks like a third grader painted this, but don’t fret! Watch what happens next!

With a little fine tuning a completed painting comes to life. In this picture I made some thick ripples with some more blue watercolor paint and detailed everything else with Staedtler’s Triplus Fineliner markers.

Hot Dog! Look at it now! Floating waterlilies with an intriguing background.
This little painting is only 3.5×5 and will be made into a postcard so I can send it to a family member.

What’s that? I think I hear a green frog!


  1. Shelly: Thanks, I was sure happy painting them! šŸ™‚

    Laughingwolf: Thank you, I like to surprise family and friends with miniature paintings in the mail, much better than a bill!

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