Let’s Paint the Crocus!

Oh Boy! Last fall I decided not to be lazy and plant some bulbs and my work just payed off…

Ohhh, ahhhh!  I planted a variety of 12 bulbs; yellow, white, and purple. They make me so happy. It was such a relief to see come color pop out of the ground after a long winter.
So let’s get started and paint these lovely objects of happiness so that we can have a souvenir long after they wilt away.

Step 1: Here is my set up. This watercolor painting is another tiny postcard size piece of work. Easy, satisfying and quick. I taped down my watercolor paper and picture to a wooden board. On my watercolor paper I made a quick sketch in graphite. I pretty much like the photo exactly how it is so that’s how my sketch looks. I’m not too concerned with the position of every single leaf and petal. I don’t want this to turn into work, we’re just having fun.

Step 2: In this step, make an easy quick green watercolor wash. Just barely wet the background with a clean brush, when the paper is no longer shiny add a light green color. While still wet, in a few spots drop in one drop of yellow watercolor paint by lightly touching the paper with your brush. Don’t bush the color on…just touch it. This will melt into the green background and make a nice color variation. If you’re worried it looks too dark don’t worry when it dries it always gets lighter.

Step 3: With a darker green/blue watercolor mixture and a small brush add some leaves while the paper is still wet. The edges of some leaves will blend into the background and we want this to happen. It will give your painting depth. Nice and easy. You can wait until your paper is completely dry to paint some foreground leaves. Such an easy way to make a 3-D effect.

Step 4: Add some color to those petals! Look, I didn’t stay inside the lines and I’m a big person. Who cares! It’s not against the law! Don’t get worked up about being in control, you can be free and let it just happen. Let the watercolor do what the watercolor wants to do…just be the helper.

Step 5:Defining individual petals. One way to show the separation of petals is to lay down the first layer of paint, wait until it completely dries and then paint another layer of the same color with a little less water on top. Or like I did, while the first layer of paint is almost dry, drop in the second color to certain parts of the petal. For example with the purple crocus, I first painted a mixture of rose and cobalt blue. When that was almost dry I painted a stronger mixture (less water) of rose and indigo blue to just a few outside edges of the flower.

Step 6 Final: As always, this step is optional. I love to outline with a micron pen. However, can you see that I chose to not outline a few petals and leaves? Wow! That looks great! It instantly pushed those objects without micron in the distance…how cool! Oh isn’t this soooo much fun???

I hope you enjoyed this tiny step by step watercolor demonstration of how to paint the crocus!

Why do I show demos? Some artists argue that I may be giving all my secrets away. Heck yes! I do this because I believe in the budding artist that cannot afford to go to school. Be it because they do not have the time to escape their full time job or maybe because they do not have the money. I’ve been there. I’m still there. The thing is, you only have one life and if you were blessed with an artistic talent you can’t afford to waist it. Time is ticking!


  1. I love your quick lessons, not to mention your delightful little paintings! It’s so relaxing to take 30 minutes away from web design, and follow your steps to producing a small painting. I have been giving them a try on artist trading card watercolor papers–approx 2 x 3″. The small scale makes the watercolor sketch a quick one…a nice alternative to a coffee break! Thank you for sharing your talent and techniques with us! If you’d like some reference photos for subjects, please feel free to use the ones on my blog, http://seeinganew.blogspot.com.

  2. Hi Chris- I absolutely love to see how your paintings and drawings develop. No snow on the ground here in Columbus. We’re just south enough, because some of my blogger friends further north are all white.


  3. Seeing Anew: Wow! Your the first artist to let me know that you’ve been trying the steps! That’s so terrific! I would love to see them 🙂 I hope the step by steps have helped, that’s what it’s all about 😀
    Thank you so much for the invitation to use photos, if I do, I will surely let you know and give you full credit. You have a lovely site, I’m enjoying it much!

    Lana: Before I had a house where I could garden, I always thought they were purple too! That’s the common color that you always see! Thanks!

    Drowsey: Thank you! Get going on your artwork missy! LOL. I know you’re one of those blessed people with artistic talent!

    Tom: Thank you! I love doing it. The snow melted in one day so no harm done I guess…where’s our spring thunderstorms?!?

    Mary: Thank you so much! It means a lot! 🙂

    Monarch: Thank you!!! 😀

  4. I took a watercolor class, spent quite a bit of money just to start….and just wasn’t getting it…… I am so use to using heavy acrylics I just didn’t get the dilution aspect of watercolor (duh…WATER color…lol). You have a very nice simple way of explaining what you are doing to get the effects. I was able to see everything I just was not understanding ….. even though I could see other folks making it happen for them. I felt so frustrated and that ‘well! watercolor just isn’t for me.’ Thanks to you that isn’t so. thank you so much.

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