Let’s Paint Woodland Berries!

Cool Beans here we go, we’re about to paint the woodland berries we found at the McLaughry Spring Woods using watercolor paints!!!

Step 1: In this painting we are going to paint all three berries at once. Make a rough sketch of all 3 berry types: from top left, #1 false solomon seal, #2 doll’s eyes, and bottom #3 jack in the pulpit, on 140lb hotpress watercolor paper. Unless you are painting for a botanical illustration, don’t count every single berry and drive yourself crazy. Who wants added stress? Not me, I have enough…thanks!

Step 2: Let’s start with green. Upper top left: I used green gold to paint the leaf of the false solomon seal. With the doll’s eyes, because the berries are poisonous white, we have to do some negative painting. Negative painting is when you paint the background instead of your subject. With a mixture of sap green and indigo, I painted around the white doll’s eyes berries. To soften the edges, take a clean brush with water and move the edge around. Lastly the bottom, jack in the pulpit has a stem that looks like a green onion stem. Using green gold and green sap, paint the stem under the berries first, then with a clean wet brush push the pigment further down the stem. Nothin’ to it!

Step 3: Just a little detail. In the upper left take some sap green and darken the leaf along the veins. Soften the edges with clean water. With crimson red, paint the poisonous stems of the doll’s eyes…how fun is that! Bring on the nature fun…ho…hey!

Step 4: With crimson, paint some false solomon seal berries. The darker red is more pigment, less water. The lighter red is more water, less pigment. Still keepin’ it simple.

Step 5: Holy Cow is this fun! Now make some speckled marks on the false solomon seal. I’ve never seen speckled berries in the wild before so this is big, significant stuff to me! I used pure crimson and splotched dots with a small rigger brush. These berries in the woodland will eventually turn a deep red. We caught them just in time!
For the jack in the pulpit, the light is coming from the top, so paint make a layer of yellow. Let dry. Using cadmium red (an orange color), paint a few top berries and all of the bottom berries.

Step 6: With cadmium red, paint around the jack in the pulpit berries. To smooth edges use clean water.

Step 7 Final: With a black micron #3 pen, make outline some significant berries and stems. I labeled my berries so everybody can learn them. That’s it…we did it!!!

“Woodland Berries in September”
image: 6.5×4.5
white mat outside dimensions: 10×8

I hope you enjoyed this step by step process on how to paint woodland berries in watercolor paints.


  1. You may very well have discussed this in the past with regard to paintings similar to the one which is the subject of this post, but these type paintings would make such a nice presentation compiled in the form of some type of ‘naturalist’ book. I just really like the technique you have used here.

  2. I’ve just subscribed and have enjoyed some of your step by step teaching, which are very interesting with clear instructions. Thank you very much for your generosity! But somehow I can’t access to some of your posts like this one. All the photos are showing this line: please update your account to enable 3rd party hosting. Is there something I can do to get accessibility ?

    1. Thank you very much for this information. It seems photobucket.com has hijacked my photos from the time I used them June 2008 – Oct 2010. They apparently want me to pay them $399.99 to link my photos from their site to mine. Well, that’s not going to happen! I can download these photos and re-upload them through WordPress, but that will take a very long time. There are over 700 photos to work on. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I had no idea. All step by step demos done after October 2010 are not affected. To find out which demo’s are not affected, hover over the title of the step by step and at the bottom of your computer screen the name of the page will pop up with a date in the name…. all demo’s now to Nov 2010 are good. Thank God at that time I changed from using Photobucket to Flickr.

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