Mini Lesson – Watercolor Pansy

This “mini-lesson” shows step-by-step how I painted a pansy in watercolor.

  1. I begin by sketching the pansy with an HB pencil.  Make sure your drawing is accurate.  Lighten the pencil lines by dabbing at them with a kneaded eraser.  Contrary to what most books say, once wet these lines can’t be erased completely.

Watercolor Pansy Painting by Barbara Bromley a.k.a. artfulbarb on

  1. Using liquid frisket and a cheap brush coated with standard bar soap, mask out small detail areas which you wish to remain white. When the frisket is dry it will look and feel a bit like dried rubber cement.
  2. Mix the following puddles (a puddle is paint mixed with enough water to dilute it to the desired value):
  • Cobalt blue + alizarin crimson (warm & cool mixtures)
  • Aureolin yellow
  • New Gamboge
  • Alizarin crimson + new gamboge
  • Permanent rose
  • French ultramarine + alizarin crimson (warm and cool mixtures)
    Sap green
  • Winsor green + Hooker’s green + new gamboge
  • Hooker’s green + cobalt blue
  1. Next paint the base washes of the flower petals.

Watercolor Pansy Painting by Barbara Bromley a.k.a. artfulbarb on

  1. Glaze water over a petal until it glistens evenly; drop in the following colors and combinations based on where they can be seen in the petal): cobalt blue+alizarin; permanent rose, alizarin + new gamboge, and aurelion.
  2. While the first petal is drying, follow the same process on a petal which does not touch it (remember we don’t want wet paint to touch an area that is drying).
  1. After the base washes are completed on all 4 petals paint the dark purple sections following these steps:
  1. Using a fully loaded brush paint the dark area
  2. Then pull color out from the center of the dark area using a rigger brush to create the veins.
    * Use thicker puddles of both cool and warm mixes of French ultramarine + alizarin crimson for this area.

Watercolor Pansy Painting by Barbara Bromley a.k.a. artfulbarb on

  1. Add highlights to the edges of the petals by glazing over the base washes with the same mixtures.
  2. Rub off the frisket and add a light tint of yellow below the center part of the flowers. Leave the two white areas on the center of the right and left petals.
  3. Paint the base washes of the stem and leaves.
  1. Glaze water over the leaves and stem until they glisten evenly; drop in the following colors: Sap green, hookers green _ cobalt blue, and Winsor green + Hooker’s + new gamboge
  2. Add highlights by rewetting each darker area and painting a second glaze over it using the same mixes as were used in the base.

Watercolor Pansy Painting by Barbara Bromley a.k.a. artfulbarb on

If you have any questions, please add a comment below or grab me via the contact form.


Watercolor Hummingbird Signature

4 thoughts on “Mini Lesson – Watercolor Pansy

  1. Thank you for sharing. I found your instructions easy to follow and they included a few helpful tricks. Thank you 😊
    I am always looking for new ways to improve my work . Usually I paint with acrylic but, I thought I would try something different. Thank you again for such helpful instructions.


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