A vibrant contrast of a bright pink rhododendron against the star shaped leaf formation.
I placed a single stem which was still in bud in a clear glass vase.
The extra small scale foliage added to the mix.

You will need

Quinacridone magenta,
Permanent rose
Cobalt blue
Winsor blue (green shade)or Phthalo blue
Transparent yellow or pale Cadmium yellow
Burnt sienna

Size 8 and 6 round

Watercolour paper:
A4 or A3 size 140lb NOT (a slight texture)
B pencil
Masking tape
masking fluid and applicator/fine twig

Reference photo

Step 1

Tape the paper to a board with masking tape.

Sketch out the composition.

Apply the masking fluid with a fine twig using the tip to suggest the cow parsley. Splatter a little on the paper too and mask our a few highlights

on the vase.

Prepare 4 pools of colour,Permanent rose,Transparent yellow,  Cobalt blue and a green mix of Transparent yellow mixed with a touch of Cobalt blue.

Wet the paper with a size 8 brush, surrounding the flower heads, large rhododendron leaves and table edge.

Apply a hint of yellow, followed by a hint of pink and a touch of blue to the right of the table.

Whilst still damp add the soft green mix under the cow parsley.

Step 2

Prepare 3 pools of colour : Quinacridone magenta, Permanent rose, and a pale mauve mix of Quinacridone magenta and Cobalt blue.
Commence the buds of the flower head.
Wet each bud and apply a wash of Quin magenta. Sweep the colour to the shape of the bud leaving gaps of paper to suggest highlights and form.
Alternatively sweep colour out with a clean smaller brush.
Whilst damp add a touch of the mauve mix followed by Permanent rose.


Note the variation of shades as one bud overlaps another.

Step 3

Commence the large leaves. We the base and apply a wash of a pale green , Transparent yellow with a touch of Cobalt blue. Leave areas of light.

Step 4

Whilst still damp, using a stronger mix of Transparent yellow and Cobalt blue, apply to one side of the central vein, followed by the other. Let it flow to vary the tones.

Step 5

Continue each leaf in this way.
Sweep in stronger shades of green ( Winsor blue plus Transparent yellow ) working in the direction of the veins and along either side of the central vein, creating a soft appearance.
Add the extra foliage and the stems of the rhododendron . A little magenta or pink in the green mix creates a deeper olive shade.
Make a mix of Burnt Sienna and Cobalt blue for the finer branches.

Step 6

When dry add deeper tones to the buds to give form and suggest the deeper shadowed recesses.
Using a size 6 brush work wet on dry . Commence with Quinacridone magenta, followed by a mauve mix. Diffuse some brush strokes and leave some as simple strokes.
Strengthen the colours by making a creamier mix of Quin magenta and Cobalt blue to give depth in the shadowed areas.

Step 7

Make a stronger pool of green using Transparent yellow and Cobalt blue.
Working wet on dry, apply colour between the veins and diffuse with water, as in the top leaf.
Vary others by simplifying and adding positive veins.

Step 8

Complete the leaves and add stems in the vase.
Remove masking fluid on the cow parsley and put touches of a warm yellow in with the point of the brush.( Transparent yellow with a touch of Permanent rose)

Mix a pool of grey,Cobalt plus Burnt Sienna and apply to the water edge and base of the vase. Continue this shade over the right hand side of the table to create a shadow.

Step 9

Finally balance the colours. Add a mid and stronger shade of grey on the glass and table top wet on dry.Remove the masking fluid on the vase to reveal the highlight.

Student Gallery

Here's some work completed by Julie's students based on this tutorial. 

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