Seven step cosmos

In this watercolour demonstration I will show you how to capture the flowing movement of this delicate summer flower using a direct wet on dry technique.

You will need

Quinacridone magenta,
Cobalt blue
Cadmium yellow

Size 8 round

Watercolour paper:
A4 size 140lb NOT (a slight texture)

Step 1

Prepare pools of dilute Quinacridone magenta and Cobalt blue.

Using the Quinacridone magenta loosely outline the centre of the flower and draw brushstrokes outwards towards the edge of the petals.

Press the brush downwards to achieve a broader stroke of paint and sweep the brush upwards for a finer line.

The gaps of white paper will suggest highlights and the crinkled effect of the cosmos flower.

Seven Step Cosmos Step 1

Step 2

Using the point of the brush stipple dots of Cadmium yellow into the centre. Whilst damp drop in the magenta mix around the edge to give it form.

Seven Step Cosmos Step 2

Step 3

Prepare a stronger mix of the Quinacridone magenta with a touch of Cobolt blue to add suggestions of the veins and deeper shadowed recesses.

Draw the brush from the centre towards the petal edge using a size 8 providing it has a good point or a smaller number 4 brush.

Seven Step Cosmos Step 1Seven Step Cosmos Step 3

Step 4

Prepare a dilute mix of  Cobalt blue with a touch of Quinacridone magenta to make a soft violet shade.

Add some broader brushstrokes over the base wash to give more depth.

Seven Step Cosmos Step 4

Step 5

Using a stronger creamier mix of the two colours stipple in the centre.

Seven Step Cosmos Step 5

Step 6

Add extra flower head and bud in the same way.

Prepare a pool of green by mixing Cobalt blue and Cadmium yellow together.

Paint sweeping stems of green varying the pressure of the brush. Whilst damp add a touch of the shade of paint used in the flower head.

Seven Step Cosmos Step 6

Step 7

Finally add depth to the smaller flower head.

Seven Step Cosmos Step 7


Quinacridone magenta is a lovely fresh colour for flower painting. An alternative to this is Permanent rose with a touch of Cobalt blue.

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