Watercolor Hydrangeas Painting Tutorial

I recently painted romantic hydrangeas inside my private membership, Christie’s Inner Tribe. After hoping off the Live painting lesson, I was inspired to paint hydrangeas in a new way, with watercolors. I was just playing around for myself, but I love this quick painting so much that I wanted to share it with you all today. 

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How to Paint Watercolor Hydrangeas_The Social Easel (3)

This is not a detailed interpretation of hydrangeas. It’s really loose and vibrant. When I was finished, I really loved it, and it just made me want to play around with more watercolors and more flowers.

Watercolor painting is slightly different from acrylic because you build layers of pigments to get shadowing and depth. The less water you add to your paint, the more pigmented it will be.

In contrast, add more water to your paint to achieve those really soft colors. Diluting the pigments combined with minimal layering will become your highlights.

Did you know you could use acrylic paints and still get a watercolor look? All you have to do is add water! You can get all the details on how to use acrylic paints like watercolor HERE.

I painted my watercolor hydrangeas in a small mixed media pad. It’s like a sketchbook for painting. The mixed media paper is made to hold up against acrylic and watercolor painting and many other art mediums.

Aside from how nice it is to have my painting doodles all saved in these books, I also love that if I really love my project, I can easily tear the page out of the pad and frame it!

NicPro Paintbrushes to paint watercolor hydrangeas

How to Paint Watercolor Hydrangeas

To create these hydrangeas, we are basically making circles. They aren’t perfect, though. We want rough edges and a lot of unblended texture to represent all those tiny petals. Don’t swipe your brush across the page to achieve that look. Instead, use a dabbing motion.

Choose where your light source is coming from. This will help you determine where you will have shadows in your painting. My light source came from the top right corner in this watercolor hydrangeas painting. 

Watercolor paints for Hydrangeas_The Social Easel

Begin with your deepest tone of paint on your brush to create one side of the circle—kind of like a narrow crescent. Then, gradually add more and more water to your paintbrush to dilute the paint as you add to your circle shape. Leave some open space in the right side for another color, like purple. 

You can see that adding water as you work your way from one side of the circle to the other creates a gradient and 3D effect. The dark side is the shadow, and the light represents the highlights created by a light source. 

close-up Watercolor Hydrangeas_The Social Easel

Next, dab a lilac color into your open spaces. Let the meeting points of purple and blue melt together. Then, layer in pink for vibrance.  

Pull some of your pinks to other areas of your hydrangea blossom by randomly placing dots here and there. Where the blue paint is still wet, it will naturally blend its purples, creating beautiful organic shifts in color. 

Play around with your color options and just have fun putting color on paper.

Painting workspace with paints and pad of paperHow to Paint Watercolor Hydrangeas_The Social Easel

Finally, add a neon green to the top highlighted corner of the bloom. All hydrangeas have a little green in them in nature. Pull a few scattered dabs of green into the center. 

If you have added too much to your paper, grab a paper towel and blot your painting without rubbing. This will lift some of the pigment and water from your work. 

Remember, you can always add more shadows with additional layers of heavily pigmented paint. 

Add Additional Watercolor Hydrangea Blossoms

To add a second blossom tucked behind your hydrangea, use your darkest color and form your shadow side curved behind the tip bloom, leaving a small exposed white gap. 

Repeat all the steps you made to create your first blossom. Only this time, have a larger shadowed area.

Ring light to help me paint Watercolor Hydrangeas_The Social Easel (1)

Move quickly when you are painting to avoid creating a pattern in your texture. This is your time to let loose, play with colors, and see what happens. If you genuinely don’t like it, turn the page and start fresh. That is what mixed media pads are for!

Don’t let fear stop you from enjoying the process. God did not give us a spirit of fear. Fear is not from Him. God wants you to trust him and try new things. He made you creative. So anytime you feel doubt, remind yourself of that. 

Paint water cup - The Social Easel

How to Paint Hydrangea Leaves with Watercolor

Once you have your blooms finished (you can always go back and make adjustments), it is time to paint a few leaves and stems on your watercolor hydrangeas. 

Switch to a medium round brush, and use any green paints in your watercolor kit that you like. 

Painting Nook Watercolor Hydrangeas_The Social Easel

Hydrangeas have large heart-shaped leaves. Begin by painting an outline, then using a shadow tone along one side, leaving a section of white paper exposed where your light source would touch. 

Use water to fill the exposed space, pulling in some of the greens from the page to create a gradient of color. Add a touch of yellow for vibrance. 

Use these steps to add a couple more leaves. Then use the tip of your brush to paint the stems. Use minimal pressure to keep a thin line. 

Final Painting Nook Watercolor Hydrangeas_The Social Easel

Now that most of your work is dry, you can add a few more touches of paint to create more vibrance. Layer on that rich blue to deepen some of the shadowings. 

As a final touch, I splattered some watery bright magenta across my page. I just love it!

I find watercolor painting very soothing. It’s fun to see what direction the art takes when just playing around.

Watch the full Watercolor Hydrangeas Painting Tutorial

I hope you had fun!

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