Watercolor Oranges Painting Tutorial

Learn how to paint watercolor oranges as part of my summer fruit painting series. Have fun with watercolors as we paint these summery oranges together.

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close up of a few of my Watercolor Oranges with a blue background

Citrus fruits, especially oranges, make me think of sunshine. They’re so bright and fresh and cheerful – and delicious, too! I thought they would make the perfect fruit to have a little fun playing with. Soak in a bit of the summer magic oranges bring and get ready to paint with me! 

We’re using watercolor paints for this painting and I’m going to be teaching you two techniques: wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry. You’ll see how they create two different effects. 

How to Paint Watercolor Oranges. 

Let’s get started. 

The first thing we’re going to do is use a pencil to lightly sketch out our shapes. Just draw a couple of oranges hanging off a branch. Draw circular, light shapes, and some pretty little leaves. 

Christie creating a circle outline for an orange to paint on her mixed media pad

Remember, we’re having fun. Make your composition what you want it to be! 

I’m going to add an orange slice in the corner. Sketch out a circle and then draw in little triangle shapes to be the orange slices. 

Don’t worry about your pencil lines showing through after you paint. We’ll come back at the end and erase any that are still showing through. 

It’s time to start getting some color on these oranges. We’re going to work on one orange at a time so I can teach you the wet-on-wet technique. 

Filling in the circle with a wash of soft orange paint

First, fill in the shape with a nice, light orange color. You’ll achieve this color by mixing a lot of water with your orange paint. Anywhere you want highlights on the fruit, simply leave those spots blank. 

Now for the wet-on-wet technique. While the paint is still wet, load your brush up with red paint mixed with orange and just touch it down on the wet paint on your page. It will spread out and mix together to create these beautiful variations in color. 

adding shadows to my Watercolor Oranges with dark orange and red paint wash

Go ahead and play with colors. Add some darker orange and some yellow – all while it’s still wet. 

Fill in the shapes of your leaves with a soft green color. Play with the wet-on-wet technique here, too if you’d like. 

When those leaves dry, we’re going to come back to them to add more color using the wet-on-dry technique. 

highlighting the orange leaf in my Watercolor Oranges Painting Tutorial

First, let’s get started on our orange slice. Paint a thin line of yellow around the outside, leaving a bit of white space between the yellow and the wedge shapes. Then fill in the slices with a fairly light orange shade. 

Next, bring back the wet-on-wet technique to add some more color to the slices. Load up your brush with orange paint and just touch it down where the paint is on the slices. 

Sliced Orange Watercolor Painting Tutorial

Go around the outside of the orange slice to add a tiny bit of orange paint and then go back to your oranges and add some darker orange paint to some spots on the fruit.

To blend, get your brush wet and just touch the edge of one color to blend it with the shade right next to it.  Don’t you just love how vibrant they are?!

Watercolor Oranges on desk with watercolor paint set

In the video, you will see we talked about those leaves and how we were going to add color using the wet-on-dry technique. Try it out!

Load your brush up with green paint and just touch your brush to the leaves. Watch how the color spreads and mixes. It’s a different effect than wet-on-wet, but so pretty for these leaves. 

close up of Watercolor Oranges

Once your painting dries, come around with a fine black pen – I used a micron 25mm – and add some light, sketchy lines to outline your oranges and leaves. 

Watercolor Oranges painting

When you watch the video, you’ll see I made a mistake when demonstrating how to play with watercolors to get more comfortable with them. I believe – and teach you to believe – that mistakes are opportunities to learn.

This mistake inspired me to give these oranges a beautiful, dreamy blue background. You can do the same by using a large brush and adding a lot of water to your paint. 

fixed my paint drop with a little extra shading_Watercolor Oranges Painting Tutorial

For our last step, after your paint has completely dried, go back and use an eraser to remove any pencil lines that might still be showing through. 

I hope you love your summer watercolor orange painting! 

Watch the full watercolor oranges tutorial. 

This simple watercolor painting would be a great project to do with kids. Let them have fun learning how to use watercolor, too! 

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Stay creative and happy painting!

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More from my Summer Fruit Painting Series:

  1. How to Paint a Watermelon Slice
  2. Fun And Funky Watercolor Pineapple Painting Tutorial

Some of my favorite supplies used for this funky watercolor pineapple painting tutorial: