WATERCOLOR TUTORIAL: “Completing the Botanical Painting of Protea” by Saswati Misra

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Watercolor Botanical Painting Tutorial - Saswati Misra - Doodlewash

The following is a short tutorial of a botanical painting I hope you’ll find helpful. I worked from a photo reference provided by Wendy Sinclair (photos for artists group on Facebook).

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Protea Watercolor Tutorial by Saswati Misra - Doodlewash

I used Strathmore 140lbs Hot Pressed paper and professional Winsor & Newton watercolours for this one. Hot pressed papers work best for me when it comes to botanical works as these do not involve large, repetitive washes of water, so it dries out quickly and is good for detailing. I used pure Sable Kolinsky brushes from Winsor & Newton for spotting and stippling while for wet on wet washes, I used a Grumbacher semi-synthetic Brush (No.10).

My Botanical Painting Steps

In the beginning, I started with a very light sketch of the flower following the reference photo. I rubbed the extra graphite from my sketch with a kneaded eraser to protect my painting from unwanted graphite marks and stains. (Photo. 1)


#WorldWatercolorGroup - Botanical Painting - Protea Watercolor Tutorial by Saswati Misra - Doodlewash
1. Light Sketch of the Image
Using a miniature series spotting brush (Winsor & Newton size 000), I added details for the petals and used Grumbacher semi synthetic brush for the remaining wet on wet technique. In this painting, I mainly used dry brushing and wet in wet process. (Photo. 2)
#WorldWatercolorGroup - Botanical Painting - Protea Watercolor Tutorial by Saswati Misra - Doodlewash
2. Dry Brushing and Wet on Wet  Technique in Basic Layers

Tissue paper was used for lifting out areas to differentiate the leaf margins from one another and the veins. For the leaves, I used a basic thin watery layer of New Gamboge and Sap Green. Then I painted the darkest darks, with a thick creamy mixture of Raw Umber, Sap Green and Olive Green for the ones facing the light! For the cooler areas, I used Dioxazine-Purple to darken the dark shadows. (Photo. 3)

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Botanical Painting - Protea Watercolor Tutorial by Saswati Misra - Doodlewash
3. Painting the Lightest Lights and Darkest Darks

I finished the painting by completing the main branch with Sap, New Gamboge, Light Red and Raw Umber. (Photo. 4).

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Botanical Painting - Protea Watercolor Tutorial by Saswati Misra - Doodlewash
4. Finished Botanical Painting of Protea


Hope you all will enjoy seeing my process. I would love to hear from you all!! 

Cheers and Happy Painting!

Recommended11 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists, Tutorials

I am Saswati Chakraborty from Kolkata, the city of Joy (India). I love to paint and I mainly work in pure watercolors. For me, art is a dedication, where I strictly follow, the three step approach: planning, research and execution. I believe there are no shortcuts to success. For a good professional painting, a right planning and execution is necessary. I have learnt throughout my tenure of 6 years that with sincerity and perseverance along with the right knowledge, success is bound to come. Click Here To Read My Guest Feature!

  1. Mary McDonough 1 year ago

    Enjoyed your process for painting this beautiful flower and your words about your love for painting. Thanks for sharing, and happy painting to you.

    • Author
      Saswati Misra 1 year ago

      Thank you so much Mary. I am glad that you enjoyed my tutorial!!

  2. Susan Cuss 1 year ago

    Marvelous! Going to check out the tute.

  3. Susan Cuss 1 year ago

    Thanks for sharing your process! Your protea is lovely.

  4. Jean Marmo 1 year ago

    Simply gorgeous! Thanks for the steps!

  5. Mary Roff 1 year ago

    Thanks for sharing your process. Your painting is lovely.

  6. Laura Hale 1 year ago

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. Beautiful art.

  7. Kaye Boggs 1 year ago


  8. Sharon Nolfi 1 year ago

    Thank you for this great tutorial. Your painting is beautiful.

  9. Jennifer McLean 1 year ago

    beautiful floral!

  10. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 1 year ago

    I really enjoyed watching your painting emerge – so lovely, Saswati!

  11. Sandra Strait 1 year ago

    Thank you for showing us your process! Your painting is amazing.

  12. Jennifer McLean 1 year ago

    I thought your tutorial was awesome!

    • Author
      Saswati Misra 1 year ago

      Thank you once again Jennifer… I am glad you liked it..

  13. Jill Gustavis 1 year ago

    Enjoyed reading your tutorial. There’s just something relaxing watching a botanical painting progress. Nice work!

    • Author
      Saswati Misra 1 year ago

      Thank you Jill… yes I do agree. I enjoy painting realistic and challenging subjects and botanicals are one of my favourites!!

  14. Pamela Smith 1 year ago

    Beautiful,such wonderful detail.

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