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How to Paint Magnolia Flowers

How to Paint Magnolia Flowers

In this tutorial we’ll be painting the beautiful, spring blooming, white magnolia flower. This is the perfect tutorial for spring since we get so many pretty flowers this time of year. Paint along as we create gorgeous magnolia flowers with leaves.

I LOVE teaching others how to get creative with art supplies. This bright piece is the perfect way to celebrate the spring season!



Watch the video walkthrough!



Step 1: Sketch the Flowers

Use a pencil to lightly sketch the 3 magnolia flowers with leaves on to the paper. Since we are using watercolor paper, be sure to draw lightly as we don’t want the pencil marks to show through the paint. Your outer lines can be darker since we will be painting the background but it’s best to keep the magnolia petal lines light (since they are going to be white).


How to draw a magnolia flower


Step 2: Paint the Background

Depending on the size of your paper, use a large brush but one with a point to paint the background of your painting. Mix up a bright green hue. Start by outlining a section of your flowers, then blend with more water.  As you outline your flowers, it’s important to keep the paint wet as you go so you get a smooth , soft bleed on your paper. I usually work in small areas, outlining a section, then grabbing more water to blend in as I go.

How to paint a background with watercolors


Step 3: Paint the Base Layer of the Leaves

Grab your size 8 brush (or a size that works well for your size painting), it’s time to paint the lightest layer of our leaves.  Mix up a yellow green with a hint of brown in it. This paint should be pretty watered down. Once you have your paint, load up your brush and paint each leaf.

Once your leaves are done. Mix up a light brown paint and paint the stems with a base layer of light brown.

How to paint magnolia flower leaves


Step 4: Paint Second Layer of the Leaves

Now we are going to add in another layer in the leaves. We are going to leave a small line down the center of each leaf to represent the vein in the leaf. Mix up a slightly darker color green than the one you used before. Grab a brush with a good tip and outline the leaf (be sure to paint around that center line). Blend your paint in by rinsing off your brush and grabbing only water and then blend in the paint. Any areas of the leaf that appear to be underneath a petal or another leaf, make those areas darker. You can gently poke in another color while the leaf is wet and it will bleed nicely. Do this for all the leaves.


How to paint with watercolors


Step 5: Paint Shadows Into the Magnolia Flowers

Mix together a bluish gray color that is pretty watered down ( you don’t want an overly saturated paint). Using a size 2 or 4 brush paint along each side of the petal.. Rinse off your brush, grab only water and spread the color. Be mindful of where you put the darkest color. If a petal is behind another one it will appear darker from the eye.

How to paint magnolia flowers


Step 6: Add Final Details

Now it’s time to add in those final details!

Grab a darker color than the shadows you currently have on your magnolia flowers. Add in small shadows in areas that would be the darkest - for example, at the base of the stamen where the petals connect, a petal that is at the very bottom of the flower etc… Be sure to lightly blend in the paint with watercolor so it looks soft and not harsh.

Next, mix up a brown tone that is darker than the current stem. With a details brush (The Pigeon Letters liner brush 3/0), add in a paint line to the left side of the stem. Rinse your brush off and grab water and lightly blend, making sure to leave some of the lighter area visible. Once dry, mix up an even darker brown color and make a line over half of the previous brown color.

Lastly, paint the stamen. Mix up a slightly darker yellow paint than you previously used. Load up your brush and paint along the left side of the stamen. Rinsing off your brush, grab just water and lightly blend. Now with a details brush mix up a brownish yellow and add little lines going upward to add texture.

How to paint flowers with watercolor


Thank you so much for following along with me. I LOVE to see what you create, if you share on Instagram please tag me at @LavenderAndSea so I can see what you have created! 


See all of Nikki’s tutorials on the blog!

Nikki has a passion for all things creative but watercolor painting has really stolen her heart. She loves teaching others how to paint and believes that it can be a beautiful act of self care. She lives in sunny San Diego with her husband and mischievous Corgi. When not painting, she loves to get out in nature where she gets her best inspiration.


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