Kitchen Table Flowers Sketch
Watercolor Sketching Tutorial

by Jennifer Branch
YouTube Watercolor Painting Tutorial

Is there any better excuse for buying flowers than to sketch them? Jennifer Branch shows you step by step how to paint a lovely bouquet.

It's the small, everyday joys of life that make memories. Backlit flowers on my kitchen table, a bright bit of spring for cold winter days.

I hope this inspires you to paint something lovely and bright that brings you joy.

Kitchen Table Flowers Sketch Watercolor Painting tutorial

Sketching Tutorial Level


Skill Building

Everyday Painting



Art Supplies

9" x 12"
Arches Rough Press

Escoda Full Bellied Round Squirrel, no.14


M. Graham watercolors

Azo Yellow
Cadmium Yellow
Quinacridone Red
Cadmium Red
Nickel Azo Yellow
Cobalt Teal
Cobalt Violet
Quinacridone Rust
Van Dyke Brown (Daniel Smith)
White Gouache

Painting Demonstration 1

Kitchen Table Flowers Sketch Watercolor Painting Lesson 1

I start with a quick, loose wash of azo yellow, since it's the palest color and the color of the central subject.

Painting Demonstration 2

Kitchen Table Flowers Sketch Watercolor Painting Lesson 2

I start dashing in quinacridone reds. The alstroemeria is a background flower in this sketch. I don't want too much detail in it. The red is mostly to make the yellow lilies pop.

Painting Demonstration 3

Kitchen Table Flowers Sketch Painting Tutorial 3

A few strong darks start to show the shapes of the lilies. They didn't really show up until I added the darks.

Negative painting is a necessity with pale flowers, even if you plan on using gouache.

Artist Tips

Paint very loosely until the very last details.
Kitchen Table Flowers Sketch watercolor painting tutorial by Jennifer Branch

Painting Demonstration 4

Kitchen Table Flowers Sketch Painting Tutorial 4

A few more darks using Van Dyke Brown, cobalt teal and quinacridone rust. Now it's starting to really take shape!

Painting Demonstration 5

Kitchen Table Flowers Sketch Painting Tutorial 5

I loosen everything up with lots of splatter, both paint and water. This is a quick, unpolished sketch. It should look like that.

Notice the directions of the dark stem lines. Are they directing attention where you want it to go?

Painting Demonstration 6

Kitchen Table Flowers Sketch Watercolor Painting Tutorial 6

Really strong, juicy darks here. I'm still leaving whites in the most saturated dark space, though.

Painting Demonstration 7

Kitchen Table Flowers Sketch Watercolor Painting Tutorial 7

I add some opaque cadmium yellow on top of my transparent azo yellows. This gives it a bolder, more solid feel.

Don't forget to work the same pigments around the painting.

Kitchen Table Flowers Sketch Watercolor Painting tutorial

Final Watercolor Sketch!

This was such a fun, quick sketch to paint! I kept it easy by using a block, all ready to go. I didn't want the proportions of my sketchbook for this one.

It took me 22 minutes, including drying time, for this sketch. It's not a finished piece, but I enjoyed exploring the translucency / opaqueness of the flowers quite a lot. I'd like to do another one on a cold press or hot press paper. I love rough press, but it's best for texture, not color.(Click for watercolor paper finish article.)

On the other hand, I really love the texture and earthiness of the flowers in this, so I have very mixed feelings. Probably what cold press is for, a happy medium.

Using a different paper texture, size, pigments, viewpoints or proportions from what I would normally use is something I do pretty frequently on sketches. A sketch is a chance to explore different ways of doing things, not sink further into a rut.

Enjoy exploring everything about watercolor painting with your sketches. At the worst, you've lost a piece of paper and a few minutes. And even if you don't like what you've painted, you have always learned something new if you took chances with your painting.

I hope this inspires you to pick up some flowers on your next trip to buy groceries. Enjoy the small extravagance and paint them from evey angle possible this week.

Really look at the flowers. Smell them, really look at them in every light you see them in. Morning light is so different from after dinner light.

It's really the small everyday things that make our lives wonderful. Everyday painting helps you to remember those moments of joy and fully appreciate them.

Happy Painting! Jennifer Branch

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