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Orchids Sketch
Watercolor Sketching Tutorial

by Jennifer Branch
YouTube Watercolor Painting Tutorial

Every year for Christmas, my family visits Peach State Orchids. We buy gorgeous orchids for Christmas presents (and a few for me)!

I always want to sketch there, but crowded delicate plants and 3 year olds need constant vigilance. So I usually sketch the orchids when I get home. This year, the greenhouse itself appealed to me so much I did a quick sketch of it when I got home. Here's how I painted it!

This view is of mostly phalaenopsis orchids. Just a sea of bright, jewelike phalaenopsis. I have to admit my weaknesses are oncidium and phragmipedium.

Orchids Sketch Watercolor Painting tutorial

Sketching Tutorial Level


Skill Building

Vivid Colors

Art Supplies

5" x 8"
Pentalic Aqua Journal
Escoda Full Bellied Round Squirrel, no.14


(M. Graham transparent watercolors)

Azo Yellow
Cadmium Yellow
Quinacridone Red
Maroon Perylene
Cadmium Red
Nickel Azo Yellow
Pthalo Green
Cobalt Blue
Ultramarine Pink

Painting Demonstration 1

Orchids Sketch Watercolor Painting Lesson 1

Some happy reds and ultramarine pink give a nice background color splash to work with. I splatter water and paint, having some fun with this loose little sketch.

Some yellow warms it up on the far side where I'll blur the focus a bit.

(Sorry, I forgot to get written permission to share the photo online. The sketching technique works for any orchid grower or flower shop though!)

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Painting Demonstration 2

Orchids Sketch Watercolor Painting Lesson 2

A few dashes of the greenhouse structure is all I need to suggest it. This sketch is definitely about the flowers!

I start a base for the sketch with bright green leaves.

Painting Demonstration 3

Orchids Sketch Painting Tutorial 3

The sketch has dried a little, so I can start layering. I'm just letting the brush dance around. A few suggestions of stems or petals are enough.

Artist's Tips

Bright colors always dry much lighter and duller. Don't be afraid to paint a vibrant first wash!

Painting Demonstration 4

Orchids Sketch Painting Tutorial 4

A few reflected greens in the ceiling pull the painting together more.

Painting Demonstration 5

Orchids Sketch Painting Tutorial 5

A little more detail and lots of splatter!

Painting Demonstration 6

Orchids Sketch Watercolor Painting Tutorial 6

Some warm nickel azo yellow on the greenhouse ceiling helps connect everything. It was still a little too cool.

Painting Demonstration 7

Orchids Sketch Watercolor Painting Tutorial 7

I'm adding the last of the details to the sketch - and even more splatter paint. Since it is a sketch, I want the loose colorful happy feeling!

Orchids Sketch Watercolor Painting tutorial

Final Watercolor Sketch!

And that's it! A fun, happy sketch, full of life and color!

Happy Painting! Jennifer Branch

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