I know – it’s a little early for hydrangeas. In the garden, at least. But it’s not too early to paint some!
And I had to get this ready for my Indoor Garden Painting class I’m teaching at Parks & Rec.
This is a really simple way to paint hydrangeas. I have a couple of other methods too, but I think you’ll like this one. It’s really similar to the way we painted Geraniums, and I used the same colors as the Hyacinths.
Ready to give it a try?
Three colors for the leaves –
Three colors for the flowers –
Let’s start with the leaves. . .
Basecoat each leaf with Hauser Green Medium.
Then, with Hauser Green Dark, make a slight curve from the tip of the leaf to the back. Add some more shading above the curve, and then on the other side of the leaf.
Now, take some Fresh Foliage and paint along the curve next to where you painted Hauser Green Dark. The Fresh Foliage is going to highlight the leaves, so add it to the ‘fullest’ part of the leaves – where you want it to look curved.
That’s how you create depth – paint highlights next to shading, or light colors next to dark colors. The dark colors appear to recede and the light colors appear closer, so you’ll get some dimension.
Now, these are super simple leaves we’re painting, but if you start looking at real leaves you’ll see where the highlights hit the leaf and where it’s darker – the shading.
Ok, to finish the leaves, just topcoat the entire leaf with Hauser Green Medium.
Done! Now, on to the flowers.
There are a few ways you can approach this.
One way is to paint some curved areas in Lavender . . .
and then topcoat the whole flower with Hydrangea.
Or, you can mix both Lavender and Hydrangea on your brush and swirl it on.
Either way will work.
Now you’re gonna make a bunch of semi-circles with White, just like we did with Geraniums.
Here’s the hard part – try, really try, not to make your semi-circles perfectly formed and even. You’ll get a much better picture if you have some randomness – but, like I said, it’s the hard part.
Resist the temptation to ‘balance’ your petals, and you’ll be much happier with your painting.
While you still have some White on your brush, add a few dots here and there . . . and don’t make them balanced!
You know how huge hydrangeas are? Okay, so you want to get some of that hugeness into your painting. You can do it by adding depth.
How do you add depth? Dark & light, Shading & Highlighting.
Same as the leaves.
Only we’ll use Lavender for shading, and paint it next to the White semi-circles.
Do you see how that instantly creates dimension?
If you like the way it looks, you could stop here. It’s up to you.
But if you don’t like all the White and Lavender semi-circles, then add a wash of Hydrangea over the top.
By ‘wash’ I mean that you’re not trying to completely cover everything up, but you still want some of that gorgeous Hydrangea color.
One coat of Hydrangea will do it.
Oh, and if you want some definition between the two blossoms, add a little Lavender (shading color) to the blossom in the background.
Now, I could’ve stopped right there.
I should’ve stopped right there. Because I didn’t have enough time to do this last part before I had to get dinner ready and I really, really wanted to finish this before dinner so I could edit the photos and write the tutorial tonight so you could read it tomorrow, which is now today, and be so excited that you run to the craft store and buy six colors of paint to paint hydrangeas this weekend.
No, I actually didn’t take college English. Why do you ask?
Moving on to the part that I coulda, shoulda, woulda done better, but I didn’t.
Just so you know that my paintings don’t always turn out.
Ha! I wish!
I wanted one of those bright, lime green, hasn’t-turned-blue-or-violet-yet blossoms.
So I swooshed on some Fresh Foliage.
Same technique – White semi-circles, only this time I added a bunch of White dots in the center.
You know how hydrangea has those tiny little bulbs just waiting to pop open?
That’s the little White dots. That I didn’t let dry. So when I added some more Fresh Foliage is just all smooshed together.
Not a good smoosh, either.
So I tried it again. Fresh Foliage green, White dots.
Phew. Phewwwww. (sound of me blowing on the painting)
Shake it like a Polaroid picture.
Whatever happened to Outkast? I loved those guys.
Yes, I’m digressing. If I’d waited this long when I was painting, I would’ve had nice green little buds.
But no, I had nice green+white smooshing.
Oh well. At least dinner was on time. And edible.
When I’m doing the cooking, you just never know.