How to Use Watercolors to Paint Pansies

Written by jake essene
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How to Use Watercolors to Paint Pansies
Pansies can be a fun subject for a watercolourist. (Pansies image by JKL from

Painting in watercolours can prove to be a challenge for any artist, but with practice and patience, you can create delicately beautiful paintings. The dainty petals of pansy flowers lend themselves well to the watercolour medium.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • F pencil
  • White watercolour paper of desired size
  • Palette
  • Watercolour paints in Zinc White, Cadmium Yellow, Ultramarine Violet, and Ivory Black
  • Watercolour brushes in sizes 00, 0, and 1
  • Bowl or glass of water

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  1. 1

    Decide how large you would like your painting to be. Choose watercolour paper that will accommodate the pansies with at least a 2-inch margin on all four sides. Place the pansies or a photo of the pansies above or beside the watercolour paper for easy reference while painting.

    How to Use Watercolors to Paint Pansies
    A purple-on-purple pansy blooms. (the blue pansy image by laviniaparscuta from
  2. 2

    Sketch the pansies using an F pencil on your watercolour paper. Draw the outlines of the flowers as well as their stamens.

  3. 3

    Squirt a dime-sized amount of the following watercolour paints onto your palette: Zinc White, Cadmium Yellow, Ultramarine Violet and Ivory Black.

    How to Use Watercolors to Paint Pansies
    Use tubes of watercolour paint. (paint tubes image by Allyson Ricketts from
  4. 4

    Paint the middles of the flowers first using a size 00 brush. Dampen the brush by dipping it in the water before coating it in paint. Paint the flowers' stamens Zinc White and then paint a small circle of Cadmium Yellow below the stamens to create each flower's yellow centre.

  5. 5

    Use a wet size 1 brush coated in Ultramarine Violet to paint a light layer (or wash) of colour on the pansies' petals. Outline the petals first and then fill them in.

  6. 6

    Mix a pea-sized amount of Ivory Black with the same amount of Ultramarine Violet on your palette. Dampen a size 00 brush, then coat it in the mixed paint. Use this colour to paint the dark, fan-shaped inner portions of the flowers' petals.

  7. 7

    Add depth to the flowers' petals and centres by painting in any shadows that appear on them. Wet a size 1 brush and then coat it in the Ultramarine Violet paint. Use a light stroke to add shading to the shadowed portions of the flowers. Create more realistic shadows by using a damp brush to blend the edges of the shaded portions into the non-shaded portions.

  8. 8

    Allow your painting to dry for at least 24 hours.

Tips and warnings

  • Good watercolour technique involves mixing a small amount of water with each paint before using. The watered-down paint should appear translucent, yet rich in colour when applied to the watercolour paper. Use more water for lighter portions of the painting and less water for darker portions.
  • Pansies come in many different colour combinations. These instructions explain how to paint a standard purple-on-purple pansy with a yellow centre. You can use the same techniques described in the instructions when trying other colour combinations.

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