How to Use Watercolors to Paint Pansies

Updated February 21, 2017

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Allow your painting to dry for at least 24 hours.


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.

Things You'll 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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About the Author

Jake Essene began writing in 1993 and has published articles in regional newspapers such as the "Daily Intelligencer" and legal journals such as the "Ohio Northern Law Review." Essene earned a Bachelor of Science in theology at Philadelphia Biblical University, with additional studies in archeology at the Jerusalem University College. He then earned a Juris Doctor at the Pettit College of Law.