In the earlier stage I applied the first layers on the flowers. Now it’s time for the stem, the leaves and the completion of the flowers. The flowers have stamens sticking out of the flower cup and finished with a black head. I don’t have black paint on the palette, that’s why today I tested several mixes to find the right black.

Your own blacks

I try to mix my own blacks (not because I don’t agree with the principle “do not use black paint in watercolors”, but because I just very rarely need this color, so I do not need to buy it, because I can always make with on my own). There are many ways to make black. For example, you can mix three primary colors. The two bottom rows on the left show mixtures of warm and cold primary colors. You can also exchange colors, for example you can use two warm colors and one cool or other combinations. It’s worth trying. These mixes give black but also all shades of gray, which are called botanical grays.

Another way to create black is to mix blue with brown. Ultramarine Blue PB29 mixed with Burnt Sienna PR101 gives nice black and even better gray when diluted. I decided to mix Indanthrene Blue PB60 with Burnt Umber PBr7. This mixture gives quite a deep black, which I used to paint the heads of the stamens.


Sometimes when I paint leaves (but also other elements) the underpainting helps to get a more intense color. Here on the leaves I first painted the yellow undercoat using Hansa Yellow Medium PY97. After it was completely dry, I applied further green layers. Thanks to the yellow underpainting the leaves have more life, the color is reacher.

Stem and leaves

After testing several combinations of colors, I decided to use Phthalo Blue (Winsor Blue Green Shade) PB15 + Quinacridone Gold PO49 as the basic green on leaves and stalks. This mixture creates a beautiful, juicy green. Sometimes I added Perylene Green PBk31 or Translucent Orange PO71 to this mixture to neutralize it and create a more olive shade.

I finished the first element of the whole composition.