Paint Realistic Watercolour and Botanicals - MAGNOLIAS
4.7 (474 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
3,380 students enrolled

Paint Realistic Watercolour and Botanicals - MAGNOLIAS

Washes, glazing, texture, divine elegance and beauty... the Magnolia is a 'MUST PAINT' subject for any botanical artist
4.7 (474 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
3,381 students enrolled
Created by Heidi Willis
Last updated 6/2017
English [Auto]
Current price: $44.99 Original price: $69.99 Discount: 36% off
8 hours left at this price!
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This course includes
  • 7 hours on-demand video
  • 2 articles
  • 4 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • At the end of my course, students will have created a beautiful Magnolia painting in watercolour for themselves
  • Students will have an expanded knowledge and feel of the watercolour medium in general
  • Students will have an improved understanding of how to create critical textural effects relevant to the Magnolia subject
  • Students will have an improved understanding of how to develop your painting with the use of simple glazing (or layers of wash)
  • Students will have an improved understanding of how to create a painting with multiple elements from start to completion
  • Students will learn about working with tone through layers
  • Students will gain manageable strategies to paint any magnolia subject in a botanical style
  • MAGNOLIA is the third in my series of 'Paint Realistic Botanical and Watercolour' tutorials. The first, 'STUDIO BASICS' is an invaluable foundation course to help you understand my own approaches to this work, the techniques I use, and gives you a clear understanding of the materials I use in order to move forward in sync with me as much as possible. Everything I teach with you stems from these basics so it is critical information. The subsequent 'CHASING AUTUMN' course is a perfect transition into simple, fun hands-on painting. It is an ideal introduction to the medium, genre, and opportunity to get a feel for this work, and a perfect launch pad to grow from. There is a level of assumed knowledge in the follow on courses, so this core information will be extremely beneficial to you in order to gain the most out of the MAGNOLIAS tutorial possible. However, if you want to jump right in with us at this point and you understand there may be a few gaps, you’re very welcome to do so too… I’ve every confidence and appreciation for winging it!
  • You will need the materials outlined in previous courses, listed again in the Materials section of this tutorial. More can be found on this in the CLASSROOM section of my website.

With the autumn leaves tutorial complete, its time to explore the glorious new season of Spring! My next stop is to investigate the remarkable beauty of MAGNOLIAS, such a heartwarming sight, marking an end to winter over the world.

'Paint Realistic Watercolour and Botanicals - MAGNOLIAS' is a watercolour painting tutorial, placing the spotlight on the gorgeous Magnolia as a subject. Inspiring an undying love from most in botanical painting, the Magnolia is certainly one of my all time favourite subjects to illustrate as well. I can think of no better way to explore the Magnolia subject than with than the equally delicate, romantic and beautiful watercolour medium.... and now is your chance to join me to learn how for yourself!

Following the STUDIO BASICS and the CHASING AUTUMN tutorials, the Magnolia remains a simple yet slightly more complete study of a single botanical subject, and is an ideal subject for us to take out next step together. A beautiful subject alone, it presents us with manageable areas of simple wash, glaze and dry brushing in a harmonious colour combination. It is a perfect opportunity to start stepping the complexity of our techniques up from the previous course into some new botanical painting territory. 

Working in layers, we start the magnolias with some beautiful wash work, then develop this further with the use of basic glazing to develop some beautiful richness and texture to our magnolia painting. Finishing off our work, we will try a little dry brushing to enhance the delicate leathery textural effects of the magnolia petals to completion. It is a perfect transition for us to explore on many levels.

To illustrate the Magnolia in this tutorial, we will be addressing how to approach a variety of components relevant to this subject and its elements. From stems to petals, the intricate flower centre, furry leaf buds and some small leaf details to complete our painting, this step by step course will help you through every stage of the painting process. This is an ideal subject for exploring botanical illustration, the watercolour medium, and for students of any level to learn from.

For those starting out, or who feel a little nervous about where to begin, I have designed and created a series of painting exercises to help you connect with the medium and subject, to familiarise you with the process and to equip you with a clear path and strategy forwards into your finished painting.

For those wanting to get deeper into the nitty gritty of this subject, Ive developed a specific 'extension section' that delves deeper into painting the magnolia centre, one of the most challenging aspects of this subject. Many times a painting is lost in the quality of our details, so here we place the spotlight on this element to help expand your knowledge and painting skills even further. This mini NutShell extension tutorial is called 'Magnolia Centre ~ The Heart of the Matter', and is the first in a new line of mini spotlight tutorials called ~ The NutShell Series. It is botanical painting in a Nutshell.

With so much diversity, the magnolia is a dreamy playground for botanical artists, and a perfect subject to explore on so many levels. Painting the Magnolia flowers explores creating texture using washes, glazes and dry brushing whilst the flower centre focusses on more detailed work using fine line work, and of course dry brushing techniques. These techniques are so critical to the watercolour painting medium and couldn't be more essential to creating successful Botanical Art across the board. 

So welcome to the next online 'Paint Realistic Watercolor and Botanicals' tutorial. I am looking forward to seeing you in the wash! 

Who this course is for:
  • Lovers of watercolour
  • Lovers of Botanical painting/art/illustration
  • Lovers of nature and natural history painting
  • Students of any level can attempt my courses, theres always learning to be discovered!
  • This tutorial is suitable for those looking to develop and/or improve their watercolour painting skills
  • Students who are interested to learn more about creating texture in their work
  • Students who are interested to learn more about layering, or glazing in their work
  • Anyone interested in finding a beautiful interest with self paced learning
Course content
Expand all 35 lectures 06:54:49
2 lectures 04:33

MAGNOLIAS is the next step in my progressive series of online botanical painting courses and is a more thorough study of a single botanical subject. 'Magnolias' presents us with manageable areas of wash, glazing opportunities and simple dry brushing practice to complete our painting. These are all techniques so critical to watercolour painting and to creating successful botanical art. With so much diversity, painting the magnolia is also a perfect opportunity to explore creating texture with watercolour, whilst the intricate flower centre focusses on applying more detailed, fine line work to refine our painting. Practice exercises are included on the petal, furry details and stem elements, whilst the extension 'NutShell' section delves deeper into the finer aspects of creating a detailed flower centre successfully. Together with the in depth step-by-step tuition, this course will help you through every step of the painting process to create your own gorgeous Magnolia painting! 

Preview 04:33
Materials List and Reference Worksheet
+ Magnolia as a Subject
2 lectures 12:42

This lecture is our first real exploration of a multi element composition, and as such, I have tried to give you a greater understanding and connection to our subject in this lecture, and a little food for thought for independent painting too. We bring so much within ourselves from the field to the studio that matters, and this short lecture tries to provide you with a little insight and background on this magnolia journey to this point. It also serves to offer you some connection with our subject, the experience, the observations and the simple reasonings behind the final composition from afar. This helps you to understand the origins, and the composition process for yourselves far more thoroughly, broadening your knowledge, thoughts, ideas and approaches to your own work with time and practice.

Preview 03:49

The image and drawing transfer process is not the only method of generating an image on to your page, but it certainly is the simplest! By now you've all practiced this method in my previous tutorials, but whilst the technique remains the same, the complexity of our magnolia drawing takes a significant step up from the previous courses you've been enjoying. No fear... Take your time, and Ill help walk you through the process from start to finish in this lecture, helping you through some of the finer points of this exercise that are specifically relevant to the magnolia painting were creating. 

Drawing Up
+ Petal Exercise - LETS GET WARMED UP!
3 lectures 47:22

Kicking this Magnolias tutorial off, we wet our brushes up, jump right in and break the ice with a little watercolour petal play! This exercise will just help settle the nerves, connect with the medium, and to start familiarising you with this beautiful subject before taking on the finished Magnolias painting. With a focus on wash quality, line work quality and creating texture, this is a wonderful opportunity to explore and practice the watercolour painting techniques essential to creating gorgeous textural magnolia petals... Yum! 

Play. Plan. Paint... Thats the goal here!


Layer 2 looks at the process in painting our mid tones as we shift technique from wash work to glazing, developing our ground work or our 'roadmap' towards the final product... Each step along the way becoming more refined and specific as we progress through this stage together. This lecture looks at creating some beautiful form to your petal with glazing and prepares you for the third layer, where we continue on in the evolution of this exercise to completion. 


This petal lecture deals with the third and final layer to complete this helpful watercolour painting exercise. We shift out of wash work and begin to refine our petal with dry brushing, darks and detail for a beautiful end result. Once this exercise is complete and you have gained a solid sense of approach and direction, we can move on to complete this component in our final painting with far more confidence and ease. 

+ Pink Magnolia Petals - Layer 1
3 lectures 39:41

Taking what we've practiced and learned in the Petal Exercises Lectures, we now apply this knowledge to our final magnolia painting. Starting with Layer 1, our lights, we focus on our wash quality, tight line work and timing to create our 'roadmap' forwards. 

This lecture looks at layer 1 for flower 1

Layer 1 - Flower 1

This lecture looks at layer 1 for flower 2, repeating the process once more, but adapting our wash to a new flower.

Layer 1 - Flower 2

This lecture looks at layer 1 for flower 3, repeating and diversifying our application of our first wash once more to our new flower.

Layer 1 - Flower 3
+ Pink Magnolia Petals - Layers 2 and 3
3 lectures 54:00

Dealing with Layer 2 now, we shift out of wash work and into glazing, building up our layers and our mid tones to create some beautiful delicate form to our flowers.

This lecture covers part 1 of this process. 

Petals - Layer 2 - Part 1

Still dealing with Layer 2, we continue our glazing work across all of our flowers, building up our layers and our mid tones to create some beautiful delicate form.

This lecture covers part 2 of this process. 

Petals - Layer 2 - Part 2

Working on Layer 3, our final step in creating our pink petals, we start to shift out of glazing and into dry brushing techniques as we develop our darks and detail with tone. With the completion of Layer 3, our darks and detail, we draw a close to the pink petals of our magnolia subjects. 

Petals - Layer 3
+ White Magnolia Petals
2 lectures 39:12

Dealing with whites can feel a little overwhelming, and for many good reasons. These lectures look at how we can approach the white petal elements of this painting simply... gently working up our strength and colours in layers to a beautiful delicate end result whilst maintaining our petal texture. As we break the process into simple colours and stages, youll soon get the feel for working in whites. 

White Magnolia Petals - Part 1

Part 2 of the petal whites slowly weens you off the intensive step by step guidance of Part 1, progressively helping you find your own confidence and momentum through demonstration and repetition. At the completion of the final flower in this lecture, you should start to establish your process and understanding about this component of our magnolia subject. 

White Magnolia Petals - Part 2
+ Painting our Flower Centre
1 lecture 08:33

Its often components like the magnolia flower centre that either frightens us off trying, or let our paintings down in some way in botanical illustration, but dont be too concerned! I have especially selected a flower centre that is manageable in this painting composition, and I give you some simple approaches and strategies to complete this detail of your painting successfully. 

Of course, for those wanting to explore this detail in more depth, I have made a special mini extension tutorial on this detail in the NutShell Extension Tutorial included in this course which will allow you to expand, practice and apply these approaches to any magnolia subject you choose. 

Painting Our Flower Centre
+ Painting Our Leaf Buds
2 lectures 35:17

Plenty of subjects in botanical illustration include furry features, perhaps none more so than the Magnolia. This exercise takes you through a simple process of creating a simple watercolour painting that has this furry look and feel, and helps you understand one way with many adaptations and variations on the theme to achieve this. 

Furry Leaf Bud Exercise - LETS GET WARMED UP!

Applying what weve learned in the warm up exercise for our furry leaf bud details, we should be feeling far better prepared to approach this element in our finished painting... so lets put it into practice!

Painting Our Leaf Buds
+ Painting Our Magnolia Leaves
2 lectures 23:33

A welcome change in palette sees the introduction of some beautiful rich green to our painting in this step. With just a few delicate leaf details to tackle in this composition, we have a wonderful opportunity to apply what weve already learned into a new colour. Breathing new life and dimension into our painting, we start to see and feel our painting coming alive now!

This lecture addresses layer 1, our lights, of our greens. 

Magnolia Leaves - Layer 1

This lecture addresses layers 2 & 3 of our leaves, developing the first layer into our rich mid and dark tones to complete our vibrant leaf details. 

Magnolia Leaves - Layer 2 and 3
+ Stem Exercise - LETS GET WARMED UP!
3 lectures 25:56

The Stems Exercise component of this tutorial looks at 3 similar yet varying branch approaches in order to help you create the stems component of our finished painting with confidence and strategy. Taking advantage of the segmented nature of the magnolia stem, our focus in these lectures is 'section and speed'. Dividing the exercise into 3 approaches and 3 sections for each, demonstration, process and repetition will take you a long way towards understanding this element, and the watercolour medium better. Stem Exercise 1 pays special attention to creating a branch with a soft highlight through the centre of the branch.

STEM EXERCISE 1 - Lets Get Warmed Up

A critical variation on a theme, Stem Exercise 2 explores a simple approach to painting a magnolia branch where the light source is on the top of the branch with a dark underside. This example shows you how simple shifts in approach, technique and timing can alter the look and feel of your branch to a far woodier result, an essential part of painting magnolia branches successfully. 

STEM EXERCISE 2 - Lets Get Warmed Up

Stem Exercise 3 has some fun playing with the natural qualities and nature of the watercolour medium, and explores how a simple lichen effect can be created with wash and timing. This exercise is just plain fun, but there are many instances where lichen plays a critical role in the story of a botanical subject, and in our paintings it can be a simply divine component to include.... this lecture lets watercolour do what watercolour does best, but with intention and purpose! 

STEM EXERCISE 3 - Lets Get Warmed Up