New Online Watercolour Botanical Painting Tutorial Underway!!

New Online Watercolour Botanical Painting Tutorial Underway!!

My new online watercolour botanical painting tutorial MAGNOLIAS is seriously, officially, and most definitely underway, and should be available to you by about mid 2017… all things going to plan!

Yes its true, I know many of you have been patiently waiting for my new watercolour painting tutorial to come to the top of my ‘must do’ list, but the time has come around at last and work on my Magnolias tutorial has begun in earnest. I love being able to help so many of you with your own painting journeys, I believe in this project so whole heartedly, and I am really looking forward to this new painting journey with you.

As the name suggests, my first tutorial, ‘Paint Realistic Watercolor and Botanicals – STUDIO BASICS was born directly out of the many emails and questions I receive daily about my work, studio set up and the materials I use for my own work practices. For beginners, this painting tutorial answers many of your questions and aims to get you on the right path to creating realistic watercolour botanical paintings.

For those already exploring this genre, it aims to redirect many of the simple downfalls I see in my students basic work practices and materials choices. Its amaaaazing how much difference the little things make to your work and certainly to your level of enjoyment! The Studio Basics tutorial helps to familiarise you with my personal painting methods, techniques, approaches and philosophies in order to place you in the best possible situation for effective, ongoing learning with me.

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The second online tutorial ‘Paint Realistic Watercolor and Botanicals – CHASING AUTUMN’  has been designed as an ideal starting place to take what we’ve touched on in the first tutorial, and put brush to paper in a real way. In this course, we cover a series of fun, progressively challenging autumn leaf exercises that allows you plenty of room to play, to really explore the medium, to get a better feel for colour, to start understanding some helpful basic strategy and approaches to these subjects, as well as giving you plenty of scope and grace as a first step into realistic botanical painting in watercolour.

This watercolour painting tutorial will give you step by step instruction and strategy to produce some really beautiful paintings/studies successfully! Just remember… if you can paint one leaf, you can paint the forest… Ive already seen some truly wonderful work and progress from so many of you from this tutorial, well done to you all working through this course, and thank you for sharing so much positivity and enthusiasm with me along the way!

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The next online painting tutorial ‘Paint Realistic Watercolor and Botanicals – MAGNOLIAS’ explores an incredibly beautiful botanical subject that has inspired natural history and botanical illustrators across the centuries, and one that is a sentimental favourite of my own.

The MAGNOLIAS tutorial takes what we’ve covered in the previous tutorials so far, and continues to grow our knowledge base even further. The fun series of relevant painting exercises included will help prepare you to approach the finished painting with confidence. This Magnolia painting is a wonderful natural progression into more complex principals, concepts, composition, colour use, textures and techniques, allowing you to develop, expand and cement your skills in this genre to the next level. It is the perfect groundwork for the next step on your journey into realistic watercolour and botanical painting.

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I have already been working on this course for some time now, with many months considering, planning, programming, preparing and creating this course in the best possible way for my students. This tutorial also includes the first of my NUTSHELL tutorials. The Nutshell tutorials are designed as extension lectures, created especially for those wanting to push a little further into specific area of challenge within a larger subject. Placing the spotlight on the intricate magnolia centre in this case, will help you to refine and hone your painting skills in the trickiest areas of botanical painting subjects even further… When the details are sound, your work will improve greatly overall.

heidi willis_Magnolia_online tutorialheidi willis_online painting tutorial_magnolia       NutShell Tutorial Excerpts – ‘Magnolia Centre’  

There is still much work to do before it will be live of course, but I am well underway with this project. With a new week starting bright and early in the morning, work will continue on this latest focus ‘Paint Realistic Watercolor and Botanicals – MAGNOLIAS’ so stay tuned for more news on its progress… Ill be doing my best!


PROGRESS UPDATE: My current focus for my new online watercolour and botanical painting tutorial has been on creating and completing my lectures on composition and the image transfer process for our new ‘Magnolias’ subject. There’s plenty to think about and still soooo much work to be done on this project yet, but definite progress is being made and I have a little update on the newest developments for you now. To give you a feel for the tutorials direction and content, small excerpts of each new lecture is as follows.

‘UNDERSTANDING OUR COMPOSITION: 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’


‘DRAWING UP: The image and drawing transfer process I demonstrate here is not the only method of generating an image on to your page, but it certainly is the simplest and the best! 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… I walk you through the process from start to finish in this lecture to help you through some of the finer points of this exercise that are specifically relevant to the magnolia painting were creating’

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PROGRESS UPDATE: Recent weeks have seen me working flat out like a lizard drinking as we say here in Oz, with my focus placed squarely on producing some exercise lectures for the Magnolia tutorial. Designed to break the ice, ease your nerves and boost your confidence through hands on learning, I have created a series of relevant watercolour exercises around magnolia petals, furry textural casings and stems, each designed to help familiarise you with the watercolour medium, and to our focal subject, magnolias.

These content rich exercises have been carefully structured around each element you’ll be faced with in the final magnolias painting, deconstructing and walking you through plenty of practical approaches and techniques that are critical to successfully producing or improving a finished magnolia artwork. Its about ‘Play, Practice and Paint’, with each exercise building confidence and valuable knowledge that will cross over directly and clearly into our final painting.

The first lectures (3) guides you through painting a single magnolia petal from start to completion. Developing our skills from the CHASING AUTUMN tutorial into an even more refined subject, this seemingly simple exercise actually encapsulates every foundation of my own techniques and the work that I produce and is a valuable lesson in itself. This exercise looks at working in layers, with a focus on creating form and texture in your painting and is a simply beautiful exercise to explore on its own.

Our furry features, leaf buds and flower casings are classic elements to any magnolia subject… but how to approach them? The ‘Furry Leaf Buds’ lecture takes you through this more closely, showing you practical, simple ways that this effect can be achieved, adapted and applied to many different furry components of botanical illustration.

Finally our stems… They are so beautiful all on their own, and in fact they are also quite varied in colour, shape, structure and appearance. This series of Stems lectures (3) looks at a few simple approaches to creating magnolia relevant stems, helping you practice, strategise and approach the branch elements of out finished artwork clearly. This lecture is designed to not only help your branch painting skills, but to help your observation skills, and to build familiarity of their features. This all comes together to help us expand our knowledge and understand this element better.

So yes it has been yet another week of 24/7 working for me. I received an entertaining email from a client this week simply saying ‘We love your work… do you ever stop?’ to which I replied ‘No’ Summing my working life up quite thoroughly in just a handful of words, its simply ‘back to the drawing board’ for me here! Thanks for your enthusiasm and patience on this project everyone, I appreciate you.


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PROGRESS UPDATE: With the Magnolia Exercises section, and the extension lectures in the NutShell painting tutorial finally complete, I have been able to move on to creating the final section of this course and create our finished magnolia painting! Moving ever closer to the release date for you, I am once again working around the clock to bring this third and final section of the magnolias course to life.

Taking all we have learned in the Exercises over to our complete painting now, we start to apply the approaches and techniques we’ve explored in our practice run petal with a specific purpose. Starting with the rich pinks of the outer petals, we look at each section from start to completion to understand richness of colour, the dimensions of tone, the importance of form, the beauty of textures and applying our watercolour techniques better through repetition. Its a really wonderful subject to learn on!

Working in three layers we step through the process of creating the petals from lights to mids, then into our darks, helping you to understand some practical logical processes and steps to achieving a great outcome for the magnolia petals. With the pinks complete, its time to move on to the whites of the petals, bringing surprising life and change to the entire painting… Its another big step closer to going live with this online tutorial.


PROGRESS UPDATE: My focus in this last chapter of the Magnolia tutorial has been on creating the whites of our magnolias. Always a bit tricky to get a sense for, this is a manageable introduction to working in whites successfully. These new lectures on the topic are currently underway, bringing a close to the flowers themselves, and a big step closer to getting this tutorial live for painting tutorial_magnolia_botanical_watercolor_heidi willis


PROGRESS UPDATE: With the whites of the magnolia petals complete, work on the magnolia painting tutorial has continued through this week creating intensive lectures on completing the on the intricate flower centre. With a focus on fine line work, we learn how we can simplify the process of painting this detailed component of our painting effectively… its completion marking the of the flower elements themselves as we move every closer to finishing this beautiful magnolia painting.

With our flowers under wraps, we turn our attention to the furry leaf bud details around the base of the flowers, applying what we’ve learned from our ‘Furry Leaf Bud Exercise’ with new relevance into our painting. Shifting technique and our colours away from the rich pinks and magentas of the flowers, we work in textural earthy browns and blue greens to complete this new element of our leaf buds. With this addition, we start to see the flowers anchor to the stems and take on new definition and character.

Working in a range of greens, work has begun on the leaf features of this painting. Here we work with slightly more complex colour mixes to paint our green leaves in, then develop our washes through the tonal scale to rich dark greens and the completion of our leaves. Although the end is near now, there is still plenty of work to get through in order to construct this process into lectures for you… but Im keeping up the cracking pace and looking forward to the next step!

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PROGRESS UPDATE: On the final stages of this online botanical painting tutorial now, I have spent this last chapters working on lectures around painting our magnolia leaves, and our stems/branches. Taking what we’ve learned so far, and largely from the Stems Exercises lectures weve already covered, we begin to apply these approaches into real practice in our finished magnolia painting and start to see new relevance to the exercises set out for you. Seeing the completion of the stems brings an end to our beautiful painting, and the final release date for this painting tutorial grow ever closer… so close even I can smell it now!

Not quite there yet for me though… With a fair bit of background work and refining still to get through before we go live with this new course, its fair to say as I sit here working into the wee hours of yet another saturday night, that I am working very hard on making this available to you all as soon as possible. Botanical painting is demanding work at the best of times, but I feel great satisfaction with this course and a genuine confidence in its ability to help carry you forwards in your own painting and learning regardless of its delicious challenges. I am looking forward to helping you all grow through this Magnolias painting tutorial and hope to be up and running with it very soon. Thanks all!

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‘Paint Realistic Watercolour and Botanicals – MAGNOLIAS’ is now live and ready for you to enjoy!