Several years ago, one of my dear friends, Timmery, sent me a picture of a beautiful picture of a field of wildflowers, made almost entirely out of acrylic splatters on canvas. The link to the site or facebook page (I think it was a facebook page) has been lost, but the memory of that wild field captured my heart.
This summer the desire to create fun, high energy, color-drenched paintings became an obsession. I’d switched jobs and the travel demands left less time for creating and really not much time for the larger, more detailed work I’d done in the past. Letting go of painting all together was not an option for me.
Like you, keeping creative work going is a lifeline for me; it’s helped in so many facets of life.
Instead of giving it up, even for a short season, I decided to do a different kind of painting- quick floral watercolors requiring little or no sketching.
Soon, I went from enhancing the paintings with splatters to splattering first and then enhancing the splatters to create florasl!
In this blog post, I’m going to show you how to create your own splatter floral art. If you want more ideas, there’s a link to where you can find additional ideas in the new course, ‘Fun & Free Splatter Art- Floral Edition.:
Grab some paints and watercolor paper. We’re going to have a blast 🙂
A Note About Colors:
Choose your colors carefully: mixing too many colors will create muddy watercolors, the thing we’re trying to avoid!
Less is more. I’ll choose two to five colors for these paintings. Too many more and the splattering gets messy.
Also, I use the darker colors to deepen intensity and create shadowing and the appearance of depth.
When I want to create depth in my stalks and stems, I’ll add some of the blue paint I’ve used for the flowers to the green, creating a deeper green, but not changing the warmth/coolness of the color scheme.
Using the same colors to mix and make the secondary and complementary colors helps to keep your paintings looking fresh and lively.
As one art mentor shared, “If you have so-so composition, but gorgeous colors, people will be drawn to your work. If your composition is amazing, but the colors don’t work, the entire painting won’t work.” Remember that.
First, gather all the materials you’ll need. If you want to use smaller bits of watercolor paper, cut them up ahead of time. Go ahead and cut up multiple pieces if you’re doing multiple paintings over the course of this creative season in your life. It’s worth it to do the work ahead of time.
Other things you’ll need:
- Masking Tape
- Paint brushes: Round 2, 4, 6 Flat 8, 10 and a Semi 8. Optional is a large round, size 12
- Watercolor Paper – the more textured the paper, the more the colors will sink. While some of the generic are less expensive, I recommend spending a few dollars more on higher quality watercolor paper. Strathmore is a good brand to start with.
- Watercolors – here are the colors I’m using in this color. Note they are all bright and warm, and fully of a lively energy, very much part of the spring palette. Of course, you can use whatever colors you would like.
- Phthalo Blue
- Permanent Green
- Cadmium yellow (light or medium hue)
- Thalo Rose or Permanent Rose
- Cadmium Orange
- Pencil- there will be very few paintings in splatter floral art I use a pencil for, but it does come up from time to time. Have one on hand for when the urge comes for a bit of outlining or marking for splatter borders.
Step by Step Instruction
Begin by taping the watercolor paper down. Make sure you have plenty of clean water to dip brushes into. I like to start by getting the paint colors I’ll be using nice and wet. If you haven’t chosen what colors to use, do that now.
If the watercolors have dried in the palette, add in some water to get them wet again. The beauty of watercolor paint is that you can keep adding water and using the paint.
I don’t do much – if any – sketching when I create most of the splatter art, but if I do it’s to mark where the flowers start and finish. In this painting, I’m going to create three lupines. To give me some landmarks where the tips and bottoms are, I’ve added in small marks. This will help give me some idea of where to send the splatters.
First, hold up the paintbrush 2-3 inches above the paper and tap it in the general direction of the marks. Aim to splatter between the tip and the bottom of our marks.
We’ll get a lot of splatters outside of that. That’s expected and adds to the joy and energy of the painting.
Next, I’ll add some stems. The stems gives me the direction of where the flowers are pointed. I want the eye to move up and around the painting, so I’ll direct the heaviest amount of splatters towards the flowers.
I’ve added in the ‘cradle’ to the flower. The green and blue will merge a bit. That’s fine. It’s part of the magic. Depending on the colors used, the color combination will be different.
Now, I start adding more splatters, this time moving closer to the paper and tapping more forcefully on the brush. This gets splatters a bit larger and more concentrated.
Next, use the wet paintbrush to move the splatters around, creating a more defined shape of the flower.
Leave plenty of white space to create depth and light.
At this point, I’m going to add details to the stalks. This gives the splatters a minute to dry.
After the stalks, I’ll add some more splatters.
We could stick with the two colors, but it’s fun to add in an accent color. I chose yellow, it’s not too big, but the warmth of the yellow gives a splash against the blue and green.
Finish by adding some additional blue splatters. Move the paint around if needed.
Finally, I added some green splatters to the bottom, on the left of the stems. Remember, we want the eye to move upward so if we splatter the paint everywhere, the eye won’t know where to flow.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this fun, quick course through creating splatter art!
Want More Ideas?
The course, ‘Fun & Free Splatter Art – Floral Edition– explores more splatter art with 7 projects. Paint lovely lupines to the a bouquet of flowers to a lovely summer home surrounded by wildflowers!
Click here to see more about the course, available now.