How to paint a Line and wash watercolor flower

I’m sharing a new process with you in this mini class where I show you how I drew and painted a line and wash watercolour flower. Using a waxy pencil and very watery paint, it’s possible to work in a loose-but-detailed way.

Over the past year, it’s felt like a revelation to me that as artists we can express our own unique artistic voice through more than one style. One of the new styles I’ve been exploring is Line and Wash watercolour painting.

In these years of having young children, I find that line and wash style painting satisfies my love of observing and painting nature’s details, yet opens up a way to produce big, impactful paintings which I can finish in a short time.

For this first line and wash watercolor flower mini class, we’ll paint a Freesia, a favourite spring flower.

As you’ll see, the waxy pencil lines create a barrier that stops the wet paints from mixing and muddying on the paper. This makes it possible to work quickly and use watery washes of paint in neighbouring areas. It’s a lot of fun!

Watch the process I followed:

I hope this class has inspired you to try line and wash painting. You can see how I made this line and wash Lemon in a vintage mini class. And I plan to share more line and wash watercolor flower mini classes here in the future, so stay tuned.

If you’ve enjoyed watching and are feeling fired up to give it a go too, I’d love for you to leave me a comment below!

In case you need to get hold of supplies for this, I cover details in the next paragraph. (Please note that the buying links below are affiliate links, which means you pay the same price you’d pay if you found these independently, but the retailers pay us a small commission. This helps towards the cost of running our website and making the free videos).

So for the supplies I suggest for this style of painting, I use the same watercolor paints as the ones I use for realistic watercolor painting, and any watercolor paper I have around (hot pressed or not). Paper with a bit of texture (like cold pressed paper) works best though. Any small mop brush will work, and the ones I use are 0 and a 00 from the Series 304 Pointed Golden Synthetic set by Rosemary & Co. The pencil crayon is wax based (NOT water-soluble). The one I use is Faber-Castell Polychromos Artists’ Single Pencil – Colour 181 Payne’s Grey. Here are some places you can buy it from: Jackson’s UK | Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Good luck and remember to let me know how you get on!

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  1. Catherine Haase on February 27, 2024 at 5:00 pm

    Do you have any courses that I could pay for with more detail. I can’t afford the membership but would pay for single courses if affordable. I love painting flowers and feel I’m ready to drive in deeper. Love the line and wash you just shared.

    • Anna Mason on February 28, 2024 at 5:23 pm

      Hi Catherine and thanks for your comment! The membership does come with a monthly option, so if you had a block of time you could devote to taking some classes that would be a cost effective option. We’ve not ruled out offering one-off payment options for classes in the future but it’s not how we’re running things just now.

  2. Bruce on February 27, 2024 at 6:27 pm

    Thank you, Anna.

  3. Leslie Phillips on February 27, 2024 at 10:00 pm

    You are an amazing talent. As a learner, I’d get more value from your tutorials if you included in the video, the photo that you are looking at when u paint… maybe have the 2 alongside each other in your video. That way I can look at the photo and see the different tones and colours in it as you describe them and add them to your painting. Without this piece, I feel like all I’m doing is copying you versus learning for myself by trying to see what you see. Your systematic approach to realistic painting seems to hinge on your talent/ability to see the lights, mids and dark tones when u look at your source photo. If you help us see that like you do, I think we’d benefit. Hope that makes sense. I do believe this would facilitate a higher order of learning. Just my thoughts…as someone who aspires to paint like you do.

    • Anna Mason on February 28, 2024 at 5:20 pm

      Thanks Leslie. Lots of the smaller-subject tutorials do feature the photo on screen. The issue is that the screen is only so big and for you to be able to see enough detail of me painting as well as a decent amount of the reference photo things get very tight. If you’re a member there is guidance on how to set up in the Knowledge Base as the idea is for you to be viewing the reference photo on a separate screen while you paint along. So you’re not copying me, rather watching what I do, then trying it for yourself whilst looking at the reference photo as your reference. With these free mini classes we don’t supply the reference photo to work from though it’s often included in the beginning of the video and I can look to bring that back as I’ve not featured it as much lately. Hope that makes sense!

  4. BARBARA on February 29, 2024 at 4:36 pm

    it was gppd but a bit fast. i managed to sketch an outline. i will try this again. and again.
    thanks Anna

  5. Sigrid on February 29, 2024 at 6:53 pm

    Very excited about this. When you first started sharing this style I gave it a go as best I could, so I’m really looking forward to following along and doing a tutorial.

  6. Lin on February 29, 2024 at 10:09 pm

    Love the colors on this. I don’t use purple often, so it was a good way to push me into it. You give such great variety of subjects and colors to use. Thanks.

  7. Sherry on March 4, 2024 at 12:15 pm

    Would Prismacolor pencils be waxy enough to use for the sketching part? If not, what type/brand do you use/suggest?
    Enjoyed the mini course!

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