Pink Zinnia Bluez

pink zinnia

Last week I posted a photo of a zinnia that seemed like it was just begging to be painted, and I couldn’t wait to give it a go!

One evening, I printed the photo and lightly drew it in pencil using my lightbox – a great tool for us beginners who so often struggle with the drawing part.  (Well – let’s face it – I often struggle with ALL the parts!)

I gave it a light water wash and first glaze of pink before quitting for the evening, as I am trying to learn patience and allowing drying time to achieve more complex watercolor paintings.

When my friend, Janet was over one evening, she asked to see what art I’ve been up to.  When she saw the beginning of the zinnia, she said it would be a great post to show progress photos of the steps I go through.

Yes – great idea, Jan….   but I haven’t really figured out what steps I go through really!

Anyway – Charlie and I arose early the next morning – around 5:30am – and I decided to give my zinnia another coat.  Well – that led to another, and then a disaster, followed by another disaster and a third disaster.

I kept re-trying to reproduce with watercolor what I had envisioned in my head.

Now I am one to promote that it is all about the journey – all about the process – but sometimes I just want to do it perfect – do it right – do it beautiful —- and alas, it wasn’t happening with this beautiful pink zinnia.

This was my fifth effort of it, and I got to where I gave up.  It is not even close to what I had envisioned, though somewhat pleasing…  at least compared to the first four efforts!  I tried wet on wet, wet on dry, sketch first, sketch after, no sketching…

But WHY can I not reproduce on paper what is in my head?!

This is where I call out for support and advice from my artist friends.

Please offer your wisdom.

I obviously tend to “overwork” it.

Watercolor is something I’ve just had this urging to pursue.  I’ve watched a few YouTube videos, perused a few books, and follow some amazing bloggers, but I have no formal training and no artistic experience.

I would so appreciate anyone who would be willing to offer their top advice for a wannabee watercolorist!

I am writing this a few days ahead of when it will post, so who knows where my head will be when this posts.  But I so look forward to your tips and advice, and hope to be feeling a little better about my watercolor journey by the time you read this.

Can the encourager seek some encouragement this time please?   😉

Cheers & Hugs,


50 thoughts on “Pink Zinnia Bluez

  1. My work almost never turns out like the picture, or sometimes it’s just an idea, of what I had in my head. I tend to go where the project wants to go (and you are never going to be 100%, or even 50% successful). As a drawing teacher once told me, “do 100 drawings, throw out 99”.
    As a designer I was often called to produce what was in someone else’s head…and I was often surprised by what they had “seen” as opposed to what I had pictured.


  2. Jodi I think your Zinnia is beautiful. What I ‘m most impressed with is your rich colors and clean purple background wash. Purple is a super hard color for me and never seems to go down evenly.

    Something I do that works really nicely, when I’m painting a flower, I work on one petal at a time. I will use a little twisted piece of paper towel to lift up some of the paint if its too wet or needs tonal variation. I’ll tackle another petal that is in a dry area while the first one dries. I guess you would say I break it down into pieces. I wouldn’t say my technique is correct just how I like to tackle flowers.

    I don’t know what your vision is for your flower but I really think this is a wonderful flower!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your great advice Cathe. I have tried doing the one petal at a time also. Sometimes I get to “anxious” (in a hurry) and want to keep going! I must learn patience! 🙂


  3. I am sorry that I can’t offer you tips, for I am no artist BUT I really like it and I admire your endeavor to learn how to do watercolor and not give up. You are persistent and I trust that it will pay off! 🙂 Cheers to you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, this post is so cute, Jodi!!! 💕 (((Jodi))) First: I think your zinnia is really beautiful!!! I love the shades of pink in it´s blossom, the tiny yellow “flowers” on it – it´s sooooo pretty!!! Second: I´m not a professional neither, but the last couple of times I experienced kind of a tiny break-through in my watercolor attempts. At least that´s how it feels to me… 😊 I always wanted to achieve a “light” watercolor style. In the beginning I used only washes, to keep it “light”, which resulted only in “boring”. Then I thought: okay, more color – which resulted in often overworking it. Lightness was totally gone.
    What I learned now (after trying for 10 months…), is kind of the keeping in somewhere in the middle. Working out for me is:
    1. Begin with background. Keep that really light, use washes of the colors you wanna use in the subject later. My experience: The lighter the background, the nicer “shines” the subject later. It´s better silhouetted against it.
    2. I sketch the subject in the beginning, always with black colored pencil and never using an eraser. Lines out of place? Doesn´t matter, the viewers eye will fix little “mistakes”. I like to keep the colored pencil lines visible. Sometimes I “sketch” therefore again after watercoloring.
    3. Always keep paperwhite dots in your subject and background. I don´t know why exactly, but that makes it nice. 😊
    4. I always tried to stay within the lines coloring my subjects. Now I found out that it looks nicer and more “watercolory” if I don´t. I still color within in the lines, but in the end let in “bleed out” a little with water into the background. That´s such a nice effect, and again, the viewer´s eye fixes this “mistake” without even noticing. 😊
    5. I gave up “copying” reality. In watercolor that doesn´t work for me. I think the beauty of watercolor shows in the little “mistakes”, when you let the medium show what it can do by itself. 😊
    But anyway, I think your watercolor painting is absolutely beautiful!!! 🌺

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Love Ann Christina’s process description! I’m more like you and Kerfe: what I put down on paper doesn’t always/usually match what’s in my head, but you just have to go with it, I think, because sometimes, what you put down on paper is even better! 🙂 Your zinnia is lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think your flower is beautiful! I would be thrilled with this outcome! I’m amazed that you’re a beginner as I think you paint and draw really well. I see your style quite clearly in all the work you’ve shared.

    I have no tips other than to tell you to keep trying, play, see what happens, and like someone above commented enjoy each piece for what it is.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Good for you to keep trying and with watercolor, you must think of two things I think to get pleasing results: 1) unexpected surprises and 2) what is possible. With wet paint on a wet surface, you get one effect – with wet on dry you get something else. Even the type of brush you use will matter. How you blend your colors – in the palette or on the paper – all of these things contribute to results. So for what you envision you must think what brush is needed, wet on wet or wet on dry, etc. Hope that helps a little. Your effort is showing with a nice job here.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Jodi! I struggle with this too – creating what I had in my head at the time. I find if I can think less and just “play” that I like my results better. I have taken a lot of watercolor classes and find I learn something new every time I do a painting. It takes time and practice and that “P” word that I don’t really like (patience). I like the details in your Zinnia! Maybe try to add a little shading to it? Sometimes squinting helps me see where the light is hitting my subject. Also, everyone develops their own style. I like your loose style that gives a playful feeling. When I try to paint in someone else’s style, I tend to get frustrated. Keep having FUN because that is what it’s really all about! Hope this helps you a little. 💜😊🎨 And you ARE an AMAZING artist!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Jill. I too find I like better when I play loosely but I want to get better at detail and am struggling. I’m not sure if I am articulating correctly. So since my style is loose does that mean I cannot do this? Sometimes I struggle with what to paint. Lol!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Of course you can do it! 🙂 It takes time to figure it out – I really would suggest you take a class. I really like Fred Lisauris (spelling?) that Carla Sonheim hosts. You can do the class as self study. He goes through the assignments step-by-step and you can replay the videos as often as needed. I really like his teaching style and he makes it FUN! I really liked his Fall watercolor class. I know you can watch You-Tube videos too but I think it helps to take an actual class. Hope this helps! 🙂


  9. Oh Jodi…I’m just gonna hug you when I come over for that cookie!! ❤️😃😉 This is of course beautiful and lovely even if it wasn’t in your head!! And Ann’s advice is spot on and something I’m just now learning (I heard one artist refers to the little dots of white as “sparkle” and another who wasn’t a purist just went back in with white gouache to add some spots of sparkle. 😉) I’m still struggling with overworking things, but have recently limited myself to no more than 3 layers. Whatever it looks like at that point, it’s done! It’s just an exercise to keep things watercolory and not looking acrylic. Philippe is also constantly telling me when I have something complex or I really want to get it right to, “just draw what you see” Not in your head, but what you actually see in front of you. Look at the form and contours and don’t focus on “what” the subject is. I tried this with my recent cat drawing and it wasn’t until I stepped back I realized I had been drawing eyes! I was just drawing the shapes and colors and highlights I saw. If I’d tried to “get the eyes right” it wouldn’t have worked as well. So I guess my advice is his… to stop painting flowers and start painting shaped, form and color that you see in front of you! 😉😃

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is such great advice that I have heard and needed to hear again. It is crazy how it works when you don’t let your left brain take over what it is supposed to look like – right!? I appreciate the time you took to offer this advice immensely. I truly am seeking advice and support to get better. And hugs for sure with your cookieS!!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s really beautiful Jodi. I love it, looks fantastic. What you might do is just practice what you want to do on some thinner water color paper or cardboard white paper that is more inexpensive. That way you don’t waste paper you want to use for cards. I think half the fun of art is that what we paint/draw does not ever (even for professional artists) turn out exactly what we have in our heads. But often what does turn out is equally if not more beautiful. Also, like you found out, things just take practice. Hope that helps. This is m favorite of your water color cards I think!


  11. Yeah – I can’t draw a decent stick figure so I won’t be much help… But I LOVE your watercolors the way they are. I could just be that your style is a one of a kind your style which I think is a wonderful thing! Seek to improve your skills but don’t sacrifice you uniqueness. How’s that for a non-artists advice? Pretty lame right….? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sorry this is so late, I have been away from my keyboard for a bit. Not sure what the image in your head is/was, but your painting is beautiful! You may not have formal training or a degree in watercolor, but you have a wealth of artistic experience and a great design eye for composition, drawing and color as can be seen with your fabulous photographs, paintings and creative cards. You are a bundle of creative energy and spirit. So please do not be so hard and critical on yourself or of your painting…they are both wonderful. I too had no ‘formal’ training when I first picked up the brush, but that did not lessen the love I have for watercolor nor stop me from my continuing quest to improve and learn more. So a few suggestions before turning this into a novel (;D), 1. Please do not be hard on yourself or your work, it is all a part of a learning process; 2. Patience, sometimes you need to walk away and come back to your painting with ‘fresh eyes’; 3. It is only paint and paper, it you really do not like it, figure out what you don’t like and do it again, differently; 4. Practice, practice, practice; 5. Books, workshops, local art societies, painting with friends…information is out there; 6. Find an artist whose style you like and see if there are any books or workshops along that style; 7. Do not be afraid to experiment; 8. Painting can be like baking, you need the right tools and ingredients but unlike baking in that you are free to let go, relax, have fun and see where the journey takes you. And, if you do not like where you wind up, change it (you can paint purple trees or a green sky if you want) or start over and go in a different direction. Alright stepping down from the soap box, just remember, we are all travelers and students of art. I need some coffee so…I love your painting, looking forward to seeing more and /hugs to you. Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Haunani! What sweet words and great advice and kindness you’ve shared. I am overwhelmed with your caring enough to take the time to share so much and care so much. My heart is full. And I am so grateful. i just painted a tiny circus peanut – after looking at Charlie’s elephant. Just to paint something – with just a few minutes to spare. I’m inspired! THANK YOU! HUGS!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I can’t believe I miss this one! Love the mixed media and the brightness. Cheers Jodi. Cheering for your penguins in the NHLat this point. I think they’re still in it aren’t they?


  14. Reblogged this on Mandibelle16 and commented:
    Have to share this one painting/card from my friend Jodi. She is an absolutely wonderfully talented watercolour artist. You can find her work on Etsy too!


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