Red Crimson Abstract Flower Watercolor

Red Crimson Abstract Floral Watercolor 11x14 140 lb coldpress

Red Crimson Abstract Floral Watercolor 11×14 140 lb coldpress

Red Crimson Abstract Floral Watercolor.

I was reading a blog post by one of my favorite artist bloggers, Debi Riley, where she discussed a technique where she starts her watercolor painting with white….


Those that know a little bit about watercolor painting know using white is almost taboo – as the goal is to “preserve” the white by not painting where you want white/light to remain.  Which, by the way, is a constant challenge, but one that makes watercolor so exciting!

So Debi talked about applying a wet white wash down first and allowing another color to merge into it while it is still damp.  The white paint acts like a soft velvety foundation that the other paints react to in beautiful ways.

I first tried it just on a small 6×9 scrap piece of paper, and then I made three large 11×14 versions (the first two of which were torn up for more scrap practices).  I rather liked how this one turned out, and I want to play more……  more with these colors and more with others.  Such a fun, different way to watercolor!

Paints used for this were Daniel Smith Alizarin Crimson, Indigo, and New Gamboge, along with Winsor & Newton White Gouache.

I first spritzed my paper lightly and randomly with water.  I then painted on some white gouache with a large brush in bold strokes that resembled flower “petals.”  I then dropped in Alizarin Crimson and dragged it a bit in similar flower petal strokes.  I then lightly spritzed again to create movement, and I moved my paper around a bit.  I then dropped in some new gamboge and indigo and lightly spritzed again.  Then the hard part…. wait…. wait… wait – and don’t fiddle.  Walk away and allow it to do it’s own blending while drying.  A couple hours later, I returned to it and saw the fun blooms and splashes created by all the water on the paper.  I added a few more touches of indigo to darken, splashed a teensy bit of crimson, and called it a painting.

What do you think?

Cheers & Hugs,


52 thoughts on “Red Crimson Abstract Flower Watercolor

  1. I can never understand restraints, expectations, “taboo” areas, historical dictates… or any kind of direction when it comes to art, music, design etc. Why would any creative person want to put limitations on creativity? Where would Picasso be if he was told it was taboo to distort the physical aspects of people. Where would so many modern musical pioneers be, if the baroque music period dictated music today? Even “almost taboo” may make some artists deny the possibilities of perhaps what could be done with a whitewash base…. perhaps additional texturing would be possible against a white canvas.
    Yes…I did have issues with my art teacher at school. I would not accept how things “must be done” … but I was the top of the class in my final years at school!!!! 🙂

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  2. Love this! I had a wonderful, very strict, art teacher in high school who absolutely did not allow the use of white paint or color: never, never, never. That was probably good practice for control and shading, but this just proves that ‘never’ is a little too absolute…

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  3. An observation by a non-artist : The first rule of watercolor just might be, there are NO rules! It seems to me that art should be the expression of the individual artist, not art that is governed by rules. Knowing rules is necessary, but knowing when and which to ignore may be necessary too. This is a beautiful painting and per Benjamin : ” I love the humongous pretty red flower!” Thank-you x 2!!

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  4. Gorgeous color, brilliant abstract flower! I feel like you put in the ” how to” just for me. Can’t wait to try it. White gouache not white watercolor ? I don’t own any so I will have to wait a bit before trying it, but I’m so excited to try it. Thanks for sharing your blogger friends technique. What is surprising is that the white doesn’t really show up like I thought it would. It isn’t milky or pastel , or even opaque, the colors look clear and transparent. Thanks for the lesson. Wish me luck! Ps thanks for mentioning all your colors. Mthis really makes a bold stunning statement, with just a touch of artsy abstract! Love it

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