Watercolor Magnolias Techniques

watercolor magnolias, floral techniques watercolors, solving and fixing old paintings, debiriley.com

Magnolia blooms in watercolor.

Fresh and free.

Suggesting, giving the impression, of being wild – growing on the tree branches.


watercolor magnolias, floral techniques watercolors, solving and fixing old paintings, debiriley.com
Magnolias in Watercolor



Watercolor Magnolias – revisited

This is an older watercolor painting of magnolias and leaves that I felt wasn’t quite right.

It needed some ‘adjustments.’


Years ago I’d gathered my flower blossoms and leaves, bringing them in to the studio to paint from real life!

The resulting painting was alright. But I’ve never been 100% excited with it.

It was done on a full sheet 22 x 30 inches, so it is rather large.

I enjoy it enough to not toss it, yet not enough to sell it either.



Time to make some ‘resolutions’ to the painting to see what can be done.

It is important though to remember to retain the fresh, loose freedom the painting has.

That, is really its selling point.


My alterations included some cropping, glazing to warm a few areas up, image format change to a Vertical;  and a small attempt to soften a section.



Key Painting Technique

The principle technique I’ve concentrated on in the painting  is   “Contrasts.”


Wet in wet darker background in cool blue greens with the pale, hard edged warm sienna blossoms in sharp relief.

(dark against light;         warm against cool;          soft against hard;       calm against busy) 


I think this is the key, that causes the viewer to look into the image.

To capture their eye, for just a moment in time.



Parts of the painting, seem to be swirling and loose, abstractions.

While other parts are very clear and defined….this is another Contrast the mind registers as ” visual interest.”



The basic common watercolor techniques I used were: wet in wet, charging, glazing.

And finally some splatter to finish it off.




Limit the alterations…  Choices

In order to maintain that ‘wildness’ and freedom; I had to make a sacrifice.


The sacrifice was to leave the hard sharp edges that were and are so bothersome to me.

While some hard sharp edges are a good thing…. too many and my eye, begins to get irritated.


But, I know from experience that once I begin to soften all these edges the painting starts to lose its vitality.

If it was merely one or two edges, I’d risk it as it shouldn’t be a big problem.


However… there just are too many and it most likely Would Be A Problem.

So I’m willing to trade  some hard sharp edges for the wonderful freshness and freedom.






Arches Rough 100% cotton rag paper  It stood the test of time and even years later, allowed me to do some corrections.


Rekab #2     320s squirrel mop brush      1 Brush! 


Paints    3 colors

Prussian blue PB27         Hansa Yellow Light PY3          Quinacridone Sienna (Daniel Smith PO48 PR209 PY150)


choosing just a few, ie limiting the art materials you use will assist you achieve better paintings, with less frustrations.





Published by debiriley

The act of creation, in any media is a fascinating and magical process. I simply love to create. Expressing in color, line, tone, texture - as if, they were words upon a page. Creating a uniquely me, interpretation. Enjoy More of my "one-of-a-kind" expressive art at society6.com/debiriley and, redbubble.com/people/debijriley/shop

25 thoughts on “Watercolor Magnolias Techniques

  1. How can you not LOVE this! I am blown away once again by your artistic genius! The blues in the background are DREAMY!!! Swooning! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. hey Jodi! that was an awesomely lovely compliment 🙂 ❤ thank you so much, and I am happy, that you enjoyed it! cheers to you my swooning friend, Debi

      Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you Evelyn, getting back onto the computer after a few weeks! its like i will never catch up. I’ll get over to your place soon though. glad you enjoyed the re do on the magnolias. cheers, and have a great rest of the week!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t see those things. To me it’s really beautiful. It’s one of the most beautiful paintings of yours that I’ve seen. I could easily stand to have a houseful of them.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Deb

    I always love your art work and lok forward to your posts. I have not heard from you for a while and wondered how things are going?

    Kind regards

    Lynette N


    1. thanks Lynette! doing ok,on the mend, so am not doing as many posts as normal… but, will return to 2-3 week when I can! thank you, cheers, Debi


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