painting daylilies: learn how to paint a daylily, step by step with watercolor

No gardening in the winter, so why not start painting daylilies.

Summertime is such a wonderful time to be outside in the garden. Tending and enjoying the beautiful flowers and the joys of gardening.

It's January now with no gardening, so why not paint watercolor flowers. Daylilies are a staple in my flower garden. They are so dependable and don't seem to mind a bit of abuse. They keep on flourishing even with improper care. If they get run over with the lawn mower, Yikes! They come right back.

There are no pink daylilies in my garden, but here are some pretty pink "January Daylilies".

What a joy! Enjoy painting your daylilies.

Painting daylilies with watercolor"January Daylilies"

what do you need for painting daylilies?

First you need something to paint. Either some live flowers or a good photo. This excellent photo is like a ready-made composition.

Pink Daylily photograph from PixabayReference Photo

Second you need brushes and something to paint on. My favorite watercolor support is Aquabord. This is a 9"x12", but you can make it any size you wish. I used a couple of round watercolor brushes, plus a script liner.

About watercolor supplies

This daylily painting is done with tube watercolor paints, pan watercolors will work just fine.

The color scheme is compliment plus 1/2 left using; Permanent Rose, primary yellow and Viridian Green. Quinacridone Violet was added for the shadows.

Please note, the painting was done intermittently over several days. You may notice color variation between some of the photos. That is not the paint, it's the light.

When painting daylilies on a cloudy day, the colors look different from a sunny day. The final photo was taken on a sunny day to show the true colors.

do a drawing and start painting your daylilies

  • Sketch the daylilies on your painting surface. Or do a drawing on paper and transfer it with graphite paper.

Just beware that erasing on the watercolor surface, especially on paper may damage the surface. The damaged surface will take the paint differently.

Draw the daylilies and start glazing the first watercolor layer.Start painting with Permanent Rose.
  • Prewet a petal and start glazing in the Permanent Rose. If you want a warmer pink, mix the rose with some yellow to warm up the color.

Start painting on the end of the petal you want darker. Pull the paint toward the lighter area of the petal.

  • Leave the center of the flowers unpainted.

Use your artistic sense. Do whatever is pleasing to you. In painting daylilies or any other subject, there is no absolute right or wrong way to do things.

Every artist has their own methods and you will develop your skills according to your own taste.

  • Just enjoy painting. That's what it's all about!

paint the yellow centers

Let the pink dry before you paint the yellow centers.

Paint the yellow daylily centers.Paint the yellow centers.

Prewet the centers and a little way over the pink.

  • Paint the yellow from the center out. Feather the edge into the wet area on top of the pink. This allows the yellow to softly merge into the pink.

Let the yellow dry. You can use a hair dryer to speed up the dry time.

painting the shadow areas

Mix a dark from your complimentary colors, Permanent Rose and Viridian Green.

More about mixing paint colors

Paint the shadow areas on the daylily flower.Paint the shadow areas.
  • Check out the reference photo to see the dark areas in the centers. Paint the darks from the center out, the same way you did with the yellow.

Identify the other shadow areas. I used Quinacridone Violet for the shadows. Sometimes it was mixed with yellow to warm the color. Or sometimes mixed with the rose, so it's not so dark.

  • No matter if you are painting daylilies or anything else, it's a good idea to vary your colors. Don't have the same exact color over a large area. Give the viewer's eye something interesting to look at.

making adjustments

Glaze over the pink areas you want to intensify.

Notice the mistake on the color of the daylily.Notice the mistake

While making the dark area of pink across the top petal, it turned out to be a straight line. It cut off the center part of the yellow.

  • The yellow should arch up in the center and down on the sides.

So how was it fixed? After the paint was dry, some of the paint was stroked off on the sides of the petal with a flat, damp brush.

That left the yellow going higher up on the center of the petal.

  • Indicate some shadow areas on the edges of some of the petals. If you do it only on the top daylily, it will keep the viewer's eye higher up in the painting.

finish painting all the petals

Continue painting all of the petals.

Paint all of the daylily petals.Paint all the remaining petals.

The dark purple shadows attracted too much attention away from the rest of the flowers. So I lifted some of the shadow areas with a damp brush.

refine and detail

After all the petals were painted, it looked too confusing.

If it was confusing to me, it certainly would be to the viewers. The viewers don't have access to the reference photo.

So, I combined several petals into one. It looked simpler and less confusing.

  • We artists have the option of changing things around when we are painting daylilies or anything else. That's why it is a painting, not a photograph. We get to improve on nature.
Indicate some veins on some petals.Indicate some veins on some petals.
  • Put some light shadows on the petals of the bottom daylily to indicate veins.

It's time to paint the stamens. When you are painting daylilies, the stamens are an important part of daylily identity. You may do the stamens in one or two ways.

  • Either take the edge of a damp flat bush and pull out a place for the stamens and then paint them.
  • You may use some Titanium White to paint the stamens on top of the existing colors. Mix a little yellow with the white to warm it up. Then stroke the stamens on with a script liner brush.
  • A third option would be to use masking fluid on the stamens before you start painting daylilies. Remove the masking fluid after the petals are dry. Then paint the stamens.

How to retain the white of watercolor paper.

Paint the anthers with a bit of Permanent Rose dulled with Viridian.

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choose your background color

A light grey background would work. Mix a light grey from the pink and green. Using more or less pink or green gave some variation of colors in the background.

Start painting the background around the daylilies.Start painting the background.
  • Use plenty of water on the background to wet it before you paint. That way you will prevent hard edges.

a second background choice

The complimentary color of pink/red and green is a good choice to show off the flowers.

A green background compliments the pink daylilies.Green compliments the pink flowers.
  • Paint the background darker at the bottom and lighter toward the top of the painting. This helps to ground the painting and indicates sunlight.

Use the Permanent Rose to dull the greens. Yellow adds some nice warm variations.

paint the leaves

  • Mix a variety of greens with more or less yellow and more or less water. Remember to dull the greens with the rose color.

Daylilies have a lot of leaves. So when you are painting daylilies you can put in as many leaves as you want.

Put the leaves wherever you want. Nature is full of variety.

Now you know how to paint a daylily with watercolors.Paint the leaves with a variety of greens.

enjoy doing your own daylily flower painting!



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