Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are also known as Christmas Flower. These wonderful, vibrant red plants truly represent the wonderful colours of the season and there is no doubt that you will see more and more of these lining our shops shelves over the next few weeks. With Christmas just around the corner, this fabulous poinsettia plant has inspired me to produce a delightful Christmas watercolour painting.
The Poinsettia Plant
These wonderful plants are indigenous to Mexico and the plant’s original association with Christmas is said to be as far back at the 16thCentury. The story is told of a young girl called Pepita whom was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. An angel inspired this young girl to collect weeds from the roadside and present them to the church altar. From this, the stunning crimson red blossoms appeared from the weeds and there came the poinsettia plants. It is also suggested that the star shapes created by the leaves symbolise the Star of Bethlehem. Furthermore, the stunning red colour of the leaves are said to symbolise the blood sacrifice through the crucification of Jesus.
Poinsettia Watercolour Painting
Inspired by this stunning Christmas plant, I have recently painted a poinsettia. Here I will take you through the process of producing the incredible red hues and intricate detail contained within this poinsettia watercolour painting.
I always commence my watercolour paintings with an initial sketch including some layout ideas. This initial sketch is always done in pencil and I ensure to make a note of all white and highlighted areas as these need to remain unpainted. This is due to my painting technique; pure watercolour.
From here I start to build up some colour in my poinsettia watercolour painting. All of my watercolour paintings are created using just three colours; red, yellow and blue. I mix these primary colours to create all the different subtle shades and hues contained within each painting. The watercolour paper that I have chosen to work with here is the St. Cuthberts Mill, Saunders Waterford 300gsm/140lb and my watercolours are Winsor & Newton Professional Artist paints.
Next, I begin to build up the undertones of my painting. This includes building layers of watercolour washes. Building up these tones from light to dark is important to ensure that the consistency and depth of the watercolour pigment is perfect.
One of my favourite moments of painting is when you can slowly see the incredible layers build and develop to produce gorgeous new and beautiful hues. As you can see, I have used very fine brushes in this poinsettia watercolour painting, this allows me to ensure I can create the detail in the crimson leaves, including the delicate veins that run through them. My brushes of choice here are the Winsor & Newton Kolinsky sable brushes.
Finally, I have added in the green pigments to build in the detail and colour of the green leaves at the base of the plant. This green pigment has been built up with just blue and yellow watercolours and the highlighted details you can see are created by leaving parts of the heavy weight watercolour paper unpainted.
Here is my final poinsettia watercolour painting, and I hope you like it. This original painting is now available to purchase in my online shop in either an oak or an off-white frame. Alternatively, you can also purchase as a giclée print.