Snowdrops (Galanthus) are small delicate, white flowers that are best well known for the representation of the winter turning into spring. These hardy little plants are often a wonderful sight at this time of year with blankets of them often covering the floor of woodlands across the UK. You may even be lucky enough to spot some in your own garden too. I adore these fragile flowers and have been feeling inspired to use them as my latest watercolour painting subject. Fortunately, I am very lucky to have pockets of snowdrops dotted around my garden, close by to my studio. I didn’t have to travel far to get started! Find out how I painted my watercolour snowdrops in more detail.
Saunders Waterford Hot Press 140lbs watercolour paper.
Winsor and Newton Kolinsky Series 7 sable watercolour brushes in sizes 0,00 and 000.
The Initial Sketch
To begin with, I headed down to the garden to create an initial pencil sketch. Snowdrops can have many linear leaves, so taking this into consideration, I simplified the layout of the flower in my outline sketch.
My watercolour snowdrop painting has been created using just three colours: red, yellow and blue and mixed into different tones. These three colours were mixed to create three watercolour mixes; yellow/green mix, a darker green mix and finally a blue/black wash.
The Initial Outline
To paint the strong and linear leaves of the flower, I created an outline of the stems and each individual leaf. The outline was made using the Winsor and Newton paintbrush, size 0. An initial outline then assists in developing and building the watercolour pigment to create the finished painting.
Continuing on from here, I use the yellow/green mix for the tops of the flowers (the ovary). I also use the pigment mix to add in the delicate stems, as they have a slightly yellow tone, particularly when compared to the dark green of the leaves.
Each individual leaf of the snowdrop has a prominent vein running through the middle. I carefully highlighted each vein in each leaf by painting around this area with the dark green watercolour mix. Allowing the vein to show as a highlight.
The White Flower
To paint the most spectacular part of these flowers, I do not use any white watercolour paint. Using my blue/black mix of watercolour paint, I cautiously paint the outlines of the snowdrop petals. Following on from the outline, I added in the shadows to each petal. This continued with building up layers of paint. Next, I continued with the tiny, upside down hearts which form the inner petals. These were created with the Winsor and Newton size 00 brush. Dipping back into my blue/black pigment, I started to really develop the definition within the shape of the stems and the darker shadows contained within the petals.
Finally, I picked up my size 000 watercolour brush to add in some of the final but crucial details including more detailing around the veins of the leaves. I also added in the detailing contained within the upper stem (the spathe).
If you would like to purchase a giclée print of my snowdrop watercolour painting, please visit my online shop.