Flat brush floral

I don’t know about you but sometimes it takes me several starts to get the result that I want. With florals my aim is to keep the watercolour loose and fresh, not overworked or nitpicky. Today’s first try — painted with a small round brush — looked like that, so I decided to give it another go. I grabbed a fresh sheet of paper and for my second attempt I picked up a big, flat 1 1/2″ brush. There’s no mistaking what the shapes will be with a brush that wide. You can’t work on details. And since flowers of the same colour seem to look better when you paint them all as one big mass, the big brush helped me get a better start. Thinking carefully about edges, I painted a big yellow shape and then did the same with the red, and from there it was easier to work in the details like the leaves and the stems (the flat brush is ideal for painting stems, btw!). Painted on Arches CP paper, 10″ x 10″.


27 Comments on “Flat brush floral”

  1. rosjenke says:

    😲 your paintings are gobsmackingly gorgeous. So much to love…..colour, composition,contrast. Need I go on? 😊


  2. Very nice Shari. A great example of brushwork.


  3. Dottie Aiken says:

    Every time I see one of your paintings/sketches, I say, “I wish I could do that.” Love the looseness and freshness of your work. I seem to be tempted to add pen or colored pencil. Thank you for sharing!


    • It’s hard to know when to stop, isn’t it, Dottie? Sometimes I am tempted to keep adding lines. That’s when I know it’s time to set the painting aside, or step back and look at from a distance. Often with a little distance, it helps me decide how much has to be added.


  4. Bernadette says:

    Oh my, this one is good enough to eat! Love, love, love it. I’m so grateful that you post your work. Thank you for sharing.


  5. Rita Palazzo says:

    love the simplicity and limited colors chosen


    • Thanks Rita. I actually used some Cadmium Orange for this. I don’t often use that colour but I didn’t have anything else on the palette to get the right hue for the orange flowers.


  6. Soni McFarland says:


    Would like to see one you’re not happy with sometime – although I’ll never have a chance to say, “Oh, bad job, Shari” 🤣🤣

    Appreciate as always your explanation with this
    It’s just yummy


  7. Dee Ludwig says:

    Like this! It’s how I like to paint. With the paint big and bold. Super!


  8. joantav says:

    I like your idea of using the flat brush…something I never do. Great job massing the flowers! Good job!


  9. M. L. Kappa says:

    Ooh, nice!😊For some reason, I never use a flat brush. Round, mops, daggers, fans, but never round. Time to practice, methinks!


  10. designsweet says:

    Love this – and love the fact that you have several starts…! I always seems to need several goes – and then overwork them!


  11. anne farmer says:

    Really instructive! Thank you


  12. I always do a rough draft, too. It helps me get the lines, shapes and try out a few colors. It also takes the pressure off. Last year I learned the blessing of a big brush, and though it felt like painting with a wrench for a while, it taught me a lot. Now I should grab my 1 1/2″ flat and start learning how to paint with it. Your results are divine.


  13. Monique says:

    It is beautiful..I nitpick way too much and I can’t even nitpick:(


  14. So beautiful, just love! Refreshing yet warm, calculated yet free. A true winter boost, thank you!


  15. Linda Murray says:

    Beautiful, Shari!! I too need to try a big, flat brush. My mistake is to try for perfection. Can’t be done. Comes off flat, fake. Not a good look. I need to learn to loosen up. Thanks for all the instructions!!!


  16. Alison says:

    I saw your post shortly after reading an article in The Guardian in which David Hockney points out that: “… The Chinese say you need three things for paintings: the hand, the eye and the heart. I think that remark is very, very good. Two won’t do. A good eye and heart is not enough, neither is a good hand and eye. …” Shari, I see, and feel, all three in your painting and especially in your flower paintings. Stunning. Skillful. Soulful.


  17. zuzala says:

    could you reveal the brand of flat brush you use please? I am currently pricing out a cosmotop spin and in the big debate as I usually don’t use synthetics


  18. Gil Zarins says:

    “Entertain the eye” has become part of my painting process thanks to your classes and is reinforced by what I see here, great insights, beautiful!


  19. Judy Sopher says:

    Lovely, as usual.

    I used to use a flat brush and still have some. Don’t know why I stopped. But a question-do you keep your “starts” or toss them? Do you keep the ones that you don’t like-if any? I have torn pages out of sketchbooks or covered them with another sheet. Some say to keep them all for looking back at your progress but I don’t like to even face some of them. What do others do? I hate to ruin a sketchbook but–.


  20. Agnes Gawlik says:

    Awesome painting!


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