How to paint fresh peonies with HORADAM® watercolours - by Esther Peck

Esther Peck, our Schmincke ambassador from Singapore, shows us how to paint various fresh peonies:

I use the following colours for my colour chart (depending on your preference you can use watercolour tubes or pans):

  • 343 - Quinacridone red light
  • 215 - Lemon yellow
  • 370 - Potters Pink
  • 920 - Brilliant Opera rose
  • 353 - Permanent carmine
  • 366 - Perylene maroon
  • 940 - Brilliant red violet
  • 365 - Vermilion
  • 371 - Perylen violet
  • 369 - Quinacridone magenta


First step - a colour chart as basis:

First, I have created a Schmincke HORADAM® watercolour chart - also for other purposes - in which I mix and arrange possible shades of colour from the assortment to form loose flowers. I note the colour names used so that I always know how they look like.

How to paint different peonies?

1. Load your no. 8 round brush with a light value of pink (any of the colours from my Schmincke HORADAM® watercolour peonies colour chart). Paint two broad comma strokes turning from right to left and another one from left to rightas in figure 1.

2. While the colour is still wet, add two more comma strokes at both sides of the peony with a slightly higher value (more paint, less water).

3. Add two more comma strokes with high values of the same colour to cap the top of the peony.

4. Add the drop petals as shown on figure 4.

5. While the paints are still wet, add the leaves and the stalks.

If you are confident in painting different coloured flowers and leaves, arrange them to form a complete painting. Below you will find three examples of how peonies can be painted in smaller or larger arrangements.