“Ladies Roses” – Watercolor Demo

About Barbara Fox

Barbara has achieved a tremendous following on both the national and international level as a watercolor painter with a vivid and unique style.

Her paintings have been featured in solo and group exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the United States, including the Phillips Museum of Art in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; the Millicent Rogers Museum in Taos, Mexico; the Salmagundi Club New York City; The Neville Museum in Green Bay Wisconsin; and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts

Barbara is a signature member of the National Watercolor Society, the International Guild of Realism, the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society, and the Northeast Watercolor Society, among others.

She has been published in the major watercolor publications Splash: the Best of Watercolor Painting, and  Secrets of Watercolor Masters. Barbara has been a featured artist in the leading national art magazines American Artist and Watercolor Magic.

Barbara is represented by the Oxford Gallery, 267 Oxford Street, Rochester, NY 14607

Visit Barbara’s Websites Today:

Main Website

Barbara Fox – Daily Paintings

Barbara Fox Studio

Barbara Fox Art Studio

Materials Used:

I used a mix of watercolor brands: Winsor Newton, Holbein and M. Graham: Sap Green, Cadmium Lemon, Peacock Blue, Cadmium Yellow, Permanent Rose, Cobalt Blue, Winsor Violet, Hookers Green and Pthalo Blue.

BRUSHES: Inexpensive Hake wash brushes, Isabey and Richeson brands Kolinsky, #8, #6, #4, and #2.

1. The Outline Drawing

I make a careful outline drawing of my subject, enlarge it on a copy machine, making sure all the lines are very dark, then transfer the drawing to my watercolor paper. My transfer technique is simple: I tape the drawing to a large window, then tape the watercolor paper over it. The image shows through, and I trace it. This only works on sunny days! I like this technique because it is fast and easy, and involves very little technology.

NOTE: The drawing shown here is my copy enlargement. The drawing on my watercolor paper is just too faint to show up in a photograph.

2. The Background Wash

In this painting, I first painted around the flowers, laying in the sky and foliage colors. My technique to do this is to paint clear water on the paper, then flood in a rich mixture of the colors I want. I mix the paint with a little water in small bowls so I have a very rich, concentrated mixture. For this first wash I use three colors–Sap Green, Cadmium Lemon, and Peacock Blue. I let the colors roll around in the water and mix themselves. In this case, I added a few more touches of Cadmium Lemon while the wash was still very wet. I like the organic way the paint settles when I paint this way.

An alternative way to get a nice wash is to mask the flower area using mask film or masking fluid. Then, it is easy to paint over the entire surface without going around the white area.

3. First Wash of Main Subject

I paint the flower petal by petal. First I paint clear water on a particular petal area, then touch in the flower colors, in this case Cadmium Yellow, Permanent Rose, and Cobalt Blue. Since I don’t put as much water on the petals as I did on the background, the pigment does not flow around quite as much.

Here are two close ups from the above image:

Close-ups of Step 3: Remember to let the paint dry completely in each area, before you begin to paint the adjacent area, or you will have colors bleeding into each other.

4. Building Up Color and Value Layer by Layer

Each layer of paint added to the painting heightens the color and value. The picture at left has one more wash of my flower colors: Cadmium Yellow, Permanent Rose, and Cobalt Blue. When the painting was dry, I also added some details, such as the pink stripes on the flower.

See close-up below.

Close-up of Step 4

The next several photographs show how step-by-step, the paint is layered; using mostly the same colors I started with, but continually layering them to build up color intensity. It takes time to paint this way, but the result is a painting with glowing color. Be patient and enjoy the journey. One thing I love about painting in watercolor is that the painting looks beautiful at every step of the way.

Step 5. Adding Shadows

I paint in shadows using Cobalt Blue and Winsor Violet. When painted as a light wash, they will let previously applied colors, even yellow, show through. I also add some more color to the foliage mass: Hookers Green and Pthalo Blue.

Step 6. Building Up Additional Layers of Color and Value

More layers! Juicy washes of Permanent Rose and Cadmium Yellow on the rosebuds. On the left rosebud the yellow and rose colors merge together beautifully.

CLOSE-UPS BELOW: I paint more stripes, and darken some areas of the stripes, especially near the edge of the petals. I also add some detail to the stem and lelaves.

Step 7. Final Touches

I add more foliage on both sides, then add detail to the foliage.

Towards the end of the painting process, I hang the painting in my living room, where I can study it in a fresh environment and decide what to do next. I love to finish a painting! But I want to feel like it’s just right, so I don’t rush it.

Step 8. Finish

Ladies Roses 22″ x 26, Watercolor on 300 lb. Arches cold press paper

The details of the leaves are now in place. At this point I decide it needs to be cropped slightly at the bottom in order to allow the opened rose to take stage. Now it’s finished.

I hope you enjoyed this Watercolor Painting Demo of these Beautiful Rose Flowers.

Visit Barbara’s Websites Today:

Main Website

Barbara Fox – Daily Paintings

Barbara Fox Studio

Barbara Fox Art Studio


  1. B360 says

    WOW! I love your paintings, they’re so beautiful and your tutorials are easy to follow! Love it! You’re a talented artist, keep up the great work! 🙂

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