How to paint mistletoe in loose watercolour

How to paint mistletoe in loose watercolour

In this creative sketchbook study, I’m going to show you how to paint your very own mistletoe. I have selected a green and blue colour palette to capture the wintry essence this season brings, ensuring to capture the smooth edged, evergreen leaves, and silky white berries on my paper.

It’s a great way to create shapes and textures in a simple form.

What you’ll need:

Always remember, If you don’t have the equipment and paints I have, you can really creative an use what you do have.

  • A mistletoe photo reference
  • Watercolour sketchbook or paper (I recommend Arches cold pressed paper) preferably 300gsm/ 140lb.
  • Mop paint brush – Jennifer Rose Size 3/0 & 2
  • Daisy palette (for mixing watery paints)
  • Water bowl
  • Kitchen towel

       Paint colours I used:

  • Cerulean Blue
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Payne’s Grey – A bluish/ black shade
  • Olive green
  • Winsor Lemon
  • Touch of Rose Ultramarine.

1. Start by creating the distinctive leaf shapes with your olive green paint. At the same time drop in additional hints of watery winsor lemon to lighten the green shade.

2. Using the tip of your paintbrush, begin to outline the pearl shaped berries within your composition too, placing them where you’d like them amongst the leaves. It’s a really fun way to create your own composition of mistletoe.

3. Once you’re happy with your placement of leaves and berries, Use the side of your brush to gently soften their edges by extending the green colour outwardly into the background. Leave this part to semi dry before continuing on.

4. Using my larger 2 brush size, introduce the cobalt blue into the background and lightly wash around your leaf and berry shapes. Remember to leave some areas white for some extra wintry crispness. Continue to drop in layers of cerulean blue to lighten and enhance areas – you’ll see some beautiful hues created all of their own.

Painting will be very watery and will create some lovely watermarks – Perfect for a winter effect!

5. Where the green and yellow hues have not dried completely – these vibrant colours will blend and create additional shades of green into the background. A slight combination of colour and water control is needed in this part, but it is fun to experiment like this! If you feel your painting is becoming unsettled, simply leave it to dry al little and continue on.

 6. By extending the blue wash downwards, creates the wintry essence which surrounds the composition of mistletoe.

Have you noticed that the yellow hues become even more vibrant within the leaves? – gorgeous!

7. Using the handy kitchen towel and the tip of your finger, gently lift some of the colour off to the background whilst it’s still damp to give the illusion of mistletoe and berries in the background. Once complete, leave to dry completely.

8. Once fully dried, continue to build depth by creating more berries and further outlining existing ones. Outline the mistletoe shapes further by mixing payne’s grey and blue shades together to accentuate their rounded form. (You will notice the blue will overpower the green, this is okay as we will deepen the green).

9. Add pure green to the mistletoe to build up their form (this will balance out the blue). Add pure blue to the edge of the berries to make them stand out. Add enhancements where you feel necessary. I couldn’t resist including some Daniel Smith’s Rose of ultra marine for a purply/ pink enhancement.

What do you think?

I hope this brief sketch book guide has helped you feel festive, and given you the confidence to experiment with your watercolour hues.

If you paint your own mistletoe, I loved to see your results, so tag me on Instagram and use the hashtag #jenniferrosegallery so I can see how you got on. You can also
find me on Facebook.

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Merry Christmas,
Love Jennifer Rose xx

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