“White” flowers are a fantastic way to practice watercolour tonal value skills.

I drew the flower petals and a number of the leaves around the flowers.

The number of colours reflected on a white flower can be wide and varied, depending on a vast number of variables: light source, temperature, colours surrounding flower, time of day, has it been raining, what part of the world is it in … the list is endless really.

When painting white flowers I prepare the weakest washes of blue, pink, red, green and purple. As I progress further into the painting process, I then start mixing those colours together to create a wider variety of tertiary colours. I painted in the top petal, using a weak blue wash and used that wash for any shadows cast by the petals. I then used my pink wash for other areas of the flowers where I could see pink reflected. The process of painting in these weak washes takes some time. At the early stages of the process, the flower will look flat. As you work and add your colours and darker tones, the petals will take on a 3D appearance. I then used a lemon yellow and a medium yellow for the centres of the flower. To give the lower flower centre depth, when the yellows were dry I added a tiny brush tip of a green I had mixed. It took three hours to paint the petals, take your time, it is such a joy to paint flowers in this way and see them develop before your eyes.

For the background, I mixed up 10 different green colours, from a lemon green to a green that looks almost black, a mix of viridian green and burnt umber. Using a dark colour behind a white flower is a further way to enhance the appearance of white and give the flower further 3D effect. I underpainted the leaves with lemon yellow and painted them will one of my medium greens. I then impress drew out the veins using the sharp point of an unravelled paperclip.

I used my darkest green mix for the dark areas around the flower. I used all the other green mixes, to differing degrees to build up the colour of the background.