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Gardner Village Blog Watercolor Tips from The Art Cottage
Wednesday Jan 13 2021

Creativity heals. Whether you play with paper, fancy fabric, or yearn for yarn, creative expression is good for the soul. Between the gray days and the ongoing pandemic, self care is crucial, so we’re continuing our posts on easy project ideas to try at home and fun classes to take at Gardner Village. Last week, we showed you a happy wreath pom pom wreath with Willow Hill. Today, we’re joined by our friends at The Art Cottage, who have a watercolor rose technique that only looks difficult to do. Plus, see how you can turn your roses into a quick Valentine and find out more about the cool classes being offered at The Art Cottage this season. 


Learn more about classes offered at The Art Cottage here. 



  • Watercolor Paint
  • A Paint Brush
  • Watercolor Paper (or a heavier weight paper, such as Mixed Media)
  • Water and a Paper Towel



step 1: Dip your wet brush into wet paint. Holding your brush at an angle, touch just the tip of the brush to your paper to create a small center point of color. Holding your brush at an angle and leading with its tip creates a petal shape instead of a dot or blob.

step 2: Apply a second, slightly larger mark, leaving some white space between each petal. Curve the marks toward one another in an almost-yinyang shape.

TIP: Start with the brush tip touching the paper first and conclude with the brush tip lifting last. This creates points that help define the petal.

NOTE: You aren’t dragging the brush, you’re touching it to the paper.

step 3: This is one class where Cs are our goal! Begin framing your center points with larger petals by creating C shapes. Continuing to hold your brush at an angle, starting with the brush tip. As you curve your C, apply more pressure so that the brush flattens out some. This makes the petal surface increase. As your petals get even larger, you can actually pull the brush along the paper.

Look at the photo below. See how the petals have a C-like shape to them?

TIP: Use more water as you move outward to dilute your paint and soften your color. Roses naturally have darker centers.

TIP: Give your petals added texture by introducing a second color. Dip your brush into a second shade (we're using gold) and LIGHTLY touch the paint-covered tip to a wet area of petal. The water on the petal will naturally grab the color and spread it out.


NOTE: If you don’t love the combo or want to remove some of the color, simply touch the area with the corner of your paper towel to absorb excess.


step 4: Create a leaf in a similar fashion, but apply more pressure to your C to spread the bristles of your brush apart more. This creates a larger surface of color. Remember, start at the tip of your brush and curve it around, applying pressure as you go.


TIP: Add a touch of blue at your leaf's base to create shading a natural anchoring point (where the leaf would attach to the flower). 


Practice. Practice. Practice.

You might not have a green thumb on the first go. That’s normal! And it’s actually a good thing. It means you get more time with a brush in hand, enjoying the calm painting provides. Enjoy the learning. Enjoy the experience.



VERY lightly trace a heart on a card-sized sheet of watercolor paper.

Frame the heart with roses and leaves to create a wreath, filling in any open spaces with smaller shapes (heart flowers, dot berries, etc.). It doesn't have to be exact. Watercolor is far from precise.

Leave the wreath as it is or give it a more contrasting/whimsical look by adding pen detailing.

TIP: A Micron .01 is a great pen for addig subtle detail. 

To turn your painting into a card, either adhere it to a cardstock base or actually begin your project by folding your watercolor paper into a card before painting. For a cleaner look, always score your card base before creating a fold.

TIP: For added depth, use double-sided foam squares to attach your card front for added depth.

JUST ONE MORE TIP: Give your card a more artsy feel by adding some black watercolor splatter to your design. Simply load a brush with black watercolor paint, hold the brush near the end opposite the bristles, and lightly tap the brush. Bring on the splatter!

Just like that, you have a love note to send to someone special. Take that, Cupid! 

This is an excellent activity to do with all ages. Of course, you might want to invest in a second set of kid-friendly paints for the younger children. They tend to be hard on brushes and go to town with the paint mixing. Not a bad thing. Just nice to let them do that on their own turf. ;) 

If you love the idea of giving handmade but don't have the time right now to do the making, The Art Cottage has a big assortment of bitty notes designed by instructor Denise Ludlow, which are only $1. These would be wonderful for Valentine's or any time of year! 


Watercolor is fun, easy, and relaxing, but it can sometimes feel intimidating to actually put your brush to paper. This is where in-person classes are an excellent option. Your instructors at The Art Cottage know how to break down the steps into easy-to-follow instructions. The offer expert tips and tricks that will have you painting with confidence in no time. More than that, you'll enjoy a creative escape from the everday, which is never a bad thing. 



See a complete list of available classes at The Art Cottage and sign up here.


The Art Cottage offers a wide assortment of classes to try. You can even learn to draw anime using a wipe board, like this talented young student. Isn't her work impressive?! And this was only her second class! 


Want something to give as a gift or put on your wall? You don’t want to miss the paint-pour classes available. These canvases are gem-loaded and gorgeous!


There are so many fun things to try, and any of them promise to offer you a break from the winter doldrums that like to sneak in this time of year. Plus, with the large drafting tables and small shop, COVID-friendly class space is already in place. The Art Cottage hosts small groups (up to 10) for classes and paint parties, and the big tables support the social distance safety measures. There’s even a classroom on the second level, which creates added distance between students and customers. Check it out for yourself and see what kind of ideas (and healing!) will bloom.




Labels: watercolor, roses, how to paint flowers, easy valentine ideas, diy valentine's day cards, the art cottage, watercolor tips and tricks, this to do in utah during the winter, art classes in the salt lake area, where to go for art parties, paint birthday par