Painting butterflies

I have been painting butterflies inspired by Jean Haines. I absolutely love her loose free style of watercolor painting. I found that with just a few simple steps you can paint a little butterfly.

Happy Sunday!

Butterfly watercolor steps

Steps to paint a butterfly:

  1. Using a liner #2 brush and a black brown mix, add a small round head. Then just below that, add a line of dots for the body getting smaller as you near the bottom.
  2. Outline the top of the wing with a deep color and then use a little clean water to smooth it out.
  3. Next to the midsection of the body, add paint with the side of your brush and pull it out away from the body. Continue this on both sides and build up the color.
  4. Add more color to the head and wings as needed.

Special notes:

  • Allow the paint from the body to touch the wet paint of the wings. Remember that the mix and mingle is where the watercolor magic happens. 🙂
  • Be careful to not overwork your butterfly, less is more here.


Butterfly watercolor painting practice

It is always fun to play with different shapes and colors. My favorite butterflies here ended up being the ones in the middle where I left part of the wings unpainted. It feels like they are moving across the page. 🦋


Butterfly and flower watercolor painting

Trying to put it all together with a little painting of a flower and butterfly.

Butterfly dreams painted on Bee watercolor paper

I hope you enjoyed this little butterfly practice and are inspired to pick up a paint brush and create art. Thank you for stopping by and following along. Until next time, I hope you have a great week and shine on!

Happy Painting!

Patty Anne

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Lavender and bees

A little more practice painting flowers and bees.

Happy Sunday!

Lavender and bees watercolor

Lavender Days 9 x 12 inch Bee watercolor paper

A loose and simple lavender painting adding a few little bumbles. As I painted the lavender I left a few places to drop in my little bees. They were painted using the 4 simple steps from my previous post, Painting bees.

I love painting and creating, it is such a joy to share my art with all of you. Thank you for stopping by and following me on this journey. All of your kindness and encouragement means the world to me. 💜

I hope you have great week and do something fun. 😊

Happy Painting!

Patty Anne

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Painting bees

I’ve been practicing painting bees and flowers. In Jean Haines’ book, Atmospheric Flowers in Watercolour, she noted that adding little bees to your flower paintings will give them more energy and interest.

The cute little bees in Jean’s book looked like a fun exercise so I jumped in.

Step by step watercolor bees

How to paint a little bee, simple and loose: 

Use a small brush,  I used a Liner #2

  1. With dark gray/black, paint a round head and with the tip of your brush pull out a few antenna.
    Paint a couple dark curved stripes below the head.
  2. In between the stripes add yellow paint and allow it to touch and blend with the other areas.
  3. Pull out the wings from the wet paint on each side of the bee. Add a little more gray color at the top of the wing. Use a damp brush to blend out the wings to keep them soft and delicate.
  4. Bump up the color by adding more yellow and gray/black where needed.


You can also switch things up and paint a few bees with different shades of yellow and gold, or try using a different gray mix. There are so many possibilities. 🙂

watercolor flowers and bees practice

My little bee and flower study was a great way to have fun and try new things. I was able to experiment with how much water to use, when to blend colors, and try different  shapes and color combinations.

I love the freedom to just play and experiment without worry. It is a great way to build skills and enjoy the painting process. I highly recommend taking some time to play.

flowers and bees watercolor

Flowers and Bees  – 6 x 9 inch

I hope you are inspired to create art and do what you love. Thank you for stopping by and following along. Until next time share a smile and spread kindness all around.

Happy Painting!

Patty Anne

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Cityscape watercolor

A landscape practice and a few lessons learned.

Happy Sunday! 🙂

As I started working on this painting I quickly realized that things weren’t going as planned. When I dropped color on my damp watercolor paper I could see that my timing was off. My plan was to create distant trees but that was not what was happening. I was disappointed at first but continued on and did not fight it.

Lesson learned: Go with the flow and allow the painting to guide you.

Chilly Cityscape watercolor

Chilly Cityscape  9 x 12 inch watercolor

I continued dropping in color and resisted the urge to fix things.

Stepping back I could see an unexpected cityscape with buildings and trees. What a happy surprise. Things didn’t go as initially planned but that’s ok. I learned a lot from this exercise and in the end I love the cityscape painting that resulted.

Lesson learned: Watercolor sometimes delivers a happy surprise.

I plan on keeping this painting near my desk as a reminder of these important lessons. 🙂

I hope you are inspired to create art and do what you love. Thank you for stopping by and following along. Until next time, share a smile and have a great week.

Happy Painting!

Patty Anne

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Reflection at the shore

I decided to paint something different this week.

Happy Sunday! 🙂

Weeds and grass at the lake shore. Although it sounds like a simple subject, I worried that painting this photo would not turn out very well.

Lake weeds at the shore

My painting inspiration, a photo at the lake.

A few notes and tips before I share my results with you…

  • The water was painted first and after it dried I layered the grasses on top.
  • As you get further away, waves should be smaller and their color should be lighter.
  • For the weeds and grass, I used different sized brushes, different color mixes, and switched back and forth frequently.
  • Brushes used: Round #12, Flat angle 1/2 inch, and Liner #2
  • Painted while standing instead of sitting, it was a nice change.


My first attempt was a good practice. One problem that stands out is that there are not enough dark values. What I really like in this painting though is the feeling of movement in the grass and weeds.

Reflection at the shore watercolor

Reflection at the shore  – 9 x 12 inch Bee watercolor paper

Then my second attempt… a very different result, darker and bolder.

Probably went a little too far with dark values this time, a little over correction. 😉

Reflection at the shore 2 watercolor

Reflection at the shore 2  –  9 x 12 inch Bee watercolor paper

Before starting the first painting, I had to hush that little voice telling me that I could not do this. I realized that I just had to get out of my own way and go for it. In the end, I had fun and learned something. That makes me happy. 🙂

I hope you are inspired to create art and do what you love. Thank you for stopping by and following along. Until next time, share a simile and sprinkle kindness all around.

Happy Painting! ❤

Patty Anne

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Backyard Cardinal and watercolor

I snapped a cute photo of a female Cardinal on my backyard feeder. I thought it would be fun to paint this lovely bird and share my watercolor process with you.

Happy Sunday!

My painting inspiration and backyard capture… a lovely Cardinal ❤

Female Cardinal photo

I started thinking about the colors I would need for this painting while viewing the photo on my laptop.  Below is a little test sheet with notes on the colors mixed and used.


color testing

Color mixing notes (Daniel Smith watercolors)
Orange:  Quinacridone Rose and Hansa Yellow light
Brown:  Yellow Ochre and Payne’s Gray
Red:  Deep Scarlet and Payne’s Gray
Purple:  Ultramarine Blue, Quinacridone Rose, and Payne’s Gray

The initial sketch and first light wash

initial wash - female cardinal

With the first wash I put down enough color to define the overall shape and create a nice base to build on.

I just love her gorgeous feather tiara. 🙂  She looks like the queen of the backyard.


Second wash - female cardinal The second wash starts to bring things to life as I build up color and add some darker values. As you can see, there is still more work that needs to be done.


Female Cardinal 3rd wash

The third wash builds up even more color and includes the addition of a background. I thought it was finished at this point. But after the painting dried I decided it needed a few more small details. I used a black micron pen with a very small tip (.005) and a white gel pen for the additional details.


Female Cardinal watercolor

I also brightened up the green a bit in the background before calling this one done.

Watercolor Tips:

  • Test out your colors on scrap paper first and write down notes on color mixing.
  • When sketching on watercolor paper, be careful to use a light touch. I recently used some new paper and found that it easily became bruised from my pencil markings. I realized the problem only after I started painting…..lesson learned and a good reminder going forward.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my watercolor process and are inspired to create art.

Thank you for stopping by and following along. Until next time, share a smile and do something you love.

Happy Painting!

Patty Anne

Patty Anne Art on Instagram

Patty Anne Art


Backyard Nuthatch

A frequent visitor to my backyard is the sweet Nuthatch.  This cute little bird is always fun to watch balancing on the feeder or creeping around on a tree trunk in search of food.

Backyard Nuthatch photo

This guy was pretty vocal. I just love this pic. ❤


Nuthatch in a tree

This fella was on a mission bouncing around on a tree trunk. 🙂


White-breasted Nuthatch
Nuthatch watercolor


I decided to combine both of my photos for this painting and tried to capture the cute expression of the sweet Nuthatch in the first photo.

I started off with a light pencil sketch and then added a little detail with a black Micron pen. I continued with watercolor building up color and adding definition to my bird and branch.  At this point, I was quite happy and thought I was finished.

but …

Later I took a few photos of my painting and it became quite clear that it really needed more color. I decided to go for it and really punch up the blues.

Ahh.. that’s better. 🙂 That color boost really made a difference.

White-breasted Nuthatch final
Nuthatch watercolor 

Watercolor Tip:

Viewing a photo of your work can help you see where you need to add additional detail or more color.

I hope you enjoy seeing my art and my backyard friends. Thank you for stopping by and following along. Until next time, have a great week and do something you love!

Happy Painting!

Patty Anne