You may have noticed lots of cactus paintings popping up on this blog and on my instagram feed in recent weeks. It's because cactus plants are sooo fun to paint and there are so many ways to paint them!
Lucky for you, I've put together two watercolor cactus painting tutorials in one blog post. They are both simple enough for beginner watercolor artists. The thing to remember with both of these methods is wet paint. So important! So lets get started!
watercolor paper- I used small pieces (4x6 or 5x7 sizes)
small round paint brush
masking fluid or rubber cement
HOW TO PAINT A SAGUARO CACTUS:
Step 1: Draw an outline of a saguaro cactus. Don't be intimidated by this part. If you can draw a long oval, you can draw a cactus! Just add some arms out to the side. You can keep the shape simple like in did in my drawing, or add lots of arms and off-shoots for a more interesting painting.
Step 2: Using masking fluid (or rubber cement for a cheaper option), make little dots all over the surface of your cactus. Let this dry completely.
Step 3: Using several shades of green and even a little yellow, paint the entire surface of your cactus. Keep your paint pretty wet and fluid so that the colors blend and mix. A good way to do this is to load up your brush with water, then swish it around in some color, getting lots of pigment on your brush. Start at the top and work your way down. I used some olive green and some pthalo green.
Step 4: After your paint is totally dry, rub off the masking fluid to reveal small white spots. This gives the cactus some fun texture.
Cactus painting method #1 complete!
HOW TO PAINT A CACTUS LANDSCAPE:
Step 1: To create depth with watercolor paints, you need to start with light colors in the background. So the first order of business when painting a cactus landscape is to paint some light cactus in the background.
Start with some watered down green pigment, and paint oval shapes stacked on top of each other to create a light prickly pear cactus.
Leaving a little space between, paint a light saguaro cactus shape in a different shade of green. Let these dry for a few minutes, but not completely.
Step 2: With darker, more saturated color, paint another saguaro cactus slightly in front of the prickly pear cactus and a little barrel cactus and prickly pear in front of the lighter saguaro. See how the difference in lightness and darkness create depth?
Step 3: With the color of your choice and while the paint is still wet, paint in some little blossoms on the tops of the cacti. You can use different colors and make the blossoms on the background cactus a little lighter than the others.
Step 4: Add texture to the cactus themselves by painting little dashes or lines up and down the length of some of the cactus. Use slightly darker paint so the lines will show. And you can be creative with the color here too!
Cactus painting method #2 also complete!
Now go get experimenting with cactus painting and remember that you may not get it perfect the first time around. I'm a big believer in practice! The more you paint with watercolors, the easier it gets. Stay creative friends!