At the City of Rocks State Park in Idaho, we took our RV for a test run, before we head out to visit all 50 U.S. state. We had so much fun hiking, swimming in the hot springs, and enjoying nature! While I was exploring I found a lot of cacti. At one point a Createful Art Member suggested I teach how to paint a cactus. Paintings of cacti are really trendy as decor right now. So this was the perfect time to make a tutorial on "How to Paint a Cactus using Watercolors." I hope you subscribe so you can enjoy art and learn as I go on this adventure.
In this art tutorial you can learn how to paint a cactus using watercolors. I will help you with each step in the video below. I hope you can learn from what I do, but feel free to be creative and make your cactus unique.
I used just a few art supplies for this quick and easy DIY decor. This makes the projects perfect for beginner artists. Hope you have fun being creative!
Art Supplies You Need (I use Amazon affiliate links, by purchasing through my links you help support these video tutorials, thank you!)
Step 1- Outline the shape of your cactus with light watercolor paint (I used light green) onto your watercolor paper. Make sure to center the cactus and leave enough room around the edges to size for a frame.
Step 2- Add shading with a darker green along the edges that look darker. This will start to give your cactus dimension or an appearance of being 3-D.
Step 3- Add water with your brush to the inside of your cactus. Some of the edge will bleed and that is what you want.
Step 4- Add the lightest color you see, for me that was a light lime green, to the center of your cactus. Spread the color around until it fills the cactus.
Step 5- Add red to the edges. The cactus I was painting had a red color along the edges. The color will blend with green in some areas and spread out where there is wet water. Let the color move where it wants to go.
Step 6- Add more shading. The center where the spines come out (I call them pokeys) are darker. I just dabbed dots of darker green and let them be inconsistent. The key to painting in my style is randomness and being imperfect. That sums up my personality. So you will find that your cactus may start looking a little different.
Step 7- Paint flowers. I added a bud and one open flower. I used red and yellow. Make sure you apply a small amount of pressure with your brush to get the fine points of the petal and then follow the shape of the flower.
Step 8- Add the spines. Use a grey (I made one with blue & brown watercolors with my white acrylic paint) and use your white acrylic paint for the white of the spines. The key is to use the grey on the white paper and the white on top of your color. Make sure your painting is dry or the white will mix with your underlying colors. Apply just a small amount of pressure with your brush to get the point of the spine. Each darker dot that we painted on the cactus had a few spines coming out. They followed a pattern so at the top the spines faced out but as the spines got closer to the bottom they faced down. This is the longest and most tedious step. Once your done with your spines, YOU are done!!! Sign your work and be proud.
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1/30/2020 10:16:47 am
When you painted the Utah cacti for your tutorial, was this part plein air? Seems like you'd have to get super low, like painting on your belly on the ground to see the detail. :-) Did you paint from a photo here? Thanks for your site, and explanations, and tutorials. I'm exciting to paint with some instruction!
5/2/2020 10:26:08 am
sorry I missed this. I used my camera to take reference photos of my favorite cacti around me.
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