Watercolor Beginner – Masking

First Phase

Sketch & Mask

Transfer or draw image of orchid onto paper or canvas. Using Utrecht Watercolor Paint Masking Fluid, apply around the edge of the flower. No need to block in whole flower, just the outline, then use care when painting around the masked area. Let mask dry thoroughly before painting.

Tip: Masking fluid can ruin your brush. It’s best to use an inexpensive brush to apply mask. You can also put soap in the brush before dipping into the mask. The soap prevents the mask from drying deep in the brush.

Second Phase


Paint background using a very dark mix of Phthalo Blue, Alizirin Crimson, Dark Green & Burnt Umber. Mix several puddles with color variations, keeping a dark value, but change the colors to create the illusion of leaves. Keep background colors dull by darkening with more pigment, less water and adding an earth tone to the mix.

Third Phase


Before removing the mask, add another layer of paint to the background. Same colors and value to darken.

Carefully remove all of the mask. Masking tape can help get it started. An eraser is also a helpful tool for removing mask.

Add Lemon Yellow interior to the orchid, plus some pale green tones into the petals.

Fourth Phase


Add orange (CO) on top of yellow. Use a heavier pigment when going in wet or let yellow completely before putting in orange.

Final Phase


Soften the shadows. Add a bit more green tint in the petals.

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