How to paint a daffodil ( or yellows are very tricky)

How to paint a daffodil ( or yellows are very tricky)

Brirrr... it's bloomin chilly today in Devon....

There is an east wind blowing and a very light dusting of snow a very rare occurrence for our little corner of the world. 

My studio seems cooler than usual and I must admit that a good book and a cup of tea seem very appealing, but I have been on my walk, and warmed up a bit, looking out over the fields to Dartmoor.

And I prefer it underfoot to the muddy sludge we had to walk through last week


So with Spring very much in mind I have decided to paint myself warmer, and concentrate on a daffodil.... 


Hands up, I have long struggled with painting yellow flowers. why? I think it is because there is no tonal range in yellow, so you have to add other colours into the mix. Hey ho I think I have got to grips with it now so here is my daffodil tutorial.

Firstly I found an image on pixabay and printed it off, I often rest it on my computer screen as the light behind it helps me see it better.

Then I sketch it out , this paper is bockingford rough and is 21cm x 30cm

Then I use a spray bottle to spray the paper, around and on the daffodil 


It gets pretty wet.


Now using a mixture of Indian yellow and lemon yellow, I add colour to the flower all over, but leaving some white paper highlights. Look where the lightest parts of the flower are.

Let your paint do it's thing, then let it dry.

Now you can start on the petals.

I rewet the paper and drop in more yellow and then here there is cerulean blue and cad red mixed with cobalt blue, for the darker shadows. 

Now I have moved to the next but one petal so the first can dry while I paint this one. Again looking for the darks and lights, and using contrasting colours to bring out the yellows.

I have also begun working on the trumpet. I have used a raw sienna as well as the purply colour to give it shading remember to let the yellow shine through, and paint in the direction , the shape of the flower dictates.


I am moving around the petals, adding more yellow and more shading where nesseccary. I am only using the colours mentions to dive the flower definition.


Work carefully and methodically, if you get tired finish a petal and begin it again on another day, fresh eyes are often a bonus with a subject like this.

I am trying to leave some white of the paper shining through too, as well as working on the inside of the trumpet now as well.

So now the flower is finished, see how dark the shadows are to enable it to sing. After I had finished I looked up watercolour daffodils and there are so many different ways to paint this flower, this is just my interpretation. I hope you find it useful but not constraining...remember this is art and there are no right or wrong ways just the way you like to do it.

Next I added the stem and some leaves using different greens and yellows and blues.

Look carefully at the detail and put in as much or as little as you like. I sprayed the bottom of the leaves so they faded off the page, and so for me my daffodil is done, deciding when to stop is almost as hard as deciding to give it a go...good luck , and stay warm x





  • Rachel

    This is amazing, love the daffodil. I hadn’t done any painting for 12 years since mum passed away. I had been itching to start with spring flowers and your blog has provided the starting point and inspiration I needed Thank you so much. I had a go at snowdrops last night and it’ll be daffodils today am excited to start!

  • Rita

    Came across your blog of accident in Pinterest. Really found it pulling me in to colours and nature and birds. I would like to paint with watercolours. I will try using your blog. I’m an oldie 🤪 but I feel your blog might encourage me more and I love your prints and artwork.
    Thanks for being so open with sharing your creativity and energy.

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