Peony and Parakeet

Vintage Style Flowers Step by Step

Lemonietta. A floral watercolor painting by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

My latest watercolor painting has lots of vintage style flowers. I call it “Lemonietta,” and it’s inspired by home decor, afternoon tea, cream cakes, piano music, and of course, my favorite fruit – lemons!

Vintage Style Flowers in Three Colors

I have always liked old art and not just masterpieces, but decorative die cuts, vintage postcards, and all the more kitschy stuff too. So this post is dedicated to vintage style flowers, and I show how to make a cluster of vintage style flowers to your box of joy – any box that you fill with handpainted and hand-drawn collage pieces!

Watercolor flowers in vintage style. A watercolor tutorial by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

The tutorial is for watercolors, but you can use any paint for it. Just make sure to keep the color layers transparent. I use a piece of smooth watercolor paper, but almost any paper will do. And you only need three colors: yellow, pink, and green!

Step 1 – Three Yellow Circles

Start with yellow and paint three circles.

Step 1 of a vintage style flower tutorial by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

I painted the circles in three sizes: large, medium, and small. They form a curve rather than a straight line. This way, the composition will become more elegant than if you have similar sized flowers in a straight row.

Step 2 – Pink Petals

Add pink circles or ovals around the flowers.

Step 2 of a vintage style flower tutorial by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Some petals can be smaller than others, so that the orientation of the flowers varies a bit. Compare my biggest flower to the medium-sized one!

Step 3 – Darken the Centers

Continue with pink, but use a little less water so that it’s darker. Make the centers and petals clearer by painting around the center and the top parts of the petals.

Step 3 of a vintage style flower tutorial by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

I use a thinner brush to get sharper points near the petals.

Then mix some more water to pink paint, and add small circles to the centers.

Step 3 of a vintage style flower tutorial by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

I use a bigger round brush for round shapes.

Step 4 – Green Leaves

Paint green ovals around the flowers.

Step 4 of a vintage style flower tutorial by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Again, my ovals have a variety of sizes so that the composition looks more lively.

Continue with green, but now use a thicker color. Make the leaves sharper and a bit more elegant. Only paint a part of a leaf with a darker green.

Step 4 of a vintage style flower tutorial by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

See how pointy my darker shapes are, and how they don’t cover the whole leaf!

Step 5 – More Details to Flowers

Start with thick green paint and a thin brush. First, add green triangles between the petals to make the flower look more three-dimensional.

Step 5 of a vintage style flower tutorial by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Second, paint around the petals so that they look more frilly.

Step 5 of a vintage style flower tutorial by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Then change to a bigger brush and add more water to make the paint transparent. Paint pale green spots on petals and on the centers.

Step 5 of a vintage style flower tutorial by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

With a thinner brush, add green lines to the petals and centers. Finally, change to pink, and paint centers and petals so that they are partly darker.

Step 5 of a vintage style flower tutorial by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

The nostalgic look comes from the contrast colors and the color variation.

Step 6 – More Details to Leaves

Add pink shadows to the leaves.

Step 6 of a vintage style flower tutorial by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

With thicker green and the smaller brush, paint think lines on the leaves.

Step 6 of a vintage style flower tutorial by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Step 7 – Dark Background

Mix thick paint from green and pink, and paint the background areas between the flowers.

Step 7 of a vintage style flower tutorial by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

I also check all the edges around the cluster so that it’s easy to cut.

Step 8 – More Color Variation

To make the flowers glow, add more color variation. Use thin paint, and add yellow to the leaves. Only paint each leaf partly.

Step 8 of a vintage style flower tutorial by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Similarly, add green to the centers.

Step 8 of a vintage style flower tutorial by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Here’s my finished cluster before cutting.

Watercolor flowers step by step, a tutorial by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Step 9 – Cut It Out!

You can still change the shape of your cluster when cutting around it.

Decorative floral art by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet. See her step by step instructions for making this floral cluster!

It’s so much fun to make and find backgrounds that come alive with these little flowers.

And of course, they bring more joy to the box of joy too!

Flowers in a box of joy. The box of joy is any box that you fill with handpainted and hand-drawn collage pieces. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Vintage Style Flowers – Starting More Intuitively

Painting small pieces is fun, but my bigger paintings are born more intuitively and they take a longer time.

A watercolor painting in progress. By artist Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

I love to dig out flowers of random blooms and spatters, and then move on to paint them more intentionally.

Finnish artist Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet paints flowers in watercolor.
Inspiring projects for flower lovers: Buy my class Floral Fantasies!

When the paper is full of details, it’s sometimes hard to decide which ones can take the central role and remain bright, and which ones get more background color so that they don’t stand out so much.

A floral watercolor painting in progress. By Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

Here’s the finished piece again. It took about two days to complete.

Inspiring projects for flower lovers: Buy my class Floral Fantasies!

Even the smallest single flowers are still part of the same world.

Watercolor flowers by Paivi Eerola of Peony and Parakeet.

I hope this post inspired you to create, whether it’s a project of two hours or two days!

Inspiring projects for flower lovers: Buy my class Floral Fantasies!

10 thoughts on “Vintage Style Flowers Step by Step

  1. I love your tutorial! Using only 3 colors is such a good method of learning something new. Your bigger painting is so lush and satisfying!

  2. Thank you so much for a wonderful tutorial. You make it look so easy even though I know it’s not! Will definitely give this a go.
    Your flower painting is stunning and looks so very beautiful.

  3. I did it! My painting looks nice, and I enjoyed painting a different style that I loved. Thank you for such a great, detailed tutorial of a manageable in an evening sized project 🙂 🌺. Your paintings are amazing and beautiful!

  4. Thank you for these inspiring pieces, once again! It’s a great joy to see your works and read&watch your tutorials. There’s never a dull moment when I know that I can paint flowers as often as I want!

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