Downloadable Tutorial: Peonies For Dad

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 10.23.20 AM copy.png
Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 10.23.20 AM copy.png

Downloadable Tutorial: Peonies For Dad


About these tutorials

Take pride in your finished project. Whether you choose to hang it on the wall or hide it under your bed, remember that each painting, is filled with lessons that are meant to lead you not to perfection, but to understanding the magic of a beautiful new language; one that takes years to master. Be patient and forgiving as you try the following exercise and techniques and celebrate each one of your mistakes as much as your victories.


Happy Painting!


~Crystal Beshara

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YOUR TUTORIAL WILL BE a downloadable PDF file.

14 pages of FULL COLOUR 8.5 x 11 images with descriptions + materials list. 

Once downloaded, you can save it or print it out to keep forever!

A link to the PDF will be sent to you via email so... please ensure that you have filled out your contact info correctly so that the lesson can make it to you safely! You'll have 24hrs to retrieve it.

About This Painting


"Peonies for Dad"

 Watercolour painting © Crystal Beshara 2015

Art is all about illuminating a subject - Literally and figuratively. Anything can become beautiful when you just bring attention to it. This was the case for “Peonies for Dad”. It was Father’s Day and I was visiting my father with my siblings. He was living alone at the time and I had noticed peonies growing in his rather un-manicured yard. I picked a few of the fallen heads, heavy from an early morning rain. He didn’t have a vase so I grabbed an old jam jar and placed it on his worn out oak table. By mid afternoon, the sun came out and we all enjoyed a beautiful day.  When we went inside the jar was glowing and I quickly grabbed my camera before the moment passed. I had illuminated the flowers by salvaging them and in return, “Peonies for Dad” became the perfect painting the moment they were illuminated through the afternoon sunlight. Talk about Karma!


In “Peonies for Dad”, it was particularly important to build through glazing with transparent pigments as the subject was primarily backlit. I wanted the delicacy of the leaves and petals to retain their thinness and translucency. The airiness of the jar was it’s own story – again maintaining clear, simple glazes and reserving whites through masking (sometimes painting and then re-masking to preserve those areas) to create the bubbles and catch the extruding edges of the wording on the jar.


I almost always work light to dark, as was the case here. It’s a way to control the strength in pigment as well as lift or re-work areas as you go without the worry of going too strong too soon.  I also used lifting and masking for texture and to create special effects that contribute to the illusion of this ephemeral moment of light passing through these peonies in a simple jar in a most thrilling and unexpected way.