Moor to Sea Arts

Painting Flowers

Art books by Siân Dudley

Painting Flowers A Creative Approach


The idea behind the book 

For over a decade I have had the pleasure of spending time with enthusiastic artists who want to improve their painting. I have thoroughly enjoyed helping them along their own artistic pathways. During that time I have noticed two concerns that pop up over and over again. 

The first is that people want to produce their own creative and original images. There is a need to move beyond simply ‘copying’ exactly what is in front of you,  to produce a painting which is more than a watercolour representation of the subject matter.  What I usually hear next is a plaintive “But I don’t know where to start.”

The second is that many feel that there is one (only one) correct way to do this. It is not difficult to see how the second line of thought could seriously hamper the first! Coming from a scientific botanical background via botanical illustration I have experienced one route by which such thoughts could arise; I am sure there are many more! I have met landscape painters who feel they are somehow inferior for not painting en plein air,  flower painters who feel somehow inferior for not getting the flower shape ‘just right’, and painters of all subjects who feel they are cheating by working from photographs.

Agapanthus: In the book I explain how this photograph inspired a floral abstract.

I wanted to write a book that would help budding artists address these issues. A book seemed a good format for sharing my thoughts. A reader has time to read, ponder, and absorb information at their own rate, assimilating ideas which are useful to them and ignoring or rejecting those which do not suit. 

I chose to express my ideas through the floral subject matter, but the approach is equally applicable to landscape, still life or portrait painting.

I had already begun working on it when Crowood contacted me to ask If I would write a book about painting flowers. It is no secret that I absolutely love flowers, and that I absolutely love painting them. Of course I wanted to do it!

But what of the book I had started? I presented my idea to Crowood, suggesting that my original idea could be assimilated into a book on painting flowers. I was delighted when they agreed!

‘Painting Flowers, A Creative Approach’ is undoubtedly a book about painting flowers. I have shared my passion for painting flowers, and as many practical tips and painterly  techniques as I could fit on the pages in the hope you will find them useful in your own painting. Many of theses techniques can be easily applied to other subject matter, and even other media.


Learn how to mix paint so that you never run out of a colour.

Back of fingers_edited-1.jpg

A tip for testing how dry your paper is before continuing to paint ; excellent for avoiding cauliflowers or for successful glazing .


Step-by-step demonstrations teach techniques as the painting develops. this techniques features in 'Bluebell', seen right.

'Bluebell'. one of the step-by-step demonstrations. Click to see a larger image.



My style changes depending on my mood and my response to the subject matter; how I feel about the flower affects my choice of style for the painting. This doesn’t make it easy to approach galleries; how do I describe what I do?  Am I multi-talented…or just indecisive? ( I prefer the former!) In the book I describe how I make the choices and necessary decisions before I begin to paint, all possible due to a thorough grasp of basic techniques. I sincerely hope sharing the questions I ask myself will help you to find your way to moving beyond the plaintive ‘But I don’t now how.”

I hope this book will help its readers to find confidence in their own creative ability, and to enjoy an artistic journey of experimentation and discovery.


My style changes with my mood and the subject matter : take a look at these two paintings of hydrangeas. Both feature in the book. The close-up of the single floret is one of the step-by-step demonstration paintings  in Chapter 7. the method used to produce the other painting is described in a step-by-step in Chapter 9.


Signed copies may be purchased from this site. You will have the opportunity during checkout to request a personalised message.


Painting Flowers, A Creative Approach is also available through Amazon and other major book sellers. These copies will not be signed.

Please note that we do not currently ship books to countries outside the UK. Our books are available through in many countries, including the USA and Australia.


Painting Flowers - A Creative Approach : The Blurb on the Back Cover

Learn to paint flowers in watercolour with creative confidence


Painting flowers is a joyful experience – to capture and celebrate the colour, form and beauty of flowers in watercolour is an endlessly exciting pursuit. is book encourages you to experiment and play when you paint, to enjoy the process of creating a painting, and to develop your own style as you observe and render either a single stem or a full floral abstract. By moving away from the tight constraints of botanical illustration, it encourages a looser style of floral painting that allows for a more personal and unique interpretation of the subject. Written by a much-respected artist and teacher, this beautiful book will inspire both those new to painting flowers and those seeking a different approach. 

    •    Observational skills – the importance of looking closely at a subject to see detail in a new way

    •    Understanding your materials and equipment – looks at traditional tools and paints, but also how photography and other digital media can be used to the artist’s advantage 

    •    Inspiration and design ideas – suggests ways to express emotions by experimenting with colour, shapes, concepts and narrative 

    •    Demonstrations, exercises, studio tips and projects guide the way, but the book’s emphasis is on developing your own ideas and styles through creative experimentation.

Siân Dudley paints vibrant and exciting watercolours of flowers. She is also a passionate and experienced teacher, and internationally known as an online contributor to Art Tutor. She lives in Devon and runs Moor to Sea Arts with her husband Rob Dudley.