The testing watercolor paper series continues with another houseplant – this time a philodendron….and we’ll talk about negative painting plants while we test!

Tutorial: Negative painting plants (wc paper test #2)

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Give your greens a temperature 

You’ve heard of cool and warm greens right? Warms are more olive-ish, they have more yellow in them, as does this philodendron; others are more blue-greenish which makes them cooler.

You can mix colors for the leaves themselves with this in mind, or do as I showed by creating an underpainting to set the temperature. Then each color used on top has a warmth to it when added atop a wash of a warm color!

Performance assessment

This Winsor and Newton paper performed really well throughout the testing process! I guess the price of it tells me that, though I have had a few pricey ones that didn’t cut the mustard, so to speak. The great news? The WN paper comes WAY down in price when buying 10 sheets at a time – under $6 at Blick!

  1. Absorption – this paper did dry a teeeeensy bit faster than I’m used to, but it’s also a wicked 85F in the studio, so I’m not going to blame that on the paper.
  2. Layering  – absolutely wonderful. Adding many layers didn’t cause lifting or muddling at all.
  3. Edges and blends – This paper acts just like my favorite Arches but with just a little more softness to the surface. Very very nice. I’ll be getting more and doing further tests on both the rough and cold press!

Green Thumb Watercolor Sketches class

I’m not one with a green thumb (ACK! my poor plants!) – but I can celebrate all the diversity of plants by painting them! And in response to some requests for these sketches from this series to be made available for purchase, I turned it into an inexpensive course – that means everything will be together in one spot, rather than digging through my YT channel, blog, etc. Eventually there’ll be probably 10-12 lessons in the class, but right now there’s two in the Green Thumb Watercolor Sketches class.

Got plant ideas?

Feel free to add to my list of green plants to use for this further series! I’ve already got more on the list than I need but ya never know if I’ll find one extra inspiring. Leave a comment and let me know!


Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

Subscribe to receive blog posts by email:


  1. Emma

    Hey there!

    This is such a cool tutorial on negative painting plants. I’ve been experimenting with watercolors lately, and your insights on using warm and cool greens for leaves are super helpful.

    The performance assessment of the Winsor and Newton paper is great to know too – always on the lookout for quality paper recommendations. Looking forward to more lessons in the Green Thumb Watercolor Sketches class.

    As for plant ideas, how about some succulents or cacti next? They have such unique shapes and textures.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  2. Sandy

    Sandy, I have a shamrock plant that I’d love to see how you would watercolour it. It’s all green, with exception to new growth, but it’s lovely and green just the same. What do you think of doing a demo of a shamrock?

  3. Gab

    This is amazing Sandy and such a great idea for a class!!

  4. Diane Cramer

    Hi, Sandy…
    I think in your “Give your greens a temperature” section you mean that WARMS are more olive-ish because they have yellow in them. You wrote cools, then have the blue-greens being more coolish.
    Sometimes my editor experience just comes jumping out at me!

  5. Barbara

    Hello! I love trying different papers too. The most exceptional ones I know are the artist paper handmade by Twinrockers in Brookston, Indiana. Since the early ’70s. With a variety of xeights and absorption.

    And for houseplants, I like ferns and also hanging leaf plants. … I forgot their names, there are many and they can be out on the terrace half the year.

    I enjoy your lessons


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.