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Painting with Jan Kunz

"Poppies alla Jan Kunz" watercolor on paper 11.5 x 8 inches / 29 x 20 cm.
work in progress, developing the flower shapes and adding detail
my wash drying
 I  recently acquired a copy of  Jan Kunz's  watercolor art book "Painting Watercolor Florals that Glow". I've been pouring over the abundant, valuable information she offers: she is an excellent teacher. I have followed up with an attempt at one of her demonstration paintings which can be found at the end of the book. This excercise contemplates "discovering shapes within the composition." It means trying to pull out shapes in a background, in this case leaves and stems within a charged wash in the watercolor. She provides step by step instructions on how she approached this particular task.

It was a huge challenge to attempt to emulate her work - mainly because I wished my painting to look somewhat like hers, I felt discouraged when it did not. At her suggestion, my palette was made up of new gamboge (since I could not find it, I replaced it with Winsor yellow deep), burnt sienna, ultramarine blue and Winsor blue (replaced by cerulean for the same reason as above).

It is a valuable pursuit to try to enter into the thought process of someone
with as much experience as Jan. I tried to copy her watercolor and as unhappy as I am with the result, I feel I have gained valuable insight on how I should try to go about in my own paintings.
 I would love to hear what your favorite art instruction books are.


  1. Celia , I really don't understand why you are unhappy with this painting , it's such a beautiful result ! It may not be the exact copy of Jan Kunz's work, but you did it your way..and it is really great- sincerely ! I am afraid I look very little into art instruction books, I prefer to look at painting classes on the internet , but I really love to study the old masters like Manet, Monet , Renoir etc. and for the moment I am 'into' Henri de Toulouse Lautrec.

    1. Jane, I sincerely appreciate your encouraging words! You lift up my spirits and it's interesting to know where you find your inspiration for your beautiful art. Thanks for sharing and for stopping by!

  2. I seem to of missed a few of your paintings. A lot going on here I love here comes the sun and your latest is also fantastic

    1. Thank you Paul! I appreciate your kind comments!

  3. Hi Celia, I think you did a very beautiful version of the exercise proposed by Jan Kunz. I think that the best thing is to give a personal interpretation of any step by step demonstration, for example using some different colors instead of the proposed ones. Ciao!

    1. Tito, thank you for the great suggestion, it would help to make it less fustrating.

  4. Hi Celia,
    I started out by using Jan's book and one or two others. Keep at it as you will get there developing a style of your own. I also had Karen Simmons 'Watercolour Painting' and Ann Blockleys 'Flower Painting Through The Seasons' I was greatly influence by the recent work of the latter,9I have all her books) and by the work of Shirley Trevina.Thanks for visiting my blog.

  5. Io trovo questi fiori molto belli e molto originali. Uno stile un pò diverso dal solito. Mlto belli

    1. Grazie, Elvi, per il gradito commento, sono lieta che tu trovi le mie opere interessanti. Mi auguro di incontrarti ancora sul mio blog!

  6. Hi Celia, I am really enjoying your paintings, and love this one! Best wishes Jules x

    1. Thank you, Jules, for stopping by and the good wishes!

  7. Hi Celia, I really like your poppies! Wonderful colors blending on the paper and negative painting. I really like Robert Wade's 'Wateroclor Workshop Handbook'. It's more about landscapes. There's Eric Wiegardt's 'Watercolor Free and Easy' for loose florals.

    1. Sherry, thank you for the nice comment! I appreciate you sharing the names of art books you like. I am not familiar with these painters work so I will defintly look them up.

  8. Celia - missed this post...Jan Kunz's book was one of the first I studied as well. Her work is lovely but so is yours my friend. I love what you did with this exercise. I think flowers are hard to capture...mine always come out looking stiff or too loose. Yours look just right. Thanks for sharing. I love reading art books. (Definitely not too late to wish me a Happy Easter...Easter always is with me. Hope it is with you too.)


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