Add this simple cherry blossom tree painting to your acrylic painting to-do list!
Just starting out in your painting journey and looking for an easy painting idea? Painting a cherry blossom tree is a perfect starter canvas project that will add to your confidence with acrylics.
In the tutorial below I will guide you, step-by-step, how to paint a simple cherry blossom tree trunk. You’ll also learn how to paint the beautiful pink colored blossoms using an unexpected and unconventional painting tool – bundled Q-tips (cotton swabs)!
Painting with Q-tips
Painting with tools other than paintbrushes can be quite fun and yield some pretty amazing results.
One such tool I have discovered is Q-tips (or cotton swabs)!
Yup, those common little swabs not only work wonders with your hygiene routine, but they also make nifty painting tools!
I first discovered the magic of painting with Q-tips in one of my first painting tutorials on how to paint lavender flowers. It was so much fun, and hearing my readers’ feedback that they also enjoyed it, inspired me to create another Q-tip inspired painting tutorial.
The only difference in this tutorial is that you will bundle up 4-5 Q-tips and wrap them together with an elastic band. You can then dip the group of swabs in paint and dab away at your blossoms.
The method works well because there are many cherry blossoms on the tree- so the group of Q-tips lets you finish the blossoms faster. You can also use a single Q-tip, it will just take longer.
And you can’t make a mistake here.
Don’t overthink it, and just enjoy dabbing away. This was my most favorite part of the painting- I totally lost track of time and was absorbed into the creative flow of the cherry blossoms.
Enjoyable and meditative.
Cherry Blossom Paint Colors
The blossoms on the cherry blossom tree use only 3 colors: red, white and brown.
In the tutorial below you will learn how to create various shades and tints of red/pink that will help give your blossoms more dimension.
Getting used to and learning to mix your paints will also help you gain more confidence with your paints.
Many beginners choose to buy the premixed tubes of colors, because they don’t think they can paint mix. In reality, it’s not difficult to learn, especially when you start with simple color mixes like red+white = pink, etc..
Another tip you’ll learn is how to deepen a red color.
Naturally, you’d think to mix a tiny amount of black paint with your red, to make a deeper red hue. Which is technically correct. However, the black will kill the brightness of the red tone and will make your red look more muddy and brown.
Instead, if you mix a tiny amount of brown with your red, you will darken your red (dulling it down) without removing its brightness. This will make your red look richer and not muddy.
More Q-tip Painting Projects
If you enjoyed painting with Q-tips and want another reason to store your stash in your craft drawer and not your bathroom drawer, check out my other 2 Q-tip painting tutorials:
It’s amazing what these little cotton swabs can do!
Paint Quality and Brand
The paints I used for this cherry blossom tree come from this Liquitex starter set paint set. It contains 36 different colored paint samples, which is great if you want to play around with paint color, mixing, etc. I also like the consistency and pigment in Liquitex basics paints.
Even though they are a level 1 (student grade), I find these paints excellent in quality.
Although I use the Liquitex basics paints, it doesn’t mean other brands aren’t worthwhile. I like to experiment with different brands- I have been known to use Golden paints, Artist Loft, and even cheap Dollar store brands!
It depends on what you are comfortable spending and investing in paints.
One idea/tip is to invest is 1 tube of high-quality paint at a time, and slowly add to your collection. That way you won’t be breaking the bank, and still able to experiment with different brands/qualities paint.
Your Painting Journey…
And just like those lovely pink blossoms, I hope your painting journey is filled with plenty of beautiful blooming experiences and moments- that you truly enjoy being in.
Enjoy the tutorial, be gentle with yourself and don’t be afraid to add your own twist and character to this painting.
If you approach painting like a series of mini-experiments, each building on one another- you’ll create something as unique and interesting as YOU!
And you’ll enjoy the process that much more.
Cherry Blossom Tree Finished Painting
Fun for Kids too!
This was a fun painting to make- and its for all painting levels. From beginners, and beyond – even kids can do this (and they’ll LOVE the cotton swab part).
My kids and I painted together and it was both fun and enlightening (kids are natural artists and its amazing to watch what they create). They ended up creating their own version of the cotton swab tree – check out their creations below.
Painting is a Process…
I hope you enjoy painting this simple cherry blossom tree and have fun experimenting with the paint mixing.
And always remember: painting (and learning a new skill) is a process. With each new thing you learn and each new painting you make, you are on your way to becoming a better painter.
Be proud that you are here, painting and learning away- you are doing amazing things- my artist friend 🙂
- Primary Red Acrylic Paint
- White Acrylic Paint
- Black Acrylic Paint
- Burnt Umber Acrylic Paint (or brown)
- Optional: quinacridone magenta acrylic paint
- Q-tips (cotton swabs)
- rubber bands
- medium size paint brush (flat)
- water container
- paint palette
- Paint your background using your black and white paints. Use straight horizontal brush strokes to move the paint across the canvas. Notice the bottom and top edges of the canvas are darker. Add more black if you need to get the edges darker.
- Once your background is dried, take a pencil, chalk or charcoal to trace your tree on the canvas
- Take some black paint and water it down a bit, so its very fluid and flows easily off your paint brush. I find a small round brush works best here. Fill in your tree with the thinned black paint.
- Once your tree is dried to the touch- time for the cherry blossoms! Take 4-5 Q-tips, bundle them together using an elastic band. To mix your first tint of pink: use half white, half primary red (if you want a brighter pink, add a touch of quinacradone magenta to the mix, if you have it). Once mixed, use your bundles q-tips and dab the pink onto the branches of your tree.
- Now we are going to mix a dark shade of red. Take your primary red, and add in some burnt umber (or brown) (3 parts red to 1 part burnt umber). Using the same technique as above, dab this color onto the branches using your Q-tip bundle.
- Now for a highlight color: mix a very tiny amount of red with some white. This will look like a very pale pink. Use the q-tip bundle to dab this pale pink on your tree.
- Repeat steps 4,5 and 6 until your tree fills out to your liking. For fun, try to create different tones, shades of pink by adding more or less white/brown to your red. The more variations of pink/red the better! Enjoy, have fun and experiment away- you can't go wrong here - the beauty of abstract art!
- To finish things off, add some pure white highlights. Take a single Q-tip (not the bundle), add single dabs of white paint all over your tree. Do this sparingly at first, and see how you like it. Add more highlights as needed.
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Acrux7 Round Point Paint Brushes Set, 12pcs Paintbrushes Tip Range from Detail Liner, Medium to Large Size for Watercolor, Oil, Acrylic Painting and Craft, Nail, Face Paint (White Pen)
Q-tips Cotton Swabs, 750 ct
PHOENIX Pre Stretched Canvas for Painting - 9x12 Inch / 8 Pack - 5/8 Inch Profile of Super Value Pack for Oil & Acrylic Paint
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 4-oz tube, Mars Black
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 8.45-oz tube, Titanium White
M. Graham 1/2-Ounce Tube Watercolor Paint, Quinacridone Rose (33-156)
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 4-oz tube, Burnt Umber
Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint, 4-oz tube, Primary Red