Carrie Waller | Sakura Tea: Watercolor

I was so excited when I received the 8 New DANIEL SMITH Watercolors. I knew right away that these colors would quickly become must haves for my paintings. As luck would have it I received the paints at the same time the cherry (sakura) blossoms were blooming in Tokyo, Japan where I currently reside. Because I love painting glass I had to add some glass into the cherry blossom composition so I placed the blossoms next to a beautiful glass of Japanese tea. I always set my compositions up in strong sunlight, preferably afternoon sun and photograph the setup from a variety of angles. I import the photos into Photoshop and choose the best composition and manipulate the image, cropping and saturating the colors until I get the desired effect.

Step 1, Sakura Tea
I transfer the drawing onto Arches, cold-pressed paper . I mask out the brightest white highlights with masking fluid. Rose Madder Permanent and Quinacridone Lilac are the perfect colors for these delicate blooms. I’m also utilizing the Raw Sienna Light towards the center of the flowers. I use Undersea Green, one of my absolute favorite greens for the buds and stems and Bismuth Vanadate Yellow for the bright pops of yellow.


Step 2, Sakura Tea
I can’t tell you how excited I was to use Raw Sienna Light and Aussie Red Gold . They are stunning colors and they give nice even washes. I started to lay in my darkest darks (an Indigo, Sepia mixture) early on so that I could make sure my values were correct. I predominately use wet on dry techniques to capture all of the intricate details but in the shadow areas I get to use wet on wet techniques and really let the colors mingle and play.


Step 3, Sakura Tea
Payne’s Blue Gray will definitely be added to my everyday palette . It is a great shadow color and it is perfect for painting glass. The cooler tone is beautiful. It’s a nice balance to the pink colors in the blooms and adds a delicate shadow. Lavender and Wisteria work so well together in the blooms. The Lavender adds the cooler notes while the Wisteria is a lively color that adds a subtle pop. I also used Ultramarine Blue in the shadow areas of the flowers.

Step 4, Sakura Tea
Raw Sienna Light, Aussie Red Gold, Burnt Sienna Light and Bismuth Vanadate Yellow were a dramatic combination for the tea . These colors are just so brilliant and they paint like a dream. I use a lot of layers but these colors are so strong you get fantastic results in just a few washes. Payne’s Blue Gray was used for the base of the cup, handle, saucer and shadows. Cobalt Teal Blue and Ultramarine Blue were used for those pops of color in the handle and saucer.

I just love the results of all of these colors together in this painting titled “Sakura Tea”. I’m so excited to add these new colors into my daily palette. These colors are truly a dream. I look forward to using them in my future paintings.

–Carrie Waller

Paint Colors (The first 8 are the new colors)

  • Aussie Red Gold
  • Burnt Sienna Light
  • Lavender
  • Payne’s Blue Gray
  • Quinacridone Lilac
  • Raw Sienna Light
  • Rose Madder Permanent
  • Wisteria
  • Bismuth Vanadate Yellow
  • Cobalt Teal Blue
  • Indigo
  • Sepia
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Undersea Green