Video Archive: Lilacs, Painting in Watercolor with Pat Fiorello


Still Life with Lilacs in watercolor

Let’s paint this romantic still life of lilacs with a focus on creating form and energy in this outdoor floral still life scene.

Join Pat Fiorello, an instructor who has led more than 10 programs abroad with Il Chiostro since 2008, for a paint-along session where you’ll create a beautiful still life painting in watercolor.

Painting will focus on achieving convincing form and depth, rich, clean color and expressive brushwork.

Click here to see more of Pat’s watercolor paintings.

Special video from Pat:  a Youtube link on how I set up a still life arrangement

What students from Pat’s past zoom classes had to say…

Another great class today. You really have strong teaching skills. I learned a LOT. The full hour allocated to critiques at the back end of your classes is so helpful. Your lessons sink in so well when you can point to examples of issues on someone’s canvas, but you also teach how to correct. And you are always very complimentary and talk about the positives as well.  ~ SG

It was fun! You are the best teacher ever! Thank you so much, time goes by so fast in your classes because they’re so engaging!   ~AW

Great class!! Wow, I am totally inspired after your watercolor class, Pat.  Your instructions are always so clear and easy to understand.  I was in such a low energy, down mood before we started.  Now I’m happy and I feel like myself again.  Art truly does take us to another place where our entire focus is needed.   – MD

Lilacs in watercolor, by Pat Fiorello

Here are the materials for Pat’s class Painting Lilacs in Watercolor.
Included below:
  • Reference photo-color
  • Photo B&W-posterized
  • Supply list
  • Drawing
  • Sample painting

Please review this in its entirety re: supplies and drawing prior to class and how to be set up.

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Watercolor paper (preferably Arches 140 lb. cold press on block) If that’s not available work with what you have but keep it small for our paint along- I’ll probably do a 9 x 12, or 8 x 10 you can do either. I’d recommend no larger than 12 x 16 and only do that large if you are a fast painter. Keep it smaller, you can always do a larger version after the class while you watch the replay but for class keep it small.  If you have only loose sheets, not in a block, then tape a 9 x 12 sheet to a non- porous, Lucite type board
  • Brushes- a few different sizes including some rounds, a flat wash brush if possible and a ½ inch synthetic flat brush
  • 2 cups for water, have extra water available nearby to change out dirty water as needed
  • Palette with mixing area, have your paint already squeezed out so we can get right into painting
  • Paints- preferably artists grade. If you don’t have all these colors we can work with what you have. If you have other colors on your palette feel free to use them too.

Asterisked colors are the ones most likely to be used for his particular painting.

Indian Yellow or New Gamboge*. ( a transparent yellow)

Lemon Yellow*

Cadmium Yellow, Winsor Yellow

Yellow ochre*

Cadmium Red* or some other  vivid, warm red- warmer that alizarin

Permanent Rose*

Alizarin Crimson*

Cerulean Blue

Cobalt Blue

Ultramarine Blue*

Sap green

Thalo Green or Viridian*

Burnt Sienna*

  • Paper towels
  • Old credit card cut in half for scraping out
  • If you have some kosher salt have it available in case we want to use it for texture, if not, don’t worry about it
  • Garbage pail nearby

Pre – workshop directions

  • Review photos of subject- reference photo, black and white photo. Print out or you can view on an iPad or computer monitor during class. Don’t try to paint from a photo on your phone- it’s too small. For this painting I created it form several photos so we will work off my painting for the most part.
  • Do your drawing before class so we are ready to jump right into the painting once the call starts. Draw the big shapes as placeholders as I have done in the example. Don’t need details or exact drawing- if your drawing is tight your painting will be tight.  See my drawing example. “Draw where it goes, we’ll paint what it is”.   If you start with a tight drawing you’ll end up with a tight painting.
  • Have your supplies ready and phone or computer available to connect into the zoom call. Michael will supply the number a day or two before the call.
  • We will be doing a paint along format. I’ll paint a section and explain what I’m doing and then we’ll take a break and you’ll have time to paint that section. In other words, watch the demo of a section, then paint, and we’ll do that for the whole painting. Hopefully we will finish in the 2-hour session, but I don’t want to rush it, so we’ll see how the group is doing. The point is not to complete the painting, but the instruction on how to approach it along the way. You can always watch the recording afterwards to finish the painting or listen to instruction again. My aim is to teach you to fish rather than give you a fish, so you have the tools and methods to approach subjects on your own with greater ease and confidence. This particular painting is just a vehicle for that learning.
  • You can paint along on the zoom workshop or just watch and paint later when the replay is sent.
  • We will have a short critique at the end if you’d like. You can email your painting to me at and I’ll share my screen so we can view the painting. I tend to use the critiques as an opportunity for further instruction as various issues come up for everyone to learn from so please allow an hour after the class if you want to attend the whole critique.

Instructions before class:

Please draw a rough sketch on watercolor paper- mine is a 9 x 12 sheet, but you can adjust size if you’d like. I would not recommend larger than 12 x 16 for our zoom class. Smaller is better so you have time to complete as much as possible.
 Keep your drawing general so you have freedom to adjust shapes as need be as you get into the painting. Just put in the size and placement of the big clusters of lilacs, especially important- the white ones and vase, the rest we can improvise on. Do not worry about the leaves or background or any details. Just get in the major shape of the bouquet in the vase.
Our usual supply list will do- the only possible extra items which might be useful are a small  spray bottle for mist and cobalt violet or magenta if you have those colors. The cobalt violet can be expensive, so if you don’t have it we’ll work around it with other colors like permanent rose and alizarin crimson.


lilac reference.jpeg