In today’s art project, I’m going to show you step-by-step how to create a watercolor botanical collage inspired by Salvador Dali.
Salvador Dali was a famous surrealist artist born in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain. His full name is Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Marquis of Dalí de Púbol. Dali is most known for his surrealist art and worked in a wide range of media.
He was a sculptor, writer, photographer and even a filmmaker. As a surrealist artist, Dali’s work expressed more of his imagination and subconscious mind than representing the real world.
As a child, Dali’s artistic endeavors were encouraged by his family, especially his mother. Dali attended drawing school and in 1916 discovered painting on a summer vacation with his family. The next year Dali’s father organized an exhibition of his charcoal drawings in their family home.
Salvador Dali later attended art school where he demonstrated his mastery of painting skills and began exploring other influences in art such as cubism. He experimented with both classical and modern art techniques. In 1926, Dali made his first trip to Paris and met Pablo Picasso, an artist whom he admired greatly. As he developed his own artistic style, a number of his artworks were influenced by Picasso.
For this art project, Flordali II, 1981, by Salvador Dali is our inspiration.
In 1969, a Swiss published commissioned Dali to make something new and exciting from the 19th century set of botanical illustrations. The paintings were published in a lithograph series known as the FruitDali Series and became very popular with art collectors.
The original watercolor studies went into hiding and were never seen again with the exception of one exhibition in 2001. In 2013 the entire collection was auctioned for over $1 million dollars!
Supplies needed for this project are:
- Watercolor paper (9 x 12)
- Watercolor paint set
- Watercolor brushes (2 sizes)
- Palette for paint mixing
- Artist or low-tack masking tape
- #2 pencil
- Micron or another waterproof pen
- X-Acto knife or scissors
- Cutting surface
- Various botanical prints (link below)
- Glue stick
I collected my favorite botanical prints for this project and saved them here for you to easily find.
I always like to start by printing the inspiration artwork to use as a reference while I work.
First, we need to prepare the paper to paint. I like to apply a strip of tape to each edge of my paper to have a nice clean border when I’m finished.
Once the tape is applied, the watercolor portion of this art project will be done step-by-step in stages. With watercolor, it’s always best to work from light to dark and to layer your painting as you go.
It’s important to that you let your painting dry between layers or you can help it along with a blow dryer on the low/cool setting.
Next, follow the steps below to create your watercolor background for your botanical collage.
- First, apply a light blue-green to the entire mountain area in the distance.
- Don’t forget to dry between each layer.
- Apply another layer of the same color to the smaller hills in front.
- Add one more layer of small hills in front of the last one for a total of three layers of hills/mountain.
- Mix a darker tan/brown color and paint the foreground area (from the horizon line down).
- Mix a medium shade of blue and apply the first layer of paint to both curtains. (see left curtain in box #4).
- Continue to add darker blue paint to the curtains for the folds, etc. To blend any of the areas into one another (soften edges), just use a clean brush with a little bit of water.
- Mix a darker brown to paint in the stem of the rose with your smaller brush. Add some bumps along the branch to make it look more natural.
- Mix a light green to add some smaller branches from the bumps along the branch.
- Your watercolor background is complete – allow it to dry completely.
Now it’s time to add our botanical elements!
First, use your scissors or X-Acto knife to cut out each of the pieces you would like to include. You can use the inspiration piece as a reference or create your own inspired by Dali.
- 4 Butterfly wings
- 1 large yellow rose for the main rose
- 1 small yellow rose bud for the second branch
- 1 leaf for the rose
- 1 bee
- 4 botanical fruits for the foreground
- 1 white flower for the foreground
Use your glue stick to apply your botanical elements to your painting.
Your Salvador Dali inspired botanical collage is now complete!
Our final botanical collage.
You’ll notice that Dali added some human elements to the botanical elements at the bottom of the page. Feel free to use your imagination to add to the collage if you wish.
The original Flordali II alongside our painted version.