There are plenty of objects that you can draw using watercolor and then have fun with them. There are no exact rules in the painting, leaving you with bunches of opportunities to do experiment with colors and your painting skills. For your new watercolor painting exercise, try to paint cactus like shown below:


  • Watercolor paints (such as Sennelier 24 pan set)
  • Watercolor paper (Arches hot or cold pressed watercolor paper)
  • Paint brushes (Princeton Neptune round, Princeton Neptune quill, Silver Black Velvet brushes)

The Steps:

  • To start, consider the best composition of your cactus watercolor painting on your watercolor paper. In this example here, the focus of the painting is at the bottom half of the paper. The size of the painting itself doesn’t really matter. Once you get the best painting composition, start your painting by making small prickly pear and add it with some thorns when the base layer of the painting is not yet dry.
  • Next, paint a couple of cactus in different shapes on your paper. In this example, a “Saguaro” cactus was painted here to start the painting. You can also start your painting by making this cactus or other kinds of cactus of your choice.
  • Paint them randomly and use green color. Vary the shade of the colors like making some lighter to make them look like at a distance and some others darker. To tie all cacti together, add some other details like succulents, generic leaves, or other things as you like.
  • Mix a bit of gouache with watercolor. Then, add some pop of color to your cactus to make some parts of them more stand out. For example, dark green cactus will make yellow watercolor not visible and lost. So, add gouache to give the cactus painting more dimension. Then, make some adjustment to your cactus painting composition by gauging it from a distance.
  • Voila! Your cactus watercolor painting is done! You can add some more details such as shadow as you want. And next, you can now display your painting in your favorite room at home. Your painting deserves to be boasted!

Later on when you decide to paint more watercolor cactus, you can vary the colors and the shapes more, rather than using the Saguaro and prickly pear and green shades all the time. Go find some cactus pictures for your painting reference. Happy painting!