So, you believe you know how to paint flowers and you've gone out and bought a huge fresh bouquet from your favorite florist. You’re really pumped up and excited about these flowers to paint, your excitement builds at a steady pace. You get home, you cut off their ends under water, place them in the vase and head out to the studio.
By now the excitement of painting these beauties have your heart
racing with anticipation. You set them down on your favorite side
table, turn on your clip on spot light and adjust it just right. You
then view the start of your creation and drink in the gorgeousness that
sits before you,…
but then suddenly, you freeze.
All these flowers, all these petals, all these stems and leaves, oh no! Do you really know how to paint flowers like this? Did you get the tough ones to paint, or the easy flowers to paint.
You feel the first wave of fear and anxiety creeping in.
Your breath becomes short and shallow.
How could you have even thought of trying to tackle such a difficult painting? You worry that they’re already wilting from the heat of the lamp. They appear to begin to droop and fade right before your eyes!......
Relax, it’s just a story..
Take a deep breath, in with the good….out with the bad…Now, read on and enjoy!
I will explain to you in an easily understood approach on how to eat this elephant. One little bite at a time!
So lets get started, and don’t worry about the bouquet, just keep that water mister close by and every few minutes give ‘em a good spray.
Also, as you can see with some of the above images, I LOVE painting flowers. Of all the subjects I do paint, these hold a special place in my heart.
Get out that plastic composition template I told you about here Composition Template and get a rough estimate of where your main blossoms are gonna be. Select 1 or 3 to be your main focal point.
Get out your digital camera and get to clicking. Taking shots from above the table edge, straight on to the table edge, and below the table edge. Then readjust your lighting from the ¾ position (3/4 of subject illuminated from the left) to a position almost at 90 degrees to the subject on the left. Again taking pictures from the top side, and lowering your camera until you’re below the table edge.
Now for a more in-depth view of flower painting arrangement, click here, then come back for the rest of this oil painting techniques lesson.
Finally, move your lighting to illuminate from above the flowers (straight overhead) and shoot several shots. This will give you a total of at least 9 perfectly great paintings within your camera!
Now, go about transferring those images to your canvas. (click here to get idea’s on how to transfer that photo to your canvas)
From here, you will follow the Flemish Technique to complete your painting. Remember, you start with your pencil drawing, then the ink overlay. The imprimatura, umber under-layers, the color layers, and finishing layer. Having said all that, lets discuss some basics on how to paint flowers rules for you to think about before you really get started.
While viewing your beautiful bouquet in front of you, remember to:
Going back to these basic underlying structures, learning how to paint flowers can be kept simple.
Most flowers will usually conform to these 4 basic shapes!
Lets look at the Daffodil. The daffodil has elements of the disk shape at its base, and the inverted cone shape protruding out of the base like a trumpet. All in one bloom!
I've got more information here on how to paint a daffodil.
It goes into much more details about what to look for in this complex blossom.
Just click the picture too, to get there. Then hit your browsers back button to finish this part of "how to paint flowers" lesson.
So, from here on out, don’t just look at your flowers as a mass of pedals, veins, and color. Break it down to its fundamental shapes, (disks, cones, spheres or a combination).
Think of the blossom in its basic geometric form having a three dimensional depth and it will remove some of that fear to tackle these babies.
Learning how to paint flowers just isn't that difficult anymore!
Oh, I've got another shape, that of the tea cup to add to this group.
Check out the explanation concerning how to paint a tulip.
Speaking of three dimensional, let’s talk a little about form, Illusionist Form. Visit here for how to make something look 3 dimensional on a canvas.
It talks in more detail how to get a more detailed picture of what we are explaining. Just remember, within each of these shapes there will be form.
Each blossom will have its’ own individual highlight, main light, half shadow, shadow, reflection, cast shadow. Each of these items are discussed in detail in my elementary art lessons page.
So don’t sweat trying to copy each and every pedals on those back blossoms, they need to recede into the back of the picture plain anyway.
Some flowers just plain got a lot of fine details (carnations) so to get around some of that, select only about a 1 inch square of the blossom and get that right on, then allow for a slight blur to the rest.
The human brain will fill in the blanks and your viewer will still understand what you are depicting.
Hopefully, with this lesson on how to paint flowers, you now have a few tools in your bag to tackle the task of a full bouquet of flowers for your next painting project.
Just remember, break it down to small steps. Visualize the basic geometric shapes of the blossoms. Stick to the rules of depicting form within each of those blossoms. Use the Flemish technique, and you too will know how to paint flowers like you mean it!
Now, would you like to learn how to paint the worlds most popular flower? The Rose! I've got ya covered.
Learn how to paint flowers with learning to paint this rose!
Below is a link to information on how to compose your flower arrangement for painting. It takes several area's of composition and applies them to flower arrangement.
Getting that bouquet of flowers in a vase, just right is a crucial first step in your floral painting endeavors. Don't short change yourself, get the information you need to do it right the first time!
Click here to head back to the top of our how to paint flowers page.