When I grow up…I want to be a Flower Painter!

by Neadeen Masters on November 17, 2011

Since the dawn of time, artists have be attracted to painting flowers. There is something captivating about these floral subjects… their colors, shapes, variety and textures tug at our artistic sensibilities. Their short lifespan seem to beg us to paint their portraits as they beckon us to hurry…”quick…capture my beauty before it fades away!” We all have our favourites don’t we? loving their sweet perfumes, their soft delicate petals, and most of all, the way light plays on their translucent petals.

Susan Abdella - Art Apprentice Online Painting Flowers – Susan Abdella – Art Apprentice Online

So how do you become a flower painter?

An easy place to begin is with photographs. Gather some good reference photographs of your favourite blossoms, and get to know them well. You might already have a collection of photographs you’ve collected… you always knew one day you’d like to paint them. Familiarize yourself with their anatomy. Understand their individual parts and the differences between their shapes and structures. Color is secondary at this point, and you will benefit more if you understand how they grow, where their petals attach, if they overlap, and what their centers and markings look like from close up. This is a good first step. Knowing your subject.

Gather Your Information

Next you want to study how they display in their natural environment…do they stand proud like the beautiful rose in the painting below, or do they hang their heavy heads? Are they joined at the stem in tight clusters or are they single blooms? This is important information that you are gathering. Why? Because when it comes to painting them, you want to depict them correctly. Clusters of flowers are like bunches of grapes.  Like grapes, each little blossom points in a different direction and these can be little ‘stinkers’ to paint. Getting them right is most important.

Roses from Redoute - Susan Abdella - Art Apprentice Online Roses from Redoute – Susan Abdella – Art Apprentice Online

Stems, Leaves and Details

Next you want to pay attention to their supports. What kind of stems do they have? Are they smooth, prickly, or ribbed. Are they long or short? What about thorns, do they have any? Is the stem green and subtle or is it hard and woody? Understanding the leaves and stems, allows the flower painter to portray blooms in all their glory! The leaves and stems play a supporting role in a floral composition, and for the flowers to showcase at their best,  the artist needs to describe how they grow. An interesting floral composition depends on how well the artist knows their subject.

The information gathering process is never ending…you will find that photography and flower painting are parallel studies. It’s gathering the basic foundation that makes it all the more fun… before you start painting flowers you need to do your flower homework!


how to paint roses

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Pat Hanson November 23, 2011 at 12:29 am

I have purchased some brushes in the past and signed up for the newsletter. I have never received the newsletter, yet when I tried to resubmit my info I just get a message that I am already signed up. Could you check on the newsletter issue for me please.


Neadeen Masters November 24, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Hi Pat, our newletter just went out last week. Are you referring to the AAO E-Magazine or is this the free newsletter that announces our sales and specials? Let us know and I wiull see what we can do to help.


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